Tag Archive | "Kelly Price"

National Automotive Experts Recieves Innovation Award


STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – National Automotive Experts / NWAN (NAE/NWAN) was one of three Strongsville, Ohio companies to be presented with the city’s 2016 Innovation Award. The Strongsville Innovation Award is presented annually to select companies that demonstrate continued growth, investment and innovation within the community.

Mike Daymut, City Councilman and Chair of the Strongsville Economic Development Committee, in association with Mayor Thomas Perciak and the city’s Director of Economic Development, Brent Painter, presented the award to NAE/NWAN at the city’s quarterly Business Network Breakfast. “

“The City of Strongsville is proud to recognize National Automotive Experts with the 2016 Strongsville Innovation Award. NAE’s innovative business practices and continued growth have become a model within the Strongsville business community. In addition, NAE has remained a consistent supporter of local charitable and civic activities with their employees truly enhancing the quality of life within the City.”

“We are incredibly honored to be presented with an award that represents continued growth and innovation, not only within our community, but our industry as whole. Innovation and continued growth are the cornerstones of our mission as a company,” said Kelly Price, President of NAE/NWAN. “We love being a part of the City of Strongsville. They have been very impactful in our business and the purchase and remodel of our building. We look forward to making an impact in this community for years to come. “

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National Automotive Experts / NWAN Welcomes Gabriella Roberts to their Executive Management Team


STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – National Automotive Experts/NWAN is proud to welcome Gabriella Roberts to their executive management team as the Vice President of Operations.

Gabriella Roberts joined the NAE/NWAN team as the Vice President of Operations this month. Prior to joining NAE, Roberts worked as a Senior Vice President for Warrantech (an AmTrust Financial Company). Previously, Roberts spent 18 years with Assurant Solutions as a Director of Account Management.

“We are very excited to have Gabriella as part of our team. Gabriella has an extensive background in project management and client services,” said Kelly Price, President of National Automotive Experts. “We believe that by adding the talent and passion that Gabriella brings to NAE/NWAN, we will be unstoppable. She is driven to be the best and will ensure that as we roll out new product offerings and solutions to our agent and dealer partners, it will be done with the quality and efficiency expected at NAE/NWAN.”

“It is an honor and a privilege to join the NAE/NWAN family. I am excited about contributing to and growing with a team so committed to quality, urgency and superior client service” said Roberts. “NAE’s dedication to their clients truly sets them apart from their competition and I am looking forward to ensuring the company mission is brought to life each and every day.”

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National Automotive Experts / NWAN Announces Completion of Their New Offices


STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — National Automotive Experts / NWAN is excited to announce the completion of their new 34,000-square-foot office complex. The new building, owned by the company, replaces a 24,000-square-foot office the firm previously leased a block down the street.

“The move was totally crazy,” Kelly Price, president of National Automotive Experts / NWAN, “When we started moving, the temperature was zero with a -22 F wind chill.” However, in spite of the temperature, the entire office was moved and set up in 72 hours, which included their IT infrastructure needed to connect phone lines and computers. Even though the staff was back at work at new desks Monday morning, they technically never stopped working as movers actually worked around the claims or customer support areas to avoid any downtime for their customers and dealers. The only glitch in the process was that some cubicles were built to the wrong size in the claims center, but that was corrected by Wednesday.

The company, which markets their exclusive Warranty Forever® lifetime warranty programs through a nationwide network of independent auto and RV dealerships, also markets many other programs including a full suite of service contract and ancillary products. “We are excited to offer the same great products we’ve built our reputation on for the last 15 years in the industry and are looking forward to launching even more products in 2015” said Price.

National Automotive Experts / NWAN currently employs 102 people, but is projecting a staff increase to 125 employees by year’s end. “It will be a much better work flow having all the people and needed resources for a department in one area, rather than being scattered throughout the entire office,” said Price. “The claims team has a lot of room for growth. We increased our sales by over 19 percent in 2014 so we will naturally have more claims. The extra space in our claims center is a welcome addition.”

