NADA Day 2: Special Moments on the Show Floor

Like many dealers, the annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention is a time for seeing long-time friends and making new ones.

This year’s convention was no different, and I found myself moved by a few special moments as I spent my day on the show floor.

One of those moments arrived when dealer Susan Moffitt of Shreveport, LA-based Moffitt Automotive introduced herself.

A day earlier, Moffitt was surprised to hear her name announced as the Time Dealer of the Year at the convention opening. The award goes to dealers who demonstrate a track record of strong sales and customer satisfaction, effective leadership in their stores and dealer associations and significant community involvement—basically all the best things that the best dealers do on their respective roads to success.

Moffitt’s a second-generation dealer who, like many who come up in the car business, worked as a cashier, service advisor and sales associate before taking the reins of the business from her father.

“I just wanted to thank you,” Moffitt told me as she shook my hand and asked for a signed copy of Gross Deception. “I attribute a lot of our success to what we’ve been able to achieve in used vehicles. We would not have won the award without our partnership with vAuto.”

I thanked her and noted that software by itself doesn’t bring success—it’s the people who use it, and the discipline, expertise and leadership they bring to their jobs every day, that drive better results.

It was a special, sweet moment that I’ll cherish.

Here are a couple other notable moments from the floor:

Props for Performance Managers. It’s not uncommon for dealers to share their appreciation for the work vAuto’s Performance Managers do with their teams. I liked how a Utah-based dealer regards his relationship with his Performance Manager.

“Our Performance Manager is our personal trainer,” the dealer said. “Our weekly Friday calls are like going to the gym. It’s our weekly workout to keep us healthy and in shape.”

Opportunity knocking. A 25-year veteran of the car business could barely contain his excitement after meeting with the vAuto sales team. His dealer tapped him to move from a successful F&I department to the store’s not-so-successful used vehicle department. The manager shared that the dealer finally got the memo that an inventory management system might help them sell more used cars more profitably. “Where have you been?” I had to asked. “I know,” the manager replied. “I can’t wait to get back to the store and get started. We’ve got a huge opportunity.”

Recon reinvention. I had a déjà vu-like moment as I headed back to the hotel. I was reflecting on the number of dealers who plan to return to their dealerships and tackle the opportunity of getting their used vehicles reconditioned and frontline-ready faster. The conversations served as a reminder that dealers won’t realize the full profit potential of their used vehicle department unless and until they tackle the self-induced inefficiencies that hold them back.

I’m looking forward to what the convention’s closing day will bring, and I’ll share my take-aways tomorrow.

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