Lessons from the NADA Convention

February 12, 2013 / John Paul Strong / 0 Comments /

Along with about 30,000 other people I attended the National Auto Dealers Association convention last weekend in Orlando. While this isn’t something I do every year, it is fun to go from time to time to see what the latest inventions are, catch a seminar or two and mostly run into some old friends and dealer clients.

image courtsey NADA

image courtsey NADA

One of our dealers told me, “There is so much stuff here, it is just overwhelming.” This was probably somewhere between the Manheim Auction booth and the guy selling the tire balancing machine booth. He said, “There is so much in our industry to choose from that to remain effective in today’s market you have to pick out the things you want your dealership to do well and focus on those very intensely.”  He was talking about all the different inventions, gimmicks, promotional ideas and anything else that someone was trying to sell you.

It was a very good point that didn’t really register in my mind until later. I was thinking about the best run and most profitable dealerships that are our clients. They are regimented in what they will and will not do. They know the DNA of their dealership, their customers, and their employees which means they know the speed at which they can run. We use a saying in our company that there are different needs for different speeds, and NADA was a real reminder of that.

You cannot be all things to all people. If you try to please everyone then you will probably end up pleasing nobody at all. I think a dealership should be run the exact same way by sticking to their core competencies and maximizing what can be done through those.

About the author

John Paul Strong: As owner of Strong Automotive Merchandising, a company that increases traffic up to 1,000% for dealerships, Strong lives by the simple concept that your attitude affects your success. Without a positive mind set he would not have been able to grow the company over the last decade from just 10 to over 80 full-time employees. The rapid growth is thanks to his ability to keep the company on the forefront of technology, market changes and an infectious talent to motivate and keep employees striving to fulfill their potential. His beginnings in direct mail gave him the tools and skills to develop incredibly successful marketing plans. From there he moved on to traditional forms of media and has now mastered the dynamic world of digital and social media advertising. With over 150 dealers to please, Strong takes a hands-on approach and personal attention to detail in all aspects of marketing strategies. His expertise in plan development gives him a keen sense on how to maximize a dealer’s budget and ultimately increase their bottom line. Strong is a passionate speaker in the automotive industry. He has authored two books on creating next day traffic. He graduated from the Executive Education Program at the Harvard Business School. Strong received a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Montevallo. He lives with his wife and three children in Homewood, Alabama.


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