Tag Archive | "business"

Easycare Appoints Rob Mirra as National Director of New Business

Norcross, Ga. – EasyCare, the leading independent provider of automotive ownership benefits and dealer services that help dealers create more passionate employees and customers, has appointed Rob Mirra as National Director of New Business Opportunities. Mr. Mirra will be leading the building of new EasyCare relationships with dealerships across the nation who are interested in creating a better experience for their employees and customers, and driving more opportunity for success in every area of the dealership that touches the customer.

“Rob has a unique way about him that truly engages people. The relationships he builds last for years and we are excited to bring his special personality and talents to the EasyCare family. People engage with Rob because of his direct and honest approach, and his intense desire to help others succeed. Rob’s a perfect fit for our culture here at EasyCare” said Larry Dorfman, CEO of EasyCare.

Mirra brings with him over ten years of automotive experience. Having worked through the ranks as a sales person, F&I Manager, General Manager and owner of dealerships, he’s gained comprehensive insight into the industry on a grand scale. Prior to joining EasyCare, he was Executive Manager and Partner at Henderson Hyundai, and before that National Sales Director at Hyundai Capital America where he was primarily responsible for insurance, commercial credit and finance.

Mirra has served the public for many years as a veteran of the US Army and as a police officer for the Newport News Police Department.

“What I’m mostly excited about working at EasyCare is that we’re introducing a completely different approach to working with dealerships. Finance and insurance doesn’t start in the F&I office anymore. It starts at the first contact with the customer. Our business is more of a partnership and we help dealers engage their customers at every touch point. It’s a lot more personal,” said Mirra. “It’s important to continuously seek out new ways to fulfill the needs of our dealers and provide the most positive experience for their employees and their customers.”

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A Winning Strategy for Closing More Business

Let’s face reality. Every day, dealers are overwhelmed by salespeople pitching everything from car washes to dealer management systems. Agents selling F&I products are everywhere, in towns of all sizes, pounding on doors and offering products, training and even free money to do business with them. What sets you apart? Why should they speak with you? This could be a two-day class, but I only have 1,000 words, so let’s get right to it.

In my view, the first decision each of us in this business has to make is this: Are we providing products or solutions? It is a simple question, and most of us would say the latter. However, in many cases, when we get in front of someone, we pull out a pitch book and begin launching into features and benefits and — even more deadly — price comparisons to our competitors. We have no idea what the dealer needs or how we could help, yet we get into a pitch as though we are taking surveys at the mall. So what differentiates you from the many who fail? Here are two things you can do today:

  1. Have a plan to get the full picture of what is happening at the dealership. You should have done pre-planning and homework, maybe even a referral, and met with lower-level managers to understand what’s happening at the store, what’s working and what can improve. Where are they doing well and where are the gaps? Then your goal should be to get the dealer’s permission to do an analysis of the dealership and lay out a plan for increasing production and profitability.
  2. Training has to be a part of any real plan for change. Entire articles are written on how difficult change is (check out John Kotter material) and how hard habits are to break (just check your New Year’s resolution list). You need to be a difference-maker for your customers and create lasting, positive change that produces tangible results.

Here’s my process for accomplishing the goal of closing more dealers and increasing sales.

Pre-Call Planning

As a former sales, F&I and leadership trainer, I know that it takes hours of preparation for every hour of presentation. That’s the only way to be the best and deliver the best product to your audience. The same goes for the one to two minutes you may get in front of a dealer that will determine if you get an audience to go more in-depth. Do your homework. Start with their website, look for what type of inventory selection they have, how long they have been in business, what charities they support and so on. Google the dealer and look at the Web and news results for insight.

The measurement is this: If you stand in front of a mirror and give your two-minute elevator pitch tailored to this dealer, would you want to meet with you? And you must be ready for the reflex objections you’ll get, such as “I’m happy with my current provider.” Have at least three word-tracks prepared to deal specifically with that objection and show the dealer you’re worthy of his or her time.

Income Analysis Tool

Many providers have a tool for you to measure the productivity of a dealership and report back on the gaps and next steps for creating additional revenue by filling those gaps. Whether you call it a “profit gap analysis,” “dealership needs analysis” or something else equally witty, your first goal should be to get the dealer’s permission to meet with his team and identify the opportunities.

