Not Using Mobile to Sell F&I is Like Watching a Black and White TV

Next month, Apple is going to do something extraordinary: They will debut the new Apple iPhone 8, along with an assortment of new devices. And while most things in the Apple world are treated with trumpets and red carpets, this time the rumors and leaks indicate that it’s a special moment: The “8” represents a distinct design departure from the existing iPhone. According to, it’s slightly larger than the 7, but smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus, and features a screen that goes edge-to-edge.

So the world will be watching. And that, to me, is the extraordinary part. The idea that Apple can release a phone to worldwide acclaim, and thousands upon thousands of pre-orders…it shows how absolutely critical mobile devices have become, and how we use them for everything we do. In fact, one could say we’re pretty dependent on our devices, on a daily basis. I know mine serves as an alarm, a planner, for social networking…I even use it for phone calls occasionally!

But you know all that. And if you don’t – just think a moment about how you use mobile tech. Are you reading this post on a tablet or smartphone right now? Probably.

Thing is, you’re like me and everyone else – including your car buyers. It’s an important point to keep in mind when you think about their experience inside the showroom. Yes, a tablet cost around $400, so there’s some cost associated with the implementation. And it’s true that customers cross-shop prices between you and your competitors – AT YOUR DEALERSHIP. But that’s okay. It’s common knowledge that most buyers are only going to visit two dealerships, and they’re at yours. So make the most of it by leveraging mobile tech to create an approachable, inclusive and efficient buying experience.  Including the experience in the box.   That’s right: tablet based selling can be most effective in the F&I office. According to our recent mobile adoption survey, many GMs and managers agree: 50% of dealerships surveyed are either using (17%), or actively considering (33%) using, mobile tablets in the F&I department. They see the value of the technology in an area sorely in need of modernization; many in fact pointed to very specific benefits, such as speeding up the sale, (44%), improving CSI (39%) and building more efficient and consistent processes (50%).  It’s technology that brings color to the F&I experience for the following reasons:   

  1. Pulling out a paper menu is like watching black and white television: the experience is clearly subpar. There’s simply no reason not to when tablets are easily available and broadly accepted – and consumers just expect it. Leverage technology where they expect it to be – don’t trip up car buyers with a laminated paper menu. 
  1. Buyers Feel Comfortable and In Control: Go ahead. Hand your car buyer a tablet, and let them take the product tour and even fill in their credit app. Then put the device in their hands to see what the aftermarket sales pitch really buys them. Putting the device in their hands puts them at ease and starts a dialogue with the F&I manager.
  1. It’s Very Efficient: Does this scenario sound familiar? Your customers just agreed to the deal, and they’re sitting on your sales desk awaiting the next step. They’re happy and excited, right? They just bought a car! But the longer they wait, the more they wonder…what’s going on? By the time they’re escorted to the F&I office, all that happy talk is gone and your CSI is kaput. Bridge the gap with a tablet-driven aftermarket conversation, or maybe a quick survey. Point is, engage them with technology so that the time doesn’t feel wasted or idle.

Sometimes technology can overcomplicate. It can get in the way. But when it comes to mobile in your dealership, it’s really not the case. Go ahead, put away that black and white TV and turn on the color flat screen!

Author: Pete Maclnnis

Author Bio: Pete brings over 40 years of experience in automotive finance and technology as Founder and CEO of eLEND Solutions™. Founded in 2003 as DealerCentric, Pete is leading the company’s evolution to an automotive FinTech company that specializes in digital credit and finance solutions designed to create a more efficient vehicle purchase process for the retail automotive industry.

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