In my 30-plus year career in the recreation industry, I have been in a lot of different dealerships. There are many that I have observed with great Finance & Insurance (F&I) processes in place. These dealers provide a comfortable, consistent, and structured customer buying experience. This equates to happy customers and a more profitable business. Based on a study published in autonews.com the average F&I profit per retail unit is less than $800. Top performers average more than $1,100 per unit. It was also found that service contracts had a 38 percent penetration rate for the average F&I office where the top performers had a 54 percent penetration rate.

These are just a couple of examples of how having a top-performing F&I office in place in your dealership can quickly add to the overall success of your dealership. Part of this success is accomplished by having the proper tools in place.

Let’s take a look at a few of the tools that will help you provide the best customer buying experience with every deal.

  • Centralized Customer and Deal Database
    • One of the biggest opportunities that I see in a lot of dealerships is the use of multiple systems in the sales process. Many have a separate CRM to track and manage leads, a separate quoting/desking tool, a separate F&I menu, and multiple F&I product providers that use different systems. This reduces efficiency by requiring multiple points of manual data entry, which can introduce errors along the buying journey. Look at your process and ensure that you have a DMS (Dealership Management Software) in place that allows you to track your customers’ entire buying journey in one place.
  • Credit Pulls
    • Being able to do your credit checks with a push of a button is a critical key in the overall financing process. Whether you are doing a soft pull or full checks including red flag, OFAC, having the ability to automatically transmit the customer information to the bureaus will save you time and money. An industry provider, such as 700 Credit, provides access to bureaus, controls and assessments, and a business shield with security protocols that help detect fraud, protect sensitive information, and monitor processes.
  • Menu Selling
    • Having a consistent and structured buying experience is key to the F&I process. Having the technology to generate a menu presentation quickly and accurately for your customers will allow you to remain compliant with regulations as well. Whether your customer prefers an onscreen experience or a hard copy, you can present your offering and the benefits for each product, including product images and descriptions. When using the onscreen process, they can easily approve the packages or sign the declination statements so you can file in your records for the deal. Automating this process using eSignature makes it quick and convenient for document storage.
  • F&I Integration
    • Because there are so many different F&I product and service providers,
    having a system in place that can integrate with those providers will help reduce your manual data entry processes. Since you have already entered the buyer and unit information, with a single click of the button, transmit the details directly to your third party, which will eliminate errors and increase efficiency for processing contracts.
    • With the latest technology, third-party F&I providers can even push updated totals and deal details back to your DMS. This has the opportunity to eliminate errors and increase your efficiency for processing. Encourage your providers to reach out to implement the latest features.
  • eSignature Contracting
    • Do business with your customers where they want to do business. In today’s day and age, customers are always on the run. With 97% of the American population carrying cell phones and 85% having smartphones, consumers have access to review, sign, and complete paperwork on the fly (Pew Research Center, Surveys of U.S. adults conducted 2002-2021). Having an integrated eSignature program allows you to track document status, speed up the F&I process, reduce missing signatures and forms, reduce lender rejections and costly mistakes, and reduce printing and distribution costs associated with hard copy contracts.
      • Large eForms Library (over 9000+) – With there being so many various contracts and forms, having access to your bank, F&I, and other forms is critical. Having a provider that provides access to a large library of these forms will ease the setup process for your department.

There are many ways that you can improve your customer experience while creating a profitable department within your dealership. Having the right tools in place will put you well on that path.


Robert Grant

Robert Grant

Director, OEM Solutions

    I'm driven to help recreation businesses and OEM's operate hyper-efficiently by providing data, software and integration solutions that help them streamline operations and increase profitability.

Lightspeed is the #1 Dealer Management Solution used within the Recreation industry for a good reason. We provide a completely integrated solution for dealers, OEMs and their customers. Our goal is to help you operate your business more efficiently and profitably so you can spend more time doing what you love.

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