Tag Archive | "general agents"

Save the Date for Agent Summit 2017


LAS VEGAS — Organizers of Agent Summit have announced that the seventh annual event is scheduled for May 21–24, 2017, at Paris Las Vegas.

Launched in 2011, the event draws about 1,000 agents and agent principals, speakers and exhibitors and remains the only conference designed by and for independent general agents.

“With less than six months before showtime and a litany of topics and speakers to consider, much work lays ahead,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur. “With the help of our advisory board, we pledge to deliver the best agenda yet for a show we hope will appear on every agent’s calendar in 2017.”

Registration for Agent Summit is expected to open in early 2017. More information about Agent Summit is available at the event’s website. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact Eric Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 727-612-8826.

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Insights From the Front Lines


At the 2012 Agent Summit, I had the opportunity to serve as moderator of a panel called “Five Ways to Take Your Agency From Provider Rep to Partner.” Our goal was to provide a discussion that would highlight effective ways to become a true partner with today’s dealer — and lead them to record profits.

I was joined by Tim Blochowiak of Protective Asset Protection, David Duncan of Safe-Guard Products International, Garrett Lacour of RoadVantage, John Luckett of First Extended Service Corp. and Ricky Wolfe of Interstate National Corp. These five strong voices in the agent arena shared how they are working through a changing market and providing innovative products and creative ways to maximize dealer profitability.

Let’s take a look at some of the many insights they provided:

Agents must offer new ways to present products.

In the F&I office, the presentation must match the changing behavior of customers. As an agent, bringing that kind of creative change will differentiate you from the competition.

The recent recession has made dramatic change in how consumers view their money. They are more resistant than ever to what they perceive as “extras.” Most customers who have bought a vehicle before have already experienced an F&I presentation. If the products and the way they are presented is the same as their last experience, they’re more likely to be resistant.

Great companies have used a changing environment as an opportunity to examine the way they do business and make creative changes that move more customers to buy.
Take Apple Computer, for example. In 1997, everyone was writing the company’s obituary. Then they re-launched their company with creative ideas and products and have since become a leader, and not just in home computing. Apple has become a new standard bearer for designing and marketing products that customers are motivated to buy.

On the flip side, companies like Kodak are going under because of their lack of urgency to change. Kodak introduced us to film photography and remained a market leader for decades. However when the market demanded digital photography, Kodak stalled. Now, they’re in bankruptcy. The message was clearly defined: Change and innovation today will lead to record profits tomorrow.

Adding underperforming dealerships to your roster will not lead to long-term and sustainable growth.

Successful agents have learned that it’s not about adding dealerships; it’s about selling products. Dealers need and demand income development. A well-trained and focused F&I team can change to meet the new perspective of customers and provide record profits in a challenging market. The bad news is that most dealerships cut or even eliminated their training budgets during the recent recession. The good news is that they’re turning to their agents to provide new training.

You have the opportunity to take a hands-on approach to growing the overall skill level of your dealers’ F&I teams. Your toolkit should include role-playing exercises, benchmarking and accountability. Certification through off-site training also will be valued and sought after by dealers.

The next step is establishing a new F&I process that utilizes the finer points of your training. Customers have already seen the high pressure, memorized sales pitch many F&I managers still swear by. Introduce your dealers to a customer-focused process that will provide an environment where customers feel someone is trying to help them make good decisions, rather than just trying to sell them something they don’t want or need.

Also, there is real opportunity to sell service contracts in the service drive. Many dealers have tried and failed in the past. But there are better approaches out there than there were 10 years ago, and it may be worth another shot. Providing your dealers with a new revenue stream will definitely help set you apart.

“How are you different than other agents? What can you provide that they don’t?”

Agents that are in a growth mode today have heard those questions from dealers more than once. Those who have the answer will see their stock soar.

Dealers are possibly the most sophisticated consumer in the market today. They have heard every sales pitch for just about every product on the market. What they really need is a true partner who can provide training, processes and the ability to bring the change needed to their organization to sell those products in today’s market.

There is a shift taking place in the dealerships that survived the downturn. Dealers can no longer afford to have an untrained and unfocused F&I team presenting the products at their stores. Why not take a leadership role? The gentlemen who provided the insights listed above know that the agent segement will see record growth in 2012 and beyond. In other words, our best days are still ahead of us. Let’s help our industry change to see unprecedented growth and profits!

