Reviews

ASOTUCON: These are a few of my favorite things

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Pioneering a new type of conference in automotive takes a lot of guts, and Paul J Daly and Kyle Mountsier just pulled it off in a big way. From the venue to the guest list to the panel-style workshops, this conference lived up to its infamous tagline, “the rebirth of the automotive conference.” Here’s a recap of a few of my favorite things about this conference and why I can’t wait for next year’s event.  ASOTUCON2022 No expo hall  I’m a big believer in networking and learning from content, which is why exhibition halls can be distracting to that mission. ASOTUCON was all about the jam-packed schedule of podcast interviews, keynotes, and well-thought-out panels throughout each day; there was no one running to the expo hall to see what free swag they could snag. Everyone was focused on the same communal mission of learning together and from each other.  Vibrant venue  When I think of breakout sessions at conferences, all I can picture is carpeted hallways with lined-up classrooms one after another. I think of the closed rooms with quiet energy. ASOTUCON disrupted that image, rocking the Xfinity Live’s entertainment center with every breakout session held in a repurposed sports bar featuring a ton of screens with session information as you listened to the panels. It was vibrant and engaging rather than bland and quiet. It was fun.  Limited spots The curated and intimate guest list meant I didn’t waste any time looking for people at this conference. The ASOTU guest list focused on quality over quantity, controlling the registration so the event didn’t get too big or overwhelming. This meant that every conversation I had was meaningful, focused, and productive.  Progressive topics  As the industry continues to improve on data connectivity & orchestration, everyone present was on board with critical changes that need to be made in automotive. There were several sessions around owning and controlling your data, implementing a data strategy, and how to focus on first-party data and brand content to drive quality traffic and leads to dealership websites.  People>cars  At the end of the day, there was an underlying theme to every presentation, panel, and conversation at ASOTUCON: people are everything. It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, what tech stack you have, or which top 150 group you may work for; if you don’t put your people first, nothing will function properly.  Ilana Shabtay in the Podcast Booth at ASOTUCON2022 Conclusion ASOTUCON was a new and exciting experience that reshaped my view of what an automotive conference could be: content sessions that are practical, relevant, and bring multiple minds together without any fluff. It was amazing to be empowered by so many other professionals in the space who want to make an impact in the industry. Congrats to the entire ASOTU team - you killed it. 
NADA 2022 Annual Convention

