If you’ve ever entertained the idea of making the trip to Industry Summit, this is the year you need to pull the trigger. I’d like to use this page to explain why I think so, as well as clear up any confusion about all the different ads you probably noticed in recent issues.
At this point, you may be wondering, “What’s with all the summits?” Well, again, let me explain. See, Industry Summit, which will be held Sept. 11–14 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas, was really born out of our decision back in December 2009 to change the title of the magazine to F&I and Showroom.
"But you don’t have to be a member of either group to attend. All we ask is that you get your dealer, your sales managers and staffers, and your F&I team signed up for what I expect will be one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences."
Coming out of the Great Recession and credit crisis that year, we realized we couldn’t help solve the challenges facing the F&I office without talking about what goes on in the showroom. My former editor and the founder of F&I and Showroom, the late Ed Bobit, used to refer to those connections as the “tentacles to F&I.”
We waited until the summer of 2011 to rename our annual conference to reflect the magazine’s expanded coverage. But it wasn’t just a name change. We launched a new event platform that would allow us to test out new ideas as well as add established events like Greg Goebel’s Special Finance Conference, which has remained a part of Industry Summit ever since.
So, yeah, we’ve been tinkering, and I believe we finally have things dialed in.
Let me start with Compliance Summit, which my publisher, David Gesualdo, originally launched as a series of regional events in 2014. And after successful stops in Miami, Austin, Texas, and Chicago, we decided to bring the event to Industry Summit in 2016. When we did, we added one additional feature to the show: compliance certification.
See, through a partnership with Gil Van Over’s Automotive Compliance Education (ACE), we gave attendees the opportunity to earn certification as Automotive Compliance Specialists. All they had to do was complete a half-day review session and score a passing grade on a two-hour test. Out of the 165 individuals who attended Compliance Summit, 83 did just that.
And you’ll have an opportunity to do the same at Industry Summit 2017, as certification is included as part of your full-conference registration.
But the big news this year is our partnership with The Best Training Day Ever, an event launched by EasyCare in February 2013. The F&I product provider has once again gathered a team of the industry’s leading performance strategists to lead an all-day training program on Sept. 12 for dealers, BDC and internet department staffers, showroom sales personnel and managers, and even service advisors.
Those performance strategists include David Lewis of David Lewis & Associates, Jeff Cowan of Jeff Cowan’s Pro Talk Inc., and Dave Anderson with Learn to Lead. Yeah, we pulled out all the stops this year.
So what about F&I, right? Well, Industry Summit will once again feature a top-notch curriculum led by the who’s who of F&I training. Stay plugged into IndustrySummit.com and F&I and Showroom’s twice-weekly enewsletter for more on that.
What I’m personally excited about is Day Four of Industry Summit, which will feature F&I Think Tank. That’s right, F&I Think Tank is headed to Dallas after a groundbreaking debut in 2016.
We created F&I Think Tank in partnership with Ethical F&I Managers, a more than 7,000-member Facebook group founded by F&I and Showroom columnist “Mad” Marv Eleazer. The idea behind this unique event was to recreate EFI’s daily information exchange. Open forum-type sessions will allow attendees to share ideas and techniques as well as pose tough-to-handle customer objections or situations to top F&I trainers and industry insiders.
This year, we’ve added a new partner: F&I 20 Group is a 10,000-plus-member Facebook Group created by F&I trainer Shaka Dyson, founder of Dealer F&I University. So now we have two of the industry’s premier social media groups for F&I managers tied to this amazing all-day event.
But you don’t have to be a member of either group to attend. All we ask is that you get your dealer, your sales managers and staffers, and your F&I team signed up for what I expect will be one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.