If you are part of the automotive dealer industry, chances are very good that you (or someone else from your team) will be joining the more than 20,000 other attendees at NADA Show 2018 in Vegas this month. NADA itself is huge, with a whopping 90 percent of all dealers belonging to the association for the past 15 years in a row, and this is the industry’s biggest show overall.
There are two main approaches to attending: Either you’re going to wing it and go wherever your feet will take you, or you’re going to spend some time planning ahead.
I recommend that latter approach. The four days are packed with so much great stuff – talks, vendors, shows, parties, etc. – that it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of NADA, or by the excitement surrounding it. You don’t want to miss out on this awesome opportunity to advance your dealership.
Ever heard of those studies where people are asked to look for blue cars, and all of a sudden they see them everywhere? If you go in knowing what you’re looking for, you’ll be much more likely to find it.
A great reference to use is a four-step path to success represented by the acronym “STAR.” It’s easy to apply and helps ensure that you get what you came for:
1. Assess the Situation
Sit down with your team and discuss your objectives for going. What do you want to learn? What technology and products do you want to see? With dozens of classes covering just about every topic that’s relevant in automotive today, and hundreds of vendors selling everything from dealership rugs to data-mining tools, there will be no shortage of opportunities for finding exactly what you’re looking for. The three areas you’ll want to focus on are the classes/workshops, new technology/vendors, and networking opportunities.
2. Assign Tasks
Who’s going to cover what? Check out the NADA website for a complete list of vendors, the workshop schedule, the floorplan, and more to literally map out your days. Sure, you’ll want to leave a little open time for spontaneity, but for the most part, planning your time and your route will be immensely helpful come the show.
3. Take Action
Print your schedule to take with you, and tackle it. You could go digital (both is best), but sometimes a printed map marked with your route is just easiest. Most presenters will have a presentation deck that you can download so that you don’t have to worry about taking extensive notes. Grab all the vendor product materials you can. If you’re going to after-hours events, make it a point to talk to the people you need to talk to.
4. Process Results
Start doing this at the show. Take some time to digest workshop information. Look over any notes you took when talking to vendors – are there any unanswered questions? Now is the perfect time to go back to the booth and get them answered. You’ll do the bulk of your processing back at home with your team.
With a little prep, you can make this NADA Show a huge success for your dealership. Stay tuned to this blog for more tips on ensuring your time at the show is well spent and enjoyable!