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Reinventing Our Conference

June 6, 2011

Let me just say that I’m really excited about the magazine’s annual conference. Some of the ideas we had to expand the conference are finally coming to fruition, and I hope you and the rest of your front-end staffers can be with us this year. We’ll be at the Las Vegas Hilton, with festivities set to kick off on Monday, Sept. 26.

Let me start by saying, I hear you. Good salespeople are hard to come by. The good ones have been scooped up by the competition, leaving you with Gen Y and “Mr. Forgotten,” Gen X. And they just don’t get it, right? Well, I’m not going to bridge any generation gaps here, but I want to tell you that this year’s conference is offering something that just might help.

See, Cory Mosley, our Sales Driver columnist, recently launched “Control Your Sales Destiny,” a new seminar series he designed to deliver new-school techniques to salespeople of all ages. Well, Cory has added our annual conference to his seminar tour route, and he’ll be in Vegas for a special pre-conference event on Sept. 26.

As you’ve probably read in his columns, Cory preaches a new-school philosophy to car sales. He’ll spend a good portion of his seminar reviewing his philosophy, and will touch on the opportunities that exist in the social media realm. However, what I wanted to call your attention to is the time management segment of Cory’s seminar. So, if you want to give your salespeople a good foundation for success, Cory will lay out a daily routine your salespeople can follow.

I hope his event, which runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., is enticing enough to get some of your sales staffers out there. I also think running your salespeople through some of the F&I courses offered at this year’s conference also will serve to bridge the gap between your store’s front-end departments.

But, like I said, Cory’s seminar is only one of four events kicking off on Monday. Greg Goebel, regarded as one of the leading minds in special finance, has agreed to move his annual Special Finance Conference from Dallas to run alongside the F&I Conference. His event kicks off Monday at 4:30 p.m. and runs through Wednesday. And with 25 percent of Americans claiming a credit score of less than 600, Greg’s conference is a must-attend event for your special finance or used-car manager.

This year we’ve also added a new pre-conference event called Buy Here, Pay Here for Franchised Dealers. It also starts on Monday and is being hosted by Rod Heasley and Gary Perdue of Peritus Portfolio Servicess, a purchaser of auto loan paper. Ken Shilson, founder and president of the National Alliance of Buy Here, Pay Here Dealers (NABD), is helping to plan the event and will be there to explain how BHPH can be used to maximize your used-vehicle inventory. If you’ve ever considered making the leap into the BHPH business, then you need to be at this event.

Also on Monday, David Robertson and his Association of Finance and Insurance Professionals will host a certification class. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it’s the perfect opportunity to get your team certified at a special show rate.

Now, the F&I Conference and Expo opens Tuesday morning after a Monday night reception. Like last year, the event will carry a training-heavy theme with more than 17 educational sessions. Now, as I type this sentence, members of our advisory board are casting their final votes on the topics our agenda will field this year. And let me just say, I think our board has hit the mark again.

One thing you can expect is an update on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which goes into effect on July 21. There were a number of unknowns that came with this new piece of legislation and our legal experts will be there to provide the dirty details. 

The conference agenda also will field several topics outside of the F&I realm, including digital marketing, social media and sales. Now, this brings me to my next point.

See, this year we’re marketing our annual get-together under the Industry Summit tagline. Like the magazine, we’re looking to expand our conference into more of a front-end conference. Yes, we want to help you roll more cars, but our main focus is on helping you roll more profitable deals.

Lastly, stay tuned into www.fi-magazine and www.industrysummit.com for updates and announcements. Also be sure to be on the lookout for two new contests the magazine is launching this year. One is our annual F&I Dealer of the Year contest, while the other is a new contest that aims to find the best F&I presentation in the nation. Hey, at stake are cash prizes and an all-expense paid trip to the Industry Summit, so keep an eye out for it.

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