It Feels Good To Be Back!

After a two year retirement/hiatus from active involvement in the Special Finance industry, recent events have brought me back together with the Father of VOISYS, Nick Spiridellis.  I am excited to again represent VOISYS in the Great Lakes area, beginning with Michigan.  In other words, I am, again, spending my days with Special Finance professionals and loving it!

I won’t spend any of our valuable time re-hashing the chain of events that spawned my departure.  Other than regularly reading the email editions of Industry publications including the wise words of Greg Goebel and the spot-on and always easy to read and understand advice of Tom Hudson for those two years, I watched from the sidelines.  Vicariously, I shared the tribulations and successes of those of you whose boots were solidly rooted in the trenches of Special Finance.

Fast forward to 2012!  Some of the things that I had expected to find in Special Finance offices were strangely absent.  A few of the things that I had been lead to believe were obsolete, were alive and working well.  A decade ago, when I wrote my first article for WOSF Magazine, I titled it “THE OLD TOOLS” and I talked about how we tend to set aside tools that served us well,  in order to embrace new technology.  I talked about how, cleaned of accumulated rust, some old tools can be as productive as we once made them.  Technology has indeed changed our lives for the better.  Internet leads, available today, are a much more useful tool than they were a dozen years ago.  But some aspects of the Industry that one would expect to be most impacted are not.

One of the things that I discovered, reading as I did, was that print media was the horse-drawn carriage of the 2000’s.   To paraphrase a quote from Mark Twain, “The rumors of it’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”  True, print newspapers are far from being as robust as they were at the Millennium, but they are still around.  As a matter-of-fact, when I read my morning paper (I need ink and newsprint with my coffee), a majority of the advertising there is from our local and regional auto dealerships.  And, lo and behold, many of them have specific Special Finance content.  Granted, we may have lost some of the glossy magazine-formatted supermarket handouts that we were used to relying upon, but print and Direct Mail are still generating prospect leads for our industry.

What about IVR systems (the 800-Credit Hotline) that was so successful earlier in this century!  Have they been replaced by the internet?  Well, Bunkie, the majority of the newspaper Special Finance ads I read, include a toll-free hotline!  And, as if that is not surprising enough, a direct mail industry giant recently told me that when people who open direct mail are given a choice between an Internet response and calling an 800-HotLine, they choose the telephone response in at least 75% of the cases!   A “right here, right now” response!  Seems that while most of us carry a cell phone, only a portion of our targeted market own or utilize a smart phone or a tablet.  These are just a couple of the old tools that I found still providing fuel for the Special Finance machine.

Well, to put it in a nutshell, I’m back, and as opinionated as ever.  The forum may be different, but I will appear regularly, in this spot, with commentary and my views on The Special Finance industry.  While you may disagree occasionally, or often (I certainly know how to be disagreeable), I believe that you will find an occasional tidbit that will make Special Finance more enjoyable and more profitable for you and your dealership.  And, as always, I look forward to hearing from, and talking to, you!


About the author
Dick Hassberger, of Lake Orion, Michigan is a veteran of over 50 years in the Automotive Financing and Leasing industry, starting his career with the former Wayne Oakland Bank in September 1960.  Dick is National Sales Director for VOISYS.  He has held executive positions with Major Banks, Lending Institutions and Leasing companies and has accumulated a vast store of knowledge in the automotive financing industry, which he regularly shares with his client dealerships as well as readers of this blog.  Dick was a regular author for World of Special Finance Magazine.