Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Fresh perspective

By Bill Playford on Aug 14, 2011

How often is it that your non-automotive friends want to do something related to your automotive career? Besides helping take a few layers of rubber off a new Camaro SS, probably not

Colored lenses that often. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when some of my non-automotive friends enthusiastically asked me about going to the Driving Sales Executive Summit. That’s right: the same folks that silently plead for me to shut up about the car business actually want to attend a conference for the car business.

Despite the fact that this will read like a commercial, it’s not intended to. The fact of the matter is that I support any retail automotive event that seeks to help dealer personnel become better at what they do. While some events cover the basics, and others seek to introduce new solutions, DSES always offers a glimpse of the future. Moreover, it seems to take into account the consumers’ angle. Since I’m pushing a decade in the car business, and my experience is 99.9% digital, I don’t like being stuck in the echo-chamber. It’s one of the few automotive conferences that get me excited (and oddly enough, doesn’t have a military theme).

What makes it exciting? Two words: thought leaders. While other conferences take pride in featuring automotive legends, DSES consistently features up-and-comers from the business community at large. Although some may call it highbrow, it’s a place where you might get social media advice from someone with 900,000 followers versus someone with 900 followers. You might get business advice from leading business school faculty versus someone who inherited a turnkey operation. You might get technology advice from those who work in Silicon Valley versus those…who are, um…really good sales people. It offers the perspective of business professionals speaking about automotive versus automotive professionals speaking about business.

As you start to plan the fall conference season, and you are forced to pick & choose, evaluate what you need to get better at. Do you need to get a broad spectrum of basic concepts? Do you need solutions that can be implemented today? Do you need to evaluate new tools? Do you need to learn more about changing consumer habits? Do yourself a favor, and evaluate the speakers and their content before you decide which conference to choose from. Better yet, ask your non-retail-automotive friends (I know you have a few) who would they rather see. After all, you are not selling cars to car salespeople: You're selling cars to real people.

Post script: I have to give a shout-out to the folks at the OTHER conference for cajoling Erik Qualman into being the keynote speaker. Since you are probably like me, and will be attending both conferences, you'll get to see Gary Vaynerchuk, Aaron Strout, Jason Falls, and Erik Qualman speak (along with the usual suspects) in the same week! Who needs SXSW?!

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Bill Playford's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Auto/Mate to Host Spring User Summit for Auto Dealer Customers Near Boston, MA

    Attendees who pre-register by Friday, March 6th will be entered to win one pair of Red Sox tickets! ALBANY, N.Y. – March 2nd, 2015 – Auto/Mate Dealership Systems (http://www.automate.com) today announced it will be hosting a User Summit for its auto dealer customers on Friday, April 17th in Westborough, MA. The User Summit is an all-day event with breakout sessions featuring product experts who will introduce and give in-depth training on the latest and greatest features of Auto/Mate's dealership management system (DMS).   "Due to overwhelming and positive feedback from our first user summit in September, we realize our customers really appreciate being able to meet and network with our own employees as well as other Auto/Mate users," said Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate Dealership Systems. "On our end, the feedback we receive from our customers during the event is invaluable."   There is no charge for Auto/Mate customers to attend the all-day event, which incl...Read post

  • Whats going to be our Generations Classic Car?

    I have always wondered what is going to be the next "Classic Car". I watch Mecum Auctions and Barrett Jackson auctions and wonder, whats on the road today that will be running through these lanes for stupid money 20-30 years down the road? What somewhat common, everyday type car will people be kicking themselves, when they are 60 years old, that they wish they never got rid of?Read post

  • Autosoft DMS Receives #1 “Highest Rated” DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Award

    Ranked #1 in Dealer Satisfaction, Autosoft FLEX DMS wins Top Honors in DMS Category Autosoft, Inc. has received the “Highest Rated” DMS Award in the sixth annual DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Awards, presented at a special event in conjunction with the 2015 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Expo. Autosoft’s FLEX DMS solution received the highest dealer satisfaction ranking in the DMS category, as determined by the thousands of auto dealers who are part of the DrivingSales.com community.Read post

  • Plaid Jackets and Lies

    This is a blog post I recently published for customers under the same headline that appears here. It's my manifesto on protecting car dealers’ reputations against bullies on the social Web. As you'll see when you reach the conclusion, I link to this post when I can't quite defend our reputation without playing in the same mud that's sometimes slung at us. Perhaps you can relate. Read post

  • Compliance: Can You Be Harassed By A CRM?

    For the past 2 years, one of the items on my daily to-do list has been grading Internet leads for DealerKnows Consulting. This process involves assisting DealerKnows in monitoring the progress of their clients through monitoring the ISM’s lead handling within the CRM. This provides valuable insight into what exactly is happening with leads (i.e. is the store following the process installed through DealerKnows and, if not, what exactly is happening) and indicating where additional training is needed. In one particular client ‘s CRM, I started noticing one of the employees tasked with responding to, and communicating with, Internet leads inputting questionable notes into the CRM. Keep in mind; he was not doing anything inappropriate in his communication with the customer but, at times, expressing his frustration and/or opinions of customers through notes in the CRM. Notes like: F$@k this bitch! Screw this mooch! What a stroke! I hope this customer gets fired for being an a$$hol...Read post

  • Season of Change?

    With a steadily improving economy and declining unemployment rates, the automobile industry is geared up to experience another year of expansion and progress. While this is great news, it would be wise to consider that just as customers now have more choices when it comes to buying or servicing their vehicle, employees (and prospective employees) also have more options than they did just a few years ago.  In general they no longer feel quite so loyal to their position, nor do they fear obtaining jobs quite as much as they did during the recession.  Whether it’s your service advisor, top technician, cashier, or office manager, the wheels might already be in motion for some of your valuable employees to leave your company.  Are you prepared if they leave? What about the customers they will leave behind – or take with them?   As has been quoted by many business leaders, “Customers don’t buy from companies – they buy from people.”  This statement is a good way to emphasi...Read post

  • Auto/Mate Launches New Website With More Dealership Management System Educational Resources for Auto Dealers

    ALBANY, N.Y. – February 2nd, 2014 – Auto/Mate Dealership Systems (http://www.automate.com) today announced the launch of a new website with more dealership management system (DMS) educational resources for auto dealers. The new website is easier to navigate and optimized for mobile devices, so dealers can access the latest company news and DMS information on the go.   "Dealers are always looking for information on how to better use technology to improve efficiencies, profitability and the customer experience," said Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate. "Our educational resource section contains a treasure trove of articles, videos and ebooks that any dealer can access for free."   The new website is responsive and adjusts to automatically fit on mobile tablets and phones, allowing dealers and customers to access the site while on the go.   The DMS resource section has been expanded to include more articles on technology best practices, tips, trends and videos. Aut...Read post

  • Thanks to the DrivingSales Community for a Successful 2014

    We would like to thank each and every one of our DrivingSales Community members for propelling us forward in 2014. With registered users in over 60% of dealerships nationwide, and three times the online user traffic of the next largest community, DrivingSales.com has become the leading network for collaboration, product reviews, and industry trends as the central piece of the DrivingSales media division. And we have you to thank. In 2014, DrivingSales launched two new businesses that rapidly achieved critical mass.   DrivingSales News premiered in August 2014, exclusively reporting on the intersection between retail automotive and technology innovation. DrivingSales News produces over 100 video stories and articles each month and, in less than four months, has grown to deliver news to one-third of US dealerships. DrivingSales Data launched in June 2014 and is the industry’s first free cross-channel marketing analytics service, integrated directly with the industry’s major m...Read post