When selling equipment, it can be easy to overlook the earning potential of a strong F&I department. All dealers need someone on hand who can evaluate a potential customer’s purchasing and financial capabilities, but an F&I department can provide much more than peace of mind for sellers.
A properly run F&I department serves not only to ensure customers can afford a truck or trailer, but also to directly help them finance the purchase. F&I departments marketed as a customer resource — included early in sales interactions and called upon whenever customers have any financing uncertainty — have stronger sales penetration rates, increase dealer revenues and can become as valuable as any profit center in a dealer operation.
“Selling a $175,000 truck to a customer sometimes comes with sticker shock and can be a challenge and intimidating to a customer. They don’t know how they will pay for it or how a $175,000 purchase plays into a financial statement or how that will affect their cash flow. It’s much easier to sell a $3,500 monthly payment,” says Ann Brodette, managing director of transportation, ENGS Commercial Finance. “Customers can understand that figure, and they can back into that number by knowing how much they can earn a month.”