The company has also made a significant investment in technology in the new building. A room-size generator was installed so the claims staff and client relations team could continue working uninterrupted in the event of a power outage. Duplicate fiber optic cables were installed from two different service providers so that if one company experiences a problem, there will be no loss of Internet capability. “Last year, we had an issue where someone cut a fiber optic line at a construction site miles from our office that took down our Internet connection for a quite a while,” said Price. “We won’t have to worry about that happening again.”

The new facility features an enhanced employee break area, with ping-pong table, wii, exercise equipment and space for Zumba/P90x type exercises. The new training center, which can seat up to 100 people comfortably, includes a 15-by-12-foot video screen with state-of-the-art projection equipment that the company plans to use to host family movie nights. Local clubs, auto and RV dealers will also be able to use the facility. RV suppliers also looking to host local training events can also utilize the room and its technology.

Price said the company is forecasting 14 percent growth in 2015, following a 19 percent increase in 2014. “Both our service contract and Warranty Forever® programs have been responsible for a significant part of our growth,” she explained. “We are eager to grow into our new facility and look forward to serving our agents and dealership’s in 2015”.

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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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NAE Announces Major Expansion Plans


STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — National Automotive Experts has purchased a new building and is planning to greatly expand its offices later this year, RV Daily Report has learned.

The company that offers the RV Warranty Forever program, as well as several other products, including ancillary and service contracts for the RV industry, has outgrown its 24,000-square-foot office and will move into a 56,000-square-foot building. NAE will occupy 34,000-square-feet of that space.

“This is our third location on Dow Circle,” said Kelly Price, CEO of National Automotive Experts. “Ironically we started in a little 7,500-square-foot office directly across from the building we purchased.”

The building was acquired for $4.2 million and will require $1.5 million in renovations and code upgrades.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald approved a $1.5 million loan from Cuyahoga County’s Western Reserve Fund to assist NAE with the purchase.

“National Automotive Experts has called Northeast Ohio home since its founding in 1996, and we are delighted that this Western Reserve Fund loan will enable them to continue growing jobs here for years to come,” said FitzGerald. “We will continue building on this record of success, and use the largest countywide economic development fund in Ohio to support good-paying jobs for middle class families.”

NAE, which sells and administers service contracts and warranties to dealerships for autos, motorcycles, and RVs, plans to create 43 new jobs in the next few years after the expansion.
The company currently employs 95 people to personally welcome new customers into their programs, administer claims and work with agents around the nation who represent NAE products.

“We are really excited to move into this building because we have been bursting at the seams for quite some time in our current facility,” said Price. “It has been hard for us to keep up with the demand for RV Warranty Forever and our other product lines.

“The expansion will enable us to better serve our customers for many years to come,” she added.

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Throw-Away Deals or Missed Opportunities? Selling and Bundling F&I Products for Lease and High Mileage Vehicles


In today’s post-recession era, instituting products and processes that add value for high mileage and lease vehicles is something that needs to be re-evaluated industry-wide. The agent, dealer and F&I manager have long viewed these deals, much like cash sales, as throw-away deals. High mileage vehicles are not usually financeable, unless they are being sold at a buy-here-pay-here lot. But, we don’t have to wait for the finance deal to come in to make a profit. If you really look at all of the available opportunities, by offering applicable products for these vehicles, and implementing appropriate training, high mileage and lease deals should be as profitable as any other deal.

As an agency working with dealerships, we need to help dealers and F&I Managers understand that there are several different products that can be sold when it comes to leasing and high mileage vehicles. From prepaid maintenance, windshield protection, dent protection, tire and wheel and paint products, to high mileage VSCs – there are plenty of options to be offered that do not come with vehicle age restrictions.

