Tag Archive | "Agent Summit"

Agent Summit Advisory Board Announced

LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the annual Agent Summit have released the names of the advisory board for the 2016 event, which is scheduled for May 9–11 at the Venetian Palazzo Las Vegas.

“The board was assembled utilizing the four past Agent Summit Keynoters and two Provider members that are expected to drive some fresh ideas,” said Randy Crisorio, president and CEO of United Development Systems Inc. (UDS), who will serve as advisory board chair for the fourth consecutive year. “When I reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish in quality and participation, I’m as excited as ever to get Agent Summit VI in the fast lane.”

Crisorio will be joined by John Braganini, principal of Great Lakes Companies; Larry Dorfman, CEO of EasyCare; Eric Fifield, EFG Companies’ vice president of agency services; Joel Kansanback, president of Automotive Development Group (ADG); and Glen Tuscan, president of Dealer Commitment Services Inc.

In the coming weeks, the board will convene to discuss topics of importance to agents and agency heads and craft an agenda for the three-day event.

“In attempting to meet and exceed the quality of agendas past, Randy and his team have their work cut out for them,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur and F&I and Showroom magazines. “Luckily for everyone involved, they are perfectly suited to the task.”

Registration for Agent Summit 2016 is open at the event’s website as well as by phone, fax and email. Attendees who register by April 4 will enjoy a $100 discount. To inquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact Eric Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 727-612-8826.

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Harkins to Ringmaster Agent Summit 2016

LAS VEGAS — Organizers of Agent Summit have announced that American Guardian Warranty Services Inc. (AGWS)’s Robert Harkins will serve as master of ceremonies for the event, which will be held May 9–11 at the Venetian Palazzo Las Vegas.

David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur and F&I and Showroom magazines, said Harkins was a “known quantity” based on past performances at Agent Summit and other events.

“With boundless enthusiasm, industry knowledge and genuine class, Bob is a ringmaster extraordinaire,” Gesualdo said. “He makes a very difficult task look easy.”

Harkins serves as vice president of training for AGWS, the company he joined last year after more than 25 years in the consumer finance industry. A highly sought-after speaker, Harkins has become a fixture at automotive industry conferences, including Compliance Summit, a series of regional events dedicated to sustainable front-end operations.

“Six years in and going strong, Agent Summit has established itself as an event to be reckoned with,” Harkins said. “I’m excited to serve as emcee and I look forward to seeing everyone in Vegas!”

Registration for Agent Summit 2016 is open at the event’s website as well as by phone, fax and email. Those who register by April 4 will enjoy a $100 discount.

To inquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact Eric Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 727-612-8826.

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Crisorio to Steer Agent Summit Advisory Board

LAS VEGAS — Organizers of Agent Summit have announced that United Development Systems Inc. (UDS)’s Randy Crisorio will chair the event’s advisory board for the fourth straight year. This year’s conference is scheduled for May 9–11 at the Venetian Palazzo Las Vegas.

“Randy has been an earnest supporter of Agent Summit from Day One, and his leadership has consistently produced comprehensive and hard-hitting agendas,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur and F&I and Showroom magazines. “We can’t wait to see what his team comes up with this year.”

Crisorio serves as president and CEO of UDS, the Clearwater, Fla.-based agency and F&I training provider he founded in 1982. As in years past, he will be tasked with assembling the Agent Summit advisory board and building an agenda focused on the business development and educational needs of independent general agents and agency heads.

“Each year, the board works hard to ‘one-up’ the previous year, and the feedback we receive each summit grows in confidence and strength, making this year a serious challenge,” Crisorio said. “Yet given the power of an outstanding automotive market, attendance is again expected to outpace, and I have a vision of 1,200-plus for 2016. The greatest content yet is being assembled right now! See you there.”

Registration for Agent Summit 2016 is open online as well as by phone, fax and email. Those who register by April 4 will enjoy a $100 discount. To inquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact Eric Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 727-612-8826.

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Dave Anderson to Bring Leadership Training to Agent Summit

LAS VEGAS — Leadership expert Dave Anderson has agreed to deliver a motivational keynote address at Agent Summit, courtesy of EasyCare, organizers said Tuesday. The event will be held May 9–11, 2016, at the Venetian Palazzo Las Vegas.

“We are excited to share Dave Anderson with all of the participants at Agent Summit,” said Larry Dorfman, CEO of Automobile Protection Corp. (APCO), home of the EasyCare brand. “His leadership and accountability teachings have been instrumental in the record growth of EasyCare over the past few years, and we know that everyone he touches with his powerful message will have a chance to be more successful if they apply it to their businesses and their lives.”

