Tag Archive | "UDS"

AAGI Announces F&I Certification Courses for 2014

Schaumburg, Ill. – American Auto Guardian Inc. (AAGI) announced its 2014 quarterly course schedule. AAGI sold out the four courses held in 2013; new for 2014, the company announced the addition of two advanced courses being developed. The advanced course would last two days and build upon techniques introduced in the first level session.

AAGI’s Performance Services department, through its partnership with United Development Systems Inc. (UDS), will host quarterly first level courses, each lasting five days. The program will include a focus on presentation skills and techniques, lender relations and advanced management skills. Additionally, participants will engage in role playing and critiquing of their performance by UDS staff.

Jeff Teuscher, vice president of sales and head of AAGI’s Performance Services, said, “When we introduced the training program in 2012, we had no idea what the industry’s response might be. With each session being ‘sold out’ in both 2012 and 2013, we realize the necessity of providing such an invaluable tool to our agents and dealers. Gerry Gould of UDS is a remarkable presenter, giving attendees the knowledge and confidence to achieve higher levels of productivity in their career.”

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Top F&I Trainer to Address Process, Hard-to-Get-Done Deals

Las Vegas — Gerry Gould, director of training for United Development Systems (UDS), will return to the 2013 F&I Conference this September to deliver “Raiders of the Lost Profit,” a workshop in which he will reveal areas of lost profit and the steps F&I teams need to take to capture that profit.

Scheduled for 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17, Gould will show attendees how to construct a proactive F&I process that gets F&I teams involved in deals early and often. The session will look beyond standard finance deals, and will offer insights on how F&I teams can make a positive impact on cash and lease deals, as well as sales that originate online. He will also offer advice on driving a better connection between the F&I office and service.

“Gerry is a dynamic presenter and one of the top F&I minds in our industry,” said Gregory Arroyo, show chair and editorial director for F&I and Showroom magazine. “If you’ve heard him speak or read his articles, you know he’s big on getting F&I managers out from behind their desk and into the action. And with leasing and Internet sales testing tried-and-true F&I processes, that’s exactly what’s needed. So we asked him to help our attendees devise a plan for capturing the full F&I profit potential of all deals.

Last year, attendees of the annual conference voted Gould a “Best in Class” speaker, an honor he shared with F&I trainers Tony Dupaquier, Luis Garcia and Ron Reahard. Gould spent 15 years of his 33-year industry career in retail and became an F&I trainer in 1996.

The F&I Conference is one of three shows being hosted at Industry Summit 2013, which is being held at the Paris Las Vegas hotel Sept. 16-18. For more information, visit www.industrysummit.com.

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As Leasing Grows, So Does F&I Opportunity

In a report released this past summer, Experian Automotive noted that new vehicle leasing had risen by 12.5 percent this year to date – it hit a record high since the firm started keeping track of the statistic in 2006. According to the report, leasing now accounts for as much as 27.5 percent of new vehicle financing in the first quarter of 2013, up from 24.4 percent in the same quarter in 2012.

At the same time, the report noted that lease payments were down – at an average of $459, down from $462 in 2012. That comes with longer loan terms for lease deals – 65 months in the first quarter of this year.

For dealers and agents, these numbers represent an opportunity. While there have always been successful exceptions, the majority of dealerships tend to focus their F&I efforts on finance deals, with leasing customers getting little-to-no attention. But these numbers demonstrate that lease customers are a large and growing segment of the population, and contrary to popularly held beliefs, F&I products are as relevant to them as to the finance customer.

“Leasing has certainly grown and continues to grow every month,” said Brian Crisorio, vice president, United Development Systems (UDS). “Some stores are going from one a month to 12 or more; in some stores leasing is just huge. Sure there are a couple of makes or models not as focused on leasing, but it seems like across the board everyone is in the leasing game.”

What products should dealers be focused on? The consensus was that many F&I products have a place in a lease deal. John Vecchioni, national sales director, United Car Care, noted that any wear and tear product is a good fit for a lease, as is any interior/exterior protection plan, key replacement or tire and wheel. He also noted, surprisingly, that GAP is a potential lease product as well.

Tony Dupaquier, director of F&I training, American Financial and Automotive Services, also put GAP at the top of his list. “Not all leases have GAP,” he noted, “that’s one of the things everyone keeps forgetting. You have to pay attention and make sure the lease has GAP in it, and if not, sell GAP. Most leases do have GAP in them, it’s built into the lease, but you sporadically find leases that do not come with GAP, and the business managers don’t even know it. They have to make sure GAP is included, and if not, sell GAP.”

