Tag Archive | "Agent Summit"

Crisorio to Head Agent Summit Advisory Board

LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the fifth annual Agent Summit have announced that Randy Crisorio, president and CEO of United Development Systems Inc., has been tapped to head the event’s advisory board for a third consecutive year. The 2015 event will be held March 2–4 at the Venetian Palazzo Las Vegas.

Crisorio will be tasked with assembling and leading the board, which has traditionally been comprised of general agents and leading product providers and reinsurance executives.

“We will stand by our mantra of building a show exclusively for agents, by agents, and Randy is perfectly suited to the task,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur and F&I and Showroom. “He has been a steadfast supporter of the event from its inception, and we expect him to help maintain an unprecedented level of success and growth.”

The agenda set forth by the 2014 advisory board featured an emphasis on reinsurance opportunities for agents as well as sessions on agency and income development and was widely praised by attendees. That event drew more than 800 agents, speakers and exhibitors, demonstrating exponential growth in the four years since the inaugural event drew 150 attendees in 2011.

For more information about Agent Summit 2015 visit AgentSummit.com. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact Eric Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 727-612-8826.

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Training for Growth

On Monday, March 10, day one of the fourth annual Agent Summit concluded with “Training for Growth,” a panel discussion led by Lyle King. King is a founding partner with Forth Worth, Texas-based Auto Group Services. He started the discussion by assuring the crowd that the panel would not discuss “basic training,” choosing instead to focus on topics that would help attending agents bring value to their dealerships.

“If you are in the agency business, you are engaged, in one way or the other, with F&I training,” King said. “Whether it’s in the classroom, in the dealership, in the hotel next door to the dealership … it’s a basic tenet of what we do.”

King was joined by Craig Almon, a partner with PRO Consulting LLC in Tukwila, Wash.; Mike Marchione, the Washington, D.C.-based corporate director of training and development for Interstate National Dealer Services; Tony Troussov, director of training for Automotive Development Group (ADG) in Bloomington, Minnesota; and Chad White, national training director for Lee’s Summit, Missouri-based Mechanical Breakdown Protection Inc. (MBPI).

Management Training

King started the conversation by addressing an often-ignored facet of dealership development: participation from middle management; specifically, sales managers, general sales managers and F&I directors.

White stated that, as the market began to recover, mid-level managers complained about their struggles to hire and retain talented salespeople. White said he took that as a challenge and began to focus on teaching managers how to find and keep their best producers. “Dealers talk about ‘customers for life,’ and I think if we focus on getting managers to retain their best people, ‘employees for life’ falls under that as well. … We’re getting more deals back to F&I because we’re selling more cars.”

Marchione identified a systemic problem: Dealers send salespeople to sales training and F&I managers often attend F&I school; both groups are more likely to be sent to training in the early stages of their careers. When they become managers, their own education often stops, and they find themselves managing groups of students — but not their own students.

“At the end of the day, if they don’t understand and have not been exposed to the process we just trained their salespeople or their F&I folks on, how do they coach and counsel, and how do they police those activities on a go-forward basis?” Marchione asked. “The sales manager, the GSM [and] the GM ultimately become the trainers when we leave. … The more training you have at a dealership, the more tenured people you will have, because they feel that their employer is making an investment in their growth and their success.”

Almon agreed, noting that dealers trust proven processes but often lack the tools to reinforce them. By involving managers in sales and F&I training, he said, agents can help them prepare their staff to respond properly to customers’ objections. “You like to hope that, once you train them, well, that’s it; they’re good to go. The reality is, there’s an instantaneous disconnect, usually at the first ‘No’ if they’re in F&I. In the sales process, it’s the customer who says, ‘I don’t have time’ for a test drive or the walkaround … That’s a key component to the big fix.”

Troussov added that service managers should be involved in training as well. Dealers are increasingly dependent upon revenue from fixed operations, and Troussov believes the same disconnect between staff and managers is prevalent in that department as well — and some dealers simply don’t invest in that type of training. “There’s this big gap of actual sales process training. There is definitely an opportunity [for] agents or trainers to step in and be of value to the dealer,” he said.

White recalled a meeting with a dealer and mid-level manager that took place in the week prior to Agent Summit. After deciding on a steps-to-the-sale process, the trio created a self-assessment sheet. “I’ve had a lot of luck with this, because … when they don’t sell a car, too many times, they leave and they don’t learn from it. It allows the salesperson to assess themselves and to take it back to that mid-level manager for a great one-on-one conversation.”

