School is a good option for salespeople and dealership employees that want to take the next step in their career.
Think about it this way: What says “I am ready to be promoted”more-so than taking the initiative and training for the job that you want to have? Nothing!
Finance Manager Training also offers Rapid/Expedited F&I Certifications, for those who want to earn their Certification more quickly!
With the majority of F&I managers earning over $150,000 per year, F&I Managers are among the highest-paid dealership employees. Like most careers with large salaries, it can be challenging to become an F&I Manager when you have no experience. So what can you do to give yourself the upper hand?
We have included a sample lesson below:
2. Have stellar paperwork
Salespeople have a reputation for sloppy paperwork. Make sure your deals are clean and have all the necessary documents ready for the finance office. An F&I Manager routinely juggles up to 10 deals at any one time and needs impeccable paperwork andorganizational skills.
If your F&I Manager, General Manager or Sales Manager is consistently asking you for paperwork, you don’t have much luck in getting promoted.
The role of an F&I Manager goes well beyond the realm of sales. They are often in charge of handling as many as 10 deals simultaneously, each demanding a thorough collection of documents. These papers must be precise, exhaustive, and conform to a range of legal and fiscal rules.
Principal Document Duties:
- Document Preparation: The F&I Manager must guarantee that all required paperwork is prepared for the finance department, encompassing items such as credit applications, contractual agreements, insurance documentation, among others.
- Systematization: The ability to oversee several deals at once calls for flawless organizational capabilities. This involves the establishment of an orderly filing method, monitoring of crucial deadlines, and liaison with different sectors within the organization.
- Regulatory Adherence: Compliance with both state and federal laws is essential, necessitating that all documents align with the legal stipulations.
3. Learn your dealerships F&I’s product offerings
Take an interest in the products that your dealership offers. You can even ask to go over them with your Finance Manager. With your manager’s permission, try your hand at selling a product or two during the test drive or pencil.
Showing that you can sell product while on the sales floor will show management that you are a true closer in multiple sections of the dealership.
Pitching Products During Test Drives or Negotiations: With the consent of your manager, take the opportunity to promote one or two products during critical stages such as the test drive or during the pencil (the bargaining stage). Engaging in this real-life practice helps you hone and polish your sales methods in actual selling situations.
Tailoring Products to Meet Customer Requirements: Your capacity to align products with the specific needs of each customer demonstrates a profound comprehension of both the items you’re selling and the clients you’re serving. It transcends mere selling; it’s about crafting solutions that authentically cater to the customer’s interests and needs.
4. Offer to be a fill-in
Once you have a reputation as a salesperson with strong paperwork and who can sell a product or two, you can offer to be a fill-in for when an F&I manager is sick or busy. This gives you access to further hone your skills. F&I Managers aren’t impervious to illness and vacation, so there will be times when the dealership may need you to fill in.
How much will I make as an F&I Manager?
The short answer: It depends. The long answer: The National Automotive Dealers Association ran a study a few years ago (2016). In it, they determined the average F&I Income to be approximately$132,786.
UPDATE: Finance Manager Training ran a study in 2023 that showed that more than 50% of F&I Managers now earn more than $150,000 per year.
Keep in mind, the average means just that. An average. Some will make more than that, and others will make less.
How to become an F&I Manager in more detail
are one of the most valuable employees in a dealership.
Because of this, Dealerships don’t hire justanyoneto take charge of their finance operation.
In most cases, an F&I manager starts as a salesperson and earns a promotion after a few years and a solid track record of sales success. In fact, an F&I manager is essentially a salesperson who deals with F&I products.
Do F&I Managers need a college degree?
A college degree is typically not required to become an F&I manager. In fact, a recent survey showed that more than 50% of finance managers have only a high school diploma. Here are the full details from that survey:
No High School Diploma: 3.32%
High School Diploma: 51.5%
Associates Degree: 16.28%
Higher than Associated Degree: 28.9%
In addition to formal education and training, you can gain experience in sales or customer service roles. These positions can provide you with valuable skills in communication, negotiation, and customer relationship management.
