Tag Archive | "technology"

6 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs in a Great Smartphone

Like most hungry entrepreneurs, Jason Saltzman is constantly on-the-go, managing a growing team as well as a thriving business, reports Entrepreneur. As the founder and CEO of New York City-based shared workspace Alley, he needs a smartphone to keep up with him. So do you.

In this video, Saltzman outlines his six must-have features for any great smartphone:

  1. Long-lasting battery/fast charging
  2. Size
  3. Water resistance/durability
  4. An always-updating platform (like Android)
  5. Expandable memory
  6. A great camera

“Things change, schedules change, you need to completely stay on top of things,” Saltzman says. “Having the phone with the right technology will help you do that and help you run your day.”

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AutoTech Protect Launches Technology-Focused Service Contract in 47 States

CARMEL, Ind. — AutoTech Protect, the first true technology-focused service contract in the F&I industry, has officially been released. It is designed to cover the potentially highly expensive technology components that today’s vehicles are often equipped with, such as touch screens, GPS/Navigation systems, Bluetooth components, and interactive radio systems such as Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto® (for a full list of coverage, please visit autotechprotect.com).

AutoTech Protect is designed as an option for dealerships to offer to consumers who won’t purchase an exclusionary (“bumper-to-bumper”) service contract, typically because of price or payment constraints. Because AutoTech Protect doesn’t cover items such as the engine and transmission, it can be offered at half the retail price of the lead exclusionary plan, yet dealerships can maintain similar margins, while consumers receive modern technology coverage.

“We don’t envision this as being the primary service contract sold in the F&I office,” said Shawn McCool, Founder of AutoTech Protect. “It is designed to be offered after a customer has rejected the lead service contract offering, rather than compete with it. Therefore, if a consumer purchases AutoTech Protect, it is truly “found” revenue for the dealership, without overlap or cannibalization of their lead service contract plan. And, data from our 15 store pilot confirms this. The lead service contract provider’s volume was not affected. Yet, over 15% of the customers that declined the lead provider’s plan purchased AutoTech Protect, again resulting in “found” revenue for the dealership.”

AutoTech Protect is fully insured like most service contracts, and is available to both franchise as well as independent dealers. It is offered primarily through the agent model, and unlike some other F&I product providers, AutoTech Protect is being offered as a “protected territory” agent model — the company limits the number of agents who can market the product in a given geographic area. This approach is rather unique in this segment of the F&I product industry.

“This is a win-win-win for the consumers, dealers, and agents. AutoTech Protect provides our agents with another great product to market, and a potentially exclusively one, from their portfolio. And dealers now have a new opportunity to offer a cheaper alternative service contract to their customers that decided not to buy their lead exclusionary plan ,” said McCool. He continued,” It’s also great to have a product that helps overcome the ‘perceived quality’ issue, where consumers believe the vehicle they’re buying is so well-made, there is little chance of a mechanical breakdown. We focused on potentially expensive technology components to cover, and those are components consumers simply can’t maintain.”

AutoTech Protect is available for both new and used vehicles (up to 10 years old and 100,000 miles). Currently, the program is available in 47 states, with administration partner American Colonial Administration in Dublin, Ohio — a subsidiary of Innovative Aftermarket Systems (IAS) — and insurance partner Dealers Assurance Company (DAC), which is rated A- (excellent) by AM Best.

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Paper or Plastic: Which Works Best in F&I?

We have been working with several software providers over the last couple of years to develop training and better processes for several of the new electronic F&I presentation tools. We have also been testing and measuring results from different types of printed menus.

I am quite often asked which type of presentation media is the most effective. After extensive analysis of media performance over the last two years, it has become abundantly clear that what an F&I menu, iPad, tablet or on-screen program can do has been overstated and, in many ways, misunderstood in the marketplace.

What do customers prefer? Well, let’s turn to the results of the 2015 J.D. Power U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index Study. Now in its 29th year, the study is based on responses from 27,831 consumers who bought or leased a new vehicle in April or May 2015. It measures satisfaction with the sales experience among new-vehicle buyers.

