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IA American Warranty Group develops 15-minute F&I product sales turn

LAS VEGAS — Customers hate the length of the finance and insurance process, according to Eric Melon, iA American Warranty Group senior vice president of sales. So he gave the staff at his F&I product and training company a challenge: Knock the F&I sales turn down to 15 minutes.

“They looked at me like I had three heads,” said Melon, who also leads training and development.

It took more than two years and staff setting aside prior lessons and their egos, but the company developed a 15-minute F&I turn. Melon and other iA executives shared elements of the process with Automotive News during the NADA Show here in March.

The process throws out old F&I product sales tactics such as scripts or wearing down customers, though it relies on some of the same psychology and language used in the past.

“Your words have to be impactful,” iA National Director Chad Harris said.

The system is kept simple so people use it, according to Sales Vice President David Grier. Melon said iA found that students taught a more complex system abandon or only use pieces of it under pressure in their dealerships.

“The simplicity is the success,” he said.

A conversation with the customer and description of the products takes eight to 10 minutes, with the remainder left to address objections. If the customer declines the products, the F&I manager doesn’t spend another 15 minutes continuing to batter the customer into a sale.

There’s a concern that too little time spent with a customer will cost sales, but customers on CSI evaluations knock dealerships for the amount of time spent on various processes, Harris said.

“Now we’re finding … if you fit their need for time, you actually get more sales,” he said.

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