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The Ten Greatest Features of Sales and F&I

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Autosoft Sales and F&I has some pretty cool features that can help you save time, work efficiently, and collaborate with co-workers. Knowing and mastering these features will make you a rockstar at your dealership. To learn more about the 10 coolest features, click on the topics below. 

  1. Type-Ahead Addresses
  2. Customer Merge
  3. Social Media Connector
  4. Scenarios
  5. Sales Tools
  6. Unlimited Deal Tabs
  7. Vehicle Images
  8. Chat
  9. Notifications
  10. Screen Sharing

Type-Ahead Addresses
When you're entering an address anywhere in the system, you'll find that as you begin typing the street address in the Address field, a list of addresses that match what you've typed appears below the field. You can just click on the correct address from the list, and the system will finish populating the Address field, as well as the City, State, and ZIP fields. Save keystrokes and time!

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Customer Merge
You can use the merge function to combine multiple records for the same individual customer into a single record. This feature cleans up your customer records without sacrificing any customer information or requiring any rekeying. The customer’s activity, vehicles, and notes are merged with the selected individual.

This feature can be useful, for example, if you find that a female customer has a record under her maiden name, and a second under her married name, or when a customer has been entered into the system multiple times by different dealership employees.

Note:  If more than two customer records exist in the system for the same customer, you must merge the original customer record with one record at a time. 

Step 1. On the Customer Search screen, locate the customer for whom you want to merge records. Click the View icon to open one of the customer’s records. The Customer Record will open to the Overview screen.

Step 2. Click the Actions button in the upper-right corner of the screen, above the Customer Summary card. A drop-down menu will open.

Step 3. Select Merge Individual from the drop-down. The Merge Individual pop-up will open.

Step 4. Enter the customer’s partial or full name in the Search field and click Search or press ENTER.

Step 5. From the search results, click on the customer record you want to merge with the original customer record. This will be referred to as the Selected Individual, while the customer record you opened originally will be referred to as the Original Individual.

Step 6. Click Merge Individual.

Step 7. A Confirm Merge Individual pop-up will notify you of any conflicts between the two customer records. It will list all of the conflicts, providing the differing information in the Original Individual and the Selected Individual columns. Verify with your customer which of the two options is correct and click the radio button in the appropriate column to select the correct detail. Continue this process for each conflict.

If no conflicts are found, the pop-up will notify you of that.

Note: While the Merge Customer feature will merge the activity, vehicles, and notes from the Selected Individual with those of the Original Individual, any connections established in the Selected Individual’s record will be lost. Make note of the Selected Individual’s connections so you can re-enter them in the Original Individual’s record.

To proceed, click Complete Merge. A green “Success” message will confirm that the merge was successfully completed.

Step 8. You will be returned to the Original Individual’s Customer Overview page. Use the Add Connection button in the Customer Summary card to re-establish any Selected Individual connections that were lost. (See the Knowledge Base item “Adding an Existing Customer as a Customer Connection” for details on adding connections.

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Social Media Connector
Use the Social Media button to discover the social media accounts associated with a customer's email address. This pulls any personal information in those accounts to your customer's record or compares what you've entered for the customer with the information available in those accounts. You can also select from a customer's social media profile images for use as a profile image in Sales and F&I.  

For existing customers, you'll find a Social Media button in the Basic Information card on the Detail page of the customer record. 

Step 1. Using the Customer Search screen, search for the customer for whom you would like to add information from social media. 

Step 2. When the customer record opens, click on the Detail button.

Step 3. Inside the Basic Information card, click the Social Media button. The Social Media pop-up will open.

Step 4. The customer's email address will be listed in the Email Address field. If you wish to search for social media accounts using a different email address, type it here. Click Search Web

Step 5. If no social media accounts are found connected to that email, the pop-up will display a message informing you of that. This may happen if the customer has no social media accounts or has used the various social media sites' privacy settings to make their account/s private. Click Cancel to close the Social Media pop-up. 

If the search returns results, the pop-up will expand to include the Customer's Social Media Information card and Customer's Social Media Profile Images card. 

If any of the information found for the customer in their social media accounts differs from what you've entered for the customer, the Customer's Social Media Information card will list the varying information. If you wish to replace some or all of the information in the customer record with the information found in the customer's social media accounts, click the checkbox to the left of the detail in the Social Media Information column to select the particular item and replace the existing item in the customer record. 

The Customer's Social Media Profile Images card will display any profile images used in the customer's social media accounts, as well as the image used for the Autosoft customer record. If you wish to use one of the social media profile images, click the radio button to the left of the image to select it. 

