What is in a Title?

Dec 05, 2022

We all have a title on our business card. Most of the time, it’s Finance Manager or Business Manager.

I think titles are important because it lets the public know who we are and, in a general way, what we do within the dealership. But why not Finance Guy or Finance Gal? It’s because we want to relay to the customer a sense of authority and confidence that they are dealing with an expert in the realm of automotive finance and insurance products (hence the name F&I).

So, titles matter. But do we limit ourselves to the scope of our title or do we strive to be more? I always considered myself to be a Finance Professional. What’s the difference? I’m glad you asked.

A Finance Manager is well versed in automotive lending and insurance products and has learned how to sell products to customers, sometimes at a high level, usually using canned word tracks. They will work hard if a customer is in front of them or if they need to get a deal funded, but it usually stops there. They can overcome objections when they receive them. They are reactionary. They tend to grow roots to the chair in their office and will wait for people to feed them deals so that they can selfishly feed themselves. They do not get involved early in the transaction. They very rarely try to expand their knowledge or take active steps to be better at their job. They do not set goals; therefore they never take action. They are just managers.

The alternative is the finance professional who guides their department by servant leadership. They get involved early in the transaction, typically with an early introduction of themselves before the deal is even done.

They get a deal jacket and go sit down with the customer before submitting the deal to give the customer an expectation of time and what the process will be going forward.

When the deal is properly structured, they go and get the customer and bring them to the office so that the salesperson is not “walking the customer to the plank”.

They then will have a real conversation with the customer so that they can find out the customer’s past experiences and what they want their future experience to be like so that they can then tailor a menu based on the customer’s needs and wants. They create natural rapport by actually caring about the customer and listening to what they say. These professionals build trust and customers like them quickly. Customers can tell if we are genuinely trying to help them or just trying to make money. They respond to the professional much better.

But the Finance Professional does much more outside of completing transactions and then getting them funded. They pour into their salespeople every chance they get to help them be better versions of themselves and sell more cars. Which selfishly gets them more turns. Weird how that works, huh?

They touch base with the office every day to find out if there is anything they can do to make the job of the office easier or smoother.

They walk service every day to see what kind of repairs the service advisors are seeing so that they can properly relay to their customers how complex vehicles are and what types of repairs we see in the shop on a daily basis.

And most importantly, they try to find ways to serve the sales manager so that they know they are on the same team. A great desk manager can make life easy or extremely difficult for finance. Sometimes they don’t even know that they are making our jobs challenging until we show them that there is a better way.

Finance Professionals will always be more successful than mere managers in every aspect. They set robust goals with detailed action plans and then share them with someone who will hold the accountable. They look for additional coaching and almost always have a mentor or two. They will have higher PVR. They will have higher product penetrations. They will have significantly lower charge-backs. And they are the people that everyone wants to work with.

The good news is EVERY day we get to show up to work and decide who we want to be. It’s a simple choice.

Wake up tomorrow and be a professional. It’s a simple mindset. You will see your job satisfaction and compensation skyrocket.

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