The written word is always a good place to start. Trade publications such as the one you are now reading, are excellent sources of information and knowledge and also provide products and services to assist you as a dealer. Although there are not a lot of Buy Here-Pay Here books in the marketplace, there are dozens of books that are geared towards the professional, the entrepreneur, the salesman, the leader and the business owner. There are infinitely more books, tapes and videos about personal development. These publications can help you become a better spouse, parent, friend and/or neighbor. Make a habit to read, listen or view self-help and self-development media every chance you get.
People are also a great source of knowledge. Your family, friends, partners, pastors, accountants, attorneys and consultants should be a constant source of information and advice for you. They are your “inner” circle. Don’t be one to follow “blindly” and take all advice “with a grain of salt.” It will serve you well to get advice and opinions from those who know you, your business and/or the industry. Ask yourself if you can truly have too much information.
Industry events and associations are another great source for continuing your education. Events such as our annual Special Finance and Buy Here Conference or the NIADA National Conference can be invaluable sources for education and training. Are you a member of your state and national dealer association? You cannot give a good reason not to be a member. Do not just join associations; get involved. These professional organizations exist to help you, the dealer, conform to local, state and federal statutes, offer educational services, direct you to products and services available to assist dealers, become your voice in state and national legislatures and create standards for all dealers to follow. If not for the lobbying effort of these associations, there would be some potentially harmful legislature enacted. What is that worth?
I serve as a moderator of Buy Here-Pay Here Twenty Groups. I serve over one hundred dealers across the country. I have groups consisting of dealers of all sizes and levels of experience. I moderate a minimum of 18 meetings a year, and I have yet to moderate one where I didn’t learn something new from another participant. I laugh (really cry) when I think back to 1996 when, my now partner, Chris Leedom called me to join a Twenty Group and I said, “Thanks but we don’t need that program.” I shudder to think how arrogant we were then. We thought we knew everything about Buy Here-Pay Here. I can assure you, we did not. The lesson is that we are never, too experienced, too large or too smart to continue our education. If you think you know it all, you have made a serious miscalculation.
The reality is that we must continue our education every day and in every way. We must look at our educational expenditures as investments and not as expenses. The reality of education is that “a good education does not cost, a good education pays”. Please don’t get educated at the school of hard knocks.
Vol 1, Issue 1