Troussov advised agents to develop recruiting and hiring training for mid-level managers as well as a written “onboarding” process for new hires. “What are we doing to help our dealers change that trend and be more effective in retaining the best talent?” he asked.

Marchione challenged agents to attend training themselves. “Most dealers don’t sign up because the product is better. They’re buying your experience [and] your ability to help grow their business. I would have you all ask yourselves, ‘When was the last time I sat through training? Is there a new slice of bread out there that I haven’t heard of?’ You gotta do your homework to role-play through presentations better than anyone at that store,” he said.

Delivery Systems

King asked the panel to list effective methods for delivering training, listing in-dealership and offsite sessions as examples. Almon said that, no matter the method of reinforcement, “it’s got to start face-to-face and one-on-one.” Marchione stressed the need to teach more than the process and emphasize the psychology behind each step, especially in off-site training, noting that helping students understand why a process works helps the training stick. “If they buy into the ‘Why’ … they’re more likely to go back to the dealership and utilize it.”

“The classroom is important. I think it has to be engaging and it has to be what we call ‘scrimmaging’ rather than role-playing, where people actually practice and work with each other and learn from each other,” Troussov said. “But, ultimately, it’s still that one-on-one involvement and follow-up coaching and training at the dealership.”

White shared a trick for getting managers involved in the reinforcement phase. “We have them write down all their salespeople’s names. I know that seems real simple, but you’ll be surprised. Sometimes those managers will say, ‘What’s that one guy – the goofball – what’s his name?’ It happens. And go a step further. Have them write down personal things they know about that person … Wife’s name, kids’ names, ages, because if they don’t know their people, and can’t understand their people, they can’t motivate those people.” Whether in sales or F&I, he added, training must be ongoing to be effective. “Whether we’re in the stores working with people or in the classrooms or in the online videos, we have to follow up.”

Marchione said he prefers live, offsite events in which trainees are away from the dealership and can absorb the information, role-play and review videos without distractions. “The question then becomes, ‘What type of video training do we use on a daily basis back at the dealership?’ … It can be on-demand-type training and it can be at the dealerships, if you do it weekly or monthly … But really, there’s no medium that you couldn’t use to do training. I think the disconnect is always that there’s no accountability.”

“So if a live event is our preferred method, how can we work video into how we deliver training?” King asked.

“It is very difficult, if not impossible, to keep their attention on the task at hand, which is learning, because there are all kinds of distractions,” Marchione said. “I think that if you’re logistically challenged with dealers agreeing to send their people away — and we recognize that can be a challenge — you want to say, ‘Mr. Dealer or Mrs. Dealer, why don’t you let me take the next day and half and work with so-and-so and so-and-so in a back room somewhere and there will be no distractions whatsoever. They’re mine for the next day and a half.’ … And videotape them while they’re going through each stage in the process.”

Game Film

The conversation then turned to video training and whether dealers should record every actual F&I transaction and archive the recordings. Troussov said he was working as an F&I manager in 2002 when his Minneapolis-based dealer group began recording his meetings with customers.

“I tell you, I fought that tooth and nail,” Troussov said. “Being a finance guy, I don’t want anybody to see what I’m doing, you know, get my magic.” The turning point came, he said, when he realized that the recordings were to his benefit, because customers were unable to claim he or his colleagues had misled them. “During my time with that dealer group, I can tell you that on many occasions, [the recordings] actually saved those dealerships a lot of money.”

Marchione said there is “zero value” to F&I recordings that are archived but not reviewed. “If they’re watching them on a regular basis, both from a compliance standpoint and a skill set-growth standpoint, coaching and counseling, using the videos is a powerful tool.”

“We utilize it specifically as game film,” Almon said. “If you have a dealer group with multiple F&I people, pull everybody together, and then ask for a best and worst video for each finance manager.” He recalled one “best video” in which a customer blanched at a monthly payment inflated by the addition of several F&I products. The finance manager offered to recalculate the payment with an additional $2,500 down, and the customer agreed. “If you’re going to talk development, straight development, in any context — even in your golf game — then videotape is key,” Almon said.

When he worked in retail, White said his employers introduced DMS-integrated video recording, a move that caused dissention in the ranks. “We lost a lot of employees. I mean, people quit. They didn’t want to be videotaped. We stepped back and looked at that and realized those were probably not the people we wanted in that F&I office.”