Wear and tear or appearance protection plans – both interior, with chemical protection, and exterior with dent and ding – and tire and wheel, were the top ancillary products all three agreed that F&I managers need to be presenting to every lease customer.

“Any appearance product is typically a good one for the lease customer,” noted Crisorio. “Protecting the exterior finish as well as the interior from rips, tears and burns keeps the vehicle looking great. Paintless dent repair does much of the same thing – if it’s turned in with dents and dings, they get a bill. Keys are getting more expensive every year, so key replacement is becoming more important – a damaged or missing key when you turn in the car will be expensive. And tire and wheel is also a big one.”

Vecchioni noted that he sees more products being sold into leases as a bundle, rather than individually. “Bundling saves time, and that savings allows you to capitalize on features and benefits of the products along with the impact it brings that particular customer. Wear and tear protection along with an appearance package go together. You can bundle almost any product, just keep in mind they have to have some similar advantages that make sense.”

“A case could be made that there’s an advantage to selling a multi product versus selling individual products,” said Crisorio. “A lot of it depends on the approach of the F&I manager – train on the process regardless of the deal. Focus on options, rather than individual products, and give them the best protection for that customer.”

Dupaquier noted that he teaches his F&I managers to always start off with the lease products in a bundle. “If customer doesn’t want a package for whatever reason, they’ll typically go back and pick up an individual item,” he said, “so start with all of them packaged together. The most successful F&I departments I’m seeing, they’ll put together a lease package that will have all of them.”

The exceptions to the bundling rule seem to be two: prepaid maintenance and key replacement. All three agreed that those are great lease products, but are easier to sell as stand-alone products. It is harder, they noted, to build value for maintenance or key replacement. Dupaquier noted that in many cases, customers argue that they’ve never lost a key, so they don’t see the value in key replacement, and he sees prepaid maintenance as more of a customer retention tool than anything else. The trick on that, at least, is to price it effectively.

“A lot of business managers go with scheduled maintenance as their number one hit,” Dupaquier noted. “The only cautionary piece is your price point on it – on a lease, the product price is divided by the term of the lease, unlike a traditional finance deal, which is divided by 72+ months in some cases. So scheduled maintenance that is $400-$500 changes the lease price by such an amount of money it turns people off. When a dealership tries to make too much money on it, the customer goes away, since they can go get the services done cheaper elsewhere. And on the lease, the likelihood is that the customer is coming back to that dealership anyway because of the lease, so you have built in customer retention. So dealers should put the focus on the ancillary products, for the items customers are responsible for.”

At the end of the day, selling products into a lease deal should be no different than selling them into a financed deal. Other than specific objections that might come up, the approach should be exactly the same.

“The training for handling a lease customer is similar to training for a traditional finance deal or cash deal,” said Crisorio. “Much of our training is process related, and doesn’t change if the product does. Only some of the word tracks might change to fit that customer. The approach is identical. The important part is to build value in the products you’re presenting.”

“I would explain the conditions of the lease,” Dupaquier noted, “as part of the way they start off conversation. Make sure the customer is aware of their requirements as far as vehicle condition is concerned – the same type of disclosure as how many miles the vehicle can have. Things like windshield has to be 100 percent; any door dings they’re responsible for; no mismatched tires –they have to make sure they have four of the same; any paint fading or interior staining they’re responsible for, etc. So educate them on that, then it’s easy to generate demand for the product. Don’t approach it any different; work it similar to a finance deal, with the same basic approach.”

Vecchioni summed it up with a few tips for agents to bring back to their dealers. “1. Present every product to your customers; wear and tear products, appearance products, key replacement, and tire and wheel protection are products that make sense. 2. Ensure every regulation is complied with, going over every lease agreement and the customer’s obligation to the lease – it helps set up product.”

At the end of the day, all the forecasts show leasing as increasing in the near future, with more customers seeing it as a solid financial alternative to financing, especially with so many people taking credit hits in the last few years. Agents should be stressing the importance of those lease customers to their dealers, as it is a trend that isn’t going away any time soon, and it’s a profit opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. “Agents should embrace leasing as additional opportunities that earn money,” said Crisorio. “They have to support the dealer, and support the trends in the industry. There is nothing an agent can do to stop it, so embrace it, support it, and be a true partner to your dealer and help them in any way you can.”

