Tag Archive: repo agent

Some auto repossession company owners will never get a “yes” or a “no”. That is because they do not take the time to pick up the phone to call any potential lender clients. I know you are all busy repossessing cars, making keys, dealing with debtor’s property, talking on the phone with your current clients, and managing your employees. If you own an auto repossession business and just read the above “too busy to call potential clients” list, I am sure you can add a thousand more reasons! However, if you are not always building your lender client portfolio, then you will eventually lose ground. In the future, one or more lenders will stop using your repossession services. This will happen regardless of the wonderful service you are providing them. I have talked to countless auto repo company owners that have lost clients for whom they did work for many years. These clients loved them and they had long relationships with them. They lost them as clients due to mergers, a collection manager retiring, the lender making the decision to go the forwarder route, etc.

I know of one owner that saw his best client vanish when a bank president’s son decided to go into the collateral recovery industry.  When I had my repo company, I received calls every week from lenders looking to give me business. I was making a lot of money and had more than enough work, and could have sat back and taken the new work when I got the calls. Luckily, I knew that a business that was not growing was dying. I made it a point to sign on new lenders every month, even if it was just one. How did I do that? I decided to call a certain number of potential lender clients every day. Some of the calls I made were first-time calls and others were follow-up calls to the lenders that were not looking for new agents. Set yourself a goal to call and TALK to five possible clients every day. I capitalized TALK, because leaving five voicemails does not count. Dial clients until you have spoken with five and are able to get them your company packet either by email, fax or snail mail. If a lender declines your services, tell them you would like to check back with them in a month or another time that they agree to. Also get their name, direct line (if they have one), an email address and a fax number. Anyone that has been in this business for any length of time will tell you about a time they spoke with a collection manager that seemed interested in using them and were never able to get them back on the phone again. Your services will be declined by many, and you need to contact them again in the future with a follow-up call.

As your “no” list grows, keep making your five, fresh calls a day and add one to three follow-up calls to your daily sales routine. I keep hearing owners telling me that they do not have time to make sales calls. If you are thinking this as you are reading this, then you need to make a commitment to make time to grow your business. I have been in the business and, besides working hard, I spent a fair amount of time horseplaying with my agents and staff, drinking coffee, taking long, long lunches, visiting with friends, and even watching TV in my office. I had a lot of good times running my company, but I had to prioritize my time. We can always find time for the things we enjoy doing. I enjoyed being successful and making money, so I made time to make that happen. Do not get discouraged when you are making your sales calls. Remember, each “no” is one step closer to your goal!

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How can the word “no” motivate you to build a successful auto repossession business? If you are going to be an entrepreneur, you are going to hear the dreaded “no” word a lot. The first “no” you are going to hear is when you ask the people you know if they think it is a good idea to get into the auto repo business. I remember when I was thinking of buying the repossession company I was working for, I asked some people in my life if they thought it was a good idea. 99% of the people I asked told me “no”. Listen, if you are going to succeed as a repossessor, you need to take the word “no” as a personal challenge. When I was told, “No, it is a bad business move”, I thought to myself “Really? Watch me!” and I bought the company. From day one, you need to get into the mindset that a “no” can NOT stop you. Once you decide to get into the repo business, be prepared to hear the word “no” a few more times and plan your reaction. You will hear “no” when you seek business financing. You will hear “no” when you apply for a loan for a wrecker. You might hear “no” a few times when you try and secure auto repossession insurance. You will hear “no” a hundred times or more when you try to sign up clients. Experiencing “no” so many times is going to be some great training for you! Debtors are going to tell you “no” day in and day out when you try to get them to turn their collateral over! You have to be able to conquer the word “no”! You need to resolve this issue in your mind if you want to be the owner of a successful auto repossession business. When you hear the word “no”, you have a decision about how to interpret it. If you are told, “You can’t do that”, you can take that in and believe it and say to yourself, “You’re right, I can’t”. In every conversation, there is a buyer and a seller. If you are “selling” me that I can’t do it and I “buy” it, then I can’t do it. On the other hand, for me, I would take you telling me I can’t do it, and turn that doubt into racing fuel. Hearing that “no” fuels me and challenges me to conquer the “no”. Hearing that “no” is actually a positive motivation for me and, as a business owner, you need to have that spirit as part of your makeup. You need to make a change within yourself if that is not one of your attributes. One way to do that is to look at the people that are telling you “No, it is not a good idea”. How successful are they? Is their life the kind of life you would be delighted to have? Do not take advice from someone who has not done it and done it successfully. If you talk to some of the auto repossession industry “greats” that are truly successful, they will rarely tell you that you can’t do it. It is always the failures in life that will tell you that you cannot do it. I talk to auto repossession company owners every day. There is one thing very different from the successful ones and the ones that are barely making it. It is not cash flow, underfunding, not having enough trucks, employee problems, a lack of clients, or the evil forwarders I continually hear about. It is simply the word “no” and how each owner reacts to that word. Learn to positively react to the word “no” and turn it into fuel that will drive you to reach your goals. If you do, NOTHING can stop you from having a successful auto repossession business.