Ultimately, White said, the risks were outweighed by the benefits, including a pronounced effect on training. Today, White said he reviews videos before visiting clients. He said that it helps him to engage in more effective “target training.” However, he warned, recordings could become a liability for dealers who haven’t invested in a robust compliance program. “If you don’t have those things in place … I would probably tell you not to record.”

Accountability and Desire

Marchione said that when properly utilized, video helps promote accountability among managers and staff. But he reiterated that agents themselves must be accountable as well. They need to know the presentations better than anyone so that when they point out weak spots in the video presentation, they can then turn around and role-play what it should sound like.

White said he is working with a 20-store dealer group that doubled their dollar per copy after sending their F&I team to offsite training and adding cameras. “If sports teams analyze game film to get better, why wouldn’t we want to analyze what we’re doing to get better?” he asked. “If you’ve got good training and you get the guys that buy into it, it’s … helping our dealers be more profitable. And they need those profits nowadays, obviously, more than ever.”

Almon brought up “The Challenger Sale” (Penguin, 2012) by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. Almon said the authors theorized that, after the Great Recession, in business partnerships, “relationship became less important than results.” He said that, in recent years, his company has earned appointments and conquest business because “we could bring the rain. We could make it happen. The overarching theme of training in general, is teaching. And teaching gets people to a level of belief that then creates the next connection to desire.” He asked the agents in the crowd to think about the best finance manager they had ever worked with and ask themselves what set that person apart.

“Some of it is force of personality,” Almon said. “Most of it is tenacity, and really, for all intents and purposes, they’re just not going to be denied. It’s that person that says, ‘Tell me what I can do better.’” He said the economic downturn forced the entire industry to think in terms of dollars and cents and applied that to his initial-training strategy. “I usually start a training class by saying something like this: ‘What kind of guy are you?’ … And they say, ‘What do you mean?’ And I convert that into, ‘Are you a $30 an hour guy? A $40? A $50?’ If you don’t know, $50 an hour is roughly $100,000 a year. ‘Are you a $100 an hour guy, a $200, a $300?’ Think about it in terms of yourselves. Where are you at in relationship to your time? … If you’re not thinking $500 an hour, go rethink it. … I’ve found that it’s the beginning of that thought process that puts people on the path,— and I believe wholeheartedly — of wanting to know how to get better. And without the want-to, the how-to doesn’t matter.”

With time waning, King asked the crowd if they had any questions for the panel. A gentleman in the audience came forward. After commending the panel for a “great job,” he offered his own take on training and accountability.

“You were asking the question earlier about how can we use the technology [in] training the people today. As they mentioned, the weakest link in every dealership is middle management. You send the salespeople to training, they come back, and the first thing the sales manager says is, ‘Man, you don’t need to be doing any of that. Sell some cars.’

“The problem with most managers is, they make it about them, not their salespeople. If you’re going to become a great leader, and a great manager, the first thing you gotta do is make it about their benefit, not yours. Do you all agree with that?” The members of the panel nodded in agreement. “So the way you use the technology, from my experience, sit there with your salespeople … Play that DVD for 10 minutes, stop it, find out what they’ve learned from it, and rehearse and practice, rehearse and practice. Just like the gentleman said, if you’re going to train your salespeople, you’d better be better than any of them. If you’re going to ask them to get uncomfortable in front of the customer, you need to get uncomfortable as a manager. Yet 85% of the managers out there think their job is penciling a car deal. It’s nothing about leadership. So it was a great panel.”

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Save the Date for Agent Summit 2015

LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the annual Agent Summit have announced that next year’s event has been scheduled for March 2–4, 2015. For the first time since 2012, Agent Summit will be held at a new venue: The Venetian Palazzo Las Vegas.

David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur, said the move to a larger venue was inevitable. “We will always remember Caesars Palace as our home for the three years in which Agent Summit grew from a small conference to a grand event,” he said. “In 2015, we will pen the next chapter with a significantly larger footprint and new facilities, restaurants and shops for attendees to explore.”

The event reached new heights in March, when nearly 800 agents, speakers and exhibitors attended Agent Summit IV. The agenda stretched across three days and included groundbreaking sessions on reinsurance, getting dealer appointments, captive coercion, recruiting quality staff, exit strategies and estate planning, and model partnerships.

To learn more about this year’s show, including highlights, an attendee list and more, visit AgentSummit.com. For more information about the 2015 event, including sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact Eric Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 727-612-8826.

