As appeared in the October 2016 issue of AutoJournal
Interview with Christine Rybas, Executive Vice President, Marketing, LGM
Clarity demystifies the F&I process.
Today’s demanding car consumer has a thirst for knowledge, not only about the vehicle they’re purchasing or leasing, but about everything a dealer may offer – like F&I products and services.
“They want information about rates, the best options for leasing or buying,” says Patrick Horne, Director Product Planning at Naked Lime. “There’s a definite upside for a dealer to put F&I online for transparency’s sake. Right away, the customer feels more comfortable having a conversation with that dealership about those products.”
As a company that works in both the U.S. and Canadian markets, Horne has noticed transparency is particularly important to the Canadian car consumer. “All the dealerships we work with have told us they need to be fully transparent,” says Horne. “They tell us their customers aren’t going to tolerate anything less all the line items show exactly what makes up that price, everything has to be clearly illustrated.”
Educating the consumer
Transparency creates trust in a dealership.
“The consumer can get that information from anywhere,” notes Horne. “Why not provide it to them in the same media that the consumer is using, like the internet. When the dealer has more information on their site, the consumer will understand what they’re buying. It improves the relationship.”
Trish Rowsell, Director of Client Services and Marketing at Strathcom Media, says having F&I information online could mean the difference between gaining and losing a sale.
“If you’re not delivering that information to consumers, someone else is happy to do so,” she notes. “And you might
potentially lose business.”
It’s not about selling F&I online, but more about educating the consumer and giving them what they want in order to make the best decision. “If a consumer has done some research, they can ask the proper questions when they come in,” says Rowsell. “It now becomes more of a conversation where you can introduce them to other products that tie into their needs.”
Millennials expect transparency
Transparency is particularly important to Millennials, who are poised to become the most relevant demographic in Canada.
“They expect transparency,” says Rowsell. “They love reading reviews, self-educating blogs, linking to product information. If you can be the dealer to deliver it, that solidifies your position in the market.”
Elisa Krummen, Marketing and Communication Co-ordinator at EVOLIO, compares transparency to the first door that a customer will open at a dealership.
“Customers are shopping around different dealer websites,” she says. “Let them know what features and benefits your products have.”
It also goes a long way to demystifying the F&I process.
“Some dealers feel they may be eroding profit opportunities by providing information,” says Christine Rybas, Executive Vice President of Marketing at LGM Financial Services. “But you’re providing information, not the price. A dealer’s opportunities will increase if consumers can get information. This has happened with every retail environment transparency will come, and be an excellent benefit once everyone learns to embrace it.”