Tag Archive | "ADG"

ADG EasyCare Adds Yelverton to F&I Specialist Roster

NORCROSS, Ga. — ADG EasyCare announced that Richard Yelverton has been hired as an F&I specialist. He is based in Northern Virginia and tasked with supporting EasyCare’s dealer clients by providing in-dealership F&I training and consulting and sitting in for F&I professionals.

“As our operation grows and our F&I development program evolves, we are adding to our ranks with professional, dynamic recruits, and Richard fits that description perfectly,” said Greg English, president of ADG EasyCare. “We expect our company and our clients to benefit from his work in the retail environment.”

Yelverton is a 10-year veteran of the automotive industry, having risen through the ranks at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, where he ultimately served as branch manager for the company’s prominent, high-volume Walt Disney World branch in Orlando, Fla. He also served in a leadership position with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. prior to joining ADG EasyCare.

“I did my research and I know they wanted to bring on the right person,” Yelverton said. “They want people who have management and sales experience to be trained properly and to continue to train others, and I’m excited to join a company that puts so much focus on ongoing learning. From being encouraged to ‘read an article a day’ to the collaboration with my peers, I’ll be learning something new every day.”

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David Hunter joins ADG/EasyCare as an F&I Specialist

Automotive Development Group (ADG)/EasyCare announced that David Hunter has joined the company as an F&I specialist. His duties include in-dealership F&I training and consulting.

“David’s extensive industry experience and academic credentials are a powerful combination,” said Greg English, president of ADG. “We have nothing but the highest expectations for his success, and that of the dealers and F&I professionals with whom he works.”

Hunter earned a master’s degree in business administration from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., in September. He plans to apply the skills he acquired in his graduate studies and his experience in every phase of dealership operations to his new position.

“I grew up around the industry, at the dealership, cutting grass and sweeping the lot. I then moved into detail, parts and service, and then sales, and now I’m back on the finance side,” Hunter said. “I knew I wanted to stay in the automotive world. I want to be part of an industry that’s always changing.”

Hunter identified the emergence of new technology and plateauing sales as opportunities for auto dealers to update and strengthen their F&I processes, maximizing productivity and opportunities for fixed ops revenue.

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Alan Scott Joins ADG/EasyCare

NORCROSS, Ga. — Alan Scott has joined ADG/EasyCare as an F&I specialist, the company announced. An eight-year industry veteran, Scott will serve as a trainer and producer at client dealerships to help ADG/EasyCare dealers succeed.

“I love the car business and I wanted to get a different take on it, and ADG/EasyCare really has a great grasp on the F&I side of the business,” Scott said. “They are able to train talented people and I’m excited to both learn from them and bring the expertise to dealers in my area.”

Scott began his automotive career in 2009 as a salesperson at Medlin Motors in Rocky Mount, N.C. He brings expertise in automotive retail and compliance to his new role, which he will share with the dealers he supports.

“Alan brings great energy to ADG/EasyCare and we are very happy to have him on board.  We expect great things from Alan!” said Greg English, President of ADG/EasyCare.


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Welcome to Agent Summit 2014

Once again, Agent Summit 2014 – the fourth year the conference has been held – is breaking records. There are more days, with more sessions, for agents to grow and expand their knowledge base. There are more sponsors and providers who will be in the exhibition hall, ready to talk about their companies and products in the most relaxed atmosphere agents will find anywhere in the country. And there are more attendees. More agents than ever have seen the value in this conference, which is a credit to the advisory board, which, every year, takes the feedback from attendees and works hard to improve every facet of the show.

The advisory board was led again this year by Randy Crisorio, president and CEO, United Development Systems, and included Jimmy Atkinson, COO, AUL Corp.; Joel Kansanback, president, ADG; John Luckett, senior vice president, The Warranty Group; John Peterson, president, The Oak Group; Jim Schaffer, vice president, Northeast Dealer Services; and Matt Nowicki, vice president, IAS.

The board, Crisorio noted, has done a great deal of work putting together an agenda that is full of invaluable content to help agents be more productive and land more profitable deals in 2014.

