The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 8 years ago

Jim Ziegler: The Secret to Selling More in F&I


Our Guest:


Jim "The Alpha Dawg" Ziegler is as close as it comes to a "living legend" as you can get. 


Jim is the founder of the "Internet Sales Battle Plan" and the "Ziegler Super Conference" two of the automotive industries top improvement workshops. He also is the founder of Ziegler Super Systems, his leading dealer consulting company. 


Jim Ziegler is one of the automotive industries leading experts when it comes to F&I has written many articles on the topic and presented the topic in many live workshops. Jim is responsible for massive growth in dealerships across the country and a big part of that increase is from the dealers F&I department. 


Preview Of This Session:


- The biggest mistakes made in F&I today.

 - Creative & effective word tracks to sell more F&I.

 - Tips to being more successful in F&I 



 Ziegler Super Systems

 Ziegler's Sales Manager Super Conference

 Connect with the "Aphla Dawg" on Facebook:


Be sure to get subscribed to "The Dealer Playbook" and sound off in the comment section below and let us know whats going on out there! 

... Ziggler. Here we go. You're dialed into the dealer playbook podcast, where it's all about winning auto dealer strategies that deliver proven results. And now your hosts, Robert Weissman and Michael Cirillo. Hey there, thank you so much for listening to the dealer playbook podcast, where every single week we're sitting down with the WHO's who in and out of the automotive industry. We thank you for stopping my my name is Michael Cirillo. I'm here with Robert Weisman. How's it going, buddy? It is going excellent, Michael. Thank you. Can you believe that it has taken us this long to rendezvous with the Alpha Dog? Yeah, well, you know, we the dog is a good friend of ours and, you know, like it like. We told him that we wanted to, you know, build some builds to get a good push and, you know, get a get a good audience built up before we bring on someone such as is self. You know what, and and and you said it. I mean there. He is such a great friend. We're so glad to call him a friend but we couldn't think of anybody better inside of the industry to talk from a more qualified position about finance and insurance and the process is that you can be using to really kick things up a notch to increase profit ability at the dealership level. Then, Jim Ziggler. Absolutely, yeah, I mean from finance it's one of the most important parts in a dealership. You know that. It's, you know, good pro great margins for most dealers on these products and it's a very you know, they're handling all the final and expediting, like all of the legal parts of a deal. So I mean it's you know, you're going to love. You're going to love what Jim has to say. But without further ado, let's jump into our sit down with Jim, the Alpha Dog Ziggler. Let's do it all right, we are so excited to be sitting down...

...with the man himself, the Alpha Dog, Jim Ziggler. Jim, thank you so much for being with us today. I wouldn't miss it for anything. You know what it's we're extremely grateful. I'm speaking for Robert and myself to just, you know, have you as a friend. You know, so fun. A few weeks back being with you and debby and Boston and touring around and just enjoying your company and hearing so many stories. We were just talking about how if there's one guy on the call right now that has more mic experience than us and whoever else is podcasting combined, it's the Alpha Dog. Oh God, I I was in radio most of my adult life before I got in the car business, and then once you left radio went into the car business, you went on to become a record holding F and I expert. Well, yeah, some of the records I have still stand. Some of them been long since broken, but at the time I held those records at per retail unit, I was in the first dealership in the United States to do a million dollars in one month and finance. Well, night smoke. One thousand nine hundred and eighty four. Hey, what kind of volume dog is somewhere a place like that do? And that like eggs in you know, unit count that's doing a million just in finance. Well, that was dire and dire Volvo in the day and it's kind of interesting to believe a Volvo dealership would be the first dealership in the country to hit the million dollar mark. But we did, and I wasn't in charge, I wasn't the the department head, I was one of the managers, but there were five extremely talented managers. It was may of eighty four. We hit a million, seventy three thousand. Richard Dire. That place was cavil lot. We took that dealership from forty units a month the eight hundred and fifty units a month in a year. Smoks. Okay. So this is...

