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Finance & Insurance ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/ DIEGO_CERVO BUILDING BIGGER F&I MUSCLES Software expert makes a case for making the switch from paper to emenu, and he's got stats to back it up. By Jim Maxim E very one of us wants instantaneous gratifcation — whether the desire is six-pack abs, weight loss or increased business profts. Yet, as every businessperson knows, good results are the fruit of a committed, well-planned endeavor. No one builds muscle, loses weight or improves F&I performance if they aren't committed to work a plan that replaces harmful or ineffective habits with practices that will help achieve their goals. Top strength trainer Martin Rooney put it this way: "The secret is not about talent or ability. In the end, the secret is quite simple to understand: If you really want to be a better writer, reader, dancer, parent, worker, etc., you have to do those [things that can make you better] daily …" The same is true for F&I performance. F&I staff who consistently adhere to proven processes on every deal will most always enjoy high product penetrations and more proftable percopy averages. Process Builds Habit The Oxford Dictionary defnes "process" as "a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end." What that means is process focuses and directs activities. And in F&I, one of the best processes in36 F&I and Showroom NADA 2014 troduced was the F&I menu. Proper menu use affords greater professionalism and productivity in the F&I offce. It also ensures that every customer is presented every product the dealership offers, and that they are given a choice to purchase or decline their options. But as much as the paper menu improves the F&I presentation, it is still susceptible to human error and human preference — the latter referring to an F&I producer who may choose not to use the menu on every customer or at all. And when that happens, proftability and compliance are at risk. An emenu process that's driven by software also delivers credible tracking and reporting mechanisms that bring accountability to your F&I department. That's something a paper menu simply can't do. Build F&I Muscle Software-driven menu systems also eliminate the human factor in F&I presentations by establishing correct presentation procedures that drive consistency. Such systems also make it easier and faster for F&I managers to assemble a portfolio of products that meet the needs of buyers. As a result, every customer is being given a thorough and timely F&I product presentation that doesn't run afoul of state and federal laws. More importantly, an emenu process ensures that a menu is presented to every customer. And as we all know, consistent use of the right tool — whether it's a menu or treadmill — always produces better results. In fact, studies conducted by MaximTrak show that the routine use of emenu technology to prepare and present F&I options to customers dramatically boosts proft per vehicle retailed (PVR) dollars. The dealers reviewed in our studies reported new-car and used-car PVR boosts of $302 and $203, respectively, when they used F&I menu software vs. no menu at all. On average, the PVR lift for these dealers was 27%, with many realizing increases of more than 30%. And as our ongoing studies continue to demonstrate, the consistent use of emenu processes with every opportunity does improve F&I performance. But before you decide to make any change to your current F&I process, you need a plan. And that plan needs to be written down for everyone to see and digest. To help, check out the following steps you need to take before making any change to your F&I department. Step 1: Defne the Strategy A clearly defned strategy paints a vision and goal for F&I staff to achieve.