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Agent Summit 2014 Wrap Up

The fourth annual Agent Summit was a huge success. The number of attendees increased from 550 in 2013 to just below 800 this year. Top agents from across the country came together to learn and discuss the topics that matter most to them. Thanks to 79 sponsors, attendees enjoyed world-class meals, desserts, beverages and great giveaways throughout the show. Sixty-nine exhibitors filled the exhibition hall and offered a wealth of information on the services and opportunities they provide. Networking opportunities abounded as attendees took advantage of seeing clients face-to-face at the show.

Early arrivers were welcomed Sunday evening with cocktails and cigars on the patio, sponsored by F&I Administration, as they registered early for the show. The next morning, the Participation and Reinsurance Symposium began with briefings from seven companies, each detailing their offerings.

This was followed by the Blue Ribbon Insurance Panel with Bill Kelly, partner, Automotive Development Group moderating. Panelists engaged in a lively discussion on personal wealth building and discussed various court cases, including the Rent-A-Center case that shaped reinsurance. Panelists included Mark Genova, partner, Reinsurance Associates; David Kaseff, C.P.A., J.D., partner, MarksNelson; Alan Markowitz, Esq., Law office of Alan Markowitz; and Greg Petrowski, partner, GPW and Associates. During the session, Petrowski shed light on the real reasons for basing a business in the Turks and Caicos, such as having the right level of regulatory scrutiny, more affordable capitalization cost and reasonable annual operating costs.

Competitive Targets followed, with Steve Pearl, president and managing principal, The Oak Group, moderating. Panelists included Bruce Osborne, national sales manager, Allstate Dealer Services; Randall Rabbit, national sales director/executive vice president, United States Warranty Corp.; and Jay Sharpnack, national sales manager, CNA Warranty Corp. Each panelist shared tips for agents to differentiate themselves and come out on top when dealing with the competitive programs of their opponents. Rabbit explained that an agent could shine by fully explaining the wide range of reinsurance options and programs available to a dealer, rather than putting them in the program best suited for the provider; the best program for a dealer nearing retirement would be very different from one geared toward a dealer looking to expand. “It’s an alphabet soup out there and dealers don’t always understand all that is involved,” said Rabbit.

After a lunch on the patio, sponsored by GSFS Group, the Agent Summit conference was launched with a welcoming address from Show Chair Randy Crisorio, president and CEO, United Development Systems Inc. Glen Tuscan, president, Dealer Commitment Services delivered the opening keynote address that focused on underdog agents – how they have survived and are thriving in today’s industry.

A panel session showcasing technology was next, moderated by Johnny Garlich, president, Heart Dealer Financial Services. Panelists Brent Allen, COO and President, StoneEagle; Brian Reed, president and CEO, F&I Express; and David Trinder, CEO, F&I Administration Solutions and Matt Nowicki, vice president of retail software, IAS; shared their differing perspectives on where the industry is headed in terms of incorporating technology in the F&I office. Reed commented on the ever-increasing number of electronic F&I products, stating, “it’s not where the industry is going, we’re there now and everyone needs to get on board!”

The next panel session focused on hiring, training, motivating and retaining top people. Lyle King, partner, Auto Group Services, moderated the four member panel, including Craig Almon, partner, PRO Consulting LLC; Mike Marchione, corporate director of training and development, Interstate National Dealer Services; Tony Troussov, director of training, Automotive Development Group; and Chad White, national training director, Mechanical Breakdown Protection Inc, and partner, Ace/Automotive Training Concepts. To sum up the session, White commented, “2014 and beyond is time to refocus and invest in our most important asset, which is our people.”

Day one concluded with attendees in good spirits as they congregated in the Expo Hall for the opening day reception courtesy of AUL.

A breakfast, thanks to ECP, jump started day two of Agent Summit. Doug Herberger, president, Allstate Dealer Services opened the morning with his keynote address, detailing his experience of the turnaround of his company. “Accountability, velocity and productivity,” he expounded, are the keys to a turning a business around.

Next, Steve Richard, cofounder and chief content officer, Vorsight, gave a presentation on getting dealer appointments. Richard’s company is one of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in America and he was named one of the 25 most Influential People in Inside Sales. Richard asked the audience to rate their greatest challenges in getting dealer appointments. Attendees texted their responses in real-time as they participated in a live survey and watched as results were displayed for the audience to see. The top audience survey response was “getting past the gatekeepers.” Richard offered many practical tips then modeled how to deal with this frustration. Using leads from the audience, he demonstrated the process of getting a face-to-face meeting with a dealer by making live phone calls. During his presentation, he introduced Professor Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize Winner and author of the award-winning book, Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow. Richard related Kahneman’s research on the psychology behind decision making to the sales process.

