Ease, speed and transparency are three factors every customer wants to experience, especially when it comes to car buying. And it was with that in mind when Lindsay Automotive Group, a staple in the metro DC area for more than 50 years, came to JM&A Group to help them advance their customer strategy with Virtual F&I. While it’s clear that embracing change and investing in technology leads to an improved customer experience, auto dealers navigating this change on their own have had difficulty finding the approach that best suits them and their customers. This put Lindsay in an excellent position to lead the industry with us by their side.
As one of the largest independent providers of F&I in the automotive industry, we have spent our history innovating and leading progressive change for auto dealers nationwide. In late 2018, we began piloting a robust Virtual F&I offering that enabled a fully online customer experience. Lindsay Automotive Group would be among the first to leverage our proven F&I process in a digital buyers’ journey. Together, we took on creating a tailored digital experience suited to saving consumers time and energy.
Keep all levels of the dealer group’s staff informed and included
Provide consistent, positive and encouraging support at all stages
Ensure dealership personnel can skillfully deliver F&I online
Create a positive and seamless customer experience
"The team at JM&A assisted us in piloting virtual F&I in one of our luxury stores; before we even got to 30 days, we engaged JM&A to ramp up virtual F&I for our other 8 dealerships. The virtual playbook, virtual training and performance monitoring that JM&A brings to our partnership has been essential during the current contactless economy. It reaffirmed that we are aligned and partnered with the best sales and F&I provider in the country.”
Lindsay Automotive Group Chief Operating Officer
The plan from the outset was to start slow and grow from there. Paramount to the success of this transformation, in addition to customer satisfaction and the creation of a new avenue for profitability, was ensuring there was buy-in and input at every level of the organization. This approach served two purposes: ensuring consensus and receiving any concerns or feedback early in the process. By circulating the plan with the dealer group’s general managers, then general sales managers, finance directors and on down the line, we could collect input and anticipate any challenges well before it was time for training or implementation. This way, Lindsay’s leadership served as ambassadors as Virtual F&I began rolling out in their stores.
Throughout the process, they also helped to restate expectations, provide positive reinforcement and lead change across the dealerships. At the helm of the change management was our Sr. District Manager for the metro DC area, who was Lindsay Automotive Group’s main point of contact and supported their F&I sales and team training.
Change can be challenging for any business, and the key to success was to set the groundwork at the outset. As partners, the dealership staff, leadership and our Virtual F&I team agreed to work through the change together, stay in communication, have patience and set clear expectations. We took the change step-by-step with each dealership and each person. Once leadership was bought in, it was time to tackle technology. One by one, we worked with them on how their technology platforms could support and integrate with a Virtual F&I process. Through our hands-on training approach, we instilled confidence in the dealerships’ F&I Managers by reinforcing what would be familiar – presenting the menu and selling F&I to customers, while training them on how to run that process in a digital format.
Then, it was time to get practicing. Again, we started with leadership, training and perfecting the process with each store’s finance director to show them how this approach would secure untapped revenue and serve customers from anywhere. From there, each F&I Manager had ample time to train, practice and roleplay sample deals with us serving as the customer. When an F&I Manager did a great job, their finance director was there to celebrate the win and provide positive reinforcement. Once they got it down pat and felt confident, they began taking virtual deals with dealership customers.
Each week we would review sales numbers and details with the teams to keep them on an upward path. Our Virtual F&I team was available to them around the clock to support them through their transition, often taking calls late into the night to help an F&I Manager. It is this level of partnership our associates commit to in working with all our dealer partners. Each of us is a source of steady support, guidance and knowledge with skills to custom tailor solutions to each dealership’s needs and goals.
In the year since Lindsay Automotive Group began piloting Virtual F&I, in addition to JM&A Group training their team on a successful Virtual F&I sales model, they have seen a 12% increase in PVR as well as 8% growth in products sold per deal. This shows the efficacy of a strong combination of traditional and Virtual F&I offerings in order to serve customers from anywhere and increase revenue opportunities within a dealership.