It is really a matter of presenting the products, because in most cases today, nothing is being presented to these customers. I have seen F&I managers print all the paperwork and hand it to the salespeople on these types of deliveries and never present the customer anything – because they don’t have to! The dealer is not telling them that it is part of their pay plan – there is no focus on it. The vehicles are being treated as if they were wholesale vehicles and don’t even count into their pay plan!

Obviously, it is important for F&I managers to learn the features and benefits of all applicable products and how they apply to a high mileage buyer or lease customer. In addition, it is prudent to have some product knowledge, along with some practice in making these presentations with the agent. The presentation itself is not much different than any other deal – it boils down to whether you believe that customer can be sold. It is the same mindset that someone selling to a cash buyer needs to have. You can go into it with the approach that a cash buyer is not going to buy anything. But if they walked in with $25,000 cash, then they have money – that isn’t their last $25,000. You have to find a way to sell to that consumer and let them see the value of each product.

The dealer should demand that there is a focus, process and menu that works for all deliveries. The agent’s responsibility is to look at the product line-up, make sure that the dealership has appropriate products available, and make sure the menu is properly structured. They also need to ensure that the F&I department is being well trained on how to present the many available products that benefit the lease or high mileage customer.

While it depends on the customer and agent as to what products are best for lease or high mileage vehicle customers to be presented, I believe the most effective way to present the products is through a menu or some sort of formal visual process. It is very important to give the same presentation to every customer, every time. This way, you do not run the risk of being discriminatory. To maximize profits on these deals, like any other, you have to get to know your client by interviewing them and understanding their needs, therefore allowing for a confident and impactful presentation. This also allows for a consultative approach versus trying to figure out during the delivery what the customer may or may not want.

The Value of Prepaid Maintenance

The main thing to focus on with dealers is getting the customer back into the service department through prepaid maintenance. If they don’t service with the selling dealer, then the chance of them buying from the same dealer in the future is very low – only 14%. But if they do service with the selling dealer, the likelihood that they will buy from them again dramatically increases to 76%! We administer a tremendous amount of prepaid maintenance because dealers understand the benefit of tying the customers back into the store. Products that are going to keep them as part of that dealership’s family for a long time are key to future sales.

One of the things a dealer often doesn’t look at is how to capture their used car customers. They spend so much time marketing used car sales and then do nothing to get those customers back into their service departments. I once had a service manager in a Honda dealer tell me that they didn’t want to service anything except Hondas. I asked, “So you are going to spend all this money to advertise selling used cars – you are selling cars that aren’t Hondas – but you are not going to service those customers? So really, you cut your foot off for your next sale, and then you get to spend all that same money going out to get that same customer back again in three or four years, when you could have kept him in the service department all along.”

Prepaid maintenance on pre-owned cars is almost as critical as it is on new cars, because if you can keep that customer coming back to your dealership, then you don’t have to advertise for them again. If 76% of the time they are going to come back to you naturally, why wouldn’t you keep them there to begin with?

When you get into prepaid maintenance for high mileage cars or any used car, it is such a powerful tool because even if you are only breaking even by offering it, you need to look at how much you are ultimately saving. You can do anything you want to do with that customer, as long as you service their vehicle. If you do that, they are going to buy from you again. No matter what the value of the car is, the customer still needs to have maintenance done. Sometimes service managers will even tell us what they are not willing to do, instead of being willing to service every customer that the dealership sells a car to! Dealers allow a mindset that it is alright to choose to only take care of a “portion” of the customers that buy a car from the dealer. This is really a crazy notion – and to everyone’s detriment. Why would you push a brand new customer away from your dealership just because it is an off-brand vehicle?

As a dealer, you have to be adaptable and have a general technician on staff who can do general maintenance on each and every car. If you aren’t going to service all the vehicles you sell, then at least take the car through the service department and sublet the service. This way the customer is still coming back to the selling dealer.

The Dilemma: High Cost Service Contract – Low Cost Vehicle

Obviously, there are many different types of coverage available for pre-owned, high mileage vehicles. There are some coverages you can sell that provide basic, everyday coverage, and others that cover just about anything that could go wrong. Think about it like auto insurance – when you purchase auto insurance, you may not insure the full limits of the policy, but you need to protect yourself on the basic components. If I were an F&I manager, I might present three different types of coverage, rather than three different terms of coverage.

