23 Apr Benefits of Personal Branding in F&I
You can hardly go a day without seeing something online about the importance of ‘branding’ yourself. We live in the ‘influencer culture’ and it seems that everyone has some cool persona they have cultivated to get likes, shares, etc.
But what about the F&I managers? Should they cultivate a brand? We hear all the time about salespeople branding themselves to increase their numbers, referrals, and profits but should the F&I staff bother with it? Would it make a difference and if so, how?
The case can be made for and against…
Benefits of Personal Branding in F&I
The process of establishing a personal brand can be described as crafting how someone wants the world to view them and the place they occupy in society. It’s their ‘thing’, their niche, their unique space they reside in. So how can this help in F&I?
Consider constructing a LinkedIn page to show a professional slant to your position. Posting and sharing relevant articles and content relating to F&I issues can show you as something more than the dealerships ‘hired gun’.
Create a persona for yourself. Salespeople do this all the time so why not you? Are you the funny Rockstar F&I manager who takes a fresh and irreverent approach to selling or are you the no-BS straight talker who customers can trust right from the start?
All of these strategies, if done well and in line with the overall branding of the store itself, can help get more traffic. F&I managers should not be the shadowy, mysterious figures in the back-office lying in wait to hard-sell your customers. Put them out front-and-center and see if branding themselves results in higher PRU and better CSI.
…And When It’s a Problem
Going rogue comes to mind here. If you have strong personalities in the F&I office that are not willing to listen to upper management before putting themselves out there, you have a problem. Professionalism is key even when you are positioning yourself as the ‘Rockstar F&I Guy/Gal’. It could go bad real quick and potentially hurt the store’s reputation in the community. Never risk that.
Branding in F&I could inadvertently run up against the sales team. There is already, in some dealerships, palpable tension between the two departments.
So, if you have an F&I Manager hitting the market hard with an aggressive branding strategy, it could overshadow the salespeople on the floor. Ideally, everyone shares the spotlight equally and everyone works together to move as many cars for as much gross as possible. One manager grabbing the spotlight could cause problems.
Make sure it’s done tastefully, professionally, and aligned with your store’s mission and presence in the local market. But let them have fun with it and express some individuality. Let your F&I staff be the local experts, the trusted and fun financial advisors in the car market, and the most approachable people in the store.