...perfect because you know, like we said, and for those listening and they know, we haven't had an F and I show yet and we couldn't think of anybody better to dig into this topic than you. Let me ask you when, when it comes to finance and insurance and you taking this dealership from forty units to eight hundred some odd units, what were some of the can you give us an idea of some of the processes that you put into place to achieve that? The the idea that you can get deals bought is more important than your skill at selling to the customer. It's more important to be able to talk the banks into financing these people with the least conditions and and and the most wide open financing, and that that was my talent. That's what I what I did best in my retail experience. I I invented something called a consumer counseling interview, were, I believe, F and I still teach it LF in high schools. I want the F and I manager to get in front of the distressed credit customer early. What I see in dealerships today is that they work these deals to death, even after they've identified these people have poor credit. Why do you keep negotiating with somebody once you realize they've got poor credit? I continue to throw discounts and negotiate with them. Now I want the the finance manager and I call him the financial manager. I don't want to be called the business manager. I met the business manager in these dealerships. That's a man or a woman in the back office. Sort of bad disposition. I'm not the businessman, you know, I'm the financial manager. That sounds like Merrill Lynch or something. You know I mean I power. Power props are important and the ability to get in front of the customer and to do the consumer credit counseling interview, because it's all about feelings. Jackie Cooper is a friend of mine. Jackie said Jim it's about feelings and if you can explain to people why the rates hire what why we'd... them to buy these protection options, you're much better off. What was the I mean, what was the process for getting somebody interior into this credit or Consumer Credit Council interview? I mean, was it okay? You just kind of they came in the door, they piqued their interests, they were intrigued and you said, Hey, I've got some questions for you. How did you lead into this? And this is this after the works? I'm sorry, Jim, is this after? Like they've they agreed to some terms and submitted crest, you know, nackastion. This is before they buy the car, or if they bought that. Whenever we identify bad credit, whatever stage of the process, the sales matches. Uh, we got really bad credit here, or even marginally bad credit. I want the sales department to stop the deal. I will go to the Salesperson's office. High folks, my name is Jim Zigler, I'm general financial manager here at the dealership and I see you're buying an automobile and from these folks. I never want the F and I manager to act like you're part of the sales department where I see you're buying a car from these folks you know, and I just stopped by while you're you're working out the deal to find out how do you intend to pay for the car? You can be financing with my sources. Do you intend to bring bring a check in from your own bank? You Own Credit Union? Are you going to pay cash? Oh No, we're going to use your sources. Fantastic. I'm glad to have your business and I've got your credit beer report right here and I'd like to ask you a couple questions about your credit before I make a decision on the approval of your loan. Keeping Control. But did you hear that last sentence? Before I make a decision on the approval of your loan? Yeah, so many F and I managers. Well, we'll see if I can get forward credit to approve it now. You gave away all your power. Yeah, I love that. I approve the loan and I don't know about Canada, but in the...

US the let, the lender and the dealer are one and the same on the contract. It's a holder in due course document. So technically I am the lender, as the dealer until I get a bank to buy that existing loan from me. So technically I do approve the loan based on the knowledge that I have a lender I can sell it to. So what I tell him? I approved the loan and and I said I tell the people listen, I'm approving your loan. I want to tell you that in advance, but I'm not the ANAL decision maker. My associates at all financial can still turn you down, they can overrule me. I'm not the final decision maker. I'm approving this one and that puts the consumer squarely in in my corner. I'll he's approving the loan, but he's got to get it past his associates at ally, my associates at Ford Credit. That is a struck. See. Word tracking is why my course is so so different. The words you say to the customer are your toolbox and I have invented these very unique word tracks that are not taught in any other Fani school and the results my people are getting her incredible. So that's that's the the consumer critic Counseling Interview Michael Robert is for two things. Number One, to get information to get the deal approved. That because I'm want to end up on the telephone with the lender. Even though I submit it through deal or track or one of the services, I'm going to end up probably getting a condition or turned down, and I want to end up on a telephone talking to the credit supervisor at ally, or you have Ford credit or whatever, Chrysler, you know. So when I'm on the phone with the supervisor, I need ammunition, I need justification, extenuating circumstances of them. I need some type of an argument to build up why this loan should be approved, getting that from the...

