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Profile: Magazine Goes One-On-One With F&Idol Winner

The winner of the inaugural F&Idol contest is a man of many stories. In fact, that’s what endeared him to our judges and the more than 3,000 readers who voted for him.

November 2011, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Gregory Arroyo - Also by this author

GP Anderson accepts his trophy and prize money from the magazine’s executive editor, Gregory Arroyo, Industry Summit event manager Adriana Michaels and Bob Corbin, president of IAS.
GP Anderson accepts his trophy and prize money from the magazine’s executive editor, Gregory Arroyo, Industry Summit event manager Adriana Michaels and Bob Corbin, president of IAS.

He’s the son of a former state senator who, during his younger days, shared the stage with fellow Minnesotans Prince and “The Hitmakers,” Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. He’s also the winner of the magazine’s F&Idol trophy, claiming the best F&I presentation in the industry.

Gregory Paul “GP” Anderson is the F&I manager for Park Rapids, Minn.-based Thielen Motors, a single-store General Motors franchise that averages 78 vehicles per month. And there’s no place he’d rather be than in what he tells his salesmen to call the “House of Happiness.”

“When the customer asks why they call it the ‘House of Happiness,’ the salespeople will say, ‘Because every-body leaves his office happy and completely satisfied,’” says Anderson, whose office is situated so that the customer’s new vehicle sits just outside his windows.

“And when [the customer] comes in, I go, ‘Wow, is that your new ride? Man, that looks sharp.’ And I mean it,” he explains. “And I don’t do the customer interview; I just confirm the information and do the titling and registration while I’m shooting the breeze with them. There’s no sitting in the showroom.”

Anderson, who has worked in F&I for 12 years, won the magazine’s inaugural contest in a landslide. More than 4,500 readers cast a vote, and more than half chose his presentation as the best. Launched in July, the Innovative Aftermarket Systems-sponsored F&Idol contest asked readers to submit their best on-camera presentation in five categories.

He made it to the finals because the contest’s eight judges — a panel that included “Mad” Marv Eleazer, IAS President Bob Corbin and a mix of trainers, menu makers and compliance experts — voted Anderson the top GAP presenter.

The Actor

The in-person Anderson and the guy on camera handling the three GAP objections — contestants were only required to handle two — are two different people. On camera, Anderson handles the middle-aged mock customer like a consultant who is unafraid of whatever the customer throws his way. His transitions and responses are well practiced. He’s confident in his craft but not cocky.

In person, he’s a line a minute, and just a bit of a showoff. He can switch tones, from proper English to the 18-year-old who giggled his way through a songwriting class with  Prince.

“You have to go from zero to a million miles an hour in three one-hundredths of a second,” he says. “And you have to be the best, because only the best actors win.”

Anderson admits he’s a man of many faces, but that’s only because he’s heard it all. There was the turkey breeder he once helped out. When the deal was done, he made the mistake of inquiring about how one becomes a turkey breeder. “After I shook his hand, I went to the bathroom and triple washed my hands,” he says.

Then there was the barfly divorcée who caught Anderson off guard when she brashly asked: “Is this the part where you bend me over and stick it to me?”

His response was: “This isn’t the time for romance, ma’am. I’m just trying to sell you a car.” And she did just that, Anderson says.

Not every story has a punch line. There was the couple who had just lost their 12-year-old daughter to an illness after spending everything they had to keep her alive for 10 of those years. “Even now as I talk about it, I still get shivers down my back — the sorrow and pain in that mother’s eyes,” he says.

Comment

  1. 1. Violet Anderson [ November 11, 2011 @ 09:54AM ]

    As a proud mother would you send me a copy of this magazine. Thank you......

    No problem, Mrs. Anderson.

  2. 2. longtime reader [ November 17, 2011 @ 12:41PM ]

    Hard to believe you would put someone like this on a pedestal. This is in very bad taste, and nothing like what I would expect from this trade magazine. Very Offensive:

    Anderson admits he’s a man of many faces, but that’s only because he’s heard it all. There was the turkey breeder he once helped out. When the deal was done, he made the mistake of inquiring about how one becomes a turkey breeder. “After I shook his hand, I went to the bathroom and triple washed my hands,” he says.

    Then there was the barfly divorcée who caught Anderson off guard when she brashly asked: “Is this the part where you bend me over and stick it to me?”

    These are the exact types of people we are trying hard to seperate ourselves from in this industry.

    Poorly done article.

    @Longtime Reader: I apologize if that part of the article offended you. The point of bringing that up was to demonstrate how F&I managers must be able to handle a variety of personalities and characters, and how they must push forward even when customers enter their offices with a preconceived notion about the F&I process.

    I'll admit that it was a tough decision to keep that part of the story in, as I did realize it would offend some readers. However, I decided to keep it in there because I felt I'd be doing readers a disservice if I didn't truly described the many things F&I managers like GP see at their dealerships. If you interpreted that as GP doing things unethically, I must apologize to you and GP, as that was not the intent.

    With that said, I appreciate your comment and your continued readership of the magazine. I'd also like to run your comment in an upcoming issue of our magazine, as I'm sure you're not the only one who felt that. Please e-mail you name, title, dealership name (optional), city and state, and I'll run your comment in the next issue. Again, I apologize if this offended you.

    Gregory Arroyo

    Editor

  3. 3. FINANCE DIRECTOR [ November 19, 2011 @ 01:15PM ]

    Sounds like GP was making some racist comments in his video regarding "my babies aren't having no dinner tonight".

  4. 4. GP ANDERSON [ December 16, 2011 @ 08:40AM ]

    I am like a tape recorder. These are the words customers tell me. When you deal with liens, judgements, bankruptcies chapter 7, 11, 13, divorice, unpaid medical, garnishments and all the worlds credit issuses from 18-93 year customers, this is what they tell me. My opinion is that these comments are from people who do not have to deal with this on a daily basis and hide behind a email. Get out of your church pew and go make a difference. Be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army and see for your self the need. Merry Christmas.

 

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