Step 6. Click Update Customer to save the changes to the customer record. 

Note:  When adding an individual customer to your system, the system will automatically search the Web for social media accounts that match the email address or addresses you've entered for the customer.  

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Scenarios
The Scenarios feature helps you fine-tune any deal. After you've established the initial deal based on your conversation with the customer, you can use Scenarios to alter the details of the deal to offer the customer options that may make finalizing the sale more likely. 

Step 1. While in the deal you are working, click the Desking button to open the Desking options menu.

Step 2. Select Scenarios in the Desking options menu. The Scenarios page will open, and the base deal you’ve structured with your customer on the Desking page will appear as the Initial scenario.

You can make adjustments within the Initial scenario here without affecting the base deal. Adjust as necessary to show your customer different options. 

Step 3. To add a new scenario, click the Load Scenario options button to the right of the Initial scenario.

Step 4. The Load Scenario options menu will open. Use this menu to determine on which existing scenario your new scenario will be based. Choose to start a new scenario using the Base Deal as the foundation or the Initial scenario you've created from the Base Deal. As you continue to create scenarios, additional options will populate the menu. 

Step 5. Depending on your choice, a new scenario will open to the right of the initial scenario containing the base deal information or the edited deal information from the initial deal. You can change a scenario’s name at any time by clicking in the field at the very top of the scenario and typing a new name for the individual scenario.

Step 6. Adjust the information from the existing scenario within the new scenario.

  • Within the Vehicle section, you can use drop-down menus to select a different vehicle or to change the Deal Type (Balloon, Cash, Lease, or Retail). 
  • In the Financing section, you can choose a different lender from the Lender menu and adjust the APR or Money FactorTermPayment Type, and Residual
  • Within the Pricing portion of the scenario, you can alter Base, Discount, Rebate, and Cash applied to the deal. 
  • Options can be removed or restored by clicking on the toggle to the left of each item in the Options section. You can click the pop-up arrow to open the Options pop-up, where you can add new front and back options.
  • The Coverages area displays all insurance and extended warranty coverage added to the deal, which can each be removed from or restored to the scenario using the toggle to the left of an item. To add a new type of coverage, click the pop-up arrow, which will open the Coverages and Credit Insurance pop-up. 
  • Insurance, if added to the original deal, can be removed or restored using the toggle to the left of each insurance product. You can add new credit insurance using the pop-up arrow in the section, which will open the Coverages and Credit Insurance pop-up.
  • You can remove trades or alter trade allowances within the Trades area of a scenario. To add a trade, click the blue + button. To remove a trade, click the gray - button. 

Step 7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 to add as many scenarios as you like, choosing the base scenario that is closest to the scenario you’d like to create. As you make changes and enter through the fields, the monthly payment displayed at the top of the scenario also changes. 

Step 8. Only four scenarios may be viewed on screen at a time and printed side by side using the Print button in the upper-left corner of the page. You can also save the scenarios for the deal using the Save button to the right of the Print button. 

To reset a scenario to the original data from the base scenario, click Reset at the top-left of the individual scenario. Any changes you've made to the base scenario will be reversed. 

To learn more about using Scenarios, search the Knowledge Base for Scenarios and read full directions on applying scenarios, switching scenarios on a deal, and deleting scenarios. 

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Sales Tools
The Sales Tools suite of products is designed to help you sell vehicles more efficiently. You can use it to help your customer understand a potential new vehicle's cost of ownership, what their payments may be, and if they're eligible for a refund on optional products and/or finance charges on their existing vehicle as a result of early payoff or termination of that vehicle's finance contract.

To access the Sales Tools, follow these steps:

Step 1. While in the Sales App, click the Sales App button in the blue navigation bar. A drop-down menu of options will open. 

Step 2. Click Sales Tools. The Sales Tools menu will open. From here, you can click on the tool you would like to use.  

Fuel Comparison
The Fuel Comparison feature gives you one more tool to help make a sale, this time by demonstrating to the customer fuel savings and its effect on the vehicle's cost of ownership. 

To make using Fuel Comparison easier, a user with the appropriate permissions can set up the day’s fuel price, a default estimate for annual inflation, and a default for the estimated miles driven per year. These figures will auto-populate the Fuel Comparison tool when it’s opened from the Sales Tools link. However, the default figures can be changed within the tool to achieve the most accurate snapshot of cost-savings possible for a customer. To learn more about setting Fuel Comparison defaults, see the Knowledge Base article, "Setting Up Sales Tools."

Step 1. From the Sales Tools menu accessible from the main navigation bar, click Fuel Comparison.