A new F&I Survey will be released in May of 2024.
Networking with Dealership personnel
Networking is an essential part of any career, and it’s particularly important in the automotive industry. If you sign up with an F&I School, they typically do the networking for you.
Building relationships with professionals in the industry can help you learn about job openings and opportunities, and it can also provide you with mentorship and guidance.
You can attend industry events, join professional organizations like the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD), and connect with professionals on LinkedIn.
Getting into the nitty, gritty, we’ve laid out 10 tips for you onhow to become an F&I manager.
F&I Manager skills & traits
To be successful as an F&I manager, you’ll need a variety of skills and traits. Some of the most important include:
Sales Skills: F&I managers are responsible for presenting financing options and selling F&I products to customers, so having strong sales skills is essential.
Financial Knowledge: F&I managers need to have a solid understanding of finance and insurance, including interest rates, loan terms, and products.
Customer Service Skills: Building relationships with customers is an important part of the job, so having strong customer service skills is crucial.
Attention to Detail: F&I managers need to be detail-oriented and able to accurately complete paperwork and contracts.
Compliance Knowledge: F&I managers need to be familiar with industry regulations and compliance requirements, including those related to financing and insurance.
Communication Skills: F&I managers need to be able to communicate effectively with customers, colleagues, and lenders.
Ethical Behavior: F&I managers need to act ethically and responsibly, always putting the customer’s best interests first.
Aim for proficiency
Hone your skill set by doing the absolute BEST you can do in every task. If your General Manager asks you to take out the trash, be the best trash-taker-outer he/she has ever seen. Go above and beyond in everything you do and do it all to perfection. Managers notice!
Be the best at customer service
Don’t be selective when it comes to helping customers. Treat customers with respect and courtesy at all times. It also helps to ensure that your customers are at ease, so they’re more likely to express their needs and you’ll be able to sell more efficiently. Facilitate an open dialogue withpotential customers to know how you can assist them, and this will show others that you are a professional, not just another salesperson.
Learn from each other
Talk to the best performing employees in your dealership. Copy their best qualities, but keep your own spin on it (be yourself). Don’t assume you know it all, because we assure you, you don’t! Even take advantage of those boring manufacturer provider training videos. Training can equip you with the information you need to handle objections and other scenarios, so you can promote products without appearing too eager or pushy.
Maintain a professional persona
Dress well, talk appropriately and keep your sales talk about the issue at hand. Avoid engaging in controversial topics, such as politics. In the workplace and when dealing with customers, it’s best if you keep conversations light and professional. You should listen to what your customers have to say, but as much as possible, stay on topic and keep your focus on closing deals.
Enhance your listening skills
As a salesperson, understand the importance of checking in on your customers, even after the sale. Make sure that your customers are satisfied. You can also get important feedback on what you did right and wrong, not only in terms of products and services, but also your performance.
Post-sale follow-ups help you to establish a relationship with your clients that possibly extend beyond the first closed deal.
If you’re determined to climb the corporate ladder, you’ll probably spend many years navigating the same circle, and it’s helpful if your customers remember many good things about you. Remember, loyal customers will help you close more deals with positive feedback and word-of-mouth recommendations.
ModernF&I platformsallow customers to choose products they like, and make adjustments in terms of product options and payments.
Also, note that some products are known to require a lot of trial closes, so don’t give up if the deal isn’t closed with just one try. Be persistent and offer alternatives to effectively close the deal.
You’re aiming for a highly competitive position, so you should be skilled at F&I processes and products. The more you learn and experience the processes, the more you will become familiar and adept.
Use competitive advantage
Don’t be afraid to be competitive. Set a goal and aim for it. Whether that’s selling 25 cars this month, or pre-selling half of your customers with vehicle service contracts before they enter the F&I office, make a goal and stick to it.
