Everybody is Your Friend, You Just Haven’t Met Them Yet

The real finesse in F&I is managing your relationships. If you can master your ability to connect with others, you will master this profession as well.  - IMAGE: ALEKSEY-MARTYNYUK via Getty Images

The real finesse in F&I is managing your relationships. If you can master your ability to connect with others, you will master this profession as well. 

IMAGE: ALEKSEY-MARTYNYUK via Getty Images

I was leaving my building in downtown Denver, heading to the dealership in Boulder one morning, and I was thinking to myself how grateful I am to have the wonderful circle of influence that I do in my life. Not just because of the people who have mentored me over the years, but also for the people I have found over my career who cared about me when they didn’t have to.

Every deal is an opportunity to make a friend. 

In this business, I have discovered that we don’t simply sell cars and complete the necessary paperwork. We end up being two things: a detective and a psychologist. Our main priority, above all else though, is to protect the dealership. Our second goal is to serve the guest and maximize profitability. So how do we do this when we are working with total strangers, as opposed to repeat and referral deals? By smiling.

Put your guests at the heart of your business and constantly strive to scratch their record by injecting a touchpoint and creating a moment. Your ultimate goal should be to have your guests leave your dealership and share the word about your world class service and come back as customers for life. 

We want to cement our customers to us. That’s why we sell prepaid maintenance and service contracts. We want to create the exceptional experience our guests deserve. The best way to do this is to start becoming the most positive person in the dealership – make your daily goal to infuse excitement into every deal you can. If you have a genuine passion when you work with people, they will be able to tell. Authenticity is key, and successful business managers know that beyond the passion, they have to have readiness and integrity to get the job done correctly.

Have you ever noticed that some people always seem to be lucky and others always seem to be struggling? It’s not by accident, usually. Over the last 18 years in this business, I have realized that when I was a rookie in F&I, I would easily become upset about a deal that didn’t go my way. I felt it was my God given right to sell something to everyone I met. I’ve learned that the less pressure I put on myself to sell something, the more people buy from me. I find it is much better to have fun with the process, transferring that energy and enthusiasm over to the customer. When a customer is having fun with you in your office and enjoying the process, the amount of time you spend with them doesn’t seem as long. The old saying, “time flies when you’re having fun” is so true. 

Becoming a connector of people is how we make a living in this business. The first dealer I worked for used to always say, “go meet the people.” Make friends with everyone you meet. The truth is, everywhere you go, you will meet and encounter people. Why not make sure that everyone you come in  contact with makes a connection with you. Meaning you tell them who you are, where you work, and what you do. 

Following this simple step, which does take effort, will lead to you building your circle of influence, much more rapidly and much bigger than you could imagine. I can’t tell you the number of people that started out as total strangers walking into my office, and walked out giving hugs, exchanging cell phone numbers, and becoming Facebook friends. The best part about what we do are the relationships we make.

The real finesse in F&I is managing your relationships. Not only with the customers, but with the salespeople, lenders, and everyone you come into contact with. If you can master your ability to connect with others in some way, you will master this profession just as surely. Every deal is an opportunity to make a friend. 

Justin B Gasman is the financial services director at McCaddon Cadillac Buick GMC in Boulder, Colorado.

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