The first two sessions, on Monday afternoon, will focus on technology and training, with two strong panel lineups packed with industry heavyweights. The technology panel, led by Johnny Garlich, president, Heart Dealer Financial Services, will take a closer look at the changing landscape of technology impacting the F&I office, with the goal of helping agents make sense of the rapidly-changing “E” landscape – eRating, eContracting and eSignatures are just the beginning. And the second panel of the convention, led by Lyle King, partner, Auto Services Group, will focus on training. Should agents go with an in-person or online program? How often should training occur? What areas should you be targeting? These are a few of the questions our expert panel will address.

“Certainly you expect to hear about the latest industry technology to keep you at the head of the pack – and you will hear it all,” said Crisorio. “And there will be real training for growth that will give you a jump start lining your pockets this year. Growth that stems from training the right people, with the correct frequency and by what means. There are a lot of training mediums to be had today.”

On Tuesday, the show will turn its attention to helping agents get ahead in their business. Steve Richard, co-founder and chief content officer, Vorsight, will focus on getting dealer appointments – and will be making live sales calls during the session, so come prepared with a few prospects you would like to secure appointments with, and be ready to learn his tips and tricks.

Tom O’Neil, founder, O’Neil Financial Services Agency Inc., will then be examining Captive Coercion – he will review the growing practice of lenders tying products into their loan approvals, and give solid advice on what agents can do to defend their business.

After lunch, Steve Burke, CEO, Portfolio, will take a closer look at how agents can use reinsurance programs to build their enterprise. He will analyze how these programs should be structured to minimize taxes and maximize profits – this is a session no agent can afford to miss.

Brian Casey, partner, Locke Lord LLC, will follow Burke with a presentation on the State of Compliance. He will not only review what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is doing, but will cover all of the regulations on the horizon – and what agents should be doing about them.

Finally, Eric Winegardner, vice president of client adoption, Monster Worldwide, will address something no agent or agency can afford to ignore: recruiting. He will give agents the details on how to identify quality people, how to convince them to join your organization, and why it is so important that every agent is constantly on the lookout for the right people.

“Three sessions are dedicated to solving general agent problems we face every day: namely, getting in front of a dealer, recruiting quality people both for you and your dealers and dealing with the competitive pressure of factory F&I products,” said Crisorio. “Please look these people up on the agenda & Google their names: Steve Richard of Vorsight and Eric Winegardner of Monster.com. Plus, fellow agent Tom O’Neil will deliver an exciting workshop on Captive Coercion. Tom has a ton of experience countering factory pressure and will share what it takes to successfully defend your business interests. Also, don’t miss enterprise building through reinsurance by industry executive Steve Burke. And given the current state of regulators, namely the mysterious CFPB, you’ve got to hear what attorney Brian Casey has to say.”

A Third Day of Content
This year, Agent Summit has added another day onto the agenda, designed exclusively for agency principals. These three sessions will be dedicated to running the business of the agency.

The first exclusive session will focus on where to take the agency next – which product categories are surging? What challenges can the agency turn to its advantage? What industry trends should every agency be looking to capitalize on right now? John Braganini, principal, Great Lakes Companies, will lead a powerful panel that will look to answer these questions and more.

“Challenges are aplenty with so many F&I protection products looking for real estate on our menus, but opportunities are around every corner,” said Crisorio. “Leasing is surging, quality used car operations are barely tapped, environmental protection continues to play an important role, customer retention is key for every dealer and merchandising products like power train warranties seem to be present in every city. I guarantee you’ll find money in this session.”

The second agency-principal-only session will feature James Duggan, principal, Duggan Bertsch LLC, reprising his popular session from last year on Taming the Estate Planning Beast. He will go into greater detail on everything agency principals need to be thinking about when it comes to the next generation – who will take over the business? Is the estate secure? What can you do to minimize the tax burden on survivors? These are all important questions that every agent-entrepreneur should be thinking about.

The final session of the day will be a panel moderated by Mike Conley, CEO, Conley Insurance Group. It will feature two providers and two agents – and will explore what each side is looking for when it comes to creating the perfect partnership. “Two providers will walk the plank with two general agents in a segment called ‘Model Partnerships’,” said Crisorio. “And it is what it says. Providers will describe their model agency operator, and agents will describe their model provider. Can we find partnership here is the question? We definitely want – and expect to hear from – the attending agent body on this one.”