...consumer, and then I'm looking for other credit. They have this not in the bureau. So that's what this interviews about. But the other part of it is positive intimidation. Now that that sounds like a double negative. You. Yeah, okay, you can intimidate somebody without scaring them or humiliated, because today, you know, we used to call people with distress credit bad names, bogues, dregs, roaches, credit criminals, get me done, bad bandit's be we were trying to be a little more socially acceptable. Nowadays these people are Credit Challenge, equity impaired, you know, trying to put a little positive. Well, one thing about people with distress credit. They know who they are. They've received mail about it, right, they've seen they've seen tow trucks skulking around their driveways, and that they know who they are. You know, not not a big secret to him. They've got poor credit, right, so you know. But today we have BWA's bogues with attitudes. Yep, YEP, Yep. I mean they used to be humble and have a little humility. Now they they think it's a constitution right not to pay your bills and get another loan. So you have to take that attitude off of them and that's where the positive intimidation comes in. I'm approving your loan. Behave yourself. I didn't buy all that stuff you didn't pay for. You know, it was not my fault and the credit interview pretty well establishes that. Any of the there's four things that the lenders looking for. They all start with a sea looking for capacity, collateral, creditability and character, and you've got to build those things when you're in this interview. I've got to find reasons is this loan should be approved. So this could really be a massive gateway for dealerships to sell more vehicles, because this... counseling interview helps them identify how qualified. You know, not just from a financial position but from just you know, just from various avenues, how qualified that individual is to own that vehicle and how reliable they'll be in paying the bill and in all those sorts of things. So it's really, like you said, it's positive intimidation, which I love, but it's also you keeping control of this and not not handing over any amount of control to the consumer. When I say I approve the loan, they sit up pay attention. They're all of a sudden on your side exactly. And I say I'm approving your loan, but I still have to review my approval of my associates at the Bank, who could overrule me. I'm not the final decision maker. Help me to help you. It's a hopeful lot city that goes with it. It's it's incredible. How how well this worse? What did they say during the interview? Well, I had a repossession because I was in a hospital. Oh, I understand. Do I have your permission to tell my associates at the bank you'll be purchasing credit insurance to protect this investment? Oh my car keet breaking down. Oh, I understand. Do I have your permission to tell my associates at the bank you'll be purchasing to us a service agreement to protect this, this vehicle. What do I have to take that? No, sir, it is not required. It's not mandatory, but I strongly suggest you take it. You See, I'm never going to lie, cheat, sneak or deceive to self finance. There's a line and I will walk right up to it, but I will never step over it right well, and and I mean you know the way you're wording, I mean your word tracks position you from a point where. I mean, I don't know about you, Robert, but I don't get the impression that you're walking close to the line. You're just maintaining control over the conversation and helping them, in a much more positive way, understand the status of their situation.

It's like, Hey, you know you have bad credit for a legitimate reason. You know that you didn't pay bills, or you didn't whatever, you neglected to pay bills. You have really poor credit for whatever the reason is, but you're trying to buy a fortyzero or fiftyzero vehicle. This, this method kind of puts the dealer back in the driver's seat where, like you said, they're not having to feel the need to slash prices and offer discounts and all, let me see what what can be done, or let me see if this will work or if I can get you approved. You stay in the driver's seat, you you manage the conversation, but in a way that you know, dispels the the Grubby Car Guy Myth, which is that we're against you and we're just trying to take you. It's like no, we're legitimately trying to educate you and we're doing that from a position of power. We'll see. That's the thing. Everything about F and I is a power posture, the way your office looks, the way you dress. When I'm in a dealership and I'm doing F and I, I am always suited up. I mean I'm wearing a tie, a suit, and I don't care if the rest of the dealerships wearing polo shirts and shorts. I am not one of them. I am a banker. Bankers do not wear Polo shirts. If you can file, I want to be different than the sales department. I want to be totally divorced from who they are. I'm not one of them. I'm something else and that when it comes in my office there's no other paperwork of visible. They can't. You know, my office looks like a banker's office. HMM, very important. It doesn't look like some third rate clerk with papers stacked up everywhere. And when you get a loan from a bank you don't see another, another customers loan sitting on the table right now. You know. And you look at some of the some of the dealerships they put they put the F and II people in the worst, dingiest, dark ass dungeon in the world and I'm going to quit it. When I went to Banner Ford, into Cater Georgia, my first big F and I job back in the S, I was dating my wife...

