With an average salary of over $130,000 per year, it’s easy to understand why so many people want to become an F&I Manager.
However, like most careers with large salaries, it can be tough to become an F&I Manager when you have no experience.
As a general rule, dealerships are looking for candidates who have a proven track record of strong performance in the F&I office.
But everyone, even the BEST finance managers, had to start somewhere. So what can you do?
Here are a few steps you can take to become an F&I Manager:
- Take an Online F&I Training course
Programs like Finance Manager Training offer online F&I school where you can learn the in’s and out’s of the F&I trade and how to become an F&I Manager.
Tuition is only $197 per month and provides an F&I certification that you can add to your resume.
With easy-to-follow video lessons and quick, informative reading modules (as well as over half a dozen F&I tools/downloads) you can hone your F&I skills before you ever enter an F&I office.
This is a good option for salespeople and dealership employees that want to take the next step in their career.
What says “I am ready to be promoted” more than taking the initiative and training for the job that you want to have? Nothing!
Finance Manager Training also has a 30-day course, for those who want to earn their F&I Certification more quickly!
We have included a sample lesson below:
- Have stellar paperwork
Salespeople have a reputation for sloppy paperwork. Make sure your deals are clean and have all the necessary documents ready for the finance office. An F&I Manager routinely juggles up to 10 deals at any one time and needs impeccable paperwork and organizational skills.
If your F&I Manager, General Manager or Sales Manager is consistently asking you for paperwork, you don’t have much luck in getting promoted.
- Learn your dealerships F&I’s product offerings
Take an interest in the products that your dealership offers. You can even ask to go over them with your Finance Manager. With your manager’s permission, try your hand at selling a product or two during the test drive or pencil.
Showing that you can sell product while on the sales floor will show management that you are a true closer in multiple sections of the dealership.
- Offer to be a fill-in
Once you have a reputation as a salesperson with strong paperwork and who can sell a product or two, you can offer to be a fill-in for when an F&I manager is sick or busy. This gives you access to further hone your skills. F&I Managers aren’t impervious to illness and vacation, so there will be times when the dealership may need you to fill in.
How much will I make as an F&I Manager?
The short answer: It depends. The long answer: The National Automotive Dealers Association ran a study a few years ago (2016). In it, they determined the average F&I Income to be approximately $132,786. Not bad!
Keep in mind, the average means just that. Some will make more than that, and others will make less.
How to become an F&I Manager in more detail
Finance and Insurance (F&I) managers are one of the most valuable employees in a dealership.
Because of this, Dealerships don’t hire just anyone to take charge of their finance operation.
In most cases, an F&I manager starts as a salesperson and earns a promotion after a few years and a solid track record of sales success. In fact, an F&I manager is essentially a salesperson who deals with F&I products.
Getting into the nitty, gritty, we’ve laid out 10 tips for you on how to become an F&I manager.
Aim for proficiency
Hone your skill set by doing the absolute BEST you can do in every task. If your General Manager asks you to take out the trash, be the best trash-taker-outer he/she has ever seen. Go above and beyond in everything you do and do it all to perfection. Managers notice!
Be the best at customer service
Don’t be selective when it comes to helping customers. Treat customers with respect and courtesy at all times. It also helps to ensure that your customers are at ease, so they’re more likely to express their needs and you’ll be able to sell more efficiently. Facilitate an open dialogue with potential customers to know how you can assist them, and this will show others that you are a professional, not just another salesperson.
Learn from each other
Talk to the best performing employees in your dealership. Copy their best qualities, but keep your own spin on it (be yourself). Don’t assume you know it all, because we assure you, you don’t! Even take advantage of those boring manufacturer provider training videos. Training can equip you with the information you need to handle objections and other scenarios, so you can promote products without appearing too eager or pushy.
Maintain a professional persona
Dress well, talk appropriately and keep your sales talk about the issue at hand. Avoid engaging in controversial topics, such as politics. In the workplace and when dealing with customers, it’s best if you keep conversations light and professional. You should listen to what your customers have to say, but as much as possible, stay on topic and keep your focus on closing deals.
Enhance your listening skills
As a salesperson, understand the importance of checking in on your customers, even after the sale. Make sure that your customers are satisfied. You can also get important feedback on what you did right and wrong, not only in terms of products and services, but also your performance.
Post-sale follow-ups help you to establish a relationship with your clients that possibly extend beyond the first closed deal.
If you’re determined to climb the corporate ladder, you’ll probably spend many years navigating the same circle, and it’s helpful if your customers remember many good things about you. Remember, loyal customers will help you close more deals with positive feedback and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Modern F&I platforms allow customers to choose products they like, and make adjustments in terms of product options and payments.
Also, note that some products are known to require a lot of trial closes, so don’t give up if the deal isn’t closed with just one try. Be persistent and offer alternatives to effectively close the deal.
You’re aiming for a highly competitive position, so you should be skilled at F&I processes and products. The more you learn and experience the processes, the more you will become familiar and adept.
Use competitive advantage
Don’t be afraid to be competitive. Set a goal and aim for it. Whether that’s selling 25 cars this month, or pre-selling half of your customers with vehicle service contracts before they enter the F&I office, make a goal and stick to it.
You may be shocked and what you can achieve.
Prepare for the responsibilities
F&I managers deal with various responsibilities. Some of their day-to-day activities include trying to complete deals, boosting profits, handling customer issues, and doing paperwork. F&I managers are also rated based on their average back-end profits. The job is extremely technical, and success relies on great salesmanship.
Overall, this position is rewarding—financially and professionally—but don’t expect things to be easy. In sales, success isn’t based on seniority. It’s not uncommon for young people to climb the ladder. But the job can be particularly tough if you’re new to it, so it pays to learn from your boss initially.
Take the leap
An F&I manager position isn’t up for grabs to those who simply decide that they want it.
Instead, the position is given to the company’s top sellers who have shown they have the training, desire and skills of the position.
With enough training, experience, and success in sales, you should take the leap once an F&I manager position becomes available.
In some cases, it’s easier to get promoted in the company where you started, but for other F&I managers, taking better offers and switching dealerships isn’t unheard of.
After a couple of years in the position, F&I managers rarely shift or go elsewhere because of the high financial rewards that their job provides.