For Glen Tuscan, president, Dealer Commitment Services Inc.; owner and CEO, Triple Protection Auto Care Inc., the focus has always been on people. He started his career in automotive in the retail space, working 12 years for a dealer who had a strong philosophy that it was all about creating clients for life, not selling cars. He credits that dealer, whom he still thinks of as one of the best teachers in the business, with shaping the way he thinks about cars, selling and F&I.
Today, Tuscan still thinks of himself as a retail car guy, although he now runs both an agency and an administration company. He has applied the philosophy of creating lifetime clients to his relationships with both his vendors and his dealers. In fact, he noted, most of the providers he partners with have been working with him for more than 15 years now – one has been with him since he first founded Dealer Commitment Services in 1990.
He made the transition from retail to the agent side when what was then Western National – which later became CNA National – was looking for representation in his region, and his name came up in conversation. The owner of the dealership he worked for had passed away a year prior, and in the interim, Tuscan had been working on income development projects. “I did my due diligence on the owner of Western National and what he built, and I found that it was a terrific company,” said Tuscan. “They had the same commitment to the consumer and the agent that I had worked for in retail all those years.”
CNA National remains one of his providers today, and he still believes they are a fantastic company. He also got in on the ground floor with George Angus’ Team One process in 1993, a method he still believes in strongly and uses today. “My true value is profitability for the dealer,” he noted. “I know it sounds cliché, but I took on more of a partner approach than a vendor approach from the get-go; I took the spirit of full disclosure and really made them partners of my agency. I never wanted to come across as vendor or product supplier.”
He works hard to make sure he stays in touch with what his dealers need, as well, spending time getting to know what their pain points are, and helping them find the best solutions to solve the problems. “I still work in F&I to this day, still sit in and box deals,” he said. “I not only help develop products, I learn how to sell them so we can make sure they’re proven and have real value for consumer. None of my dealers are interested in just stuffing products in to say they do – all the products have to have process and true benefits.”
Looking forward, Tuscan does not see the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as a major threat to the business. There might be more regulations, but he does not see that having a long-term impact on profitability. “Dealers are creative in their own way,” he said. “They are aware that there has to be focus on products, and they are relying on me as the agent to bring them profitable products to possibly substitute loss of reserve income. None of them are asking for specific products right now, but more for products that will be profitable with the anticipation that the reserve landscape will change.”
That change will continue to be driven by the consumers, Tuscan believes. Another change he sees as being very much consumer driven is the race for more online systems, and the ability to allow consumers to go through far more of the purchase process before they ever step foot through the dealership doors.
“I believe there is a race for millennials right now,” he said. “Manufacturers are trying to figure out that buyer, dealers are trying to figure out how to communicate with them and we as product providers and trainers need to realize the buying process is being done before they get to the store. These buyers want the transaction done before they get there, and we have to evolve and figure out that space. It’s a real dynamic that’s happening; this generation of buyers are not the typical buyer, and are demanding a different way to buy and a different way to pay for the vehicle. A lot of our transactions will be done before the customer even gets to the actual brick and mortar store, so we have to figure out a way to send our F&I product offerings to the Internet buyer before they get there. And that is a challenge.”
Tuscan believes that many F&I products do still benefit from having a live person explain them, but as time goes on, he does not think dealers will be given that opportunity, not as it is structured today. “Our products are interactive, and need to be described,” he said. “So our challenge is to figure out how to communicate those product offerings through that Internet experience.”
He believes so strongly in that future, that he is one of the people going through trial and error with some of his more adventurous dealers, trying to find a system that will strike that balance. It is not yet ready for the main stream, but he believes in the next 6-12 months, it will be. He has made it a priority, which was substantiated, he said, by an article he saw recently noting that today there is more consuming and buying being done online than in brick-and-mortar malls. “We need to look at that in our industry, and realize it’s going that way too,” Tuscan said. “And we as product providers and agents need to communicate better with that buyer.”
For agents and providers both, he sees this changing dynamic as an opportunity. “We need to embrace change, to realize the creativity of the Internet,” Tuscan said. “We need to embrace it and quite frankly be part of this evolution. There needs to be solutions for dealers to maximize their profitability, and we need to be the ones bringing those solutions. We need to be creative and have open minds, and be part of the change instead of watching it.”