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The F&I T.O. (Turnover)

Meat on the bone… that is what dealership management and F&I managers want when it comes to in-store processes that maximizes profitability. Menu selling is a term everyone knows, however having a real substantive sales F&I process is often under-delivered. As I reflect, before our team begins to deploy a solid process and especially in many of our independent stores, there is little to no process. It’s more of the same, you get it, long waits for customers can only be circumvented by severely depressed F&I sales. It’s not because you don’t want to improve back-end profitability, but its a limitation in people and process. The F&I managers on the team, typically, are lacking in a process and training. So, here it is. Here are some introductory thoughts to one of the most critical F&I selling steps that can make a marked difference in your backend PVR.

The F&I T.O. (Turn Over) or customer interview actually doesn’t even take place in far too many dealerships and it really is unnecessary because it is such a vital tool for your operation and your customers. I’ve seen dealerships that don’t close customers and throw them in F&I, dealerships with no relevant desking offense… I mean the list of breakdowns can go on and on. So this article will provide a brief overview of what solid T.O.’s/customer interviews are all about.

Let me set the table before you dive in, and reemphasize the very point that an F&I T.O. is build some rapport with the customer, gain some background information from them to support what you will sell them, as well as expose their liabilities when they leave the dealership. Also, it might sound counterintuitive, but the F&I T.O., if done effectively, will speed up the customer experience at the dealership. So let’s dig in.

What is the introduction? First, best practice is for the F&I manager to go to the sales person’s desk, don’t bring the customer in the F&I office or move the customer for the interview. Keep them comfortable. Open with your name and title. Then, quickly let the customer know what your four priorities are with them. These four priorities include insuring their information is correct for titling and registration purposes, explain funding options, review what is covered and what is not covered when they leave today and last, to get them on their way in their newly purchased vehicle as quickly as possible. Certainly, we train our clients and their F&I managers word tracks to say through out this entire process, but for brevity, I’m providing an overview.

After sitting down and joining the customers, attempt to build some quick rapport. I’ve always trained on the F.O.R.M. acronym to quickly build rapport. If you are unfamiliar with F.O.R.M., check out the article I’ve published “Four Letters for Friends”. You can locate that article at our website Next, using a credit application, review the the prospect’s information for accuracy. Prior to reviewing figures, ask a series of probing questions to identify the customer’s potential product needs. We supply many questions in our training program however, a few examples would include: how long do you plan on keeping the car, did you or your sales professional verify your payoff, and is this the correct insurance information? From here, a critical step is to now review the agreed figures with the customer. This line typically sounds like, “I understand that you agreed to ______ months at ____% with a down payment of $____ and $____ per month, is that correct?"

This is a best practice for many reasons. First, obviously for compliance, we want to ensure full disclosure is being made to the customer well in advance of purchase and contract execution. Also, we want to be certain we are on the same page with the customer as this deal is typically migrating from the desk or from the sales floor over to the F&I department (if applicable). Also, we want to confirm the vehicle and the numbers are closed and there is no misunderstanding.

Needs discovery is a fantastic tool to use in the T.O. to ensure the customer is aware of their liability when they leave the dealership. I often use the analogy of the “We Owe”. This is similar to the “We Owe” explanation, in that, we are letting the customer know what the expectations are once they take delivery.

In this section of the T.O., we train our F&I Managers to walk through what warranty is and isn’t remaining on this vehicle, who is responsible for safety inspections moving forward as well as regularly scheduled maintenance and wear-items. Also, we want to detail the interior and exterior of the vehicle is not covered, that the tires and wheels are not covered as well as theft and total loss. For brevity, again, I will not provide the diagrams we sketch out to illustrate these non-covered items of ownership as we walk the customer through them. But, again, we are simply walking through a list of 7 or 8 items they are responsible for when they leave with their vehicle. We also highly recommend including the customer in this process by asking them if they understand what happens in the event any of these events occur, to be sure they are really understanding what can happen to diminish their overall ownership experience. Certainly, we want to prevent any potential negative experiences for our customers and great word tracks make this discovery interactive and very informative for the customer.

Once we walk the customer through their potential liabilities and illustrate these out for them, the T.O. is concluded. Now it’s time to simply transition them to the business office. This is done by communicating to the customer you are going to get the paperwork started, you’ll be back to get them quickly and get them down the road. Offering a beverage or snack can be a good gesture at this point.

The F&I Manager can now return to his/her office, adjust the menu if necessary, print the initial delivery forms and prepare for the closing and documentation signatures with the customers. While there isn’t enough space in this column to provide all of the illustrations, training material and word tracks we use, we can certainly send you more information on those materials and media. Simply email me at and in the subject line, type “F&I TO Materials” and our team will email those tools over to you. This is a best practice structure of an F&I T.O. or customer interview, so if your team is weak in this area, spending time developing it out will really support the next few steps in the process moving through the delivery of the vehicle and provide the customer with options to cover their exposure in their ownership of their vehicle. If you’d like more information about our warranties and/or reinsurance, F&I product and delivery training and participation programs, feel free to contact us by going to and our team of F&I experts (Car Guys) will be happy to review your current setup and/or provide you with a no-cost audit on your F&I products and processes.