F&I 20/20 sits down with Ron Reahard as he reflects on his career and body of work in the field of training. *So, let’s get straight to it. Reflecting back, give us a description of your entry into the car business and what motivated you. I got in the car business the same reason a lot of people get the car business. I needed a job. In 1975 I had just gotten married, going to college and working at the local manufacturing plant. Due to the OPEC induced recession, the company announced a major layoff. There was an ad in the newspaper for “Automobile Salesperson Needed.” I applied and lo and behold, they hired me right there on the spot. *What roles did you fulfill and how did these experiences prepare you for a career in training? I ended up selling cars for two and half years before going into the F&I office. The main reason I wanted to go into F&I was because I thought our F&I manager was a jerk. Customers went into his office excited and happy. They came out frustrated and unhappy. I was confident I could do F&I better than that. I was an F&I manager for six years. Following that, I was a representative for a credit insurance and service contract company for about a year and half, working with F&I managers to improve performance and soliciting dealers to sell our products. In 1985, I was promoted to Director of Training. In 2001, I finally started my own F&I training company, Reahard & Associates. I think the fact that I know the fears salespeople have about turning customers over to the F&I department has been a huge factor in making sure F&I is a positive experience for the customer. Because of what was being taught when I started into F&I, (the sales techniques of yesterday are the felonies of today!) it made me determined to change the process, so that F&I adds genuine value to the customer’s purchase experience. Every business is in business to help customers. “If you want to make more money, you have to help more customers! That’s what we teach. It’s what we do” *At what point did you decide that training was your professional calling? When a new F&I manager I trained, Dave Ressler, bought his first dealership. He called me and invited me to his grand opening, and told me what an impact my class had had on him. He ended up owning multiple dealerships, and over the years, many of his F&I people also attended my class. *Did you immediately form a company before starting out training or began as an agent? I wanted to go into training immediately. However, my boss felt it was critical I first start out as a representative, calling on dealers, so I would understand their role. He was right. It also enabled me to see that there are as many ways to run a dealership as there are dealerships. After 1½ years as a rep, I was promoted to Director of Training in 1985. I worked for three companies as Director of Training before finally starting my own company in 2001. *How many employees do you now employ and what are their roles? We currently have seven full-time employees, and are in the process of filling three additional positions. We have 3 full time trainers who do in-dealership training, classes, workshops and seminars. We also have four people in the office who coordinate all of our training events, manage our online training program and our multiple websites, including our autoconsumerinfo.com website. The office team also prepares all our training materials and advertising. They shoot and edit our online training videos, and manage F&Insight, our F&I transaction video recording system. *What excites you most about the place you’re now at with Reahard & Associates? I think what still excites me more than anything is the team we’ve built, and the fact that they are truly committed to improving our industry, and helping our dealers improve the F&I process. To me, helping others is the essence of life, and that is what selling is. Selling is about helping someone else get what they want, which enables us to get what we want. When the focus of selling is on helping the customer, both parties win. Changing perceptions, helping dealers improve their processes, and helping F&I managers improve their skills still excites me. Now more than ever, each day offers us another opportunity to help dealers and their F&I managers help more customers. 6

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