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Buyer's Guide: Find the Right Virtual F&I Model for You

By Zach Williams | Jun 5, 2023

Last updated on May 10, 2024

Digital retail offerings are plentiful in the marketplace, but what they often miss are the personal elements that are still critical to the car buying experience.

Dealers find greater success when they effectively combine the ease of technology with the expertise of their top finance managers and their sales process.

In this overview, we’ll share some real-life examples of how dealer groups of all sizes have used different Virtual F&I models to achieve increases in specific growth goals like PVR, PPD and customer experience.

We’ll also provide more specific insights on how Virtual F&I enhances processes and meets the needs of modern buyers in a streamlined, personal and efficient way, while also boosting earning potential for the dealership and F&I office.

What does success look like with Virtual F&I?

A common misconception about Virtual F&I is that it is selling F&I online. When in reality it is much more about the process of selling F&I.

Virtual F&I puts the personal interaction back in automotive digital retail by pairing online and in-store customers with F&I managers in real-time to support their purchase.

With several flexible models to choose from, it can be tailored to any dealership size and structure to deliver on key goals, including PVR, PPD, deal completion, F&I gross and customer satisfaction.

Customer Benefits

  • Improve customer access to F&I information
  • Enable more convenient, personalized experiences
  • Create seamless purchase pathways online and in-store
  • Enhance customer comfort and control in the buying process

Dealer Benefits

  • Introduce F&I earlier in the sales process
  • Reduce buyer resistance by streamlining the purchase
  • Help enable fully digital sales and enhance in-store efficiencies
  • Increase F&I sales opportunities and meet key profitability goals

Find a Virtual F&I program that works for you

Your growth goals and KPIs are unique to your business and service model, so finding a singular platform that fits your needs out of the box can be challenging. That’s why we created Virtual F&I as a flexible service that can be customized to your processes.

Whether you want to help supplement staff at:

  • a low-traffic store
  • grow your customer base with offsite deals
  • improve your F&I performance or enhance your digital retailing

Virtual F&I can help you make your goals more achievable.


What types of Virtual F&I models are there?

Finding success as a leading dealership in today’s digital market requires you to create processes that align with your needs, so having options is critical. There are three distinct ways you can use Virtual F&I, with more possibilities to create a hybrid version to suit your needs.

icon-centralized-virtual-fiCentralized Virtual F&I

Here your virtual operations are either run from a single office or across dealerships to supplement staff and increase team efficiency.

Remote Virtual F&IRemote Virtual F&I

Your F&I Managers can conduct the F&I process on remote and offsite sales so customers can complete as much of the process as possible without coming into the store.

icon-on-demand-virtual-fiOn-Demand Virtual F&I

When your store needs extra support, you can reach out to JM&A Group’s skilled Virtual F&I agents to deliver F&I deals to your customers as representatives of your dealership.



How JM&A Group's Virtual F&I (VFI) works

Dealer groups of all sizes nationwide are using Virtual F&I to solve for staffing challenges, enable teams to be more effective, improve the customer experience and broaden their capacity to offer F&I in an increasingly digital buying market.

Here’s how we get started:


Evaluate the dealership's current state

  • Sales goals
  • Digital retail infrastructure
  • Team performance
  • Strategy and KPIs

Choose a Virtual F&I model

  • Centralized
  • Remote
  • On-Demand
  • Hybrid

Training and onboarding

  • Leadership alignment and buy-in
  • Train finance team on Virtual F&I skills
  • Legal and compliance considerations
  • Cross-departmental collaboration

Launch Virtual F&I and measure the results

  • Ongoing support from JM&A Group
  • Show-me deals to reinforce best practices
  • Reporting based on identified goals and KPIs

Virtual F&I case studies

Now let's get into some real-life examples of how JM&A Group has helped dealers maximize performance with Virtual F&I.


Major PVR increase for Lindsay Automotive

Lindsay Automotive Group is a nine-rooftop dealership in the metro DC area that sought to implement Virtual F&I to enable fully online transactions in 2018, well ahead of the industry’s interest in fully digital vehicle purchases.

This transition was a way for Lindsay Automotive to advance their customer strategy and create a seamless, convenient buyer’s journey. With that goal in mind, JM&A Group took a step-by-step approach to ensure all levels of the organization were prepared for success, starting with Lindsay’s leadership, who served as ambassadors and change champions.

From there, JM&A Group’s expert consultants worked hands-on with finance directors and F&I managers to set expectations, teaching them how to master the menu presentation and sales process in a digital format while also reinforcing F&I best practices.

Change can be disruptive, especially with an established sales process like automotive retail. 

Through ongoing training, JM&A Group ensured Lindsay staff had all they needed to create a seamless digital experience, while keeping all the personal elements of the F&I conversation intact.

Fortunately, Lindsay’s path to success was built upon a strong partnership and a mutual agreement to work through the transformation together. By taking a measured, intentional approach to the rollout, clearly communicating expectations and ensuring each person had the time and tools they needed to be successful, they were able to achieve fantastic results:


YoY PVR Increase


YoY PPD Increase

Learn more about Lindsay Automotive's Virtual F&I Experience ⟶

"The team at JM&A assisted us in piloting virtual F&I in one of our stores; before we even got to 30 days, we engaged JM&A for our other 8 dealerships. The virtual playbook, virtual training and performance monitoring that JM&A brings to our partnership has been essential. It reaffirmed that we are aligned and partnered with the best sales and F&I provider in the country.”

