There was a convention? In Dallas? Really?

All kidding aside, the dealer principals made this trip. This was not the year to have all of our key players in SF away from the dealership, so I stayed at home to grind. It has been a grind this year, hasn't it? Every lead has been precious; every opportunity to sell has been tough to come by, which means if you have survived the “thinning of the herd” then I invite you to sit with us, very soon, in the catbird seat.

Unfortunately, we have lost some great people in our business over the last year or two through attrition or cutbacks, but we have also seen the economy take out a bunch of competitors that never had any business being in the SF business in the first place. Due to the economy, the SF pie is growing exponentially every day. If you are still holding steady, as we have been, then your piece of the pie will be bigger than ever very soon.

I say this because of the news that the owners brought back from Dallas. Major subprime lenders in attendance each announced expanding their portfolios by two or even three times by mid-2010. The vendors in attendance were ultra-aggressive and still coming up with mind-blowing innovations at every turn. Does this sound like an industry still pulling in its horns? Hardly.

I know it's a cliché, but there’s usually truth in a cliché. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” Also, I know I have used it in past articles, but the ancient Greeks, inventors of democracy and free enterprise, have a motto carved above the entrance to the Parthenon in Athens: “From Crisis Springs Opportunity.” I believe 2010 has the potential to produce the largest expansion in our industry since the salad days of the early ‘90s; the opportunity will be ours.

That brings me to the point of this whole post-convention pep talk. Trust me, your idle days and slow times are about to end. Your opportunities for spending extended amounts of time on training and polishing your processes are about to become fewer and farther between. Spend the last quarter of 2009 bringing yourself, and your SF staff, up to speed on the latest changes and innovations in our industry. Dust off the manuals, read and re-read, role play, and practice, practice, practice. When the opportunity arrives, be ready! It's human nature, when things slow down, to get a little sloppy with the rules and a bit lazy with the processes. Get back to the basics. Start today. Meet, greet and smile! All signs say that those of us who have survived will soon be smiling a lot for a very long while.

Special Finance Insider Vol. 3, Issue 5