As a Finance and Insurance (F&I) employee at a dealership, relationships with your customers, colleagues and you yourself go beyond the financial transactions but have everything to do with effective communication where loyalty and trust are key to getting more business and reaching your goals.
This was the message of Marichen Mortimer, Managing Director of MM&A, at the 2021 F&I Industry Virtual Summit that took place recently.
Answering the question on how to go about communicating effectively, Mortimer said the connection with someone, together with being able to interpret body language, can be indicators in securing the sales deal.
“Building relationships with your satisfied customers can enable them to become loyal, word-of-mouth ambassadors,” she pointed out. “The motor industry, in particular, is an example of where satisfied customers do not only return for repeat business, but bring along their friends and family as well.”
She also focused on practical points like listening skills to enable you, as the F&I, to minimise and limit unnecessary questions and ensure on point execution of the transaction in a fast and painless manner to the customer.
“Be consistent in your professionalism, because consistency breeds excellence,” she said. “It helps to improve your personal engagement level, not only with your customers but also your colleagues by turning the work environment into a place where you look forward to go to, after all, you spend the bulk of your life there.”
Mortimer alluded to Daniel Kim’s article “What are your organisation’s core theory of success?” which in essence claims that quality relationships are critical to organisational performance. As the quality of relationships rises, the quality of thinking improves, leading to an increase in the quality of actions and results. Achieving high-quality results has a positive effect on the quality of relationships, creating a reinforced engine of success. (Article: https://thesystemsthinker.com/what-is-your-organizations-core-theory-of-success/)
Mortimer believes that a workplace like a dealership should exude fun, without being silly. “You want to create an atmosphere that immediately tells customers that they are welcome and you, together with your colleagues, experience this environment as a nice place to work at,” Mortimer told the delegates. “Getting to know your colleagues or your customers is to connect with them, thereby inspiring trust and committing yourself to learn from every engagement.”
Following these easy steps can help in forming successful and life-long relationships with your customers. Mortimer also explained how a visual element that defines success and what it means to you, can be helpful in setting clear goals and what you want to achieve.
“Be passionate about these goals and understand that you will not reach your goals overnight. By taking it one-step at a time, the journey itself can be very rewarding, not only through reaching that end-goal.”
People often need to do something else in their downtime to energise and motivate them. Don’t feel guilty about this, watch that football match, go for a run, play golf or take time out with your friends. “With renewed energy, you can continue to build relationships that last, which is something that can be your legacy,” Mortimer concluded.
“Selling is no longer what you have to offer, but about meeting the specific needs of the customer,” Meyer Pheiffer, Managing Member and co-founder of Expel SA, said at the inaugural 2021 F&I Industry Virtual Summit on Tuesday, 18 May.
The first ever virtual Finance & Insurance (F&I) Summit takes place on Tuesday, 18 May 2021.
Lightstone Auto, a leading provider of data, analytics and systems, has launched the Lightstone Star Reacher F&I Awards to recognise and reward Finance and Insurance (F&I) Managers in the automotive industry.