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Accessory Myth: “Accessory sales will take away from F&I sales.”

Article Highlights:

  • Customers don't typically associate accessories with the car deal.
  • "It gives them mental ownership of the vehicle."

The third accessory myth in our series that I hear is, “adding accessories into the vehicle sales process will take away from F&I.” These dealers believe customers who spend money on additional, expensive accessories will be less likely to buy F&I products. While this concern is understandable, you will be happy to learn accessory sales typically do not harm F&I sales.

In fact, selling accessories has the potential to help boost F&I profits. After personalizing their new vehicle, customers may be more likely to buy protection and warranty products in the F&I office. Why? Because they feel more attached to the vehicle and want to protect its new, personalized features.

Another reason dealerships shy away from selling accessories is because they fear buyers will be “oversold” by the time they get to the F&I office. Dealers think transitioning customers from one sales pitch to another, and then another will burn them out, so they are less inclined to actively participate in the F&I process and buy F&I products.

This unease is also unwarranted, especially when you present accessories as a shopping experience—not a sales pitch. We learned earlier in this series that customers are going to buy accessories whether you offer them or not. For this reason, we’ve found that customers don’t typically associate the accessory presentation as part of the car deal. It is something they were planning to do anyway, so it is a welcome opportunity to get it all done at once and even add it into their financing.

Without an accessory presentation to engage them, customers are more likely to be on their phones getting bored or anxious. Offering accessories breaks up the time between sales and the F&I office, keeping customers engaged in the buying process. They stay busy and don’t think about the time spent at the dealership.

“Accessories help build excitement in the customer for buying their new vehicle,” said Nick Short, general manager of Landmark Chrysler Jeep in Springfield, Illinois. “It gives them mental ownership of the vehicle and keeps the customer’s mind on buying the car rather than shopping on their phones and wondering if they got the best deal. It really helps us maintain and hold gross while we negotiate.”

If you are on the fence about selling accessories, you don’t need to worry about drops in F&I sales. An effective accessory presentation keeps customers engaged in the purchase and increases their ownership of the vehicle. F&I departments should welcome and leverage this opportunity to close additional F&I sales.

Stay tuned for the next Accessory Myth article in an upcoming edition of Fuel.

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Director, Reynolds Consulting Services

Carl Bennett is the director of North American Consulting Operations and Sales for Reynolds Consulting Services. In his consultant role, Bennett teaches automotive retailers in the U.S. and Canada how to achieve higher levels of success and better results in vehicle sales and F&I. Prior to joining Reynolds and Reynolds more than 15 years ago, Bennett worked in dealerships for 15 years as a general manager, finance director, and sales manager.

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