Step 2. The Sales Tools application will open. Any default figures that have been entered in the Fuel Comparison setup will populate the Fuel Comparison Analysis card when you open the tool. If these figures are incorrect or out of date, you can enter updated figures in the Today’s Fuel Cost and Estimated Annual Inflation fields to override the default figures. You can also click Clear to wipe out all defaults and start fresh.

Step 3. If you’ve entered a figure in the Estimated Miles Driven/Year field that does not match the customer’s driving practices, enter a more accurate estimate in the field to override the default figure.

Step 4. Enter the miles per gallon of the customer’s current vehicle in the Current Vehicle MPG field.

Step 5. Enter the miles per gallon of the deal vehicle in the New Vehicle MPG field.

Tip:  If you do not know the current price of gas in your customer’s region, a list of national averages for gas prices is available at the bottom of the Fuel Comparison screen in a card titled “FuelEconomy.gov Published Prices.”

Step 6. The Fuel Consumption (in gallons) and Fuel Cost ($) tables will populate with the calculations based on the information you’ve entered. Total Savings is also calculated.

Note:  The rate of inflation entered in the Fuel Comparison Analysis data is applied to each year in the Fuel Cost table, including Year 1.

Payment Estimator
The Payment Estimator can be used to provide an on-the-spot estimate of monthly payments for a customer without fully desking a deal. This is just an estimate, and a range option may be enabled to provide a payment range when presenting the estimate to a customer (see the Knowledge Base article, "Setting Up Sales Tools" for full directions on setting default range amounts). The tool can be used to estimate monthly retail, balloon, and lease payments or to display different monthly payment options based on the terms of the financing.

Note:  If you want to provide a payment range for the retail, balloon, or lease estimate, use the Payment Display toggle at the bottom of the screen to open some display options. Here, you can control whether the payments displayed as a single amount or a range. If you select Range, you can determine if it will be a dollar amount or percentage range and specify the range amount. 

Retail Estimate
To obtain a retail payment estimate:

Step 1. From the Sales Tools menu accessible from the main navigation bar, click Payment Estimator. The Payment Estimator screen will open.

Step 2. In the Retail Estimate card, enter a rough estimate of the amount to be financed in the Amount Financed field. Remember to take into account tax, title, add-ons, and fees, not merely the price of the vehicle and front and back options.

Step 3. In the APR field, enter the APR at which the loan will most likely be financed.

Step 4. Enter the number of months the customer wishes to take to pay off the loan in the Term (months) field.

Step 5. The Estimated Monthly Payment will display on the right side of the screen.

If you've selected to display a range (see the note above), the range will display in the same location in the card.

Balloon Estimate
To obtain a balloon payment estimate:

Step 1. From the Sales Tools menu accessible from the main navigation bar, click Payment Estimator. The Payment Estimator screen will open.

Step 2. In the Balloon Estimate card, enter a rough estimate of the amount to be financed in the Amount Financed field. Remember to take into account tax, title, add-ons, and fees, not merely the price of the vehicle and front and back options.

Step 3. Enter the estimated vehicle MSRP in the MSRP field.

Step 4. Enter the interest rate at which the loan will be financed in the APR field.

Step 5. In the Balloon ($) field, type the dollar amount of the balloon payment that would remain at the end of the payment term. The Balloon (%) field will then calculate automatically. If you prefer, you can instead enter the percentage of the MSRP that will remain at the end of the finance terms in the Balloon (%) field, and the Balloon ($) field will calculate automatically.

Step 6. In the Term (Months) field, enter the length of the loan.

Step 7. The Estimated Monthly Payment will display on the right side of the card.

If you've selected to display a range (see the note above), the range will display in the same location in the card.

Lease Estimate
To obtain a lease payment estimate:

Step 1. From the Sales Tools menu accessible from the main navigation bar, click Payment Estimator. The Payment Estimator screen will open.

Step 2. In the Lease Estimate card, enter the vehicle’s estimated MSRP in the MSRP field.

Step 3. Type the dollar amount of the gross cap cost in the Gross Cap Cost field.

Step 4. Enter the length of the lease in the Term (months) field.

Step 5. Enter the rate at which the lease will be financed in the Rate/Money Factor field.

Step 6. In the Residual ($) field, type the dollar amount of the residual value of the vehicle at the end of the lease term. The Residual (%) field will then calculate automatically. If you prefer, you can instead enter the percentage of the MSRP associated with the value of the vehicle at the end of the lease terms in the Residual (%) field, and the Residual ($) field will calculate automatically.

