Zurich’s regional income development executives help dealers maximize income

Zurich’s Regional Income Development Executive (RIDE) plays a critical role supporting Zurich's mega dealer customers. The RIDE specializes in dealership income development, making them uniquely successful in helping dealers achieve big results. The RIDE is part of the larger Zurich team, which typically includes the National Account Manager, Area Finance and Insurance (F&I) Manager and the National Reinsurance Executive. The RIDE complements the larger Zurich team by delivering the disciplined tactical training that ensures Zurich’s selling system is implemented in the dealership.

“The RIDE brings a tremendous amount of value to our dealer customers,” noted Patrick Branner, Zurich’s Area F&I Manager. "They implement and support Zurich’s Streamlined Selling System in the dealership – and help Zurich’s dealer customers achieve improved results. A key piece of the income development strategy is organic growth. The RIDE aligns perfectly with this strategy, by focusing solely on development of PVR.”

Training the dealership team on Zurich’s Streamlined Selling System is crucial to achieving success. Zurich’s RIDEs spend their time and focus training the dealership team on building value, delivering a presentation tailored to the car-buyer's individual needs, and sharing ideas on how to overcome customer objections.

All of this is measured and reviewed to ensure that the dealership delivers an excellent customer experience and achieves their F&I goals.

Each element of the RIDE’s work is essential to ensuring success, and includes:

  • One-on-one training and demonstration
  • Observing, coaching, giving feedback and retraining
  • Motivating and instilling discipline
  • Verifying and validating proper execution of the system
  • Thorough documentation, including expected and actual results
  • A comprehensive, systematic review and analysis of results with the dealership team

Dealer perspective: The impact of Zurich’s ride for the dealership

“Making the decision to move our business to Zurich started from a conversation I had with Dick Garber, the owner of Garber Management Group,” said John Gross, Chief Operations Officer of Firkins Automotive Group in Bradenton, Florida. Dick was very happy with and had such great things to say about Zurich, so I agreed that I would find an opportunity to meet with someone from Zurich to learn more about what they could offer.

Zurich RIDE Jason Todd stopped by and really impressed Gross. “Jason is very competitive, and I loved that spirit! He described what Zurich could offer us, exactly how they could help us make more money. I love Jason’s winning attitude.” said Gross.

As Gross started giving more serious consideration to making the change, there were subsequent discussions with the larger Zurich team. Gross was impressed with everyone he met from Zurich. After some discussion about Zurich’s system and Zurich’s commitment to deliver on Gross’s stated goals, they shook hands and made the deal.

When Gross announced to his finance staff that he was making a change, there was some skepticism. Change can be challenging for employees, especially if things are already going well. Gross brought Todd in to help give the team an understanding of what they could expect to achieve, to describe the system and the transition, and answer questions; Todd put everyone at ease. He asked the team to have faith and to see what happened in the first 30 to 60 days.

“Fast-forward to now, we’re eight or nine months in and all of my people are making more money,” said Gross. “My PVR has increased, it’s truly amazing. Our employees are making more money, our owners are so happy."

Gross explained that Jason and Bob hold a monthly meeting during which the entire team goes through each team member’s numbers, conducts training, and shares relevant information about the auto industry. This discipline, and the ongoing analysis of the results, keeps everyone focused and motivated.

“The success we’ve had has taken a lot of hard work by Zurich, and a lot of hard work by my team. Much credit goes to Randy Stull, our Finance Director. Randy does a great job of onboarding new products, training his team, and achieving success in the store.” Gross noted too that,"Bob Firkins is a fantastic owner." His support of the entire team, and his backing and support of these types of strategic decisions, is what ensures the dealership continues to grow and achieve tremendous success."

Zurich’s Service Lane initiative has also delivered big results for Firkins. A tablet, with presentation of the service contract in the drive and the option for the customers to make their payment on the spot, has helped sell a significant number of additional contracts. Gross explained. “This is really important. Zurich hasn’t just helped us grow sales, the service area is growing now, too! Zurich, for my service claims, pays my door rate. This helped grow revenue for my Service department. You can have the best products in the world, but you need the right people and process in the service drive to sell them.”

Gross said, “You’re taking a risk when you move your business. I was taking a risk, but it has been a home run!”

This article was originally published in Zurich NA's "Dealer Principle", Volume 2, Winter 2020.

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