Anderson is the founder and president of LearnToLead, an Agoura Hills, Calif.-based sales and leadership development provider, and an automotive retail veteran. He is the author of 13 books and has contributed publications within and outside the auto industry, including The Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report, and has delivered more than 1,000 workshops and speeches in 16 countries over the past decade.

“Vision without strategy is hallucination, and strategy without execution brings exasperation,” Anderson said. “Thus, I’m excited to share an incredible five-step process for exponentially increasing your business results with my ‘How to Master the Art of Execution’ presentation at Agent Summit in Las Vegas!”

Registration is open at the event’s website as well as by phone, fax and email. Attendees who register by April 4 will enjoy a $100 discount.

To inquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities at Agent Summit 2016, contact Eric Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 727-612-8826.

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Registration Open for Agent Summit 2016

LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the sixth annual Agent Summit have announced that registration is now open for the event, which will be held May 9–11, 2016, at the Venetian Palazzo Las Vegas.

Citing “unprecedented demand,” show chair and Agent Entrepreneur publisher David Gesualdo said all of the exhibit space and most of the sponsorships are already sold.

“I get the sense our attendees and supporters look at the upcoming Agent Summit as a continuation of last year’s show,” Gesualdo said. “I believe it’s a symptom of the prosperity and fluidity of our industry at this time.”

The event set new records for attendance, sponsorship and exhibit space in 2015, when nearly 900 agents, agency heads, speakers and exhibitors converged on the Venetian Palazzo, which hosted Agent Summit for the first time last year.

Registration is open online as well as by phone, fax and email. Those who register by April 4 will enjoy a $100 discount.

More information about Agent Summit is available at the event’s website. To inquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact Eric Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 727-612-8826.

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An Interview with Larry Dorfman

A self-described “agent at heart,” Larry Dorfman has witnessed massive changes to the auto retail industry, particularly in the F&I segment, since he founded his company in 1984. Since then, they have helped secure the investments of more than seven million car buyers and paid out more than $3 billion in claims. We sat down with Dorfman to learn what changes lie ahead for dealers and how agents can help.

Does EasyCare have an agent network?

We actually have areas in the country where we operate directly and areas where we operate with agents. They do not cross over territories. If we have an agent committed to us, we’re committed to them and we make sure they have the opportunity to grow in their area. We really haven’t been out in the market looking for agents, but in today’s market, we believe there are areas we’re not in that have great agencies and that are solid opportunities for EasyCare.

We just started opening up territories for new agents and added two new agencies recently. Prior to that we weren’t looking for new agents and the last new agent we brought on was in 1999. Most of our agents have been here for more than 20 years. We’re handing out 20-year awards all the time now. The way we look at it is perhaps we could have been even bigger if we opened markets and let agents fight it out for dealers. But that doesn’t help protect the EasyCare brand.

Agents have the ability to change a dealer’s business. And it’s not just about F&I performance. It has to do with sales and service as well, and we deliver value-added opportunities in every area. We created “The Best Training Day Ever,” for example. We hold it just before NADA, wherever NADA is. It gives us an opportunity to give a day back to the dealers. Our agents go to their dealers and invite them. The trainers are partners of ours, and they use a virtual training platform for leadership, sales, accountability and service. Agents truly appreciate that training.

Have you attended Agent Summit?

We went to Agent Summit for the first time this year. I thought it was extremely interesting. Remember, I started as an agent. At one point we were doing 10,000 service contracts a month, but we were an agency, not an administrator. We became an administrator in 1991.

I’m an agent at heart. We built an administration company because we had three companies go out of business on us over a few years and we had to pay the claims. We decided we would rather build a bigger organization and have control of our dealer and customer experience, so we created the “EasyCare Experience” and began to totally control our own destiny.

There were some great speakers. I loved [AUL Corp.’s] Jimmy Atkinson. He did a great job and I sent him a note: “You’re really helping my organization, thank you!” I enjoyed meeting and catching up with peers in the industry. I think it’s a great event and we’ll be engaged again next year.

We look at this business not as a product company but as a business performance company. We help dealers and agents succeed. That’s what we do. Everything for us starts with the consumer. It’s more important that they get great value than anything else. Finance managers understand they’re offering something of quality.

The minute an agent is busy dealing with claims issues and problems, they’re not able to help their dealers out the way they’re supposed to. They’re not trained to figure out whether the wheel is supposed to be covered. We’re an organization that believes that the customer should believe that what they buy does what it says it does. When this happens, life is easier for everyone.