There will always be gaps. Why? Because no business is perfect and we all lose focus at times. So the dealer knows you’ll find areas her team should improve on. The real question is, do you have implementable answers for her store and the skills to make them happen? If not, she’ll say thanks and then take your presentation to their current provider to implement the changes needed.

Targeted Presentation

The next step is to schedule a meeting with the dealer and present your findings. This should be a presentation that leads to the two or three key findings from your analysis and your recommendations for how to fix them resulting in additional bottom-line profit to the dealer.

It’s important that the dealer sees you as a credible professional who understands and can address their needs. This comes across not only in your story but how you present your findings and by relating examples of where you have successfully implemented similar processes before. Don’t just present, ask questions, engage your audience and go deep with the dealer to gain agreement and refine your recommendations.

Close and Kickoff

Arguably, the most critical step is to kick off the new account properly. Spend the time necessary in the store so that, after the kick-off, everyone in the dealership knows you and sees you as a member of their team. Invite yourself to sales meetings, save-a-deal meetings and management meetings. Bring in some pizza after the shop closes and hold a fixed ops meeting. From service to used cars and the general office to the F&I office, you are an added value that makes all of them more effective by the skills you bring to the store.

Bringing It Home

Years ago, I was taught that there is a big difference between problems and needs: Needs require action; problems do not. There is an essential skill to transitioning a problem to a need in a dealer’s mind. For example, a problem might be slow used-car inventory turn and the cause could be the wrong or un-prepped inventory, sales staff skills, or maybe the used-car manager has a bias for sports cars in a truck market.

You must show the dealer the financial impact of where they are today, where they could be and, in many cases, what looked like a minor issue can become a need that requires action. These points may not relate directly to your product, but they can still add to your personal value proposition.

Does this approach take longer than just making a pitch? Yes and no. But I guarantee that, the better you are at presenting your unique value proposition and establishing yourself as a credible consultant, the more business you’ll close with dealers who become long-term clients.

So good selling!



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Anderson, Horsager to Deliver Agent Summit Keynotes

LAS VEGAS — Organizers of Agent Summit have confirmed that sales and leadership experts Dave Anderson and David Horsager will serve as the keynote speakers for this year’s event, which is scheduled for May 9–11, 2016, at the Venetian Palazzo Las Vegas.

“For those who have experienced Agent Summit, you know the keynote speakers are always dynamos in their field, whether it be business expertise, motivational sales tips or the like,” said Randy Crisorio, president and CEO of United Development Systems Inc. (UDS) and chair of the event’s advisory board. “This year is no exception, as we expect to raise the bar to new levels with Dave Anderson and David Horsager. I believe agents will leave these two sessions knowing the secret handshake that turns into cash!”

Anderson is the founder of LearntoLead and an auto retail veteran. His presentation, “Mastering the Art of Execution” on Tuesday, May 10, at 9:10 a.m., will be sponsored by EasyCare and GWC Warranty.

Horsager is the bestselling author of “The Trust Edge” and a nationally recognized leadership trainer. His keynote will begin at 9:10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 11, and is sponsored by Agent Entrepreneur.

To view the full Agent Summit agenda, which also includes pre-conference events and educational sessions dedicated to Technology, Compliance, Training, Coaching & Development, Profit Opportunities and Selling to Dealers, click here.

Registration, hotel and travel information for Agent Summit is available at the event’s website as well as by phone, fax and email.

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15 Ways to Get Organized

One of the things that I have personally discovered about the most successful agents is their ability to handle a variety of daily challenges, tasks, problems, issues and responsibilities, all at the same time, and still come back for more tomorrow.

This would not be possible if they lacked personal organizational skills!

I don’t wish to confuse anyone, but please keep in mind that I am not talking about time management here but personal management. What you can do in a framework of passing time is just manage all the “stuff” — decisions, problems, resources, customers, employment, successes, failures, risks, paperwork and reporting — as well as all the activities and matching issues in your personal life.