All throughout the agency principals’ day, there will also be exclusive giveaways, sponsored by ECP. “All in all principals-only should prove to be a terrific exchange of important information, and ECP has seen fit to put the frosting on the cake,” said Crisorio. “At the conclusion of each segment, ECP will give away a timepiece. I think I’ve heard the theme being called ECP – entire car protection all the time. Thus they’ve dropped the cash on three nice awards: a Luminox travel alarm clock, Tissot sea-touch dive watch and Rolex Datejust II.”

There will be something for every agent, at every level, at this year’s show. We are excited to bring you such a powerful group of speakers and topics, and we want to hear from you – after the show, let us know what you liked, what you didn’t like, and what you would like to see next year. Welcome to Las Vegas, and we’re glad you could join us for Agent Summit 2014!

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An Interview with Joel Kansanback

In May 2002, Joel Kansanback, president, Automotive Development Group (ADG), founded the agency – and at the time he was the only team member. Two years later, in 2004, his business partner, Bill Kelly, joined him and things only continued to grow from there.

The original mission hasn’t changed in the intervening years: to provide dealers with the best combination of training; reinsurance; a high-quality, flexible product line up; and professionalism. “From time to time we’ve chased some ideas that took us off path a bit, but we always come back to focusing on training and taking care of the dealers interests,” said Kansanback.

Kansanback started in the business in 1990, as part of Pat Ryan & Associates. “There are a lot of Ryan guys in the business,” joked Kansanback, “so they all say ‘ooo, he’s one of those guys’.” He remained with Pat Ryan through the Resource Group spinoff, and eventually left in 1996. “While at Ryan I learned an enormous amount, much of which I still draw on today,” he said.

From there, he joined Arcadia Financial as a regional sales manager. CitiGroup acquired Arcadia in 2002, and when Kansanback left there to found ADG, he was their sales director. “I enjoy this industry because of the fast pace and because of the people,” Kansanback said. “No industry can possibly have as many interesting people as the car business.”

One of the trends Kansanback is seeing is for today’s dealers to demand more participation programs. “There is an appetite for smaller and smaller dealers wanting to be in participation accounts on the products,” he noted. “It used to be just for big dealers, but now small franchise and independent dealers want to be in a participation program.”

He sees that trend continuing for the foreseeable future, along with a trend toward more dealers offering products through the service department. He sees dealers moving toward a view of the service department as a prime customer retention tool, and many of them, he noted, are starting to give away maintenance plans as part of other packages to help increase the traffic and opportunities there. “It can really be impactful to the overall financial picture at a dealership,” Kansanback said. “And it’s happening across the board, at dealerships both large and small. It doesn’t make sense to every customer, but when you present it right, it really clicks for some people.”

He is also keeping a very close eye on the consolidation going on in the market right now. “My expectation is that the strong will get stronger and the weak will get weaker,” noted Kansanback. “Big dealer groups will become bigger and the public groups will continue to grow. I would expect that as the best dealer acquisition targets are all grabbed up, the standard will be lowered and the mega groups and publics will be buying dealerships they would have never considered before. The decline of the Mom and Pop dealer will accelerate, and the American Dream of an entrepreneur getting his first car dealership will be impractical. So the net affect for agents is we have to be equipped to service the big guys or be limited to chasing a tiny handful of less sophisticated dealers. This is already happening in several markets.”

He doesn’t know if it is a matter of the richer, more sophisticated dealers driving the smaller ones out, or if the economy is just making it too difficult for those small dealers to compete effectively – he calls it a chicken and egg situation, but noted that either way, the end result is the same – a smaller number of large dealer groups that bring a very high level of complexity and sophistication to the business of selling cars. “And that impacts agents as well,” he noted. “Mom and pop dealers are the agent’s bread and butter, and if there are fewer and fewer of those around, what does that mean for agents? I suspect the same trend will be true for agents – the big will get bigger, and those who can provide results and training will become more important. Agents who are product-focused will go by the wayside. That model isn’t going to work anymore.”

