The Bourbon Street Vendor

By Charles Campbell

It certainly is a mystery as to how any dealership in the RV industry would allow themselves to stroll down the path to becoming the retail equivalent of the “Bourbon Street Vendor.” You know, the guy standing on the corner of Upper Bourbon Street during the Mardi Gras pedaling everything imaginable. From stopwatches and gold chains located on the right inside of his trench coat to the windup toys and bobble heads located on the inside left, and from the knockoff productions of name brand watches to silver bracelets that adorn the length of both arms, if you want it, he’s got it. Quality and satisfaction don’t matter; if you are willing to buy it then he is more than anxious to sell it.

What is our true target market?
In good times or bad, we must utilize carefully structured sales presentations to maximize each opportunity presented. However, isn’t it time to start concentrating on what our primary products are that we are offering to our customer base? Perhaps this should be done in a time-tested manner that has proven itself highly successful. That is, maximize the time provided in the finance/delivery office by presenting a limited core of products that truly provide a benefit to the customer as well as providing much needed revenue for the dealership.

How many is too many products and services?
Well, that can certainly be the subject of many an argument. However, I would propose that the F&I Manager limit the offering of Ancillary products to three to five choices. Which ones should be placed on this narrow field? Again, that is debatable. Perhaps you could allow me to once again offer some suggestions, without prejudice towards any Ancillary product. In a three-product offering, perhaps the reliable core of Ancillary products of a VSC (Vehicle Service Contract), Appearance Protection Package and a Tire & Wheel Roadside Hazard Protection program. To add to the offering, you could add GAP and Roadside assistance.

This isn’t to say that other Ancillary products simply get thrown out with the bath water, but perhaps the other products and services can be offered elsewhere, such as the service and/or parts department. This would eliminate costly mistakes in the finance/delivery office by allowing the most proven and valuable products to be offered to the customer, while still allowing the dealership to earn additional profit as the F&I Office provides proper attention to paperwork and compliance concerns, while efficiently & productively describing in detail the features and benefits of these Ancillary products to the customer.

Charles Campbell is a nationally recognized authority in areas of Federal rules, laws and regulations. Along with his well reviewed, and insightful, articles and his unique, dynamic and energetic, presentations, he remains a highly sought after presenter, public speaker and educator. He heads up the acclaimed U.S Compliance Academy, and may be reached at (541) 408-4136 or at


Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt has been a writer/editor for more than 25 years, working in law enforcement, aviation, supply chain and the RV industry. She's not a stranger to RVs, however. She grew up camping, and still camps as many weekends as she can every year. She is the owner of In Good Company Communications and can be reached at

Leave a Comment

  • Franklin D. says:

    Once again Mr. Campbell provides us with insightful wisdom.
    A few years ago we altered the ancillary products our dealership offers through our finance office. We were the proverbial “Candy Store” offering 8 to 9 products. Our consultant convinced us to narrow the number of ancillary products to no more than 5 or 6 products.
    From that time to the current time, our Finance Staff have consistently maximized our back end.
    A couple of times we attempted to add another product or two and our overall penetration and profitability decreased once again.
    I totally agree with this recognized Professional, keep it simple and do not overwhelm your customers.

    • Charles Campbell says:

      Thank you Franklin-I always appreciate encouraging comments from my fellow industry professionals.

  • Jacob Richardson says:

    Charles is a great authority on f&i products and during our long term friendship we both agree that F&I should focus on there core products to maximize the dealership profits and not overwhelms the customer.

  • Dustin H. says:

    I couldn’t agree more. We also went down the road of more products equals more revenue. That was a short lived experiment as our penetration and per unit fell off the charts. As soon as we changed back the numbers came right back. We definitely lost focus of our core products and it was a very expensive mistake. Stick to what you know and what you’re good at. The limited amount of time we have with the customer is too precious to speed through the process to offer more products. Great article Mr. Campbell, dealers would be wise to listen to your advise.

  • Wade K. says:

    Excellent advice! I agree that when you roll out more than 4 ancillary products at one time, the customer may actually get turned off of purchasing any of the products you offered. Sell more of 4 products rather than less of 6 or more.

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