I will take this opportunity to list my Top 15 suggestions to help you improve your personal organization:

  1. Start with a written list of what you want to accomplish for a given time period.
  2. Go back through and prioritize the tasks on the list you made.
  3. Stay focused on your plan by completing each task according to its priority.
  4. Eliminate all clutter in your normal daily routines — if you have not referenced it in the last 10 days to obtain your objectives, why keep it around?
  5. Do not pursue anything on the list that you are not truly passionate about completing.
  6. Get up earlier and go to bed earlier.
  7. Organize your personal workspace — be it your desk or your vehicle — so you can be more productive.
  8. You must learn to say “No” much more often.
  9. If you catch yourself procrastinating on any task on your list, ask yourself why.
  10. Consider enlisting a mentor (or two, or three) to help you prioritize and complete tasks.
  11. When you say “Yes,” mean it.
  12. Respect and value your quality free time away from the job or assignment. Play when it is time to play and work when it is time to work, but do not mix the two.
  13. Have fun and enjoy life as well as this crazy profession you have chosen.
  14. Learn to make the client a friend. Prioritize relationships over transactions.
  15. Use all the available technology at your fingertips today as a tool, not as a crutch.

I realize No. 15 might be challenging for some. It has become much too easy to rely on technology as a sales tool to contact and reach out to new clients, maintain current and past clients, handle your sales and service issues and handle many routine daily functions. But at what cost?

In my personal opinion, business relationships, especially in our industry, are all about the basic concept of dealing one-on-one and face-to-face with people! Our clients want and need, as well as expect, that personal contact.

How often do you shoot over an email or text message instead of dialing that cell or office number and speaking to a client or friend personally?

Please understand that I am not against technology. I do believe it lets us get more done daily and is definitely faster, and I am amazed at the endless capabilities the future holds. But nothing can replace the “warm-and-fuzzies” that are created with a great smile, a firm handshake and a true sincerity to be helpful to the client — in person.

Neither the hottest new iPhone, the fastest computer nor the award-winning website can convince a client that you really do care about their success. Go ahead and label me “old school” or, better yet, “technologically challenged,” but humor me and try the following for the next 30 days and then monitor yourself:

  • Personally call one prospective client every day instead of shooting them an email.
  • Personally call one previous customer every day — not to sell them anything, but just to say “Hi” and ask how the world is treating them.
  • Personally call a relative or a close friend, just to tell them that you were thinking about them and extend warm wishes.
  • Finally, do not always assume that every client you are dealing with is as technologically advanced as you are.

Better personal organization will directly relate to improved effectiveness and increased productivity. Improved effectiveness as well as increased productivity directly relates to a more positive attitude. Positive attitude directly relates to a higher and more rewarding quality of life!

And after all, isn’t that the No. 1 priority on your written list of daily tasks to be accomplished?

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CalTex Names Senior Director of Business Development

Kerri Walker Lewis has joined CalTex in the role of Senior Director of Business Development. CalTex is focused on growth as today’s market conditions present an ideal setting for expansion. A proven industry veteran, Lewis brings extensive experience in business development, relationship management and successful sales & marketing strategies for new products and programs.

Prior to joining CalTex, she most recently held the position of Senior Vice-President of Dent Zone Companies, Inc. where she developed and managed relationships with large publics, third party administrators and OEMs.  Lewis graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University earning her degree in Business and Political Science. She is a member of Executive Connection in Dallas, Texas and serves in a number of community projects and on various boards in North Texas where she resides with her husband.

“I have the highest regard for the CalTex executive management team and the core values on which the company thrives today. This is an exciting time and I am thrilled to be working with CalTex to capitalize on opportunities in the market.”

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4 Reasons To Invest In People, Not Companies

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the entrepreneur who famously got a $2 million investment after showing a presentation about nothing. Now, the same entrepreneur, Itay Adam, has created a new model for investors that builds on the ideas he used to secure funding. The gist of it is to invest in a team — not a product, reports Forbes.

It’s a well-known practice that if you invest in a talented team and give them the freedom to create, they will be able to test, experiment and build something successful. However, Adam’s theory leverages another concept. By investing in a team and giving them the freedom to experiment with multiple concepts for a company, instead of focusing on just one, you can hedge your bets and spread the risk beyond one make-or-break idea.

Adam calls this model the StartLab.

The StartLab model focuses on angels and VCs investing in key teams of creative entrepreneurs that have the capability to produce multiple ideas for a company. To understand the benefits of investing in people over companies, you need to first understand the core components of the StartLab model:

Test to Cater vs. Test to Build: “Test to Cater” teams will take multiple ideas and test them out before building a team to support one winning idea. “Test to Build” will produce a more detailed working pilot of an idea and look to grow it into a successful company.