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Greed can get the best of all of us. Do not get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with making money with your auto repossession business. As a matter of fact, we at http://repoindustry.com/ do not want you just to make a living owning a repossession business, we want you to get rich! If you are only going to make a living, then why own an auto repossession business? You can go work for someone else and just make a living, and let them deal with the headaches of being a business owner.

On the other hand, you should be sure you share the windfall with the hardworking repo agents you have working for you. If you have a big agency or want to get big, you need to realize you can’t do it without their help.

This is just one of the things the doomed company we are discussing in this series failed to realize. They were a big company, they had a great reputation, and they were making a lot of money. The owner’s sons began comparing our agent’s pay per car with other agents working for their competitors. There is nothing wrong with that if you are comparing quality along with the comparison on pay. Our repossession agents were the cherry on the milkshake! They were the best of the best! They were the biggest reason the company was great! The other companies they were comparing us to were unsuccessful. When you start comparing yourself or your business, you should never compare down, always compare up. You can never improve yourself by looking at the failures of others.

The other agents in the area were getting around $100 for every involuntary repossession they did, and our company paid us $140 per invol. Now, keep in mind this is when the lenders were willing to pay big money for repossessions. This bothered the “boys” to no end, and they constantly threw it in our faces. They were determined to keep our pay in line with the other repo companies. They finally got the owner – dad – to change the rates the repo agents were paid to $100 per repo. Talk about change! This change did not just upset things a little, but it was like a tsunami with the agents. They were furious, and even plotted to stop working so hard. It is very difficult to accept having something you are used to getting taken away from you. Greed and Change were just two things that were the beginning of the death of this once great auto repossession company.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! If you get a great system going with your auto repossession business, then do not change a thing. Of course, if recurring problems come up that affect your business, you will have to make minor or major adjustments – depending on the problem. But, by all means, if things are flying right, then do not change your course of direction. If a small problem does come up and a change needs to be implemented, then tweak things “mildly” – no major changes. Making a change can affect the entire operation of your auto repossession company, and, if things are pretty much running smoothly, you do not want to do that. Do not change your office staff unless you absolutely have to.

One of the things that was the ruin of the repo company in this series was that out of nowhere they decided to make changes for no reason at all. They fired one of the best skip tracers they had because of a personality conflict. He was doing an awesome job, but he could not get along with one of the owner’s sons. The son decided to go on a campaign to get rid of him and was successful at getting him tossed. The skip tracer went to work for one of the company’s competitors and, slowly but surely, began to pull business away to his new place of employment.

You also do not want to have a high turnover rate of the repomen you have working for you. Making changes in your field agents can negatively affect your business, as well. Not only should you not change the repossession agents you have working for you, you should also try to not change their routine.

The next unnecessary change that they made at the company discussed in this series was to “shake up” the repo agents by shuffling the areas in which they worked. For the most part, the recovery rates of all the agents were really good, but they thought they were getting too comfortable working the same areas. They also were trying to punish a couple of the guys – once again over personality conflicts. They had drivers that normally worked in areas close to their homes driving 50 or more miles to work an area another agent used to cover. Then, they had the agent from that area going the same difference to the other guy’s area. Pure insanity! These repomen had developed contacts, knew the streets, knew the hiding places and had decent relationships with the police departments in the areas they had worked in. Now, they had to start from zero, and it showed in their recovery rates. The lenders began to notice that it was not business as usual, and that something had changed. I can be a bit outspoken, and I voiced my concerns to the owner. He appreciated the input, but his kids did not. They began to target me and accused me of getting in the middle of the family business.