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Agent Summit 2012 Agenda Released


LAS VEGAS — The preliminary agenda for the second annual Agent Summit, to be held March 12–14, 2012 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, has been released. Presented in partnership with Agent Entrepreneur and F&I and Showroom magazines, the three-day event builds and expands upon last year’s inaugural, two-day show.

“Given the time and space we needed, we were really able to open things up for 2012,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of F&I and Showroom. “This agenda runs the gamut from reinsurance to service-drive sales, but it all relates back to one goal: Reinforcing the importance of agents and agencies to their dealer clients.”

The show kicks off with a Monday-evening address by John Braganini, head of Great Lakes Companies, followed by an evening reception. On Tuesday, leading trainers Paul Webb and Ron Reahard will handle keynote speaker duties for the morning welcome and luncheon session, respectively.

Highlights over the next two days include the aforementioned reinsurance and service-drive sales workshops as well as sessions designed to help agents market themselves to dealers, practice role-playing as a training tool, increase penetration on poorly performing products and more.

Agent Summit 2012 also will feature two panel discussions, both stocked with leading industry executives. On Tuesday, Reahard & Associates’ Rick McCormick will serve as moderator for “5 Attributes That Make Your Agency an Elite Provider/Partner in the Industry.”

On Wednesday, David Trinder of F&I Administration Solutions will reopen the debate over e-commerce in “Technology — Capturing the F&I Transaction Electronically.” The show will conclude at midday Wednesday with closing remarks from famed NFL referee, author and motivational speaker Jim Tunney, whose appearance is sponsored by CNA National Warranty Corp.

To peruse the agenda, register for the event or request further information, visit the Agent Summit website.

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Allstate to Open In-Dealership Insurance Agencies


NORTHBROOK — Allstate Insurance Co. and Allstate Dealer Services announced that auto dealers will have the opportunity to open full-service Allstate agencies inside their dealerships.

“Allstate’s dealer program seamlessly integrates the purchase and service of a vehicle with the opportunity to price your auto insurance with Allstate and work with a licensed insurance professional on all your coverage needs in a way that’s never been done before,” said Mark LaNeve, Allstate senior executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Our agency owners are at the heart of Allstate’s business and this program allows us to attract new customers at a time and location that’s convenient for the customer.”

Agency offices will be placed inside the dealership, typically on the showroom floor and operate during regular hours of the dealership, according to Allstate. Licensed insurance professionals and a team of support staff employed by the agency owner will be onsite to assist customers, reported F&I and Showroom magazine.

The program combines the Allstate Exclusive Agency, Good Hands Network Repair Facility and Allstate Dealer Service products with dealer F&I offerings and the ability to integrate Allstate Benefits into the dealer’s employee benefits platform, according to the company.

“Many times there is a short waiting time between when a customer purchases a car and when they drive off the lot. During this time, the customer can talk with a licensed insurance professional about their insurance needs not only for their new vehicle, but also their home and other protection needs,” said Doug Herberger, president of Allstate Dealer Services. “With a continued focus on our partners, we are bringing Allstate’s suite of products and services to the consumer and giving auto dealers an opportunity to deepen their relationship with customers.”

Allstate and Allstate Dealer Services tested and modified the program during the past two years with Allstate agents in 11 dealerships around the country, according to the company.

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Famed NFL Ref Tapped as Summit Speaker


LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the second annual Agent Summit have announced that Jim Tunney, a former pro football official and highly regarded motivational speaker, will deliver the final keynote address at this year’s show.

Tunney joins an all-star list of speakers for Agent Summit 2012, which is scheduled for March 12–14 at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. He will appear courtesy of CNA National.

“Jim Tunney brings a wealth of experience in a competitive field and a passion for inspiring others,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of F&I and Showroom. “We’re lucky to have him.”

Tunney’s 31-year career as an NFL referee and linesman made him an eyewitness to some of the league’s most historically significant moments, including the 1967 “Ice Bowl” championship game, ”The Catch” that sent the San Francisco 49ers to their first Super Bowl in 1982, and the 1988 “Fog Bowl” at Chicago’s Soldier Field. Tunney was named the NFL’s best official by The Sporting News in 1990 and parlayed his on-field success into a second career as an author and speaker.

Agent Summit 2012 is organized by Agent Entrepreneur and presented in partnership with F&I and Showroom. For more information or to register, visit agentsummit.com.

Click here to view a video introduction of Jim Tunney.

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