F&I Smoking the Paperwork

Smoking the paperworkOf course, some dealerships just “pack” it into the deal without making the customer fully aware of the additional cost for these items by using the “just sign here, and here, and here” approach to the closing process, with the documents all stacked up one on top of another and the friendly Business Manager holding the stack still with one hand while turning the pages one at a time with the other hand and pointing to the signature line (often marked ahead of time with an “x”).

“I’ll give you a copy of all this paperwork right after I process it” is a good line to trivialize the event in the customer’s mind. This kind of “five finger close”, when done nonchalantly and smoothly, can generate hundreds or even thousands of extra dollars in profit. In fact, a “successful” dealership will make more money in F & I sales than on the sale of the vehicle itself. Ward’s Auto Online is a great source for such information on the 500 biggest car dealers in the country.

Smoking the paperwork” is a phrase that means the paperwork slides by the customer so fast that the friction of it sliding across the table, so to speak, makes it “smoke”. At the end of the process, the F & I person will usually tear out the customer copies of the papers, line up the corners in the stack, staple them together, fold them all up, and put them in an envelope.

Then the envelope is usually given to the customer with the admonition that the papers are important and they should put them in a safe place and keep them. Of course, doing all of that discourages the customer from looking closely at the papers on the way home. Putting them into a safe place at home also discourages the customer from looking too closely at the papers, or for too long, at home. This way, the customer is less likely to discover anything that is not quite what they expected until weeks or months later.

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