That shift is not going to happen overnight, however. Kansanback sees it moving in that direction over the next several years. Even in two or three years, he noted, there will still be smaller agents doing business, but increasingly, he believes, they will lose dealerships, find it harder to get more and will have a difficult time competing with the larger agent groups, for many of the same reasons the smaller dealers will struggle to stay competitive.

“It all comes down to whether you can move the needle in a dealership,” said Kansanback. “You can be a one-man agency if you’re impactful, but if you rely on price, I don’t know how you’re even surviving now. We spend a lot of time in our agency thinking of what more can we offer, what more can we do and how can we do more for the dealer. The industry is starving for training. Agents that can make an impact for dealers in an increasingly difficult business climate will have a very bright future.”

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An Interview with Bill Kelly

Bill Kelly, partner, Automotive Development Group (ADG) has been in automotive business his entire life. His father was in the industry, and he always knew he wanted to follow that path as well. He started out selling cars and working in the finance department, but then moved to the F&I provider side of the business, and from there made the leap to agent.

He has been with ADG as a partner since 2004. Joel Kansanback started ADG a few years earlier, and Kelly was attracted to the smaller, more nimble model he was building. “One of the things that attracted me going to the smaller agency is working with the dealers and being in the dealerships,” he said. “This industry is such a fast paced, changing environment. You need to be in the dealerships to know what they need, to provide them the right programs; the relationships you build in the street are so valuable. I really liked that ADG provided flexibility to bring different programs to my clients.”

That flexibility is a core mission for ADG, and hasn’t changed since Kansanback first founded the company. They aim to provide outstanding F&I results, with top-notch products and training. And both the products they offer and the training they provide are equally important.

On the training side, every one of the eight agents who work under Kelly and Kansanback have training backgrounds. Kelly noted that they even hired a director of training, Tony Troussov, last year, with the agents reporting directly to him. “We wanted an emphasis on training,” Kelly noted. Troussov even spoke at NADA in Orlando earlier this year, and Kelly said they got some interesting feedback. “Some of those things [Troussov is teaching] are cutting edge; he’s talking about changing the F&I office as we know it today. That comes with a lot of resistance. But I feel you have to be willing and ready to evolve.”

The other major part of the puzzle is the products and providers ADG works with. Kelly noted that they have a few ways of finding new products for their lineup. First, he and Kansanback walk the floor at NADA every year. “We really get a feel and a sense of what’s out there,” he said. “Will it help our dealers maintain the high level we have for them, or is it a product that could go into a store where we need something different? Every year, we find something we can bring back to all or one of our clients. And we don’t necessarily just pick product we see at NADA; we see the type of program, and then go out and find out everyone who is doing it, and research those companies and find the one that fits out needs.”

It’s a long process, he noted, since they do a great deal of research up front. But, he also said, when they do choose a provider, they stick with them long term. “We don’t just switch [the products or providers] when the next best whatever comes along, because we did our research.”

In addition to NADA, Kelly noted that ADG researches and finds new product lines because their dealers ask for a specific type of program to fill a need. They also read trade publications to see what’s being advertised, and what dealers, agents and providers are talking about. And they attend other industry events as well, where Kelly said he enjoys talking to agents in other regions, to find out what’s working for them and why, to see if it might make sense in his region as well.

For the future, Kelly sees ADG growing, but in a controlled way. He believes focusing on having good people on the street in core marketplaces is a long-term strategy for success. “All of our agents can train and do income development in the store,” he noted. “Those are our core principles, and we need to stick to that. We need to make sure we’re doing what the clients need, not what ADG needs.”

One way he sees growing is to acquire other small agencies. He is targeting firms with, perhaps, a principal looking to retire, and who wants someone solid to take care of their block of business. “We haven’t purchased any to date,” Kelly said, “but we’ve come close.”

At the end of the day, however, Kelly admitted that everything comes down to the numbers, and he holds not only the company, but also his individual agents accountable for their success. “You can talk about training, all the things that we do, but it comes down to this: success is based on numbers. If you aren’t moving the needle, it’s all talk. We set goals every six months and work with employees to achieve them. We stretch goals to challenge them to grow within their current base and find new clients — just like we have to perform for our dealers, they have to perform for ADG. It comes down to hitting your numbers, and the numbers don’t lie.”

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