Web-Based Menu Applications Increasing F&I Sales, CSI And Compliance

October 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Stephen Donaghy - Also by this author

Most dealers know that menu selling is the best way to increase product penetration, maximize per vehicle revenue (PVR) and support compliance with full disclosure regulations. What many dealers don’t always know – even for the stores professing to use a menu – is exactly how many deals are being completed with the menu – or more importantly, how many are not. Not having a handle on this one simple question could mean thousands of dollars are being left on the table.

It is easier than ever to ensure a full presentation of products to every customer with the introduction of new Web-based menu solutions. Many of today’s Web-based menu applications are able to provide an easy-to-use software program guiding F&I managers through a full menu presentation, while some take it a step further by providing quality instant reporting. This reporting shows deals where a menu presentation was completed and provides reports detailing those F&I managers who are consistently using the menu and those who are not.

Web-based menu applications can range in functionality from a basic menu presentation tool to a robust menu solution that allows dealers to:

  • seamlessly integrate with their DMS and pricing systems
  • access the tool from anywhere- inside or outside of the dealership
  • generate waivers to establish up-sell opportunities
  • generate seemingly endless reports in easy to understand formats
  • coach and train F&I managers based on aspects of the system they are using and which need more focus to generate additional profit
  • increase aftermarket penetration, sales, PVR and CSI.

Time-saving benefits of Web-based menu solutions are not to be overlooked either. With the help of such tools, F&I Managers can spend less time thumbing through rate cards or crunching numbers to determine payments and more time on what’s most important – a quality interview and professional presentation. Dealers ultimately have happier customers who appreciate the time savings and professional presentation.

With the ever-evolving barrage of full-disclosure regulations, Web-based menu solution providers are frequently updating their systems with functionality that supports dealers in their quest to maintain compliance. A prime example is those menu providers that have already modified their systems to enable a dealer to include disclosures to support the dealer’s compliance with the recently-enacted California Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights.

When selecting a Web-based menu solution, dealers should first seek solutions with benefits that impact profits the most. The right menu application can even provide dealers with sales opportunities outside of the traditional menu presentation. Some will generate a waiver for the customer to sign, listing accepted and declined products. This can offer the F&I manager a final sales opportunity to review those products not selected, within the context of a monthly payment. This waiver might also be used in certain states as a compliance document.

No dealership will see significant benefits from a Web-based menu application unless its staff understands and embraces the electronic menu-selling process. Dealers have a responsibility to ensure that use of an electronic menu is mandated from the top down. Dealers should communicate their enthusiasm of how significant these tools are to a store’s bottom line and how each F&I manager’s paycheck will be affected. Similarly, a solid Web-based menu provider will ensure all users are supported by a quality installation with thorough training, as well as on-going training and support within the store.

The right Web-based menu solution can make a significant impact on any dealer operation. It’s important to identify which features are most important to you and will most positively impact and support your store’s operation. Once you’ve adopted the right solution, you’ll immediately begin to see results. Your customers will be happier, your F&I managers will make more money and your bottom line will grow!
Vol 3, Issue 8

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