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Swimming in the Deep End

February 4, 2016

Have you been following our online announcements regarding Dealer Summit 2016? You may have seen the one about trainer extraordinaire Jim “Alpha Dawg” Ziegler and special finance guru Greg Goebel headlining the event, which is scheduled for May 3–5 in Tampa, Fla.

So is this a new show for F&I and Showroom and Auto Dealer Today? Well, yes and no. Yes, the location is new, and, yes, the Dealer Summit name is new. But what we’re bringing to the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel isn’t necessarily a new venture.

Think of Dealer Summit as an extension of the magazine’s annual Industry Summit event, but with a more dealer-focused agenda. So instead of waiting until September for Goebel’s Special Finance and Used Vehicle Retailing program, you’ll get all his data and insights on lead conversions, sales strategies and building a special finance operation right before the summer selling season officially kicks off.

And as I previously mentioned, a “pumped, energized and electrified” Alpha Dawg will be with us to share the same strategies that made him a record-setting manager and helped his dealer clients achieve the big numbers overnight.

Now, have you heard of Compliance Summit? It’s a regional seminar series created by my publisher, David Gesualdo. The first one was held in Miami in November 2014, the second in Chicago last April and the third was held this past November in Austin, Texas. Well, David is bringing the best of those three events to Florida.

Setting the stage for Dealer Summit’s compliance and F&I discussions will be the Association of Finance & Insurance Professionals (AFIP)’s David Robertson, who will deliver his keynote address on Wednesday, May 4, at 9:10 a.m. He’ll also be hosting his AFIP Boot Camp for those interested in getting AFIP Certified.

But that’s not all. Dealertrack Associate General Counsel Randy Henrick, Hudson Cook LLP’s Tom Hudson, Mosaic Compliance Services’ Jim Ganther, Reynolds and Reynolds Director of Compliance Terry O’Loughlin, American Guardian Warranty Services’ Bob Harkins, and EFG Companies’ Karen Klees will also be at the event. The latter, by the way, was one of the first 100 professionals to earn the National Automotive Finance (NAF) Association (NAF)’s Certified Consumer Credit Compliance Specialist designation.

As for trainers, we have World Class Dealer Services’ Michael Tuno, who has served as an F&I instructor for the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) since 2007, business development expert Luis Garcia, United Development Systems’ Gerry Gould and Fernando Romani, and Reahard & Associates’ Rick McCormick.

What is new is the preshow event F&I and Showroom is hosting at Dealer Summit in partnership with Ethical F&I Managers (EFI), a 5,000-member Facebook group founded by our own “Mad” Marv Eleazer. See, I was tasked with creating a preshow event for F&I pros. So Marv and I put our heads together, polled members of EFI and came up with F&I Think Tank. What we’ve tried to do is recreate the information exchange that occurs daily in EFI. That’s why the agenda features multiple 20 Group-like sessions that will allow attendees to share ideas, get career and on-the-job advice from top F&I trainers and pose compliance questions to the top legal minds.

We’re also staffing F&I Think Tank with top-flight F&I managers such as the magazine’s 2011 and 2012 F&Idol winners, Gregory Paul “G.P.” Anderson and Dina Wilson. The latter, who serves as F&I director at Cumberland, Md.-based Timbrook Automotive, will moderate a discussion between an all-female group of top producers.

G.P. will present “Entering the House of Happiness.” That’s the name he’s given to his F&I office at Park Rapids, Minn.-based Thielen Motors, where he averages three products per deal and every customer “leaves happy and completely satisfied.” Aside from his secrets to success, G.P. will talk about his credit-building classes, which he teaches at local high schools and Indian reservations. You’ll learn how those efforts have improved the industry’s reputation in his community and served as a nice showroom traffic driver.

I may be wrong, but we may be making history with F&I Think Tank. I don’t know of another event that was born out of a social media group like EFI. The good news is you don’t have to be an EFI member to attend. And get this: You can access Dealer Summit, F&I Think Tank and other preshow events we have yet to announce for just $445 if you register at before April 1.

So, again, Dealer Summit isn’t a new event, but it does feature some new components and a refreshed program. So make plans to be with us in Tampa, Fla., this May for this groundbreaking event.

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