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Continuing Education

When I started with Vehicle Acquisition Network (VAN) in October 2021, I had limited experience in the automotive industry. I spent hours on the phone with a friend that had grown up in a family dealership to understand if I wanted to work in the industry and spent many more hours reading every book, blog, and news article I could find to prepare myself for the role.

Now, a year later, I’ve worked with hundreds of automotive retailers across the US and Canada, have rubbed elbows with some of the most successful people in our industry, and run an international sales team targeting dealers... but my education is far from over.

Continuing Education

Before joining VAN I worked for nearly a decade in digital marketing for nearly a decade and conferences were crucial sources of continuing education. Every year these events serve as opportunities to learn the latest strategies, share growth-hacks, or hear from folks at Google Alphabet or Facebook Meta about offerings. 

Goals for Digital Dealer

Now that I’m in automotive, I see conferences as an even more critical part of my continuing education. Events like Digital Dealer are a wealth of education and, like anything else in life, to get the most out of a conference I always outline some goals. Here are the 5 goals I have for Digital Dealer Vegas 2022:

  1. Connect with as many vendors as possible. Yes, you read that right. I know some of my dealer friends will be flipping their badges around and avoiding eye-contact with vendors in the exhibit hall, but I want to talk to as many vendors as possible. Vendors are the ones out there keeping eyes on trends and building new products and services to capitalize on those trends. Oftentimes a vendor serving automotive retail will see these things happening before they are felt in a dealer showroom.
  2. Attend as many break-out sessions as possible. I spend some serious time looking at the session schedule and I ask myself two questions 1) Will this session make me better at my job of serving automotive retailers and 2) Is this session covering a topic I already understand and am comfortable with? 100% of the sessions I attend should answer “yes” to question 1 and question 2 should be a 50/50 split across all sessions. I want to make sure I’m staying current on what I already know and I want to challenge myself to explore new areas.
  3. Connect with existing clients. I work with dealers all across North America, but unfortunately I have limited opportunities to connect with them face-to-face. Some of my most cherished moments have been connecting with dealers in person at a conference and learning from their experiences.
  4. Connect with automotive dealers. Obviously as the National Sales Manager it is important for me to connect with as many dealers as possible. Yes, I want to scan your badge. Yes, I’ll give you the elevator pitch for our product. Yes, I’ll follow up with you. But it isn't just about selling you a thing. It is about helping make your business better. Maybe you don’t need VAN, but you need marketing or direct mail services or logistics. If I’ve done my job I’ll have a list of people that would be happy to help.
  5. Bond with my team. As a sales leader, the most rewarding thing is spending time with my team. As a fully remote company, in-person moments are rare and special. I want to make the most out of it with my team.

Meet Me at Digital Dealer

Bring it home

The goals I’ve set for myself, I’ve also set for my team. Following Digital Dealer, we are having a debriefing to bring one new thing you learned and one new company you connected with to the table. How does this new knowledge translate into helping our customers? How are we going to implement it?

I challenge you to do the same. Set a list of goals for yourself for the event. Plan your sessions and show up early (rooms hit capacity fast). Talk to vendors and dealers. Learn something new. Teach someone something new. And bring something back that can make our industry even better.

Need to speak to Clayton about how VAN can help your dealership? Hit the button below!