Your dealership is not profitable without F&I: Marino


F&I trainer Duane Marino, president of Team Relmark Dealer Services, held a three-day training session in Toronto in mid-February.

Marino is a 30-year industry veteran with experience in retail at all levels. He has been a sales trainer since 1992 and is part owner of a used operation in London, Ont.

Attending the session were 20 business managers from dealerships across the country. Marino invited Canadian AutoWorld to take in one session. Here’s what we saw.

A session with Duane Marino moves along briskly, starting promptly at 7:30 a.m. with a discussion of the homework – yes, homework – exercise from the previous day’s session.

One of the assignments: do some mystery shopping to see how other dealerships respond to telephone requests for pricing information, including F&I products. One participant reports back.

Then Marino moves on to discuss sales performance charts and how to read the results. Participants are urged to keep track of their sales performance particularly by the day. Most dealers and business managers prefer a monthly report.

He explains that if a business manager knows how they are doing by the day, they can change direction before the month is over and it’s too late.

Charts that show straight line performance may look good, but they’re deceiving, he says.

There is a variety of reasons for straight lining, none of them good: It may be that the business manager is simply an order taker, not presenting all the products; being a bit lazy; or not following an ethical process.

“There should be zeros in your numbers. Your charts should show ups and downs because some people will buy nothing. – But not over 20 to 30 deals. Your chart should look like a huge heartbeat. That reflects the buyer population.”

But above all, he warns his class not to take rejection personally. “You don’t know what the next customer will purchase. It could be everything or it could be nothing.”

And what if the business manager isn’t hitting the sales targets? He advises them to check their office. Is the atmosphere friendly? Is it their demeanour or their dress? Are they doing something that puts people off?

“Watch your customer’s body language. See if they are enjoying what’s going on. Watch theirs and change yours.” If the problem is not in their sales pitch, perhaps, the business manager should tell the store’s service advisors to recommend extended warranties.

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