Next on the agenda was Captive Coercion featuring Tom O’Neil, O’Neil Financial Services Agency, Inc. O’Neil shed light on the story behind banks tying their loans to specific products and how to combat this frustrating process. O’Neil walked the audience through various lawsuits he was involved in and had won against big banks. He gave insights into the tricky tactics commonly used by large banks to bleed out their opponent in a lawsuit, leaving attendees armed and ready to take a stand with valuable information about the legal process.

This was followed by a buffet lunch provided by Performance Automotive Management where Old Republic Insured Automotive Services (ORIAS) gave away two iPad Airs and a fishing trip. After lunch, everyone headed to a workshop on Enterprise Building through Reinsurance where Steve Burke, CEO, Portfolio gave practical, in-depth advice. He touched on various structures and how they work, tax minimization, profits and why all of it matters. Burke detailed the “tools to excel at building the value of an agency, not just the revenue it creates.”

The State of Compliance was next, as Brian T. Casey, partner, Locke Lord LLC looked at the regulatory environment in today’s industry and gave an insiders view of the CFPB and the latest information straight out of Washington. “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is an important, aggressive Dodd Frank Act spawned federal regulator with a broad array of powers to enforce consumer financial products protection laws,” said Casey, “The CFPB has already demonstrated its keen interest in the auto finance and insurance and debtor protection products offered by lenders or by other product providers through the auto lending channel. Sellers and obligors under vehicle service contracts, extended warranties and GAP waivers must understand the reach of the CFPB into their businesses and take appropriate steps to avoid any compliance gaps in laws enforced by the CFPB.”

Eric Winegardner, vice president of client adoption, Monster Worldwide led the next workshop on recruiting quality staff. He offered a fresh perspective on what to look for when hiring, how much untapped talent is out there – and gave advice on how to find it for your company. Today’s job market is different that any other time in history, and Winegardner showed attendees how to embrace the new market and take advantage of all its offerings when searching for quality staff.

Day two concluded with a reception in the Expo Area, provided by F&I Express, where attendees met for drinks to discuss the topics of the day. Evenings were filled with dinners, gambling and shows as everyone enjoyed the Vegas nightlife.

Day three was a new addition this year for agency principals only and was well received. The audience was engaged, and everyone had a lot to say during this special morning designed just for agency principals. After breakfast, provided by E-Credit Express, John Braganini, principal, Great Lakes Companies, moderated the first session on the challenges and opportunities of leasing. Rob Glander, CEO and president, GWC Warranty; Jeff Jagoe, senior vice president sales and marketing, IAS; Rick Meinke, national sales manager, ECP; Kelly Price, president, National Automotive Experts; and Jeff Teuscher, vice president of sales, AAGI, served as panelists. Discussion topics ranged from leasing statistics to turning disadvantages of leasing products into advantages, high-appeal products for leasing, the importance of F&I training and changing dealers’ perception when it comes to making a profit on lease deals and higher mileage vehicles.

Chicago Attorney, Jim Duggan, M.B.A., J.D. led a discussion on exit strategies, estate planning and taxes. He offered insightful guidance on wealth management and the creation and options of establishing trusts. Dugan directed attendees to take notice of their advisor’s approach stating, “A practical and cost- minimization effective combination of a buy-sell agreement, living trust, limited liability company, and corporate and individual succession plans can help all entrepreneurs tame the planning beast. Ensure your professional advisors are pursuing an integrated planning approach to achieve your optimal structure during your lifetime and beyond.”

According to many, the best was saved for last, as Mike Conley, CEO, Conley Insurance Group, moderated the final panel discussion of the conference; Model Partnerships. Agents Robert L. Volatile, president and CEO, Northeast Dealer Services and Mike Rosenberg, president, Rosenberg & Associates, faced off against providers, Kevin Hausch, division vice president, Protective Asset Protection; and Tony Wanderon, CEO, NAC; as the heated debate began. With strong opinions shared by the panel as well as from the audience, everyone was on the edge of their seats for this one. It was a great session as all sides candidly shared strongly held views. Following the session, Conley stated, “While many of us in this room are competitors, I am always amazed at the mutual respect and admiration that is shared. The relationship between the agent and the company is often complicated by channel conflicts and production expectations. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that must be nourished through openness, trust and honesty. The Agent Summit has given us an excellent opportunity to come together as one group and discuss our expectations with our vendor partners.”

