Get it done faster. Multitask more. Move ʼem in and move ʼem out.

Dealerships striving to tighten operations and shorten the car-buying process might have associated these phrases with the F&I office. After all, there’s a lot to do – lender negotiating, discussing F&I products, signing paperwork, etc.

However, dealerships can do simple things to shorten this process and maximize F&I time.

F&I Compliance

F&I compliance is likely your No.1 hurdle when it comes to shortening the process, especially with federal requirements to meet.

To address this, consider your F&I menu. Are you carrying six or more products – and hoping that one or two of them are popular? Are your customers “watching the clock” during your presentation?

Step back, analyze your customer base and pick products that meet their needs. This qualitative approach will deepen your product penetration, shorten the sales process for your team and increase your revenue potential.

Include F&I in the Sales Process

Once you have a strong F&I menu in place, focus on training your sales force and F&I team to work as a cohesive unit. The F&I director needs to be involved in the structure of the loan from the moment the customer says, “I want to buy this car.”

Including the F&I director early in the sales process enables this team member to gather important information needed to structure the loan. He also can answer questions about the next steps in the process.

Sharing these data points early with the F&I sales team enables the F&I products to be presented in the most efficient way possible. Before giving the floor back to the sales representative, the F&I director should also set the customer’s expectations on how long the rest of the process will take. Trust me, that simple fact alone can make a world of difference.

Maximize Your Time

Once the sales representative has resumed discussions with the customer, the F&I director can step away and secure the loan. The important part here is to reduce or eliminate down time for the customer by finishing paperwork and securing the loan while they are working out details with the sales team.

The customer’s clock on how long the F&I process takes doesn’t start until he get into the office, so get everything possible done before that clock starts.

With the customer in the office and his or her loan secured, all that’s needed is to review the terms of the loan and the F&I product menu. Because of their initial conversation, the F&I manager can now efficiently and effectively review the F&I products and their benefits with the customer and achieve maximum product penetration while still remaining compliant.

John Stephens is senior vice president of Dealer Services at EFG Companies. He can be reached at 972-445-8910 and