We have all seen the tightrope walker crossing hundreds of feet above ground between two skyscrapers. There is a lesson in their skill. They keep their balance by sharply focusing their eyes on what is ahead.
Two departments at every dealership need to be alerted to looking forward with sharper focus because change is coming, and many of you already see it.
The Used Car Department needs to be super sharp in keeping the pre-owned inventory in balance. With the number of off-lease vehicles that will be appearing in the next 24 months, you don’t want to be caught heavy when “increasing supply/eroding demand” describes your market catching you upside-down.
The Internet department will see change coming like a freight train. The amount of information regarding emerging online technology, as well as refinements in analyzing current customer tendencies in visiting a site, is a task requiring constant attention and evaluation. Cross-shopping your competition’s digital presentation must be a regular practice, even a necessity if you want to stay ahead.
John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising.
Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry.
The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners.
Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards.
The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program.
Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.