...then, we hadn't gotten married yet, and I was promoted deaf and I manager and I went in that office and I couldn't believe and so her and I went in there on a Sunday and it had this black paneling on the wall with staples into paneling where the guys staple stuff up, a little piece of paper hanging out the staples and there was a beam over the desk and he had all these great sheet stapled on the beam where the Custin of us and one of one leg of the desk was bricks and the computer was filthy with with finger grease and the phone head had ear smudge on it. You know it is. I going at off, oh it. And we had SHAG carpeting and they smoked inside the building in those days and I'm going what, Oh, man, dingy dark dungeon. Well, the owner, Brad Greer, came in on a Monday and he did a double take when he walked by the office because that that Brown, black ugly paneling was in the dumpster and she and I had wallpaper the office and my carpet on the floor, my desk, my blond desk, and my my one cabinetry behind it and living room type lighting, a sofa and comfortable chairs for the consumer. I had had wall hanging, the paintings on the wall. He couldn't believe it. He was so embarrassed he had to remodel his own office. So there's the aspect of maintaining control from the conversational standpoint, but also conditioning there. What do you want to call it? Like emotional response by changing the atmosphere of your your office. Everything in my life is power posture. You know the it's powerful, it's intense, everything about it. You know, I set up the atmosphere of when a customer comes in, I give the husband a pin, I give the wife a pin because I don't want them locking eyes when we're signed in documents. The shows up front here and I... a MEENU presentation and I have some word tracks that are just incredible and in the F and I schools that I do like. One of the things that and I people bump into. Robert, you you probably seen this any number of times. Oh, I don't want any of that stuff. I know you're selling stuff here, I don't want any of that. Well, my answer. That's no problem, sir, but I am required by law to explain that Plaine, the coverage just to you, because you're going to have to sign waivers, releases and hold armless agreements. Well, those items that you decline and agree to self insure, interesting self ensure scares the hell out of them. What I tell their people go I'm self ensuring. Oh, absolutely, you know, an automobiles fifteenzero high tech component parts and your self ensuring on all of that if you don't get the personal labor agreement. Okay, so let me ask you this. When you when you go into a dealership and you know they've brought you on to to, I guess, fix things or set up process and protocols to help them take their business to the next level. What I mean, what are the demands? I know you mentioned that the first thing that you have to absolutely have, I think we were talking about this in Boston, is you need the ability to fire people. Does that mean you're going into the dealership to make big changes when they're needed? Well, not really, I'd and I I don't need the ability to fire people. I need the ability for the dealer to be willing to fire people. Got It. You fell what I'm saying. I need to have authority and I'll have managers some and usually I don't have that problem very seldom. The managers are usually totally on board with me. Generally it's the salespersons that rebel against the the processes right. The managers welcome it because...

