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F&I menu options take on a new look with iPad

Peter Jones, Columnist
August 2, 2013
Filed under Features

It’s my understanding that JM&A developed the “menu system” sometime during the 1990s. At the time, it was considered “revolutionary” and in many ways, still is considered that today. In 2000, I began teaching menu selling to my powersports clients as well as several of the 20 Groups around the industry. Recently I had the opportunity to watch the next step in menu selling. It’s called the iTapMenu.

iTapMenu is revolutionary in that it combines the benefits of “package” selling with the technology that’s available today. The system I viewed during their presentation was based on an iPad. I was advised that in July, iTapMenu would be introducing a desktop version as well.

Most dealerships are currently using a computer-based menu or a paper-based menu. Let me state that should you choose not to take advantage of this new technology, never walk away from using a menu and the benefits such a system provides. These menus are limited in that while they do a great job of presenting alternatives to a customer, they don’t provide anything else in the form of assisting your manager in presenting the “wow” of each of the products.

In my F&I classes we spend a great deal of time perfecting a manager’s presentation skills and their objection-handling ability. iTapMenu takes this to the next level and provides managers with drag-and-drop products, videos and the ability to show the customer “proofs.” All of these fantastic features are available right at your fingertips in the form of your iPad. Here’s how I envision dealers being able to use iTapMenu and any future products that are bound to be developed in the very near future.

I spend the majority of my time working in and managing dealerships for clients. I’ve seen the customer surveys arrive with dealerships sometimes being criticized for the paperwork process taking too long. F&I managers can now go onto the showroom floor with an iPad and present the benefits to customers during the customer interview process. The customer can choose what they like and sign the menu on the iPad. The F&I manager then returns to the office and prepares all of the paperwork. During the actual “closing” process, all the customer has to do is sign paperwork, and the perception is that the closing process is now very fast and smooth. Awesome!

This menu tool also allows the F&I manager to present short videos that come with the program or create and upload their own that explain the benefits of the products. Proofs can also be loaded directly into the program, such as copies of ROs that have been paid by an extended service contract or video testimonials from customers who have benefited from other products. The fact that all of this is housed on an iPad and can be used onsite or offsite is part of the “Wow!” factor that this program provides.

Follow-up lacking

Another issue that’s faced by many dealerships is hat most fail to follow up with customers after a purchase. For example, customers who purchase new units typically have until there are 30 days left of factory warranty coverage to purchase an extended service contract. An optional feature of this product is the ability to have emails automatically sent to customers offering products that they did not purchase yet still qualify for. Since it’s automated there is nothing dealership staffers have to do to help themselves generate incremental sales.

There was another option that was very impressive. After the F&I manager completes the presentation, a dealership has the ability to load a survey onto the iPad. The customer is given the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience with the store. Let’s say the dealership loads a question that asks if they felt the salesperson acted in a professional manner. Should the customer provide a negative answer to that question, the sales manager would instantly be sent either an email or text message alerting them to the fact that they have an unsatisfied customer still in the store. They can then get directly involved with the situation and address it long before any CSI surveys are received by the customer.

One question that many of you may have at this point is: “Will it work with Lightspeed?” I had the same question during our presentation. They are currently working on this integration but could not provide a specific date as to when it would be done. Regardless, the benefits of this new technology far outweigh the additional keystrokes that will have to be made. Also, all of your customer menus are saved on their servers, so if you ever need a copy of a menu that was presented to a customer, you’ll have it.

It’s exciting to see technology revolutionizing our industry in so many ways. Auto dealerships have already been using iTapMenu. Now powersports dealerships that choose to can also benefit from this technology.

Peter Jones is an industry trainer and consultant as well as founder of Peter Jones Powersports and can be reached at peter@peterjonespowersports.com or 904/742-3080.

 

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