Channel | Meet the Executive

An Interview with Kelly Price

By: Staff Writer

An Interview with Kelly Price

When you talk to Kelly Price, it is immediately evident that she truly cares about people. Price says keeping things personal as well as professional, acknowledging the hard work of agents and their dealers and focusing on clear communication all lay the foundation for a successful business. Though the company has grown year-over-year with some of the largest agencies in the country, Price is very proud of the fact that at National Automotive Experts (NAE), they don’t have hundreds of agents out marketing their products. “We have dedicated agencies that allow us to help them grow and we are committed to their success.  We love sitting next to them in the dealership to help them obtain, retain and service their business. Selling the car is only the beginning. Keeping the customer for life is the goal.”

There is a lot going on lately at NAE. Price says they are looking forward to several new initiatives in the next six months related to technology, product growth and more. She is also very excited about their new 56,000 square foot building that is being remodeled. The company will move in the fourth quarter of 2014. The new building will allow for a 4,000 square foot state-of-the-art training center, which will be used for F&I and sales training. In addition, they plan to make the space available for hosting community events. “In the past year,” adds Price, “we launched the RV Warranty Forever™ program, which has been a huge success. We will also be launching our new Shortfall™ program in October. If you ask our agents, probably our biggest development is the ability to create and launch a program that they bring to us, giving them the ability to meet the dealers’ needs and wants.”

Industry Roots

Price was raised on an RV lot and says she always loved the atmosphere. When she started selling cars, she quickly realized her infatuation was with the finance office and reinsurance. “What was lacking at the time in our dealerships was communication and customer service with our provider. I knew there had to be a better way to communicate and provide excellent customer service with full disclosure – not trying to figure out what was under the rock – and take care of the end user, the contract holder.” Price says she was lucky to learn from several solid industry icons. She took what they taught her and applied it to develop valuable products and top-notch administrative services.

Family

Those who know Price know work is her life. “I love what I do,” she says, “I love being available to my team and our agency and dealership clients.” When she is at home, she enjoys spending time with family – attending her younger son’s baseball and basketball games and watching her older son’s theater productions. He is a set designer and technical director at his college. Price says she is fortunate to have a family who understands that what she does at the office allows them to be able to support charities as well as the families of those she employs. Price describes her husband as “totally amazing” and “one of the most supportive and loving people” she knows. “He never questions when I have to work and often makes sure that my coffee and breakfast are ready to go in the morning.” She and her husband enjoy being together at what she says is their “favorite place on earth,” the Chautauqua Institution – a 750-acre summer community located in southwestern New York on Chautauqua Lake.  “We go there any chance we get…it is perfect since it is only two hours from our house!”

Price says the driving force behind all of her hard work is supporting the Cleveland Christian Home – a haven of hope and healing for children, youth and families struggling with mental illness, abuse and neglect. It is a charity that both Price’s family and company are very much involved with. “Without a supportive family like I have, none of this would be possible,” says Price, “And of course, God is the true gift in our lives.”

Industry Issues and the Secret to Success

Striking a balance between regulation and allowing the freedom simply to do business is an issue that Price thinks the industry has to deal with before it becomes too costly. “I think regulation is good, but it is getting to be a full time job,” says Price, “I understand that the industry has caused some of its own pain, but realistically, it is a few bad apples that have hurt us all. One of the biggest causes of concern that I hear from our agents is about banks and manufacturers that continue to tie unit allocation and other incentives to the offering of their products. I think this is what the regulators should be looking at.”

Price describes the way to succeed as service, service, service. She says you have to dig in and make sure your dealers are getting the best service possible. “Pay attention to your clients, make sure their needs are met and that you are continually looking for products and companies that do what they say, when they say. Watch for hidden agendas and fees. Some things look great on the surface until you pull away the layers.”

Genuine appreciation and gratitude are both characteristics that Price exudes when talking about the individuals who make up NAE. Price says she is grateful for her employees’ unparalleled dedication to the company culture and mission. “They make sure our customers are happy. I would like to thank our 95-plus employees and everyone who has supported us and has helped make us one of the fastest growing companies in the industry. Without them, none of this is possible.”

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