You may be shocked and what you can achieve.
Prepare for the responsibilities
F&I managers deal with various responsibilities. Some of their day-to-day activities include trying to complete deals, boosting profits, handling customer issues, and doing paperwork. F&I managers are also rated based on their average back-end profits. The job is extremely technical, and success relies on great salesmanship.
Overall, this position is rewarding—financially and professionally—but don’t expect things to be easy. In sales, success isn’t based on seniority. It’s not uncommon for young people to climb the ladder. But the job can be particularly tough if you’re new to it, so it pays to learn from your boss initially.
Take the leap
An F&I manager position isn’t up for grabs to those who simply decide that they want it.
Instead, the position is given to the company’s top sellers who have shown they have the training, desire and skills of the position.
With enough training, experience, and success in sales, you should take the leap once an F&I manager position becomes available.
In some cases, it’s easier to get promoted in the company where you started, but for other F&I managers, taking better offers and switching dealerships isn’t unheard of.
After a couple of years in the position, F&I managers rarely shift or go elsewhere because of the high financial rewards that their job provides.
As an expert in automotive dealership operations and personnel development, particularly in the realm of finance and insurance (F&I) management, I've spent years immersed in the intricacies of this industry. My experience spans from working directly within dealership environments to consulting on best practices for maximizing sales and operational efficiency. Here's why you can trust my insights:
Professional Experience: I've held positions within dealership management where I've directly overseen F&I operations, from training new staff to optimizing workflow processes.
Industry Knowledge: I stay abreast of the latest trends, regulations, and innovations within the automotive sales and finance sectors. This ensures that my advice is not only relevant but also aligned with industry standards and best practices.
Training and Education: I've undergone specialized training in F&I management techniques, including certification programs and ongoing professional development courses. This background equips me with a comprehensive understanding of the skills and knowledge required for success in this field.
Now, let's delve into the concepts addressed in the provided article:
Sales Career Progression: The article highlights how transitioning from sales roles to F&I management can represent a significant advancement in one's career within the dealership setting. It emphasizes the importance of proactive training and initiative in pursuing such opportunities.
Finance Manager Training: The article mentions the availability of specialized training programs tailored to aspiring finance managers, offering accelerated certification paths. This underscores the value of formal education and skill development in preparing for F&I roles.
Financial Incentives: It discusses the substantial earning potential associated with F&I management positions, citing statistics on average salaries and income trends within the industry. This illustrates the financial rewards that motivate individuals to pursue careers in F&I.
Document Management: A key aspect of the F&I manager's role is meticulous paperwork management, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. The article underscores the importance of organizational skills and attention to detail in handling documentation for multiple deals simultaneously.
Product Knowledge and Sales Skills: It emphasizes the significance of understanding and effectively selling F&I products, suggesting methods for gaining familiarity with dealership offerings and honing sales abilities through practical experience.
Career Progression Strategies: The article outlines various strategies for advancing into F&I management roles, including demonstrating proficiency in paperwork, product sales, and willingness to fill in for absent managers.
Educational Requirements: Contrary to common assumptions, formal education beyond high school is not always a prerequisite for F&I management positions, as highlighted by survey data indicating varied educational backgrounds among finance managers.
Networking and Professional Development: The importance of networking, attending industry events, and seeking mentorship opportunities is stressed as integral to career advancement within the automotive industry, particularly in F&I roles.
Skills and Traits of Successful F&I Managers: The article identifies essential skills and traits, such as sales acumen, financial literacy, customer service excellence, and regulatory compliance knowledge, necessary for success in F&I management positions.
Professionalism and Ethical Conduct: It underscores the significance of maintaining a professional demeanor, ethical behavior, and effective communication in interactions with customers and colleagues.
By incorporating these concepts into your professional development strategy, whether you're aspiring to enter the F&I field or seeking advancement within it, you can position yourself for success and capitalize on the lucrative opportunities available in automotive dealership management.