November '19

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78 • RV PRO • November 2019 rv-pro.com D E A L E R S they had similar needs and similar sizes," he says. "Now, just about every three years you have to look at a group because there's so much evolution and change going on that the needs are changing among the members." Perhaps an even bigger difference is how the meetings are conducted. Since the concept of 20 Groups dates to the 1940s, it's perhaps not surprising that the traditional method for conducting a meeting is to gather all the members in a central location three or four times a year for what's generally a two-day session. It's a template that both Spader and Berryman still follow, even if the data is now presented electronically, rather than in large notebooks. However, both Marzahn and King and Kelly Enterprises have adapted to make use of today's technology. "We only meet face-to-face once a year," says Kelly. "We used to meet twice a year, and then 2008 happened and dealers said they couldn't afford that, so we got down to once a year. How- ever, for the other 11 months, we have an hour conference call." And, while one hour once a month might not seem like a lot, Kelly says that's supplemented by calls to her and to other members in the group. Like Kelly, Marzahn says web conference software allows his groups to meet monthly, although some have two face-to-face sessions during the year, some have one, and others just meet virtually. "Everything in business these days happens more quickly," he says. "We deliver our numbers virtually, and we're working off last-month's figures, rather than having them lag by two or three months. And, if we're scheduled to meet Tuesday and somebody can't make it, we can send a message out to the group and see if we can meet on Wednesday, instead." Finding the Right Fit Along with regular meetings – virtual or in-person – one of the things most of the companies offer is access to still more help if it's needed. Group moderators do consulting, give sem- inars and provide additional materials for dealerships that are dealing with a specific issue that might not fit the scope of a 20 Group session. Kelly, for instance, says if a dealer calls and says help is needed, she typically begins with an onsite visit. "I can sit there and look at deals and walk through the store and get a feel for what's going on," she says. "And, then I get in a room with the finance people, and I can teach them the skills they need with a customer. But, in the F&I 20 Group we're comparing their production to others. They can't say, 'My guy is different.' They realize maybe they're not getting to see the customer and getting involved in the deal." As for when it might be time to think about joining a 20 Group, Marzahn says his first response is there are 12 months in a year. "Seriously, I don't know that there's a particular time," he says. "In the life of a dealership, there are certain stress points that might drive that. Frequently, it comes down to the fact Lee Berryman, owner of Daytona Beach, Fla.-based RV Profit Group, says his 20 Groups focus on developing benchmarks by reviewing the business metrics of participating dealers. "Out in the industry, no one collects this data," he says. "There are things we get into that no one has even thought of measuring. We develop benchmarks when anecdotal information doesn't cut it." Jan Kelly, owner of Vancouver, Wash.-based Kelly Enterprises, leads specialized 20 Groups focused on finance and insurance, which is a department of one in many dealerships. "By being in a 20 Group, if they (F&I execs) have a question, they can not only ask me, but they can send a group email and get 10 to 20 answers because there's no one in the dealership they can turn to," she says.

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