Step 7. The Estimated Monthly Payment will display on the right side of the card.

 

If you've selected to display a range (see the note above), the range will display in the same location in the card. 

Refund Calculator
The Refund Calculator can provide estimated refund amounts of optional products and/or finance charges due upon early payoff or termination of a previous finance contract. The calculator can use one of two methods to create the refund estimate: Pro-Rata or Rule of 78.

Pro-Rata Refund Estimate
The Pro-Rata Estimate is the more commonly used of the two refund options. To use this method:

Step 1. From the Sales Tools menu accessible from the main navigation bar, click Refund Calculator. The Refund Calculator screen will default to the Pro-Rata Estimate view.

Step 2. Enter the dollar amount of the insurance premium in the Total Premium field.

Step 3. Type total term of the loan in the Total Term field.

Step 4. Enter the remaining months of the loan in the Term Remaining field. The Estimated Refund will display on the right side of the box. 

Note:  The formula used to calculate the estimate is displayed in the box at the bottom of the Pro-Rata Estimate card.

Rule of 78s Refund Estimate
The Rule of 78s Estimate can be used to find a refund of unearned finance charges for a customer’s current vehicle if the account pays off before maturity.

Step 1. From the Sales Tools menu accessible from the main navigation bar, click Refund Calculator. The Refund Calculator screen will default to the Pro-Rata Estimate view.

Step 2. Click on Rule of 78s Estimate in the toggle at the top of the screen to select the Rule of 78s Estimate view.

Step 3. Enter the total dollar amount of finance charges in the Total Finance Charges field.

Step 5. Type the number of months in the total term of the financing in the Total Term (Months) field.

Step 6. Enter the months remaining in the loan in the Months Remaining field. The Estimated Refund will display on the right side of the box.

Note:  The formula used to calculate the estimate is displayed in the box at the bottom of the Refund Calculator box.

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Unlimited Deal Tabs 
Sometimes you'll need to switch between multiple deals while you're working. You can do that easily using the pop-up arrow in each deal's quick look card. Open as many deals as you need.

Step 1. Click the Sales App button in the main navigation bar. The Sales Search screen will open. 

Step 2. Use the Search field and filtering fields to locate one of the deals you want to open.

Step 3. Click on the deal in the search results. The deal's quick look card will open. 

Step 4. Click the blue pop-up arrow in the upper-right corner of the deal's quick look card. The deal will open in a new Web browser tab. 

Step 5. Click on the browser tab in which the Sales Search screen is open and repeat Steps 2 through 4 to open each deal you want to work simultaneously. 

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Vehicle Images
You can add photos of a vehicle to its vehicle record. These images will appear in the Vehicle Summary card, where you can page through the images you've uploaded. These images will help you showcase a vehicle. 

Step 1. From any page in a vehicle record, click the Add Images box in the Vehicle Summary Card or click the Actions button, which will open a drop-down menu.

Step 2. Select Edit Images from the drop-down menu.

Step 3. A drag-and-drop window will open. Navigate to the folder on your computer containing the images for the vehicle. Open the folder.

Step 4.  Highlight the images you want to upload to the vehicle record and drag them into the drag-and-drop window. You can drag one image at a time or highlight multiple images by holding the CTRL key while clicking on each of the images and then dragging from one of the highlighted images. 

Step 5. The images will appear in the drag-and-drop window. The first image in the window will be the Featured Image, which will appear on the Vehicle Summary Card. If you wish to change the featured image, simply click on a different image in the window and drag and drop it to the left of the current featured image.

The other images will be numbered in the order in which they will appear in the photo array. You can also rearrange those images by dragging them to the left or right and dropping them into the position you wish. 

Step 6. When you're happy with the order of the images, click the Preview button to see what the images will look like once uploaded. You can browse through the images by clicking the light gray arrows on either side of the image on the screen.

Step 7. Click Back to Thumbnails to return to the drag-and-drop window. 

Step 8. If you'd like to upload other images, click Upload. The PC file search window will open, and you can select the image/s you like and click Open. Those images will appear in the drag-and-drop window.

Step 9. When you're done, click Close. The Featured Image will appear under the vehicle name in the Vehicle Summary Card. 

Once you've uploaded images, you can edit the order or delete images if you wish. To learn more about editing and removing vehicle images, see the Knowledge Base article, "Editing and Deleting Vehicle Images."

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Chat
You can easily collaborate with co-workers using the Autosoft system's Chat feature. This feature stays conveniently hidden to free up valuable real estate on the screen. But when you need to send or respond to a message, it's simply a matter of clicking the left-facing caret on the right edge of the screen to open the Collaboration Center. 

