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Who is innovating?

yagoparamo

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Dec 30, 2009
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Yago
I was hesitant to attend another Digital Dealer after it seemed like every session was just a sales pitch / product demo. I sit through enough of those while in the office, I didn't spend my money and time to travel away from my team, work, family, and friends to sit through the same product demos disguised as "learning sessions".

Maybe we're unique, but I expect to learn actionable items that we can implement ourselves without hiring the presenter's company. I've since been going to non-automotive digital marketing conferences like PubCon and coming away with a lot more.

I sit on demos every week and that is the point, office demos are done by a guy that didn't do the research on what the company developed. I want the 1 hour to be about why are they doing what the are doing, how did they get there, what did they learn along the way.

Actionable items that we can implement ourselves are hard in a 1 hour class and they are not for everyone either. A totally different format is needed for that. A few years ago SMX Chicago had 15 minute classes and it worked great for that purpose.

Actionable ideas works for dealers with a minimum set up in place and looking to continue to develop things internally, smaller dealers without the employees can't do much with those great ideas. Years ago Brian Pasch developed his Pit Stops with that kind of implementing idea sharing format and most dealer's feedback was that they couldn't (not enough all around knowledge) or had the time to implement them.

Lots of dealers are also looking for a new website, CRM platform, etc in which case a few ideas on doing things on your own doesn't work either.
 
Mar 21, 2012
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Ryan
I sit on demos every week and that is the point, office demos are done by a guy that didn't do the research on what the company developed.
How is it a dealer's fault if a company's sales staff are not well trained enough to give an adequate demo? If they don't take the time to train their sales staff, what's that to say about what a dealer will experience once they sign up?

A dealer shouldn't have to spend $4k to send a person to a conference so they can sit in an educational workshop to hear a "better" demo from the CEO or national sales manager.

Dealers spend all that money to send staff to conferences primarily to bring knowledge and processes back that can improve their bottom line.

Don't get me wrong, I agree there is certainly value in learning about what vendors have to offer but that's what the expo hall is for. Vendors shouldn't use the education workshops as a way to trap a captive dealer audience in a room and give them a demo of their service/product disguised as an educational session.

I feel like most dealers feel the same way or else Digital Dealer wouldn't have instituted the strict no-pitch policy. They did that because I'm sure they were receiving a ton of complaints from dealers who are the lifeblood of the conference (I know vendors pay a ton to be there, but they wouldn't do so without dealer attendees).

Dealers love sessions like @kevinfrye because they walk away with a wealth of knowledge they can take action on. The important point is the takeaway shouldn't be to simply sign up for the presenter's company, but things that can actually be implemented on their own if we choose to do so.
 

yagoparamo

Boss
Dec 30, 2009
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Yago
How is it a dealer's fault if a company's sales staff are not well trained enough to give an adequate demo? If they don't take the time to train their sales staff, what's that to say about what a dealer will experience once they sign up?

It sounds terrible but the reality is that I spend 2+ hours a day reading (read 55 books last year) with a lot of the time spent in blogs, SEO articles, inventory white papers, etc. While the salesperson may be good at describing what the product does, which is what we are supposed to get out of a demo, I expect to get a lot more when I go to a class and the owner/VP presents: How did you get to these conclusions that ended shaping the product and how can I use different stages of that process to mold the idea to my particular need?

A dealer shouldn't have to spend $4k to send a person to a conference so they can sit in an educational workshop to hear a "better" demo from the CEO or national sales manager.

Dealers spend all that money to send staff to conferences primarily to bring knowledge and processes back that can improve their bottom line.

My intention was not to impose one conference method over the other, I think there is space for many types of information exchanges. I red this year several books exactly about this: both Richard Branson's books about Virgin, Warren Buffet's The Snowball, Jeff Bezo's The Everything Store and in all cases the books are about how they did things and why. Within that information you get your nuggets out and hopefully be able too apply some of their findings from their discovery process to your own.

Don't get me wrong, I agree there is certainly value in learning about what vendors have to offer but that's what the expo hall is for. Vendors shouldn't use the education workshops as a way to trap a captive dealer audience in a room and give them a demo of their service/product disguised as an educational session.

I feel like most dealers feel the same way or else Digital Dealer wouldn't have instituted the strict no-pitch policy. They did that because I'm sure they were receiving a ton of complaints from dealers who are the lifeblood of the conference (I know vendors pay a ton to be there, but they wouldn't do so without dealer attendees).

And this is totally fine, by looking at the attendance numbers the conference works in its current format. What I wrote was aimed to the point of innovation, I don't think you can really talk about innovation without talking about your product. We innovate our products. If my class is about some unicorn free stuff that you can do at home all by yourself, we are not talking innovation. I'll take ces.tech, a conference who's slogan is about innovation where everything is about the newest product a company has. Innovation is about putting to work all that research that the company does into a useful product.

Dealers love sessions like @kevinfrye because they walk away with a wealth of knowledge they can take action on. The important point is the takeaway shouldn't be to simply sign up for the presenter's company, but things that can actually be implemented on their own if we choose to do so.

Certainly (I knew this was going to come up). But there are very few Kevin's, and even among those few not all share their knowledge, so access is even more limited to that wealth.

One terrible disconnect happening in the industry is that, for the most part, only dealers of a certain size can afford to have a Kevin F. on staff. So I go back to what I said in a previous post: A VW dealer outside a metro area selling 55 cars a month can listen to all these ideas but as a small business owner, dealer operator, GM, CEO, CFO, etc it is very challenging to implement them. Some of these dealers prefer to find some type of solution, perhaps not as custom as what Kevin F. can implement, but that they can use for $299/month and try to push to 65 cars a month.
 

yagoparamo

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Dec 30, 2009
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Yago
@Alex Snyder @yagoparamo @craigh @Ed Brooks @reverson @Rick Buffkin and anyone else I missed on this we should plan on either a Refresh Friday or a Roundtable session on this discussion thread. We could do an extended special edition. How about sometime in March, right after NADA this year?

Probably the best thread to develop as it is the one that could help spark some renovation in the industry.

Why don’t you do the roundtable at NADA? Everyone probably will be there and plenty of places to do it.
 

Alex Snyder

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May 1, 2006
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... the majority of our clients come from dealer referrals not advertising/marketing, or trade shows, and to me that is a compliment to the technology we offer and how it is different.

You were doing good up until this point Angela. Let's just look past this attempt at a plug (maybe not how you intended it) and help me get a better understanding of why you believe referrals beating leads are a definition of innovation.
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
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Oh the fun DealerRefresh has had with people in Kansas City skating on the edge of our rules over the years. Anyone remember the old VinSolutions gang? Matt Watson anyone :poke:

In hindsight I kinda miss that kid. I hear his name pop-up from some of my product/engineering friends at Cox from time to time. His name pops up the same way every time: they're still trying to unwind some of his original code to fix something :rofl:

Although he was, apparently, a little sloppy on the coding keyboard I must admit he was quick to get new features out to dealers. And that is sorely missed these days.
 
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