The Value of Cross-Training
There should be at least two people who can do every job in a business, and your F&I department is no exception. Managers go on vacations, attend seminars, run F&I twenty group meetings, or become ill and miss work. When this happens, who takes over the duties of the finance department?
Many dealerships have the sales manager fill the F&I vacancy. My question is, what is the level of productivity of the second string? Is it the same, lower or higher?
Cross training is essential to the productivity of a dealership. Productivity will remain high if all your managers are equally educated and are on the same team. Yes, the same team. Once a person becomes a manager, the rules change. Prior to management, sales consultants think about their own productivity, their own pay and their own rewards. Managers however, need to consider the good of the whole team. The better the parts and parcels do, the better the whole team does.
At all times, managers should be able to fill in wherever they are needed in the dealership. The sales managers should be able to present F&I products and services, in addition to filling in for a team leader or sales consultant. While the F&I manager should be able to fill in for the sales manager, desking a deal or as a team leader closing the sale. The parts and service managers should also be crossed-trained to fill in for each other without a loss in productivity, and the cross training should continue in the accounting office.
Cross-training requires that your staff be educated in all aspects of your dealership. Sales managers should attend an F&I educational event at least every 18 months, and F&I managers should attend sales manager educational events as well. While the education may not be in the prime area of responsibility, the knowledge gleaned will be of value when it comes to seeing the possibilities in a deal that may slip by if they aren’t properly trained. When you cross-train your employees they will find profits where they couldn’t see them before.
The New Year brings new opportunities. Get your team ready to meet the challenges of the future. Growth comes to those who prepare for it.
Dealer Marketing, Jan 2008, P. 47