Starting a Chat
Step 1. If your Collaboration Center is closed, click the left-facing caret to open the panel. It may be white with a blue caret or red with a white caret, depending on whether you have any messages waiting to be read or alerts that you haven't acknowledged.

Step 2. The Collaboration Center will open to the Chat tab. To begin a new chat, you must first collapse an open chat, if there is one. Click the gray X button to the right of the name of the colleague with whom you have a chat open. This will collapse the chat while retaining the conversation. You can re-open it later by clicking on the colleague's name in your Chat tab. In this way, you can move between multiple chats.

Step 3. Once you've closed the open chat, click the blue + button in the upper-right corner of the panel.

Step 4. A blank Chat box will open.

In the field at the top of the panel, type the name of the user you want to chat with. As you type, a menu of users with names that match what you've typed opens. You can click the user's name from the list. 

Step 5. Type a message in the text entry field at the bottom of the Chat tab. You can even add emojis by clicking the smiley face on the right side of the text entry field and selecting an emoji from the emoji menu.

Step 6. Click Start Chat, which will now be an active button.

The message will be sent to your colleague. As the conversation continues, your colleague's replies will appear in your Chat tab. To reply, simply enter your responses in the text entry area and click Send

Retrieving and Responding to a Chat Message
When a colleague at your dealership sends you a message using the Autosoft system's Chat feature, you will be alerted. If your Collaboration Center is closed, the alert will appear as a red left-facing caret  in place of the blue left-facing caret you would normally use to open the Collaboration Center. You will need to click this caret to open the Collaboration Center.

When your Collaboration Center is open, the Chat tab will contain a red alert bubble  containing the number of chat conversations with updates awaiting your attention. 

To retrieve and respond to the message:

Step 1. When the Collaboration Center is open to the Chat tab, any waiting conversations will be listed by the name of the colleague with whom you're chatting--or who has initiated a chat with you. Click on a colleague's name to open the conversation.

Step 2. The message or messages the colleague has sent to you are displayed, and the cursor will appear in the text entry field at the bottom of the Chat tab. Type a response there and click Send

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Notifications
When you're following a customer record, vehicle record, or deal and there is any activity on that item, you will be notified in the Notifications tab of the Collaboration Panel. If your Collaboration Panel is closed, you'll be alerted to a waiting notification by a red left-pointing Collaboration Panel caret  in the upper-right corner of the screen. To view the notifications, follow these steps:

Step 1. Click the red left-pointing Collaboration Panel caret to open the panel. 

Step 2. An alert symbol will appear on the Notifications tab. It will contain the number of notifications waiting for your attention. Click on the Notifications tab to view the list of notifications. 

Step 3. Notifications are organized by system application. A heading with the application name will appear above the notifications for that app. You'll also notice a grouping labeled "Autosoft" containing any system notifications. You can collapse a grouping or expand it by clicking the blue caret to the left of the grouping header to view all the notifications. 

Step 4. You can view the notification message directly in the Notifications tab. However, if you want to view the business item related to the notification, hover over the notification and click the pop-up icon that appears. This will open the item in a new browser tab.

Along with the pop-up icon, a variety of other options are available to you when you hover over the notification message, allowing you to perform a number of operations directly from the Notification tab. You can flag the item as a favorite using the Favorite star icon or share it with a colleague using the Share icon.

Step 5. When you're done reading the message and performing any additional activities using the icons that appear when you hover over the message, click the X button from the hover options to close the message. 

To learn how to tailor your notification settings, read the Knowledge Base article, "Establishing Notification Settings." 

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Screen Sharing
The Autosoft system makes collaboration easy. If you need to share what you're working on with a colleague to get their input or more information, you'll simply use the Share icon at the top of the page. 

Step 1. While on the page or screen you want to share, click the Share icon  at the upper-left corner of the page. 

Step 2. The Collaboration Panel will open to the Chat tab on the right side of the screen.

The URL for the page you want to share will appear in the text entry field at the bottom of the Chat panel.

 

Use the Select User field at the top of the Chat panel to type the name of the colleague with whom you want to share the page. As you type the user's name, a list of users matching what you've typed will pop up. You can click on the user from the list.

Step 3. The Start Chat button at the bottom of the Chat panel will now be active. Click Start Chat, and the page link will be sent to the user you selected. The user will be notified that they have a Chat message waiting.

Step 4. You may want to enter an additional message in the text entry field to clarify why you've sent them the page. Click Send. When the user you've messaged responds, you'll be notified.

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