By Fred G. Slabine, President of Automotive Training & Development
As President of Automotive Training & Development (ATD, I am dedicated to accelerating sales, profits, and customer satisfaction for automotive, marine, RV, and motorcycle dealerships. My aim is to provide high quality and affordable recruitment and sales training services to my clients, thereby building a GREAT sales team and avoiding costly staff turnover.
I bring to ATD more than 35 years of success in automotive sales, F&I, special finance, and sales training. Throughout my career, I have significantly increased sales volume, profits, and customer satisfaction in the dealerships where I have worked. By applying my successful strategies in training and supervising others, I have trained highly effective sales professionals and built strong sales teams that work together well to achieve their goals. In all my dealings, I have worked hard to make my customers, colleagues, and trainees smile.
I began my automotive career in 1978 at Berretta Buick/Pontiac/Yugo in Brockton, MA where I soon worked my way up from salesman to Finance, Leasing, & Rental Car Manager. There I consistently exceeded financial goals and expectations, increasing PRU from $75 to $1150, finance penetration from 24% to 79%, and L&AH from 0 to 89% in 11 years. I also implemented an extended service contracts program that obtained a 67% penetration level. After leaving Berretta, I applied these successful techniques at another dealership where I served as Finance and Leasing Manager.
Based on these early successes, I decided to create a national training program (Credit Specialists) to teach others about the importance of F&I and special finance. From 1991-2001, I hired and trained nine trainers in several states to teach dealerships how to use special finance programs and extended warranties to improve their profits and serve their clients well. By using a combination of workshops, on-site coaching, and motivational techniques, we helped dealerships achieve results.
From 2001 to 2003, I served as Customer Support Manager with Market Scan Information Systems. In that role, I trained dealers in the proper use of the company’s Profit Center Software to increase sales, gross profits, customer satisfaction, and lease renewals. I also developed a user-friendly seminar for sales personnel, managers, and owners on the benefits of leasing versus purchasing cars. My clients were extremely satisfied with my services, and they demonstrated improved performance based on my training.
When I could no longer travel for personal reasons, I joined Marlboro Nissan as Special Finance Manager. There, I applied my proven sales strategies and achieved an exceptional closing ratio of 80%, while also maximizing profits. I also trained other colleagues in special finance, so that they could sustain the program after I left in 2007. One thing I stressed was treating credit-impaired clients with respect and dignity. Another was purchasing and selling used cars that are still under factory warranty to protect both the dealer and the consumer.
After leaving Marlboro Nissan, I worked for 18 months as a sales trainer for a nationally-recognized sales training company, Then, I decided to create my own company—Automotive Training & Development, Like all successful companies, ATD is partly motivated by profit, but that’s not all. We are also committed to improving the industry and enhancing the lives of our trainees. And, I believe that our company can make a real difference in both cases.
Throughout my career, my favorite expression has always been, “What will it take to make you smile?” It may sound glib, but it is not just a line. In all my dealings with others, I adhere to a few basic principles that I believe are essential to success in business and in life. These principles are also at the heart of ATD’s working relationships with customers and its training programs. First, be a really good listener and try to understand the other person’s needs and point of view. Second, treat everyone with respect and dignity. Make them feel important whether they are a Lexus dealer interested in purchasing training services, an inexperienced trainee looking to build a new career, or a credit-impaired customer who wants to buy a second-hand Chevy. Finally, give your customers the product or service they really want and need, and one they can actually afford. That way, you develop customers and relationships for life.