The Business Office – Profit Centre

by: Ian K. McEwen

The automotive industry today is very dynamic and constantly changing, especially to respond to meet in the needs of well-informed, high-tech consumers. Within any dealership, The Business Office is one of 4 key departments (vehicle sales, service, & parts) with the ability to generate significant revenues and profits. Recently we have seen vehicle sales volumes and margins decline as retailers face stiff competition from within their own franchises, a softer economy and weaker consumer demand. Many dealers will ‘muse’ that their Business Office/F&I Office gross per vehicle is greater than the initial new vehicle gross. Successful product & service corporations, and retailers, whether single or multi-franchised, understand the need to recruit and hire front-line professionals. In our executive search practice, we are seeing a substantial number of searches/recruiting requests from companies whose products and services are promoted and sold through the Business Office. These companies recruit qualified and motivated Business Development Managers who call on retail dealerships. We are also filling requests from dealers/dealer groups looking for top-notch Business Managers. There is a full menu of quality Business Office revenue generating products which are offered to consumers at the retail level including:

  •  Financing of the vehicle (purchase/lease – including sub-prime)
  • Extended Service Warranty
  • Paint Protection
  • Fabric Protection
  • Undercoating
  • Rust Proofing
  • Alarm Systems
  • Window Tinting
  • Window Etching/Anti-theft
  • Insurance – credit/health/life/disability •
  • Vehicle Tracking Systems
  • Lease-end Damage Protection

The Dealership Business Manager plays a key role in each sales transaction. They oversee all the financial and legal aspects of the sales process. They negotiate and explain purchasing options and ensure all consumer protection legalities are completed appropriately. They are often responsible for protecting the dealer with regards to accepting trades, both financially and legally, and preparing the vehicle for delivery with plates/insurance and shop PDI follow-up. The Business Manager is the conduit that connects the customer with the sales team and the financial institution. Here are some key qualities that make an excellent Business Manager:

  • Proven ability to deliver and receive immediate consumer respect and trust
  • Excellent leadership and communication skills
  • Strong knowledge of automotive financial and legal options
  • Strong administrations skills, well organized and a self-starter
  • Goal oriented, entrepreneurial and enjoy working with people
  • Ability to stick to a demanding work routine
  • Strong internet and computer skills
  • Relationship builder with customers and financial institutions & insurance companies
  • A genuine love for the automotive retail business
  • Creative thinking and problem-solving skills

Business Development Managers are Business Office Companies representatives responsible for the growth of the company’s product sales in the field. They strategically manage a geographic territory/group of dealers and develop new locations. They take an active leadership role in resolving issues with dealers and provide recommendations to ensure completion of action plans. They oversee the execution of business-to-business campaigns. They contribute to the dealer’s success by training dealership personnel on an ongoing basis. Qualities to look for in hiring a solid Business Development Manager are:

  • Proven background in territory management sales
  • Strong understanding of what triggers customer buying habits
  • Ability to maintain a positive outlook and a clear focus on high quality and business profit
  • Excellent presentation skills and the ability to relate to a varied audience
  • Very proficient in working with computer and operating systems
  • Ability to prospect, qualify and close sales • Superior commitment to customer service
  • Self-management and organizations skills • Ability to work independently as well as part of a team
  • Focus on value added selling

So whether, corporate or retail, the dynamic Canadian automotive industry can provide a rewarding and sustainable career path. And, regardless of where one starts, if you are willing to work hard, your skills, experience, training and education will be rewarded with very good and well-paying jobs.

Call us about your career placement or recruiting needs:
office 905-290-0911 or toll free 1-866-627-2547