...they see the profitability. But once in a while I have measured. Well, this is the way we like to do it. Well, well, you don't think they brought me here because you're doing a good job about and what are what are some of the, I guess, standard kind of typical issues that you see when you go into dealerships? Well, reguards to finance, my yeah, yeah, just in regards to what we're talking about, when you go into a dealership and you're there to fix their fni process, help them, you know, improve what they're doing, what's what are you just kind of seeing across the board as something that just kind of each dealership has in common that they could do right now to improve and on top, to add to that, Jim, the role of the finance well, you're g because answering a question. Yeah, because the I think a lot of times that I've seen that that sometimes they play the roles kind of like sometimes, I feel like the I've seen where the desk manager actually is submitting for approvals and, you know, the one calling the bank and then in the end, the find you know, the F and I guy, he's just pretty much spinning paperwork and at truck, you know, selling product. We'll see that's not the right structure right, that's wrong. First of all, the F and I manager has more skills, more schools, more specialized training than anybody in the dealership except the technician, and to fix the cars. Most sales managers learned their job by watching their predecessor, who was fired. Fair enough. Yet there I've got one of the very few sales manager schools out there. There's dozens of F and I schools and we are the we are the highest per square inch profits center in the dealership and most sales managers are eating the last Brown shriveled leaves off the trees before they're sucked down in the tar pits. Most customers today are buying cars based on finance, not...

...based on price. The payment is more important than the trade value or the price. So, to answer your question, Michael, the ninety nine percent of the time the sales management is dominating the F and I management. And if I were to buy the dealership right now, I would tell you all my managers would have equal power, including the build to determinate a salesperson. And I've had people said, well, my my Fini manager couldn't handle that with them. Why did you hire a whimp? You know, excuse me, you know I want we're a profit center. We're not we're not clerks, you're not the sales manager secretary, you're certainly not answerable to salespersons. You are a manager and manager is a position of dignity authority. In respect, I will be respected, I will have authority and I will not be the sales manager secretary or clerk for the sales manager at that. You know, I've been more schools, more skills. No, I won't put up with that. And if I if I'm a dealer, I'm going to have a general sales manager and below that level just going to be managers, all with equal authority responsibility. Now I think I might have gotten this from you, I believe, in some of your training previously, when when I was still in the dealership and I would always do my introduction to the finance director or whomever as like this is like the top guy in the dealership, you know, like this or right that. You know, Mr Miss Customer, here's you know, Sam, he's the director of finance. Here is number one, top guy here in the store. What is the you know, what's the proper Turner? I beg you know, like when introducing to finance, and then also like how important is the salesperson kind of prepping or, you know, get it or talking about the products, like should the salesperson be discussing and and backing up any of the products that he's about to you know they're about to embark on once they go in into the F and I..., and I don't know, I don't want them to. You don't want to talk to I don't want them to even mention the existence of the products. They're not prepared to sell them because of constantly it's consumers, because of how much is that? Now? Now the salesperson are going to probably ballpark of figure and and the CUD of I. Don't need that. And then they get the Fini office and I start to present a products. Look how already told another guy I don't want that. I'd see you're selling against that. Yeah, it increases your margin of error exactly. And by the way, Robert, I've probably already met these people. I Tell F and I managers to meet the customer on the floor, do not meet him for the first time in combat. Okay, and then what? What? What's the best? How do you suggest I go out there? And I said, how are you, Mr Mrs Jenkins, hi I'm Jim Ziggler. I'm general financial manager here at the dealership. I'll be processing all your legal paperwork, make it all your financial disclosures and signing waivers and releases and hold harmors documents on items that you reject and agree to self ensure. It's going to take about forty five minutes. I have you in here just a moment. So I've already answered all their questions. I I tell F and I managers to have a one long winded sentence like that because the customers, but the customer has three questions. Who Are you? What are we going to do? How long is this going to take? So I answer all three of those questions in one sentence. Who Am I? What am I going to do? How long is this going to take? So now they have no more questions and I'll have you in there in just a moment and by that time all the all the salesperson I say hey, this Mr Ziggler and financial manager. You met him earlier, and very seldom do I ever have a customer in my office that I didn't come out and meet for first. That does happen and I want a very short introduction. If they haven't met me. This is Mr Ziggler. He's our financial manager. He'll make all your legal disclosures and show you all your financial options. Bamm going. That's nope.

