Florida IADA Convention Thoughts, Dealer Performance Group Update

Finally got caught up after returning from the Florida IADA Convention & Trade Show, which I believe was an overwhelming success, not only for our business, but for the industry as a whole.

It was great to see so many faces, literally. Attendance was very good, and dealers were very interested in getting the latest information about products, services, and learning about the current state of the used car industry. When our team members weren’t on a panel or presenting in an educational session, we attended one. Every venue was packed and it was standing room only. My guess is there were at least 200 unique dealerships that were represented at the show.

Like so much of our lives in the past 18 months, Covid-19 was on everyone’s mind. I thought that FIADA came up with a great plan to alleviate attendees’ concerns. They handed out red, yellow, and green wristbands. The bands let others know how each individual wished to interact with others. Red meant to keep socially distant, yellow for fist or elbow bumps rather than handshakes, and green meant the attendee was open to full contact. Everyone respected the decision of each attendee, and the wristbands eliminated awkward social situations. It was great to see a lot of common sense in play for a change.

As for Buckeye Dealership Consulting, I typically consider a trade show a success if we get one or two hot leads that will close in under a month. We came away with seven leads that will close very soon. I participated in a Panel Discussion — Reinsurance Deconstructed – Understanding and Maximizing the Benefits of a Dealer-Owned Reinsurance Company — with two competitors. There was excellent engagement, and dealers wanted to know more and asked numerous questions. Our Dave Brotherton moderated the panel, and he also hosted his own presentation — Working On Your Business & Not Just In It — that was also standing room only.

It was wonderful to spend time with others in our industry, and enjoy some quality time dining and tipping a few adult beverages with friends. The good news was the tradeshow floor was full, and every vendor I spoke with said they were packing up and heading to the Carolinas IADA now underway! Jason Gosnell, Chuck Bonanno and Shaun Petersen from our team are on hand for the show, and we’re on the educational agenda as well.

I’d like to give a quick update on our forthcoming inaugural meeting of our Dealer Performance Groups set for Sept. 20-23 at the The Resort at Longboat Key Club in Sarasota, Fla. We have more than 100 unique dealerships that have signed up for the meeting, and we have filled up our first block of hotel rooms and working on the second.

The Dealer Performance Groups will help owners and their managers enhance all facets of their sales, service, and business operations with the ultimate goal of improving net profit. The organizational meeting and all future meetings will be open only to Buckeye clients. There will be no membership dues for the first 12 months. Travel, dining, and lodging costs are borne by the clients who join the program.

The interest has been amazing. My phone started ringing immediately after we sent out the press release last month and the calls and texts continue. There is a lot of interest from our clients who have never participated in a formal performance group setting before. In fact, 23 of first 24 dealers to sign up had not been in a performance group before.

We’re pumped to get this program started as it will benefit all involved. We’re looking forward to finishing the second half of 2021 strong, and sailing into 2022 with a tailwind!