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Menu Discipline is Key

At Agent Summit earlier this year, Gerry Gould, director of training for United Development Services, presented a panel on menus, and menu discipline. And to kick it off, he shared a compelling fact: 85 percent of F&I managers don’t use menus effectively. They don’t present every product to every customer, and they don’t have a consistent process in place.

That is something he wants to see changed.

“People who don’t buy into the menu concept just don’t have a good process,” Gould said. “There needs to be a consistent process every time. The presentation matters more than the size of the menu or the products presented.” He went on to stress that every customer should be presented with every product they qualify for, every single time. The menu itself, he contends, needs to be a disclosure of all the products available to the customer, not a hard sales tool.

The process actually starts long before the F&I manager gets to the menu. It should begin with the sales consultant on the floor. That person needs to set up F&I as a partner in the process, and an ally, and they should personally introduce the clients to the F&I manager, and hand them off with a reassurance that while they’re doing that, the sales person is still going to be working for them as well, getting the vehicle ready. Finally, the sales person can help to set up the expectations, asking about how long this will take. The F&I manager can then answer the question, and smoothly take over the appointment.

The menu itself should be prepared with all the proper terms, and with all of the products that customer qualifies for. The presentation should never take more than three minutes, Gould noted. The F&I manager should point out the features of each product — not the benefits — and should follow the “ABCs”: Always ask to proceed, Break down all the options, and finally Close on the options.

He advocates that F&I managers understand that the features are the story they need to be telling — those are what the product actually does. The benefits are the sale — that is what the product actually does for the client, specifically. And trying to “stair step” sell will just lead to fatigue, long before they ever get a chance to present every product. This is where the menu, and grouping similar products, when done well, allow them to present every product without making the customer feel fatigued and frustrated.

Some ways to reinforce that, Gould noted, are with certain catch phrases. These include “May I…?” sayings, such as “May I proceed?” or “May I share with you?” Other phrases can include ‘By choosing…”, “These are your payment options…” or “What that means is…” the F&I manager can control the pace of the presentation, come across as polite and helpful, and not seem like it’s a hard sale that will immediately get a customer defensive.

At the end of the day, a solid process that presents all the products, combined with a polite, helpful presentation designed not to overwhelm clients, will lead to more sales, and happier customers. “Self discipline is the final key ingredient,” said Gould. “You are the only one standing in the way of your own success.” If F&I managers can learn to use the menu effectively, they will get out of their own way, and everyone in the process will benefit.

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UDS Wins Diamond Award for F&I Training Program

Clearwater, Fla. – United Development Systems Inc. (UDS) was named the 2013 Dealers’ Choice Diamond Award Winner for F&I Training as awarded by Auto Dealer Monthly.

For the ninth consecutive year UDS has been ranked in the F&I Training category, while placing 1st in eight out of nine years surveyed. “Recognition for our dedication and commitment to F&I Performance on any level is always appreciated,” said Randy Crisorio, president and CEO, UDS. “Being named the best F&I Trainer is great. This award validates the daily efforts of the UDS team who work each and every day to train and develop F&I staff across the country.”

This is the ninth year Auto Dealer Monthly has held the Dealer’s Choice Awards, which recognize the highest rated vendors, suppliers and finance companies in the automotive industry. The awards are based on the votes of those who use the products and services every day, namely dealers and dealership management.

This year a total of 66 awards were presented to 54 companies in 27 categories of products and services. Dealers and dealership management rated providers in each category in four areas: 1) the product or service provided, 2) customer support and service, 3) the overall value for dollars spent, and 4) whether the dealer would recommend the provider.

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UDS Launches Subscription Webinar Training Series

Clearwater, FL – United Development Systems Inc. (UDS) added a subscription-based option to its ‘UDS Webinar Series,’ an F&I training program delivered via the Web in 30-minute segments every month.

Available immediately, the subscription system, located at Webinars.UDSTraining.com, delivers a minimum of 12 topical webinars annually that promise to improve total F&I Performance.

“When we launched the ‘UDS Webinar Series’ for our dealer partners nearly three years ago, we knew the quality and convenience would be a hit. The time has come to expand and deliver our proven F&I solutions to the masses,” said Randy Crisorio, UDS president and CEO.

The ‘UDS Webinar Series’ consists of monthly online sessions covering a variety of F&I-related topics. Planned topics will range from ‘The F&I Introduction,’ to ‘Lender Relations,’ ‘F&I Ethics & Compliance’ and ‘Menu Strategies’. Each webinar will last 30 minutes or less.

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