It’s time to think differently about how to increase profitability in the business office

September 14, 2023

Amid the fast-paced and competitive landscape of car dealerships, dealers often grapple with the challenge of high employee turnover rates in the business office, impacting their overall profitability. In 2022 the average dealership employee turnover rate was 34%. As dealers strive to maintain a competitive edge and provide exceptional customer experiences, the importance of implementing effective employee training cannot be overlooked. These programs play a pivotal role in enhancing employee performance, boosting retention rates, and consequently contributing to a more profitable bottom line.

In this blog, we will delve into the pivotal link between employee training programs and their far-reaching impacts on performance, retention and ultimately the financial health of a dealership. Exploring the benefits of the types of comprehensive training programs available and ways in which they can be delivered. We will address fundamental questions such as:

  • How are training and F&I performance linked?
  • How are training and retention in the business office linked?
  • How are training and customer experience linked?
  • What kinds of training is available to F&I Business Managers?
  • Is in person training better or is online training better for F&I Business Managers
  • Is there an FSM Certification available in Canada?

How are training and F&I performance linked?

Effective training plays a crucial role in enhancing the performance of finance and insurance (F&I) managers and, in turn, positively impacts the overall success of the business. Providing employees with effective training can significantly impact job satisfaction and overall performance, ultimately leading to improved retention rates. Inadequate training, on the other hand, can lead to frustration and stress among employees who don’t understand how to excel in their role.

Training also directly influences the customer’s experience, as the caliber of training employees receive directly affects the level of service and overall experience customers have with a business. Properly trained employees possess the knowledge and skills to offer excellent service, address customer inquiries effectively, and provide suitable solutions to meet their needs, fostering a positive customer experience and reinforcing confidence within the employee.

Effective training can lead to better performance through the following key focus areas:

Skill Development: Training programs provide sales professionals with the knowledge, techniques, and skills necessary to excel in their roles. Thus, enhancing their product knowledge, understanding of the sales processes, negotiation skills, communication abilities and customer relationship management techniques.

Confidence and Motivation: When employees receive comprehensive training and acquire new skills, they feel more prepared and capable of meeting customer needs and closing deals. Increased confidence translates into higher motivation levels and improved sales performance.

Adaptability and Resilience: By equipping sales professionals with the ability to adjust their strategies and approach, training helps them navigate challenging situations, overcome objections, and find creative solutions to problems.

Consistency and Best Practices: When all members of the team are trained in a standardized approach, they can deliver a cohesive and compelling sales message. Consistency in sales processes and methodologies enhances overall team performance and helps achieve sales targets.

Performance & Feedback: Utilization of performance measurement tools helps to provide feedback, highlight strengths, weaknesses and growth opportunities. Through assessments, simulations, or real-world sales scenarios, organizations can evaluate the effectiveness of training initiatives and identify areas for improvement.

Regular training opportunities keep sales professionals updated on industry trends, customer insights, and sales strategies. Continuous learning helps refine skills, overcome challenges, and maintain high performance. To maximize training’s impact, it should be supported by a sales culture, effective leadership, and a conducive working environment.

What kinds of training are available to F&I Business Managers?

Organizations that invest in training signal to their employees that they value their development and growth. When employees see potential career advancement opportunities within the company, they are more likely to stay for the long term. One study found that 92% of employees say the right kind of formal workplace training impacts their job engagement positively.

There are various types of training programs a dealership could invest in. Before doing so, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each:

On-Demand Learning: On-demand learning through online courses and webinars offers flexibility, accessibility and convenience accommodating for busy schedules. Employees can work through self-paced modules covering various F&I topics, products, and sales techniques.

However, there is a lack of real time interaction with instructors and peers which can hinder immediate feedback and discussion. There’s also an element of self-discipline required, and some learners may struggle with self-motivation and accountability.

In-Person Training: In person, classroom-style sessions conducted by industry experts or trainers provide real-time interaction with instructors, encouraging questions, discussions and providing real-time feedback. Helping to build valuable connections, in-person training can produce networking opportunities with experts and peers. In this setting, learning tools like role-playing scenarios and hands-on practice can be used to enhance practical skills.

But as training schedules are fixed, it can cause time and location constraints making it challenging for some to attend. In-person can often involve higher costs related to venue, materials and instructors. It’s important to consider your budget.

Interactive Programs: These programs provide hands-on learning through practical experience gained by problem-solving and real-life scenarios enhances skill development. It also creates opportunities for collaborating with peers and fosters idea exchange and offers diverse perspectives. Insights gained from this type of training can have a lasting positive impact on business outcomes and customer experiences.

Similar to in-person training, interactive programs can demand a high level of planning and organization. Sometimes finding suitable peer groups and opportunities can pose a challenge.

F&I Certification: Participating in formal certification programs can provide opportunities for career advancement but requires time and effort as achieving certification requires a lofty time commitment to study. Again, these programs can be costly involving various fees, making it a financial investment.

Each type of training has its advantages, and a combination of these approaches can be effective in equipping F&I Business Managers with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their role.

Learn more about F&I training

Whether you’re an F&I manager seeking improvement or a dealership owner aiming for success, investing in quality training programs is key. Embracing F&I training empowers individuals to navigate the competitive automotive landscape with confidence and expertise.

There is no official Finance Service Manager certification program available in Canada as licensing requirements vary by province. However, there are several different F&I training programs available to FSM’s who are looking to increase their understanding of financial products, regulations and industry practices. When choosing a program there are several important factors to consider. Here are some steps and considerations to help guide the decision-making process:

  • Research Certification and Training Options: Look for reputable programs from industry associations, educational institutions, or specialized training providers in automotive finance, insurance, and dealership management.
  • Accreditation and Recognition: Choose a program that is accredited or recognized by relevant industry bodies to ensure it meets industry standards and offers valuable knowledge.
  • Curriculum and Content: Review the program’s curriculum to ensure it covers essential topics like financial products, regulations, compliance, customer service, and dealership-specific practices.
  • Mode of Delivery: Consider the program’s delivery format (in-person, online, or hybrid) that suits your schedule and learning preferences.
  • Duration and Time Commitment: Check the program’s duration and time requirements to ensure they align with your personal and professional commitments.
  • Instructor Qualifications: Investigate the qualifications and industry experience of program instructors to benefit from their valuable insights.
  • Reviews and Testimonials: Look for feedback from previous participants to gauge the program’s effectiveness and relevance.

LGM Financial Services (LGM) offers a comprehensive Performance Enhancement program facilitated by industry experts and designed to elevate the skills and knowledge of F&I professionals in the automotive industry. The program covers essential topics such as financial products, compliance, customer service, and dealership-specific practices. Learn more about LGM’s Performance Enhancement here: