I personally service hundreds of independent dealers all over the commonwealth of Virginia, many of them are VIADA members. Prior to the most recent VIADA convention I asked everyone I came into contact with if they were going to attend the upcoming convention and if so I would invite them to stop by our booth at the expo. Unfortunately, more than a few car dealers told me they were not going to be able to make it. The reasons varied but all of them boiled down to one thing, not enough time and too much to do.
Truthfully, I knew where they were coming from. I felt the same way. My business continues to grow every month. The demands this growth puts on my staff and me also gets larger and larger. I admit, I tried to skirt this convention but then Lois Keenan called me and twisted my arm, just a little. Boy am I glad she did! You see, we are still small enough, like many of you, that when an event like this comes up I essentially have to close up shop and put my business on hold. We get so wrapped up in what needs to get done sometimes we lose site of the fact that a little bit of time well invested will pay dividends for a long while after. At the VIADA 46th Annual Convention and Expo I learned it is important to invest that time, regardless of how busy I think I am.
While at the expo my staff was introduced to many car dealers from all around the state. Some of these dealers they had been calling on the phone and it was fun to watch both our staff and our clients be able to put a name with a face for the first time. Did this create any extra business for us or the dealer? Maybe not, but the next time these two get together on the phone things will only go smoother for both parties, I am sure.
Our sales lady, Debbi Impervento, attended the expo was able to witness first hand the kind of reputation JTZ Enterprise has built over the last few years. She was also able to see just how much camaraderie amongst car dealers there really is. She walked away from that expo with a newfound respect for VIADA in that this is a group of car dealers, competitors, that have come together for a common cause. Each of these dealers attended the convention in hopes of finding a “leg up” on their competitor but still get together with their fellow members to share ideas, tips and even a few secrets. Yes, Debbi did walk out of there with a few new leads to follow up but the most important thing for her to come out of the expo was she got extremely energized to do what she does best, SELL WEBSITES!
On a personal level, I thought we would make a few more friends and say hello to a few old friends but really did not expect to get much out of this expo because I had already attended a few in the past. But, while I was there I found myself talking with not only car dealers but also other vendors. You see, over the years, I have forged friendships with many of the other Associate members and caught myself looking forward to bumping into some of them. I enjoy talking with Brian from Car Financial. Brian, thanks for the yoyo again this year as well as for the ride to the golf course! It is always good to see Jim Creasy from, Classic Insurance and an expo would not be complete without getting a cocktail at the “after hours” gathering put on every year by Richard Ramsey of Guardian Warranty.
JTZ Enterprise has forged some business relations with companies like CarBiz, Cars.com, Auto Extra and others. At this latest expo we explored the possibility of forging other new relationships with other major players in our industry. I quickly became aware of the fact that many of the companies I thought were my competitors just a few years ago have changed and grown just like we have. Now each of us are finding ways we can benefit each other while still holding our part of the market share. I started to feel like one of you car dealers!
Complacency is the number one business killer. Before the convention I thought I had more than enough business and that I could probably skip a year and go unnoticed. When I walked out of there I wanted to get back to work and see how much more business we can generate between now and the end of the year! I know I am not the only one that came away with that feeling. Many of our car dealers came up and not only said hello to us at the expo but were asking questions like, Which is the best F&I software package?” and “Where is the best place to advertise?” and “What are the top dealers using for window stickers?” We did not have all the answers for them, but I am sure they got their answers before they left and began implementing new procedures as soon as they returned to their car dealership.
Lois, I want to be the first to sign up for the 47th annual convention and expo! I am already looking forward to meeting with everyone at the Hotel Roanoke. Steve Farmer, next year you need to pair me up with a couple of A List guys. I thank you for carrying our team. As for Nate and Bill of Trader Online, the three of us need to work on our game because that old man carried us!!
If you were a member that could not attend this year’s convention for what ever reason, do not let that happen next year! If you could handle more sales and better profits, the time invested will pay off. If you are so busy you could not take on any more sales then the convention is some much deserved time off for you and you might just find ways to improve your business, reduce your work load and still increase profit. Either way, I hope to see all of you there next year!