How Would You Change Automotive Conferences?

Bill Playford
We talked about this in Orlando already, Eric, but I'll still share. I would love to see more sessions on branding and leadership. We can talk about social media and SEO until we're blue in the face, but it seems rather pointless when customers can't make the distinction between the five local Ford dealerships.
Jared Hamilton
I agree with you Bill - that is one of my biggest hot buttons - dealership branding. Answering the question "what is the brand a dealership represents" -and im not referring to a "blue oval" or "chev bow tie" its, like you said, why should I buy that F150 from YOUR ford store when there are 5 other ford stores in the market. Its for that reason we have been talking with Seth Godin for some time and have him coming to the Presidents Club in april. Seth is arguably the worlds #1 expert on branding, and differentiating oneself to stand out in the crowd. It will be great to spend the day with him. Like eric, id love to hear other feedback about thoughts on conferences as a whole, we are always looking to make our events better.
Renee Stuart
I've got goose-bumps! YES, telling the brand story - and to take it a step further... What needs to be discussed is how can dealers bridge the gap between the dealership brand promise and the front line employees representation of that promise. Search engines and consumer behavior have become less of "What" I want, and more of "Who" I relate to about the "What". The only way to do deliver an authentic "Who" is through brand discovery - that will include every person representing the brand. As designed today - Dealer sit closest to their brand promise; protecting it with FortiGuard software, and typically choose to only discuss their "brand story" as topic of boardroom conversations... All while the front-line employees (the knowledge workers - the product experts) sit closest to the customer, and they are held responsible for cultivating the relationship and fulfilling a promise they've often times have never heard. Evaluate, discover and create a work environment that will deploy your worker-bees as storytellers. You start by involving your people in defining why the company exists and where they want to take the business. Then they share their passion with others in a way that sparks customers and partners to join in. It’s about intelligently connecting a relevant purpose to your brand. Great topic Eric, Bill & Jared - This car girl is grinning from ear to ear!
Clayton Stanfield
Bring in a real car. Then have people teach real life scenarios. We teach them all of the hip stuff, but they dont get enough "everyday training". The biggest is how to properly represent the dealer and yourself and then sell, deliver and retain you would need very strong trainers for this but classes such as these would have tremendous value 1. How to properly photogragh a car 2. How do do a real meet/greet and walk around 3. How to properly deliver a car I would like to see a real car, a trainer walking through one of these subjects and then take questions from the audience on scenarios. the car could be a Mini :)
Stan Sher
I would let more real successful car people come in and speak the language that dealers understand. I sat at numerous conferences at lunch tables with dealers and I heard the complaint about how the discussions are always the same and they never focus on what the dealer really wants or needs to hear. It made me realize as a consultant and trainer the importance to stay relevant and true to myself. I realized that we need to listen to what the dealer demands and focus on that rather then go speak about things that make no sense to them. However, as important as it is to have real deal car people involved it is just as important to bring in thought leaders from outside the industry. I believe that DrivingSales Executive Summit was the first to do that. I noticed Digital Dealer and even First Class Educators start to do that. I heard Jim Ziegler at two of his Internet Battle Plan events say how we are in an industry where everyone likes to copy each other. He went on to mention the benefits of being in the National Speakers Association and how it is a life changing experience because he is able to explore and learn new things that can introduce to our industry. He was right 100%. I mean look at phone training in the automotive industry. 100s of phone trainers training the same elements as they were taught 20-30 years ago with their own little spin. I would love to see someone learn from other industries and introduce a new effective way to handle a phone call. It was an eye opener for me as I now love to attend events in various industries with an open mind and continue to learn to evolve. This will not only help my business practices but what I can teach and bring to the table.

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