LAS VEGAS — Day two of the National Alliance of Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers' conference was filled with recognition, the latest BHPH benchmarks, motivational speeches and more.

One of the highlights of the day was Ingram Walters, dealer and co-host of the event, honoring Ken Shilson for his decade of BHPH support. This is Shilson's 10th year of hosting the NABD event and bringing together top dealers, vendors and more together to share best practices and industry advice.

"Ken Shilson has worked tirelessly with both hands day and night for BHPH dealers and the industry," Walters pointed out. "BHPH is not what he does, but who he is.

"Ken is a workaholic going all over the country to visit stores and help dealers," he noted. "If he hasn't been to your store, you probably want him there."

In response to the recognition, Shilson said, "I truly believe this industry has the best business professional people in the business. Many good people have displayed a tremendous amount of talent."

He went on to announce that within the next 30 days he is ramping up his support for the industry by launching a jobs section on the bulletin board portion of the NABD site. Via this offering, those looking for jobs can share their qualifications and companies can display available openings.

Moreover, after the job listings section is completed, Shilson indicated that another service will be added to help dealers advertise their operations for sale. These listings will be done on an anonymous basis.

Next in line to take the stage was D.J. Harrington, a motivational speaker who travels the country talking to various sales and business executives, offering tips for success. He is well known in the auto industry for his quirky presentations and colorful style.

Shilson introduced Harrington as a "great trainer entrepreneur and a great friend."

Apparently, it was also Harrington's birthday Wednesday, so the NABD brought a person onstage to sing happy birthday and the audience joined in.

Harrington launched into his presentation by showing a prerecorded video asking what if a person had more than $80,000 to spend every day and by the end of the day that money was gone. However, it would be refilled the next day and so on and so forth. The video asked, "What would you do with that money?"

In fact, everyone has more than 80,000 seconds each day and the video stressed that a person should not waste one minute.

"Time waits for no one, so follow up every lead," the video stated.

Continuing on, in a unique move, Harrington had helpers hand out shiny stones to each attendee, telling them to keep these in their pockets, and whenever they reach in their pocket and feel the stone, they will remember the NABD and what was learned during his presentation.

Discussing the difficult economy, Harrington said, "Tough times never last, but tough people do. You're in the finance business, not the retail car selling business.

"Buy raffle tickets and candy bars from students. Believe in miracles, but don't depend on them. Spend as much time praising as you do criticizing. One idea or person can change your life forever," he highlighted.

In an interesting twist, he also brought up a program offered by Bank of America. Apparently, for $9.99 a month, the bank will provide a health care card. Harrington noted that he saved more than $300 on his glasses with this card. Basically, he pointed to all the good a program like this can do for people.

Later in the day came Shilson's annual presentation of BHPH benchmarks. His company Subprime Analytics teamed up with NCM to expand the pool of data analyzed.

According to Shilson, "It's a full-time job searching for the right vehicles. You're actually paying more for vehicles than less. If you increase sales price and don't increase down payment and cost, it can be a fatal flaw."

Another point he made was that many older vehicles being purchased for inventory by dealers today can have up to 10,000 more miles than back in 2005. 

"To be successful for the months ahead you have to control expenses. The best operators will do this," Shilson indicated. "This is certainly a different business than 10 years ago and even 10 months ago. More than anything, it's time to look at your portfolio as the average default rate is currently on the rise. Consumers in 2007 defaulted faster."

In fact, he said than more than 50 percent of BHPH installment contracts don't pay out. On a positive note, however, Shilson reported that his analysis found that down payments are now back to trending above $1,000. This, rather than extending a loan, is the key to success.

For more details on Shilson's benchmarks see the June issue of SubPrime Auto Finance News.

Finally, Shilson reported that the NABD will again host an underwriting and collection conference this year. It will be held Nov. 2 to 4. For upcoming details on this event as they are released, visit the NABD site at

Editor's Note: Stay tuned for Friday's special NABD e-newsletter to learn more about current trends in the marketplace from Tom Kontos, of ADESA, in addition to what some dealers have to say.