As seen in RV Executive Today – Official publication of the RVDA, The National RV Dealers Association
The past years have certainly provided dealerships with plenty of reasons to review, revamp, and restructure the way they conduct business. This is certainly true when it comes to the F&I office.
The phrase “Inspect what you expect” while annoying, is very applicable to the F&I environment because some became lax in this regard.
One area of great concern involves vendors paying SPIFFS to F&I personnel, without the dealership principal’s knowledge, for sales of products such as service contracts and sealants.
Instead of allowing a vendor to decide who receives SPIFFS, the dealer should make those decisions and take away the temptation from employees.
Furthermore, if you put into place certain goals and then keep track of whether your goals are met. You can then correct, adjust, alter, or remove goals so that the outcome meets the dealership’s desired results.
Here are a few things to consider as the dealership implements its goals concerning the F&I department.
- Have a manager’s meeting in a positive environment. Perhaps provide a breakfast at a local eatery, away from the dealership. During this meeting, advise the management team that, as your dealership moves forward into a better economic environment, the dealership is implementing a few changes to aid in the overall recovery and financial welfare of the dealership.
- Meet one-on-one with each member of the management team to discuss how they can each contribute to this overall goal.
- During this one-on-one, discuss the “Team Concept” and importance of honesty, integrity, and commitment.
- Explain that you are implementing a new program where every manager signs a “Code of Conduct.” This code contains certain provisions that will ensure the dealership is working together for the common good.
- Explain that any money from vendors will run through the dealership, unless the dealer principal approves a specific plan or program. Over remits are available with most vendors of F&I products, and work very well provided the dealer principal is aware of such a program
- Explain that any violation, such as the accepting of SPIFFS without the prior approval of the dealer principal, will result in the immediate termination of any employee.
- Ask the management team what some of their ideas are for implementing a possible SPIFF program to provide additional incentives for “Above and Beyond” results.
- Have meetings with your vendors and have them commit to this as well. If for no other reason then to place the vendor on notice that your dealership does not tolerate this type of action, and a vendor caught doing such transactions will face a termination of their business relationship with your dealership. This is a good time to review your current providers. Do an evaluation and ensure your vendors conduct business in an honest and ethical vendor.
- Finally, some legal counsel advise that employers get their employees to stating they will be terminated for receiving “additional” funds
You can bring the issue of SPIFFs in to the open in a positive manner following the above points. So, go forth into this recovery period for RV dealers and don’t forget to “Inspect What You Expect!”