Computerized F&I Presentations
Do they work?
By George Angus
We have received many inquiries regarding computer programs designed to sell F&I products. We have been doing
extensive research into this area and have tested the effectiveness and use of several of these programs.
What is amazing is how little hard performance data is available regarding these programs. There are many companies
in the marketplace selling hardware and software combinations for thousands of dollars who have never done a
legitimate study of their programs effectiveness, CSI impact, or even compliance with the myriad of laws pertaining to F&I.
Some of these systems actually encourage a presentation that is clearly deceptive and in violation of Reg. Z, attorney
generals guidelines, or the full disclosure requirements of the FTC.
Some charge the dealer huge amounts of money and a piece of the dealers future income for an inferior presentation
program to the one an F&I manager can get from his general agent or product company, free.
In studying the various systems in the marketplace we have discovered that there are some key elements that are
1. The actual media presented to the customer. It is important that the presentation of options is on paper, not on the
computer screen. Customers tend to be more receptive of a piece of paper than a view of a computer screen. They have
a hard time understanding what they see on the screen and don’t trust computers or computer images. (We think our
customers are computer literate. Most are not but are embarrassed to admit it. Also, those customers who are familiar
with computers know that you can create anything you want on the computer and tend not to believe it.)
2. Flexibility. You must be able to adjust the presentation to the individual customer. Many programs are too rigid and
leave no room for the F&I manager to make adjustments.
3. Simplicity. The presentation must be as simple for the customer to understand as possible. The temptation for
computer programmers is to complicate rather than simplify.
4. Speed. The effective attention time of our customers is rapidly declining. We have to have a fast, simple product
presentation or we lose that critical window of opportunity.
5. Honesty. The program must provide an honest, full disclosure and create trust and credibility with the customer.
If you are considering spending thousands of dollars on one of these systems, be sure and do your homework. A
reference from one or two dealers is not enough. Ask for proof of performance over a wide test group, approval of
compliance from the FTC, Attorney General, and Insurance Dept. in your state.
Don’t get taken for thousands of dollars and create problems for yourself and your dealership.
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.teamonegroup.com
George Angus has had over 100 articles published in news and trade publications. 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.