How’s That F&I Menu Working For You?
by George Angus
Now that the year has ended, we at Team One are getting a large number of inquiries from Dealers, General Managers,
and F&I Managers anxiously wanting to increase their F&I performance. The numbers are out for the year and because
we have been associated with a large percentage of the top F&I performers in the country through training our Package
Option™ F&I process, or through research, we get a lot of questions referred to us. Their questions mostly center on F&I
menus. Which one is best, works best, etc.? The answer might surprise you, especially given the number of “menus” in
the marketplace. The up sell, feature benefit, 3 or 4 column, full color menus are not performing at acceptable levels,
certainly not top performer levels. They are showing numbers no better than the old laminated place mat sales tools of
We know what’s working and what the top 1000 F&I Managers are doing. Team One/Summit Systems is the research and
process development company that originated the whole concept of F&I menu selling in the early 1990’s. Our earliest 3
and 4 column menus are the basis for all the menus in the marketplace today. Virtually every menu out there was either
licensed by Team One, or copied from a copy of a copy, etc. Therefore I can tell you exactly what works and what doesn’t
as far as the F&I process is concerned. In scoring our top F&I performers, we use a Cumulative F&I Scoring system, (the
CUME) that measures not only dollars per retail unit and dollars per finance deal, but also factors in percentage of
product penetration, range of products sold, and Customer Satisfaction scoring. Those top performers come in all
shapes, sizes, and individual styles but there are some basic things they all have in common. First, they do not use a full
color or column type, feature benefit, up sell menu. One of the concepts that we have the most difficulty in convincing our
trainees is to stop doing a feature benefit type approach. Of course this flies in the face of conventional car business
wisdom because that’s how we are all taught to sell cars. Describe the feature, point out the benefit, and if you are really
strong in your presentation, the customer buys the car. Right? Of course. That is the best way to sell a big ticket,
tangible product. However, when we move into the F&I office, we are now selling a new kind of product, intangibles, and
all the rules change. To produce top performer numbers, the F&I Manager needs a much more clever and scientifically
effective, non-confrontational approach.
Factors that must be understood are many. For example, our 13 years of research shows that the F&I Manager has
between 4-7 minutes to present all of their products to the customer before the customers retention and reception to the
presentation fall off to almost zero. Yet when we time the 4 column, feature benefit presentation being taught by virtually
all the menu trainers, the average time, if the customer doesn’t interrupt, is over 15 minutes. The talking and selling go
on well past the effective psych-neuro receptive stage of the process. Another factor is sales resistance. Consumers are
more sales resistant than ever in history. Especially in the F&I office, they are programmed to say no as a conditioned
response. So, what do the top performers do? They have stopped selling. They use a nonconfrontational, programmed
approach that doesn’t look like a sales tool, presents every product, and delivers huge numbers with top CSI scores as
an added bonus. To be a top performer, the F&I Manager needs more effective tools, training, and techniques. The old
up sell menus are making money for people who sell menus, not the Dealers. That is why we have made 36 process
revisions from the old menu we created. We, and of course, the top F&I performers in the country.
George Angus is with Team One Research and Training, a research and training company that specializes in scientific,
research based program development and training programs for the automobile industry. George has trained thousands
of F&I professionals and develops programs and techniques with the top performing F&I departments in the country.
Team One can be reached at 1-800-928-1923 or on the web at www.teamoneamerica.com
This article is a recent example of George's reporting of information derived from
researching, training, and working with the leading F&I managers in the US and Canada.