The study calculates the buyer-satisfaction scores using four factors, in this order of importance: working out the deal, salesperson, delivery process and facility. Let’s take a look at how those factors feed into the use of electronic presentations.

Paper or Tablet?

According to the survey, when customers make it into the F&I office, they want to know what their F&I product options are, and they want to see it on some sort of product menu, whether paper or digital. The F&I manager should then explain the value of the product.

Overall, the close rates on all four of the products J.D. Power included — prepaid maintenance, extended warranty, tire/road hazard protection and interior/exterior sealant protection — were highest when the customer viewed the options on a paper brochure or menu.

For service contracts, the close rate was 32% with a paper brochure or menu. It was 29% with a computer screen and one point lower, at 28%, with verbal offers. For prepaid maintenance, interior and exterior sealant protection and tire and road hazard protection, the close rates were the same whether the dealership offered the products verbally or showed them on a computer screen.

F&I product sales also depend on the process, the study found. If the customer has a long wait between the time they agree to buy a vehicle and the time they meet the F&I manager, the customer may feel agitated before even stepping into the office.

The study found that the likelihood of customers purchasing another vehicle from a dealership depends partly on the pressure they felt from the store to buy F&I products on their previous sale. Only 10% of customers who felt too much pressure said they “definitely will” purchase from the same dealer again. For consumers who felt no pressure, however, 44% said they definitely will purchase from the same dealer in the future.

And the type of presentation matters. Too much pressure to buy F&I products resulted in lower penetration rates. For example, 18% of consumers who felt too much pressure to buy purchased tire and road hazard protection vs. 19% of consumers who felt some pressure and 21% of those who felt no pressure to buy.

Overall satisfaction among buyers who said the dealer applied too much pressure during the F&I process was 638 on a 1,000-point scale vs. 852 for those who experienced no pressure, according to the study.

It’s the Process

Based on what we’ve learned from real-world testing with a representative group of media forms in a wide range of real F&I offices, we have found that the menu or electronic device being used is , in many ways, less important than the person using it and the process they use to present it. Any media can be made to work to some extent, but none of them will do much by themselves.

What customers respond to best is a more modern “information provider” approach. Offering products in the most expedient and simple way is what the J.D. Power study suggests and it certainly has produced the best results in our testing.

We have found the keys to any successful process is to demonstrate three critical elements:

  1. It has to be easy or F&I managers won’t do it. And if it’s easy for the F&I manager, it’s easy for the customer as well.
  2. It has to be simple enough for the customer to easily absorb and understand immediately.
  3. It has to be fast, because customers don’t want to sit through long, drawn-out sales pitches and time-consuming processes. They want to know their options, choose what they want, and get on their way. A common complaint from customers is that the F&I process takes too long.

Whatever process or procedure that produces those key factors will be the most successful for your dealer clients.

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MBPI Launches OEM Technology

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. – Mechanical Breakdown Protection, Inc. (MBPI), a top rated extended vehicle service contract administrator, has released a new protection plan specifically for the high-end OEM technology components on today’s modern vehicles.

With the ever changing technology in automotive industry, consumers are becoming more and more concerned about the cost of repairs regarding touch screens, navigation systems, audio systems, backup cameras, etc. This revolutionary new protection plan sets MBPI apart in the marketplace, and offers consumers a new way to protect the items that they are most concerned about.

Coverage Includes:

  • Touch/Display Screens
  • Audio Systems, including Radio/CD Players and Amplifiers
  • Navigation Systems
  • Backup Camera Systems
  • DVD Players
  • Parking Assist Systems
  • Bluetooth Components
  • Video and Gaming Systems


  • Unlimited Mileage
  • Unlimited Claim Occurrences
  • Transferable – Adds to the resale value of the vehicle
  • Covers all costs related to the repair or replacement of listed Original Equipment Manufacturer installed items including taxes and labor costs.