The Team: There are three core members of a StartLab: a full stack developer capable of building products out across platforms, a designer to create and put all the pieces together, and a director to guide and lead the entire project.

Kill or Nurture: This is a predetermined time period for development and a test rollout to see if the idea can take. After that, the idea should be killed or nurtured with more development.

Budget and Timeline: Adam says that an efficient StartLab can produce a test “app” in three months for a budget of $120,000.

Now that you understand the various components of Adam’s StartLab model, here are four reasons to adopt it and start investing in people over companies:

1. It adds diversity.

It’s not a new idea or concept really: diversified investments are one of the keys to successfully making money in what can be a risky and chaotic industry.

Of course, there are different ways to apply this concept to the world of business. Whether it’s spreading your marketing budget across multiple channels or markets, or focusing on different models and SKUs of your product, it’s important to apply the idea of diversification to all areas of business beyond investment.

Oddly enough, one industry that features a surprising lack of diversity in strategy is the startup space. Tech startups, in general, tend to put all of their eggs in one basket. This is revealed by the fact that, for many startups and tech companies, the product and company name are one in the same.

Whether it’s apps like Pandora or Uber, or even devices such as Fitbit or Roku, these companies are often synonymous with their leading product, regardless of whether they offer anything else.

2. It gives teams a chance to learn.

Adam says the StartLab model can greatly increase the chance of investing in a successful company, since it gives teams the freedom to learn:

The key issue here is experience. Every time an entrepreneur runs a pilot, he gains experience. When he fails, he learns how to climb better. The industry is losing a lot of money by overlooking this and not monetizing it. The current model invests in companies and ideas, this is wrong. The right model should be to invest in a team.

When you have two to three people that are funded by, say, $6 million and have run-rate to launch at least 50 concepts, there’s no launch pressures, no panic, no BS. There’s only two to three people, working their ass off with zero distractions and inner conversations like, ‘I’ll keep this to my next startup.’ No. You don’t need to. You have creative space.

3. It reduces risk.

There is of course an inherent risk in this model, or at least it may feel that way to an investor who is looking for a company working on a specific solution. But, Adam argues that the StartLab model actually reduces risk by giving teams the needed space to learn and innovate:

Take a child to the fair. Hand him an air gun and tell him he only has one chance to win the huge brown teddy bear. He will surely miss. Now, you’ll start with the accusations and cripple his soul turning him to the sort of kid who will never try this again. Both of you lose.

Take another kid, hand him the gun and tell him he has 50 attempts. He will probably nail something on the fourth attempt. But, on the twelfth attempt he will start aiming for the very center of the target, and by 40 he will get bored and create a new gun. That’s life. Create an empowering surrounding and you, too, will get empowered.

4. It’s tried and true.

We already see companies — that may have been laser-focused when they were in the startup phase — looking to expand and diversify in dramatic ways now that they have grown to be tech giants.

The two best examples of this are Google and Facebook. While they may not have been StartLabs from the beginning, they have developed into “TechLabs,” in their own right. Both companies have expanded into new markets and industries that take them outside of their core comfort zone.

This is most clearly demonstrated in Google’s recent transition into Alphabet (still odd to say that). What was once a very focused web company has now expanded into multiple markets and industries. With acquisitions like Nest and investments in projects like Google Life Sciences and self-driving cars, the company has shown a willingness to expand far outside of its traditional strength.

Facebook has also expanded to new markets. The company has become something of a social media conglomerate after snapping up companies like WhatsApp and Instagram and purportedly looking to acquire SnapChat, as well. It seems like Facebook doesn’t care what social media platform you use, as long as it happens to be one that it owns.

Beyond that, Facebook has taken interesting steps outside of the social realm. The most notable example is the company’s acquisition of Oculus VR. While Facebook may be looking at ways to incorporate VR into Facebook, the simpler explanation may simply be that the company sees this as valuable, innovative technology and a way for it to enter the consumer technology market in a whole new way.

What’s clear from the actions of both of these giants is that they are expanding their capabilities, diversifying and hedging their bets.

These companies have tremendous resources that allow them to acquire companies that are already successful, so their situation differs from that of an investor looking for a team that fits the StartLab model. But, if the result is that a company will produce multiple concepts and products, isn’t it worth it to find a team capable of doing so from the very beginning?

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