Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel with Rob Mudd and Zac Keeney to Orlando for the semi-annual Pre-Owned Department Conference. The conference was held Thursday and Friday, and my role was to document the activity of the conference via social media, capture footage of the conference and interview attendees.
Before I dive into the happenings of the conference, let me first explain the back story. The Pre-Owned Department Conference was engineered by internationally known pre-owned analyst, Tim Deese. He believed that while there is an abundance of conferences, presentations and seminars surrounding the topic of selling new vehicles, there wasn’t any information readily available for those selling pre-owned vehicles. So, the first ever Pre-Owned Department Conference was held last January in Las Vegas. The response was overwhelming, stemming the action to hold this conference twice a year.
So what was this all about?
The conference was set in the tropical paradise of Orlando at a hotel conveniently located right across from Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney. In total, eight presenters shared their thoughts, statistics and insight on how to improve the professionalism and profitability of the attendee’s pre-owned departments over two days. The attendees took diligent notes and asked great questions. There was a cocktail reception Thursday night, allowing both presenters and attendees to mingle and have a little bit of fun.
From the camera’s perspective:
Coming from a public relations background, this was both a valuable and memorable learning experience because I had the chance to get a glimpse into the past, present and future of the automotive industry – from presenters and attendees alike.
I found that many of the attendees, coming from both large and small dealerships, are experiencing the same obstacles – making the experience exceptional for their customers. Whether it was the presentations on fundamentals from Frank Alfano and Tim Deese; learning the car buying experience from a female’s perspective during Delia Passi’s presentation; or the facts, statistics and future of the industry from presenters like Rob Mudd and Jeff Bunch, the attendees took away great information to improve the relationship with their customers and bring in more dollars from their pre-owned department.
During the interview portion, I was able to ask presenters why they believe the conference is beneficial for dealers. Many of them spoke on the ability to give them tidbits, tools and information that they can take back to their dealerships and implement easily. Their passion is to see every attendee go back to their dealership and improve their performance overall.
When interviewing attendees, the major takeaway was how each presenter touched on going back to the basics in one way or another. It reminded them that they do not have to complete complicated tasks or projects to achieve great results. All of the attendees believed the conference was beneficial and they would recommend it to all dealers to attend the next conference.
To wrap it up
The conference was a success, and discussions on the next conference have already begun. As this continues to grow, the conference will expand to include more topics, more presenters and create a dynamic network for attendees to use as a continual resource.
For me, it was an excellent time! I was able to put my pr skills to good use and picked up a lot of automotive insight along the way.