As human beings, naturally, we would rather choose our own preferences instead of being told what we need. Because of this, it makes sense why customers prefer to buy something they want/need versus being sold. A great way to introduce an aftermarket product/service into the customer’s lives is getting the customer involved and hands-on with the F&I presentation. Today’s world of smartphones, tablets and voice-activated cars leave many consumers in demand to live in a complete tech world. It’s no wonder why customers become disengaged while watching your paper menu presentation of aftermarket products. Nowadays, this traditional presentation looks dated, and it’s simply not effective to today’s customer.
What’s the F&I industry to do? Luckily, there is good news for you! There are a plethora of modern platforms available on the market to affectedly increase customer interest when presented F&I products.
Why Traditional Menu Presentations Don’t Work Anymore
The evolution of F&I presentations have broadened from step selling, once the industry’s norm 15-20 years ago, into today’s menu presentation. Even though the menu presentation is accepted as the standard for today’s F&I department, the technology options for presenting the menu’s products have evolved to include customer interaction and increase visual appeal. If you were to present a handwritten piece of paper detailing the aftermarket products to a customer, you and your dealership’s reputation would be viewed as both amateur and unprofessional. Why settle for a chicken-scratch piece of paper over a digital menu that will enhance the visual appeal/customer participation and likelihood of an additional sale? It doesn’t cut it today and it certainly won’t cut it tomorrow.
Creating Engagement with Technology
There are F&I managers who will pass on a paperless menu presentation and just use their computer monitor to show the customer’s options. Although this is a step in the right direction, the tangibility element is instantly lost. Your customers are very tactile, and when they are limited to just staring at a screen and not being physically involved can decrease their acceptance of the products.
There are countless options for presenting an F&I menu electronically. Two great options associated with Interstate National are INsite and F&I Express. Our INsite web-based platform is integrated with the most popular Dealer Management Systems (DMS). Your F&I staff will spend more time engaging with the consumer and less time entering information. F&I Express is your complete solution for F&I aftermarket contracting. With this software, you can leave behind time-consuming 5-ply contracts and impact printers. Experience higher CSI scores when your customers spend less time “in the box.”
Like most technology, there are two costs to consider when deciding which product is best for you. First, there is the monthly subscription cost, usually with minimum terms and/or the cost of hardware (touch-screen computers). The second cost is the decreased productivity of your team during the integration phase as they get more acquainted with the new platform. No matter the latter costs, your dealership will prosper for years with this kind of technology knowledge.
Keeping the Pace with Technology/Customer Demands
As you have seen recently, consumers’ preferences are also evolving. It seems like every year, the gap between consumers’ dealership expectations and actual experiences continues to widen. Dealerships can maintain success as long as they continue to keep the pace with their expectations and technological advancements. Ten years from now, a tablet may seem obsolete and maybe the whole F&I presentation won’t be able to keep the attention of the future consumer. One thing is for certain, though: Those dealerships continuing to do business as they always have will wake up one day and wonder what happened to their customers. It’s important to recognize these shifts now and learn how to adapt to these industry changes before it’s too late. These new developments are created not only to enhance the customer experience, but streamline your operations as well.
The bottom line is: We must acknowledge that consumers are regularly exposed to high-engagement experiences that ultimately set high expectations in all industries. If your F&I menu presentation looks like a Ford Model-T, now is the time to start using a technology platform that reflects today’s business practices.