The customer needs to be informed that their vehicle can be protected in a number of ways. The most basic and least expensive coverage to keep the car running is powertrain protection. There are also products that can protect the engine, powertrain, transmission and most of the everyday equipment. Another option is selling them complete protection from one end of the car to the other with an exclusionary coverage product. The F&I manager should share with the customer that their main goal is making sure the car is running – for this, they need engine, transmission and drive train protection. They may be able to go without AC and power windows, but presented correctly, a customer will likely want coverage that will prevent them from having to put a new transmission in the car they just bought.

Cost is a part of the equation, but the most important part of the sale is getting the customer to understand the value of the products. If a solid presentation is made, it isn’t about cost, it is about how they can pay for it. A proper presentation should result in the customer seeing the value of keeping their vehicle on the road. If F&I managers present it as, “Hey I can get you a cheap service contract.” – the customer will not see any value, which will result in the F&I managers having low penetration levels. If they don’t present the features, values and benefits, they are only presenting cost. You have to start with values and benefits first – cost will take care of itself.

Bundling Products

Bundling products on a menu versus bundling products on a contract are two totally different things. We do a lot of bundling right on the menu, so the customer does not perceive there are four or five different products. They see one product. Bundling it on a menu and printing three different forms allows you to pull one product out if needed. If you have one contract with five different products on it, the gross profit to the dealership and the agency are both reduced because you are only getting one contract sold. We offer both the agency and dealership the option of bundling several products on one contract, or separate products each on their own contract, grouped as a single option on the menu. How this is done depends on how an agent may want it all bundled together – we have paint, dent, windshield and rim protection products bundled together and we have them all separated. The actual number of contracts that are going to print out at the end is not relevant to a customer making a buying decision. We bundle a lot on the menu because we don’t want to overwhelm the customer by having 15 different products available for sale. A protection-type product bundle might consist of paint and fabric, windshield, and dent and ding products all presented together as one menu item. But at the same time, if the customer says they don’t have an interest in one product, or perhaps they have windshield coverage through their auto insurance or roadside assistance through AAA, then we can respond by customizing the bundle with the removal of a product. Originally the presentation should be made as a group for the best penetration.

It is also imperative to make sure you are selling to the customer’s needs. If you only have that bundled product available, then sometimes you will lose a sale because the customer is so caught up on the fact that they don’t need roadside assistance, that you could lose the whole sale because they think they are paying for something they don’t need. Depending upon the interview, the menu and the F&I Manager’s presentation can be adjusted.

Appearance Products for Lease Customers

The most important thing for lease customers to consider is that at the end of a lease, they will be held responsible for any damage to the vehicle. If you spill coffee and stain the seat, you are going to get charged for that at the end of the lease. Interior repair and replacement can be very costly. The interior appearance protection product covers damage occurring during the term of the lease, so at the end, the customer isn’t held responsible for any damage such as stains, rips, tears or punctures in the fabric or leather. Obviously, that is a huge advantage. For exterior appearance products, unless there is major damage to the exterior caused by the environment, they will make the car easier to keep clean and looking nice. Being able to eliminate the need to wax or treat the car consistently throughout the term of the lease is a great advantage. Interior and exterior appearance protection can be offered separately – so if a dealer wants to sell only interior or only exterior, they are able to do that.

Ultimately, if we want to maximize profitability, we must take the type of unit or the type of financing out of our F&I approach. Every customer and type of unit must be presented with the same passion of a finance opportunity. What worked in yesterday’s market is not always the best approach for today. The industry as a whole has to rethink the way high mileage vehicle and lease customers are treated in the F&I office. If we don’t adjust our mindset, then not only are we failing to offer our best to those customers, but we will be missing out on profit opportunities.

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