Crisorio closed the conference, thanking all those who had worked hard to make the show happen; Bobbit Media, the Gesualdo team, the panelists and moderators and the Advisory Board who planned the sessions. Throughout the morning, Entire Car Protection (ECP) gave away a Tissot Sea-Touch Dive Watch and a Luminox Travel Alarm Clock to lucky winners. The final ECP giveaway – a Rolex Datejust II – was announced at the conclusion of the session. Readers can look forward to learning more about the sessions in upcoming publications, as selected presenters submit articles detailing the content of their session.

When asked about the show, Crisorio, stated, “I can’t begin to express how pleased I am with both the attendance totaling some 796 industry participants and the professionalism delivered through panels and workshops. Agent Summit IV will be remembered for a significant elevation in important topical presentations that Agents can take back home and put to use immediately. I think it’s about recognizing opportunity and then moving to cash in!”

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Advisory Board Seeks Agent Input for Workshops, Panels and Presenters

LAS VEGAS – Planning is well underway for the fourth annual Agent Summit, which will be held March 10-12 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. After setting new records with more than 550 attendees in 2013, all those involved are looking forward to Agent Summit 2014.

David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur and F&I and Showroom said, “With each consecutive year, the conference has more to offer. The advisory board does a superb job of creating an agenda that gives agents information and resources they need to be profitable and successful. It is an event you don’t want to miss.”

The 2014 agenda will be featuring Glen Tuscan, president, Dealer Commitment Services Inc., as keynote speaker. His topic will be on “Underdog Independent Agents Survive and Thrive in 2014.” Doug Herberger, president, Allstate Dealer Services, will also be a keynote speaker; his topic will be on “The Anatomy of a Turnaround and Sustainability.”

“This year’s Agent Summit is shaping up in spectacular fashion,” said Randy Crisorio, advisory board chair. “As the planning is rapidly underway, we would like to hear from industry veterans and providers alike. NOW is the time. Please get involved, and forward any and all ideas for Workshops, Panels and Presenters to me at email hidden; JavaScript is required. On behalf of the Advisory Board, we thank you in advance for your input to what will be the most important agent event of the year.”

Agent Summit 2014 is scheduled for March 10-12 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. For information about exhibition or sponsorship opportunities, contact Eric Gesualdo at 727-612-8826.

Click Here to Register Now!

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What If?

At the main keynote session given at yesterday’s Agent Summit in Las Vegas, celebrity musician and motivational speaker Mike Rayburn entertained the attendees, but also imparted a bit of wisdom that was repeated throughout the rest of the sessions. It was a simple question: What if?

Rayburn challenged attendees to break themselves out of their self-imposed mental boxes by asking that simple question. It doesn’t matter if it’s impossible, the challenge is to ask the question. What if we could build our ultimate F&I product? What would it look like? What would it do? As an agent, what if you could create the ultimate perfect portfolio? What would you want it to have? What if you could quadruple your sales? How would you do it? What if?

That idea was echoed the rest of the day, as speakers one after the other deviated from their planned talks to ask that same question. They challenged the packed rooms again and again to go beyond where they are today – even if where they are is profitable right now. The trick that Rayburn proposed, and others agreed with was simple – if you start off by imposing limits on yourself or your organization, then you are setting yourself up to be stuck in that same place. But by stepping outside of the comfort zone and forcing yourself, your team or your entire organization to dream big, then you have the start of real growth and innovation.

Rayburn took that concept one further, and challenged everyone to not just ask the question, but to come up with a goal that, right now, seems impossible. Set the bar so high, everyone you tell about it thinks that you’re a little crazy. Then ask – how would I get there? And start trying to achieve it. You might not reach it, and the odds are good it will change as you move forward, but, he again stressed, if you aren’t aiming high, then you won’t reach your full potential.

It was a powerful keynote that resonated with many in the crowd, and left a lasting impression. And it was just one of the many great sessions the show has had to offer so far. We’ll have more information in the coming issues, including a lot of great information from the speakers themselves on the topics they covered, but for now, I leave you with the thought that has inspired many in attendance in Las Vegas this week: What if?

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