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Lessons from the NADA Convention

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.

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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