I love it. It's such a it's such a streamlined process. It creates such an incredible experience. It gets the consumer to know more than one person during the process of purchasing a vehicle. You know, breaks the ice. I love what you said about the atmosphere and controlling the conversation. Jim, just in in in keeping with time here. You know, we want to be able to turn it over to you. How can our listeners get in touch with you and tell us a little bit about some of the events that you have coming up? Okay, I've got the sales management super conference coming up in Atlanta in November at twelve, half a day and the thirteen. It's fifteen experts on stage and you spoken at that effect yourself, Michael Hum it's an incredible event. I'm I'm doing six hours of that event myself, while include including how to work a car deal I will be doing an hour and a half of F and I in that event that the website is Ziggler Z ie glier. I have before, E. Ziggler Super Conferencecom and then we're doing an event in Long Island, New York, and I have a date set for early December and it's going to be an F and I Semitarar. Today, F and I Semitarre with me doing the entire thing. It sounds awesome, and I mean if you haven't figured it out already, Jim is so dialed in when it comes to F and I, when it comes to creating processes that increase your profitability, that help your entire team move more metal products and services. So you definitely want to check out ziggler super conference, remember it's I before easy ie gee are super conference, and then stay tuned for the details early December for this F and I seminar. You absolutely need to check that out because if I know Jim, and I do, he is going to lay out the blueprint for you to absolutely take your...

...dowership to the next level. Jim, can we connect with you on social media anytime? I'm on Facebook, twitter, Youtube, James a Ziggler, facebookcom forward slash James A zigler. Get over a thousand people day hit that page. Love it, Jim. Thank you so much for being with us today. We look forward to especially having you back on the show sometime in the future. Death. Take care good. Thank you, Mr off with dog. We appreciate it. Take care of guys. Thank you. And there you have it. Just like that, our friend and still the record holder in F and I jim, the Alpha Dog Ziggler. Michael, would you think I mean? You said it? You believe I mean a million in one month? Yeah, that's that's like to me. That's like, and I love what he said. He's like we built Cam a lot at that dealership. I mean he took him from forty units like eight hundred and fifty something. Yeah, on top of that, I loved, you know, just some of the things that he said. He talked a lot about creating an atmosphere that is conducive to purchasing vehicles, making people feel special, but also retaining, you know, all of the control over that, or not just not not I don't want to say keeping control, but like just not handing over any power. And you know what I mean. And and and speaking from a position of power and putting that perception, you know, in those simple word tracks. It's you know, it builds the perception in the consumers eyes of the importance of this individual. So then you're easily get all of their attention as well. So I think it really helps them, you know, move through the process make sure they get everything done properly, because nothing can spoil CSI and return bit repeat business when you have to keep...

...bringing somebody back in because they forgot to sign a certain document. Yeah, things like that, which I've seen that multiple, multiple times and it ends up hurting everybody involved. So I mean great things covered, as were tracks there. I mean I used to use some of the sales related once when I was on the floor and it works, because sales are not missed by dollars. It's words. Wrong things at the wrong time spoil it. That's what he said, right, those word tracks that you you have, that's your toolbox. That that's how you convey the right message to the right people at the right time, get them qualified for the right vehicle that you know, meets their needs and budget and all that kind of stuff, and help you sell more products and services and, of course, vehicles. So check it out. Triple W dot, the dealer Playbookcom, where we will link to all of the resources that Jim is mentioned, including links to the conferences and events that he has coming up, the one in Atlanta, ziggler super conferencecom and then, of course he's got an Fni conference coming up where it's him dropping some power bombs, him alone, I think, is what he said. Yeah, so we're going to link to those in the show notes. Don't forget to subscribe. We're on Itunes, stitcher radio and now soundcloud, and of course we would love your feedback. We thrive on it, the good, bad and ugly. If you have topic ideas or guests that you like to hear him, we want them all. But thank you so much for listening in and we'll talk to you next time. Till next time,.

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