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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Gary May

Gary May President

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If you could find a fundamentally harder time to think about events, traveling, speakers and spending time (and money) in Las Vegas, it would be a stretch.  Fact is that you would be justified by not even thinking about anything but 'the next customer' right now.

For the 420 plus dealership staff that just spent the last three days at Digital Dealer: CONGRATULATIONS! The fact that you put your money where your mouth is about growing your business is a great step forward in addressing the market, getting a foot up on your competition and utilizing newer ways to connect with your customers.

Chances are you left with too many ideas and strategies to remember and that's great. Some of those ideas likely came directly from the speakers at the event. Now before you go rushing out signing up new vendors, canceling your existing ones, bringing in the flavor-of-the-week, well-polished messenger and other gotta-do-it-now activities, stop and think.

How does everything work with your direction, intentions, brand, budget and goals? Was there a Dealership Goal Setting 101 session? Shoot, I missed that one! Also I couldn't find the 'Connecting and staying in touch' networking event (although you do have a partial list of attendees). You most likely had more than enough time to talk with session speakers in the 10 minutes you had before the next session... If you paid to come to the event, you should have gotten everything you needed out of it. So check before you spend (yes, there were completely qualified, hard-working vendors speaking on stage but many biased as well, just to be straight).

There are likely multiple suppliers for the solution(s) that you're thinking about but chances are you didn't hear from their competition on stage (credit to the always honest Dennis Galbraith of Cars.com who pulls no punches, mentions their competition and tells people it doesn't matter who you're going to hire as long as you know what you need).

Mike Roscoe has put on a number of events that our industry needs...to this point. It's time to get all of your thoughts back to the team that runs the conference to make sure that the value stays in. With all of the attention on the OEMs and suppliers, dealers are not getting their fair support. In my mind, everyone that paid the money to expo in Las Vegas wants and needs dealers to be successful (and make a few bucks).

Now is the time to take our industry where it needs to go. We can't wait. We can't accept things as they are. We can't put our heads in the sand and cross our fingers that it will be better in 2-5 years. Take the bull by the horns or we'll be simply left with bulls--t. I'm proud to have the involvement with Digital Dealer, many of the associated companies and the great folks that attended.

Let's make sure that we can keep getting together a few times a year...

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