The Perfect Handoff: X’s And O’s (And Q’s)
With the big game approaching, we’ll undoubtedly see plenty of handoffs by some of the greatest to ever do it. Just like the game’s top QBs, the best dealers have mastered the handoff from sales to F&I, and the payoff can make you feel like a champion.
An often overlooked element of successful F&I processes is the handoff from sales to F&I. Whether you’re a team of one or you have separate shops for F&I and sales, there are certain questions you can ask on the front end that will pay off on the back. The intel gathered during the sales process can prove incredibly useful in getting a customer bought in on vehicle service contracts and other back-end products.
Who calls the plays? You may think this an obvious one, but pay close attention during the sales process to see where the decisions are made. Just because one person involved in the process is doing all the talking doesn’t mean that’s where you should direct your efforts. Watch closely to see how couples and other groups interact to get an idea of who has final say over the car-buying and F&I product decisions.
Who’s going to be under center and behind the wheel? The answer could very well be the person standing in front of you, but peel back the layers and find out who they are and their needs may be. For instance, a college student doesn’t necessarily mean long drives home with laundry. It could be a local commuting student who will put a lot of weekly miles on a car. Going beyond the surface profile of your buyer will help you provide F&I with helpful information they can use to identify the right kind of coverage.
Why is this car their new favorite player? Was it safety, a cooler image, fuel efficiency or utility? The answer to the key features that caught a customer’s eye can tell you a lot about what they value in a purchase. Valuing safety could help sales lead them to a specific mode, but it could also help F&I play off that feeling of security when pitching a service contract. Conversely, someone buying a car for image is going to want to protect that investment with back-end products.
How long will the car be in the game? Knowing whether a customer plans to log heavy miles in a short period of time or just use a car on weekends is invaluable information for an F&I department. Arming your F&I team with this information gives them the ability to be suggestive about which product will suit the customer best. You still want to show all the options but basing a suggestion on a personalized scenario will only increase the likelihood of success in the F&I office.