Past attendees of the National Automobile Dealers Assn. Convention and Expo know that without a game plan it is extremely easy to get lost in the shuffle and forget why you are there in the first place.
This year’s big show begins Friday in Las Vegas. From experience, we’ve come up with four survival tips.
1. Plan a strategy.
Everyone will be fighting for dealers’ attention and a chance to throw in their 30-second elevator pitch, no matter where you are (including elevators). However, like attention spans, time is limited. Spend it wisely.
Ask yourself, “Why am I here?” What do you hope to accomplish? What metric are you using to measure success? What does success look like for you and your company at this event? Then, outline your strategy, keeping in mind what you hope to accomplish and how to get there.
• How will you qualify vendors?
• What goals and metrics do you need to set to ensure a positive ROI?
In addition, dive deep and ask specific questions when meeting with vendors. Examples:
- What platforms/vendors do they integrate with? Not all companies are vendor agnostic or compatible with pre-existing product suites.
- Is there a proof of concept?
- How do they store/transfer data?
- How long does integration take?
- How much additional training is required on your team’s part?
2. Take your dealer hat off and walk in your customer’s shoes.
It may feel counter intuitive and extremely unnatural because you are trained to think like a dealer. However, given the recent wave of change in consumer-purchasing behavior, you have to live under a rock to deny there is a shift in the current car-buying process. One way to keep an open mind is to attend keynote sessions and talk to vendors that may not be on your radar, but can provide valuable insight into market behavior.
This is your chance to listen, learn and exchange ideas with industry people, including your peers, and see how you can level up in your operating, hiring and sales processes.
Ask vendors questions and see demos so you can learn about tools that could help your business. Lean in to accomplished industry experts and speakers. Benefit from their insights.
NADA’s MyPlanner Event Planning Tool allows attendees to organize which sessions, workshops, and exhibits they plan to attend. By taking advantage of the tools already available, attendees will be able to make the most of their NADA experience.
3. Get out of your comfort zone.
This one may not seem so obvious, but too many people stick with everything they already know, when the whole point is to get to get educated and to network.
The NADA event gives attendees the opportunity to learn something new. You don’t need to wait until the next meeting to introduce yourself to new people and exchange best practices.
By keeping an open mind and a learning attitude, you will be surprised by how much a bit of effort can increase your bottom line. Even if networking is not your forte, attending after-hours events and mingling with other guests provides a great opportunity to establish new relationships. Exchange business cards and connect on LinkedIn.
4. Have fun! Yes, there are jam-packed hours of speeches, demonstrations and meetings. But don’t let that stop you from appreciating your NADA experience.
Daniel Yuabov is the CEO and Co-Founder of Carvoy Ignite, the end-to-end ecommerce SaaS platform designed to convert auto dealers' websites into an online marketplace.