“Since 1981, MBPI has stayed at the forefront of new programs, technology, and customer service. Once again, we have set ourselves apart from the competition with MBPI OEM Technology. This product will enable F&I departments across the country to increase their service contract penetration by 20-40%, and will protect consumers from the expensive repair/replacement cost of high-tech OEM technology components.”
– Barry Kindler, MBPI National Sales Manager

Mechanical Breakdown Protection, Inc. (MBPI) is one of the country’s premier extended vehicle service contract administrators. For over 35 years, MBPI has built its reputation on administrative excellence, solid insurance underwriting and long term client relationships. MBPI is proudly located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Feel free to contact MBPI at 1-800-325-7484 or by visiting www.mbpnetwork.com.

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EFG Companies Pushes the Industry Again with Technology Innovation

DALLAS – EFG Companies, the innovator behind the award-winning Hyundai Assurance program, today launched Parts Wizard, a new technology platform that reduces dealer reinsurance exposure, streamlines claims administration and increases customer satisfaction. For more information about EFG’s claims administration, visit: http://bit.ly/EFGAdmin

EFG’s Parts Wizard automates the manual process of sourcing OEM, aftermarket, remanufacturered, and used parts for vehicle repairs. In addition, sourcing parts through the Parts Wizard enables dealerships to reduce future claims risk with a longer warranty than the standard OEM parts provided by the manufacturer.

All parts sourced through the Parts Wizard, come with an “end of contract” warranty covering the deductible, labor and cost of replacement parts. If any part sourced through the Parts Wizard malfunctions during the term of a customer’s contract, the cost to repair or replace that part will be completely covered without dipping into reinsurance reserves.

“Considering the number of older vehicles on the road, and the potential for consumers to use neighborhood mechanics, EFG’s Parts Wizard offers dealers a better level of control over how their claims are handled, regardless of the level of service provided to their customers by shops outside of their dealership,” said Ken Overly, Vice President, Operations, EFG Companies.

Traditionally, claims administrators must research vehicle parts with several vendors, on each vendor’s website, before negotiating with a service center. The Parts Wizard is an essential search engine that sources parts from all EFG-approved vendors at once, drastically shortening the time it takes to research parts by up to 30 minutes per claim. In addition, the technology prioritizes results based on availability and price to factor into the decision process.

“The Parts Wizard allows us to better negotiate with service centers outside of dealerships by providing the best price from vendors they likely already use and trust. The service center will either drop their price to match ours, or EFG will purchase the parts directly from the vendors and have them shipped to the shop,” Overly stated.

“At EFG, we always strive to look beyond the curve to provide industry-leading customer service and efficiency for our clients and our contract holders,” said John Pappanastos, President and CEO, EFG Companies. “The Parts Wizard is another example of EFG consistently delivering solutions that the rest of the industry hasn’t seen.”

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APT’s Pazik to Helm Agent Summit Tech Panel

LAS VEGAS — Organizers of Agent Summit have announced that Randy Pazik, president of Accelerated Profit Technologies, will lead a panel dedicated to new technology at the event, which will be held May 9–11, 2016, at the Venetian Palazzo Las Vegas.

“The flood of new technology into the dealer and agent segments can at times be overwhelming, but it can’t be ignored,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Agent Entrepreneur andF&I and Showroom. “We are counting on Randy and his team to help us sort through the wealth of new developments and focus on the ones that drive F&I product sales.”

The panel, “Technology on the Move — New Horizons” will begin at 4:45 p.m. on Monday, May 9. Pazik will be joined by Thomas Elliott, executive vice president of StoneEagle; Kumar Kathinokkula, COO of F&I Administration Solutions; Tony Luciano, vice president of information technology for Allstate Dealer Services; Jim Maxim Jr., president and CEO of MaximTrak; and Carrie Profaizer, vice president of information technology and division CIO for Protective Asset Protection.

Pazik pledged to challenge his panelists to reveal not only what they are working on and have brought to market but how their solutions are performing in the real world.

“What the agents in attendance get out of this session depends on the questions we ask,” Pazik said. “How do agents, dealers and customers — particularly Millennial customers — interact and respond to new technology? I want to know what these providers are doing to make sure their products are relevant to the market.”

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

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