It’s clear that regulatory compliance will continue to be a major point of concern for dealers in the years ahead. What role should agents and product providers take in ensuring their dealers are maintaining a compliant F&I process?

With compliance, it is a situation where there’s no silver bullet. You can get AFIP-certified and pick up Mosaic’s compliance processes and everything else, but we’re still human beings.

The horizon is changing. You can’t look through the crystal ball. Am I concerned about aftermarket from the compliance perspective? The best thing you can do is make sure you’re compliant currently. We help our agents with a pretty comprehensive compliance training on our EasyCare Virtual Training platform that our dealers can use to assure that every employee is trained on compliance, has signed off that they were trained and the evidence they were trained is digitally memorialized. We provide this at no charge for our agents and dealers, along with a lot of other video training on the site.

A bigger issue is the compliance of the products themselves. You’ve still got administrators offering products as warranties that shouldn’t be. The administrator, the dealer and the agent are at fault. And the biggest hit is to the dealers. Some providers will literally disregard certain state statutes. They think if the state doesn’t address it specifically, you can write it any way you want to.

I can assure you that if you spray some stuff on the wheels and say it will protect them from curb damage for a year — when the material sprayed on the wheels isn’t made to prevent cosmetic damage — you are just asking for a problem when it’s finally reviewed by an insurance department.

What is a warranty and what is considered insurance? Those kinds of compliance issues are where agents can be more careful in selecting their providers and making sure the product is fully compliant before they offer it to the dealer.

And those standards vary from state to state, correct?

Yes. In one state something may be considered to be able to be offered as a warranty and in another it is required to be a VSC, or vice versa. We have eight people in our legal and compliance department who spend all day studying state and federal regulations and insurance laws. Anything we write is going to be considered compliant by the state it’s sold in at that time, and if it changes, we know it and make the changes accordingly. We’re overly cautious and conservative in the way we approach the marketplace. Some folks will say, “Let’s write a warranty on that.” And that’s all the research they did.

We operate in both the independent and the franchise dealer world. We are way more than an F&I and service contract provider these days. Our objective is to literally transform the dealership experience. We spent the last 13 years focusing on changing the experience for the customer and now will be focused on tying that to enhancing the actual dealer’s ownership experience.

One solution offered by dealers at the most recent Compliance Summit was to set fixed prices for every F&I product.

We have been proponents of one-price selling in F&I for years. We can’t force a dealer to do one price on F&I products, but here’s a simple question: Why would one customer buying a Ford F-150 buy a five-year, 30,000-mile service contract for $500 less than the next customer buying the exact same vehicle? The answer is because the second customer was willing to pay the higher price, so the finance manager went ahead and got it.

That’s the problem. That’s why we (the auto business) have the reputation we have. You will actually make more money by setting your prices and setting your margins. Menu out the contract you feel meets the driver’s needs and give them a price. If the customer needs a lower price, raise the deductible, shorten the term or shorten the coverage, or move from total coverage to stated coverage.

You can even use an electronic system that locks in the pricing and teaches people to adjust price based on adjusted value. Around 42% of our dealers are doing that now, and we’re getting a lot more going in that direction. And we’ve been working with Sonic for four years to build their One Sonic-One Experience initiative, which includes one-price F&I. They’re doing it right.

We have a long way to go. The reason Agent Summit is even there and the reason there are administrative lobbying groups is to govern ourselves. We’re part of the problem if we’re helping dealers charge all kinds of prices. Look, your goal is to give the customer a great value and the best experience you can. It can be done in a transparent way. A perfect example is selling the service contract to term of loan. That’s what F&I was taught for a long time. Why sell a 72-month contract when the customer is going to own the car for four and a half years?

I think it’s up to us to offer a compliant product and compliant pricing guidelines and train accordingly. At the end of the day, the question is, should dealers be pricing their benefits at a one-price level and holding the line on those? If they want to be able to discount, discount them all by $200. You gave everybody a consistent deal.

Last question: How do you like to spend your time off?

Well, I have a large family. I have five kids and three grandkids. Cathy, my wife who started EasyCare with me, is one of 10 kids, so there’s a lot of extended family as well. When I have time off I like to spend it with her and the kids, or our close circle of friends.

What I really love to do is listen to live music. I try to see a show every couple of weeks. We just saw Shawn Mullins, Edwin McCain and Marc Cohn. We are going to see Van Morrison in a couple of months. I like small venues where the artists get intimate with the crowd.

I actually owned a recording studio in Atlanta for 15 years. I don’t play, but I love music.

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