NVLA LeaseWire
07/05/2020 | Issue 9

President's Message
The Need for a Sixth Sense in the Leasing Industry
In his new book Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell, the author of several bestsellers, including Blink, David and Goliath and Tipping Point, all of which I found mind-expanding, if not mind-bending, takes us on a journey of assessing people’s character.

Included is the story of when in 1938 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, fearing an impending war on the horizon, wanted to meet the new German Führer to assess his character, or in other words, check out the cut of his jib. The PM returned home with the feeling that Hitler could be trusted. As Gladwell says, "History, though, proved Chamberlain catastrophically wrong."

The book goes on to explain that most people have not developed the tools to understand strangers or detect character flaws and deception, because most assume that people tell the truth.

Let’s unpack that a little. Integral to our success as lessors is our proficiency in determining character. After all, the first "C" in credit granting is for "Character," and all the other "Cs," which include "Capacity" and "Collateral," are uncomplicated measurements compared to the first. I spent the first 10 years of my career working for Don Shepard and Burke Seitz assessing credit worthiness. I met up with Don a couple of decades after I had moved on in my career and told him that I have saved my subsequent employers a substantial amount of money by applying the lessons I learned while working for him when some of my character assessments cost him money!

One would think that with today’s technology it would be easy to assess credit, and that may be so in the prime credit world. However, those who deal in the subprime market will tell you that they are unable to rely only on credit scores and matrixes in order to make a credit decision. Like my grandmother, who would never be satisfied that I had properly cleaned my ears without first grabbing my chin in her hand and moving it side to side as she scanned each lobe with her laser eyes that seemingly had the ability to probe right through to my dirt-encrusted eardrums, those of us who operate in the non-prime world need to have similar scanning ability and be relentless in becoming character assessment experts.

I have heard such experts referred to as "seasoned," or as having developed a "spidey" or "sixth sense." Don Shephard told me: "Even if on review everything appears fine on a credit app, if the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up, that is reason enough to turn the deal down!" He taught me to rely on my intuition. Networking and reaching out to fellow NVLA and performance group members over the years has also made a strong contribution to my education in assessing character.

If you are in the game of credit granting, I highly recommend Gladwell’s book as another arrow in your quiver to help you hit the mark with your decisions.

A lessee can have capacity to pay, the asset can be excellent collateral, and the antecedent information can check out, but without character as the glue holding everything together, we can wind up like Prime Minister Chamberlain and make a decision that has a catastrophic outcome. We have all been there. I like to think that our ultimate goal in character assessment is to win more times than we lose. Rarely do we lose big, and most of the time when we do, it is the result of something that was out of our control.

At least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

Improve Your Business Now: Industry Leaders on KPIs
NVLA members and industry leaders share the most important key performance indicators that they use when determining the health of their own leasing organizations.
One of our main objectives in sending out our monthly newsletter is to provide a resource for our members that will educate, connect, and inspire. When planning what kinds of content will be included in each edition, we are looking for topics that will be useful and noteworthy. This month, we spoke with several leaders in the industry about how they use key performance indicators (KPIs) to gather insight and detect gaps in order to effectively monitor and drive their organizations.

Dan Ewald, president of Ewald Fleet Solutions in Wisconsin, is a believer in analyzing the smallest units possible to glean specific information about each aspect of the business: "We break all of our data down into the smallest units. For example, we look at cost per unit per month. I have found through the years that this is a really effective way to measure results."

Ewald added, "By breaking our business down by unit, by sales person, and by customer, we know the profitability of each of our customers, and we know the performance of each sales person. This way, our under performers don't get lumped in with our higher performers and the same goes for our customers." ...

Over 30 NVLA Members Join BMW Group Affinity Program
Many of our members have taken advantage of our BMW and MINI Affinity Program for corporate fleet. Read on for more details.
Earlier this year, the BMW Group became a member of the NVLA and attended their first conference this past March. During the conference, BMW's Tom Lauer and Nick Baderschneider had the opportunity to introduce the affinity program to NVLA members.  The BMW Group’s programs are designed to make the purchase process for BMW and MINI vehicles more efficient for lessors and their clients, as well as provide the best economic solutions with access to fleet discounts.   

Since the introduction of the BMW Group Fleet Program at the 2019 conference, more than 30 NVLA member leasing companies have signed on to make use of the BMW and MINI offer. "The BMW Group had interest in the NVLA organization and its membership base because the depth and quality of the relationships that NVLA lessors share with their clients was immediately clear," explained Baderschneider, BMW Group Corporate Sales Manager for the U.S. market. "Many of the clients who we spoke with looked to their leasing company as a trusted advisor. The conference made clear to us that our best approach is to make processes easy for lessors so that they can, in turn, provide the best service to their customers. Ultimately, we felt that by serving the NVLA member community with simplified processes and competitive discounts, we could better serve their customers and the users of BMW and MINI vehicles," he concluded...

Boost Your Visibility With an NVLA 2020 Sponsorship!
For vehicle industry partners and related organizations, this event is an outstanding opportunity to make and solidify relationships with independent vehicle lessors through person-to-person communications and marketing.

NVLA is pleased to offer a variety of sponsorship opportunities designed to extend value year-round.

Please review our Sponsorship Opportunities Brochure to learn how you can showcase your products and services to the 110+ member companies and 150+ vehicle leasing professionals who will attend NVLA 2020.
Exhibit at NVLA 2020

The NVLA’s goal is to connect members and vendors to facilitate business connections. The welcome reception, breaks, and meals will be held in the exhibit hall as a means to generate traffic at exhibit tables.

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