JM&A: How dealerships can adapt F&I to EV buyers

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Although the electric vehicle is relatively new to the automotive world, the basic elements of success remain the same. At the heart of this is creating a reliable foundation to build relationships with your customers. Your dealership should exhibit intentional, personalized customer service and exceptional follow-up. No matter what type of vehicle they plan to drive, customers want to know that you care about them and want to earn their trust. Electric vehicle buyers are very familiar with the product they are buying. Product knowledge, both from a vehicle and F&I perspective, will go a long way in establishing reliability with your customers.

Once you’ve established trust and communication, opening the door to F&I is another element of the value you add to the ownership and driving experience. And while the structure of the F&I conversation doesn’t change much for an EV client, your approach and product offerings should. Just as you sell products for new, used and leased vehicles, having a product line designed specifically for electric vehicle models is necessary to provide your customers with the coverage and protection that is the hallmark of F&I products. Remember that your EV customers are buying a vehicle with a relative unknown as to the life of the electrical components and may want a menu of coverage options for mechanical breakdowns, maintenance, and necessary repairs.

Like internal combustion vehicles, electric vehicles present a critical F&I opportunity for your dealership to find increased profitability and create additional touch points to help extend the customer lifecycle. To effectively sell F&I products on electric vehicles, it is essential to provide ongoing training to your F&I managers so that they remain experts on the product and can communicate the value to your customers. The principles of active listening to understand your customers’ motivations and concerns are especially relevant for EV buyers in the F&I office.

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