John Smallwood

Deal completion and gross sales rise for Hall Automotive Group

Hall Automotive Group comprises 17 dealerships in Virginia and North Carolina, and is part of the larger, 65-storefront MileOne Group.

Like many auto groups operating several stores with varying levels of traffic and sales volume, Hall Automotive had a resourcing and customer service challenge. They had to choose between two options, neither of which was ideal.

They could staff a store with one F&I manager, knowing that person could fall behind during busy times, impacting the customer experience. Or, they could have a two-person team at a location, meaning one F&I manager might not have a deal to deliver during slow periods, decreasing their ability to serve customers and their earning potential.

It was inefficient, but was a reality that is common across the industry. Virtual F&I became a viable solution to their problem. Hall is a longtime JM&A Group partner and used the relationship to build out a VFI strategy that would deliver an optimal experience.

As part of the initial 90-day rollout strategy, for the first 45 days, JM&A’s F&I experts engaged directly with Hall’s dealership customers, showing them how to handle centralized Virtual F&I.

The company adopted a centralized VFI model with JM&A’s help, establishing a Virtual F&I office at its corporate headquarters that could assist any storefront on demand and deliver a flexible financing experience for customers.

During the second half of the engagement, Hall’s own F&I managers adopted those best practices and took the lead under the JM&A consultants’ guidance.

This new and streamlined approach to F&I had a major impact on important metrics:




YoY Overall F&I Gross


YoY Deal Completion

Get the Full Hall Automotive Story Here ⟶


Bergstrom Automotive drives customer experience for out-of-town buyers

Bergstrom Automotive is a three-rooftop dealership group based around Devils Lake, ND, home to just 7,000 permanent residents.

It’s a common assumption that automotive dealers in rural areas don’t evolve as quickly as dealers in larger markets. But Bergstrom disproved that very sentiment, showcasing how dealerships everywhere can step up their performance and customer experience with an infusion of new ideas.

In Bergstrom’s case, creating a convenient, accessible buying option was key, especially as many of the dealers’ customers simply lived too far to make trips to the dealership. A Remote Virtual F&I model suited the dealer group’s needs for an enhanced customer experience.

JM&A Group trained the F&I team on how to successfully sell F&I products virtually, including tips on reading mood and body language on a screen. Through weekly engagements with JM&A, Bergstrom had constant support, delivered mock deals and got direct feedback.


Quickly, Bergstrom’s teams realized how Virtual F&I could improve their workflows while also enhancing the customer experience. It was simpler, quicker and fit neatly into everyone’s schedule, without a need for buyers to commute to and from the dealership.


Plus, it added greater flexibility. F&I managers in another location can now support a busier store by completing Virtual F&I deals, clearing the backlog quickly.


Virtual F&I has proven to be a win-win: Bergstrom’s team has improved their ability to make sales and overcome objections, even for in-person deals. And customers are more comfortable during remote transactions, having ample time to ask questions and decide what products to purchase, all from the comfort of their home.


The results showed in customers’ happiness with the F&I experience:


VFI customers are satisfied and would use the process again

Read More About Bergstrom's Success Story Here ⟶


How JM&A Group’s specialist team supports dealers with on-demand Virtual F&I

Consistently staffing dealerships appropriately is a challenge anywhere. Slow days mean reduced productivity and low sales volume. Busy days mean long waits and hurried interactions.

On-demand Virtual F&I effectively handles those spikes and dips in customer traffic by helping dealers make in-the-moment adjustments. Rely on a team of experts to help and support your team.

Help is just a call away.

Typically when a dealership’s F&I managers are busy, two things can happen. First, customers are forced to wait for a finance manager to be available, which reduces customer satisfaction and lowers buying potential. Or second, a backup person will deliver deals, likely a sales manager. Customers may not wait as long, but the menu presentation and objection handling suffers because the person at the desk is simply not as experienced in these conversations. Earnings on these deals is typically much lower than if a skilled F&I manager had handled them.

The Solution

With On-demand Virtual F&I, there’s a third – and much better – option. Dealerships can reach out to JM&A Group’s team of F&I Specialists who are on call and ready to handle transactions when the F&I team is tied up.

This means you can cut wait times while also delivering top-notch F&I service to your customers without reducing productivity at your dealership.

JM&A Specialists will act as a representative of your dealership and expertly present the F&I menu, answer customers’ questions and sell products on behalf of your organization. It’s a seamless experience that customers love and reduces strain on dealership staff and processes.


A Virtual F&I success model designed for every dealership

Evolving your F&I process becomes easier when you have a trusted partner on your side. A partner must help you evaluate your processes, technology and tools while supporting you with custom training to suit your teams and provide ongoing access to resources, ensuring a successful, lasting program.

Just as with all our partners, JM&A will continue to engage with your team, ensuring your F&I managers and customers are getting the most out of F&I process, and that dealership leaders are satisfied with the results.

Many dealerships have already achieved measurable and sustained results with each Virtual F&I model, enhancing their PVR, PPD, sales volume, customer experience and more. As technology expands its presence in the automotive retail world, you have plenty to gain from being on the leading edge. Schedule a demo today to see how Virtual F&I can help your dealership.

Free Resource - Develop Your Virtual F&I Strategy - Download the Free Guide

*While JM&A Group can assist you with setting up a virtual F&I process, JM&A cannot provide legal advice regarding state-specific regulatory requirements relating to the online selling process. Please consult your dealer counsel and dealer association for information on your state's regulatory requirements.