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Wednesday, 19 April 2017 18:48

Collision Shops Across CT Flock to ABAC March Meeting

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Crowded meeting

Over 130 CT collision repair professionals gathered at the Country House Restaurant in Foxon, CT, for the Auto Body Association of Connecticut’s (ABAC) Member Meeting on March 7th.

The meeting featured, for the second month in a row, a presentation from industry favorite Mike Anderson of Collision Advice. Additional guest speakers at the meeting included Tony Lombardozzi, President of the Coalition of Collision Repair Excellence (CCRE) and co-founder of Superare Marketing, and ABAC Legal Counsel John Parese.


According to ABAC President Tony Ferraiolo, “Our guest speakers deliver training and information to keep association members moving forward in this ever-changing collision industry, and everyone left the event armed with more knowledge and information to help them keep this momentum. The value of attending these ABAC meetings cannot be measured. There is a lot of information that is discussed during our meetings that you won’t see in the ABAC News, but it’s information that you need to be successful!”


After welcoming attendees and announcing the evening’s agenda, Ferraiolo thanked meeting sponsors Axalta, Albert Kemperle, Enterprise, and Forrest Law. He recognized the Hoffman Auto Group for their ongoing yearly Diamond Sponsorship, and he also expressed gratitude to new supporting advertisers for the ABAC News: County Line Nissan, Premiere Kia, Sherwin-Williams, and Auto Data Labels.


Ferraiolo then acknowledged Don Cushing from Bald Hill Auto Group for his role in designing, formatting and producing the ABAC News. He also thanked Dave Fogerty from the Lorensen Auto Group for leading sales with the ABAC News Advertisers Directory and for his help with the consumer bulletin which was placed on a foam-backed board and is available for all shops to place in their waiting areas, at no cost, for customers to see.


The evening’s first guest speaker, Matt Forrest of Forrest Law, presented on “Short Pay,” detailing the benefits his firm can offer ABAC members. ABAC Board of Director Tony Cavallaro has used Forrest’s firm for a short pay claim, and he provided a testimonial. More information on Forrest’s presentation and services is available at


Next Tony Lombardozzi, co-founder of Superare Marketing and CCRE President, announced that Superare Marketing will be holding two short pay seminars in CT in the upcoming months, and he also encouraged meeting attendees to participate in AASP/NJ’s 40th Annual NORTHEAST Tradeshow.


The final presentation before dinner was given by John Parese, Legal Counsel for the association, who offered a legal analysis on “What is an insurance estimate and what is its value.” Ferraiolo noted, “Once again, this was great information for members who attend our meetings. You learn, you apply, you move forward in your business.”


Following dinner, Ferraiolo introduced Collision Advice’s Mike Anderson, featured guest speaker for the second consecutive ABAC meeting. During his brief bio and description of the services offered by Collision Advice, Anderson explained, “I travel around the country; I do classes on behalf of Axalta Coatings System such as estimating, sales and marketing, CSI classes, etc. I also facilitate 20 groups for Axalta Coating Systems, which is where shop owners who are not competitors get together on a quarterly basis, and I’m like a business coach for them to help them improve their business. I also have a team of several young people that work with me, and we travel around the country and work with shops to help them improve their processes.”


Stressing that, “In order for a business to THRIVE, not just SURVIVE, you need to focus on the three major areas of the three-legged stool: sales & marketing, production, and finance & HR,” Anderson proceeded with his presentation to discuss who we serve and what they want. Consumers are looking for trust, empathy and direction, and insurers seek service, speed and accuracy, while OEMs desire safety, brand and OEM parts.


Referencing a recent consumer survey conducted by the Assured Performance Network in which consumers identified OEM certification as the most important aspect they consider when choosing a collision repair shop (vs. insurance companies recommendation, family/friend recommendation and geographic convenience), Anderson stated, “This was an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me. Why do the OEMs care? One of the things I’ve been doing the past year is I’m now working directly with seven OEM manufacturers, and I can tell you absolutely, unequivocally, without a shadow of a doubt, that the OE manufacturers are going to be more involved in this repair industry than you’ve ever seen since you’ve been alive.”


Suggesting his audience write the following statistic down, Anderson continued, “60% of all consumers who have a problem in a body shop - either their car is not fixed right, the lights don’t work, the paint doesn’t match, whatever the case may be – 60% of those consumers who have a problem with that body shop will trade or sell their car within one year. And 63% of that 60% will change vehicle brands. They may go from a Toyota to a Honda, or a GM to a Chrysler, or a BMW to an Audi, which means these vehicle brand manufacturers lose out on all those potential mechanical repairs to that car. So the single most important reason you will see OE manufacturers get more involved in our industry is because they want to protect their brand.”


Continuing, Anderson discussed the many OEMs that now have vehicle technology and apps that immediately interact with the driver and occupant after a collision to determine if they need assistance and to ascertain the damage to the vehicle using onboard diagnostics. These systems will also ask if the customer has a collision shop in mind and, if not, will recommend the closest OEM-certified collision repair facility.


After sharing updates on the 2016 Who Pays for What survey, Anderson fielded attendees’ questions and provided tools to use to be more profitable. He also encouraged attendees to visit to “get all the information that you need to be successful in your business. Read it, research it, apply it – it will work!”


Ferraiolo was proud that ABAC’s March meeting was another success for the association, and he noted, “The ABAC continues to bring in guest speakers and industry professionals from throughout the country who are willing to share their knowledge, expertise and processes with ABAC members to help make their businesses more profitable. The association continues to make their mark nationally in the automotive industry by offering this type of knowledge and education to their membership. Be a part of the Auto Body Association of Connecticut… It will forever change the way you think about your collision industry!”


For more information about the ABAC, visit


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