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In 2021, The National Automotive Dealers Association committed to deliver a bigger, better, and more innovative convention in 2022 – and that’s exactly what they did. To say that the last two years have offered some significant challenges to our industry would be an understatement.  As we have been forced to change the way we not only do business but how we learn, network, and connect as a community, NADA made a promise to its members to make the 2022 National Automotive Dealers Association Convention the biggest and best experience in the history of the organization. ...and they delivered. Packed with over 100 educational opportunities, 600 exhibitors, and thousands of networking opportunities over the course of four days in sunny Las Vegas, the 2022 NADA Annual Convention sought to deliver an experience that not only made up for lost time caused by the global pandemic but also created an elevated space for industry peers and experts to reconnect and explore the latest tech and innovation in our field. Beyond the staggering number of attendees, exhibitors, and experts participating in the 2022 NADA convention, the organization introduce several new aspects to the conference.  Kicking off the festivities on Thursday, attendees were welcomed into the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders, Allegiant Stadium.  Featuring an electrifying performance from three-time Grammy winners Train, the inspired and energized crowd enjoyed a great night of networking and celebration – setting the stage for the incredible activities, panels, exhibitors, and educational opportunities that laid ahead. Among the most popular new features this year was the addition of the Dealer Learning Lab.  Embracing a TED Talk-style presentation format, topics ranged from variable and fixed ops to leadership and business operations, as well as several conversations centered around the biggest challenges facing the industry today.  Additionally, NADA offered a series of more traditional educational sessions designed to engage and inform our community.  With over 100 workshops and countless other educational opportunities throughout the course of the convention, there were sessions designed to support, inform, and inspire – from industry veterans to first-year members and attendees. From there, the 2022 NADA Annual Convention featured over 600 exhibitors from around the world.  Spread throughout two halls, the 2022 exhibitors delivered more than great conversation, mind-blowing innovation, and a strong showcase of products – they delivered hope, optimism, and a sense of dedication that was unapparelled.   Within each booth was a vendor eager to connect with other industry experts to find powerful solutions to rapidly changing market conditions and advancing technology. And finally, after days of connecting, networking, learning, and exploring, the National Automotive Dealers Association Annual Convention awarded the industry’s most prestigious award, Time Dealer of the Year.  With 47 dealers nominated and recognized for their excellence in business and community service, the Time Dealer of the Year award ceremony truly exemplified the countless ways its members selflessly give back to their communities on a local and national level.  While this award ceremony is always filled with inspirational people and incredible acts, the energy and commitment felt in this year’s event were simply captivating.  The 2022 Time Dealer of the Year was awarded to Bob Giles , owner of Giles Automotive located in Louisiana , of which Mr. Giles accepted the honor with the grace and gratitude one would expect from the recipient of such an incredible award.  In his speech, he challenged everyone in the industry to do their best in making a positive impact in their community through thoughtful, self-less acts of compassion and advocacy.  The powerful ceremony left the audience inspired and ready to make a difference in their own communities, and on behalf of all in attendance, I would like to congratulate the 2022 nominees for their contributions and the powerful example they provide all of us. The 2022 Time Dealer of the Year Nominees Included: Gary Ackerman, President/Owner of Gaudin Ford located in Las Vegas John Billard, Dealer Principal of Hempstead Ford Lincoln located in Hempstead, N.Y. Cary Bosak, Dealer Principal of Bosak Motors Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram located in Merrillville, Indiana Virginia Bowden, Dealer Principal of McClinton Chevrolet located in Parkersburg, West Virginia Steve Brown, President of Brown Motors located in Petoskey, Michigan Gregg R. Ciocca, President of Ciocca Ford of Quakertown located in Allentown, Pennsylvania Jason Courter, Owner of Honda Auto Center of Bellevue located in Bellevue, Washington Wyndi Damato, Principal/General Manager of Fitzgerald Ford located in Fitzgerald, Georgia Erik Day, CFO/Partner of Warren Henry Auto Group CFO/Partner located in Davie, Florida Winfred Dodge, Dealer of Bill Dodge Auto Group located in Westbrook, Maine Wayne Evans, Owner of Prairie Motors located in Stanley, North Dakota Ray Fregia Jr., Owner of Courtesy Ford Lincoln located in Danville, Illinois Robert “Bob” Giles, Chairman/CEO of Giles Automotive located in Lafayette, Louisiana  Terry Gilmore, Principal Owner of Paradise Chevrolet Cadillac located in Temecula, California James Gramm, Dealer Principal of Safford CJDR Springfield located in Springfield, Virginia Bill Griffis, Owner of Griffis Motors in Philadelphia, Mississippi Kelly Hirning, President of Hirning Buick GMC located in Pocatello, Idaho Jason Hoover, Owner/Dealer Principal of Midway Motors located in McPherson, Kansas Jack Kain Sr., Founder of Jack Kain Ford located in Versailles, Kentucky Gregg Kunes, Dealer/President/Owner of Kunes Country Ford-Lincoln located in Delavan, Wisconsin Steven Lillestol, President of Thief River Ford, Inc., located in Thief River Falls, Minnesota Christopher Lindsay, President and CEO of Lindsay Chevrolet located in Woodbridge, Virginia Daniel Luneau, Owner/Dealer of Handy Automotive/Handy Toyota located in St. Albans, Vermont Doug McElveen, Dealer/Owner of McElveen Buick GMC Summerville, South Carolina Pat McGrath, Dealer Principal of Pat McGrath Chevyland located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa David McNeill, CEO/Dealer of McNeill Chevrolet Buick Nissan of Wilkesboro located in Wilkesboro, North Carolina J. Douglas North, President of North Brothers Ford, Inc., located in Westland, Michigan Todd C. Ouellette Sr., Dealer/Owner of Long-Lewis Ford of the Shoals located in Muscle Shoals, Alabama Curtis Pascarella, Owner/President of Phillips Chevrolet located in Frankfort, Illinois Tony Pierce, Dealer Principal of Snowy Mountain Motors located in Lewistown, Montana John Platek, Dealer Principal of Betley Chevrolet, Inc., located in Derry, New Hampshire Daniel Reineke, Dealer Principal of Reineke’s Tiffin Ford Lincoln, Inc., located in Tiffin, Ohio Bob Rogers, President of Bob Rogers Chevrolet located in Paris, Arkansas Michael Schulte, Owner of Schulte Subaru located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota Dennis Schworer, President and Owner of Honda Cars of Bellevue, located in Bellevue, Nebraska Robert Serpentini Jr., President of Serpentini Chevrolet of Strongsville located in Strongsville, Ohio Joseph Shaker, President of Wellesley Mazda located in Wellesley, Massachusetts Robert Sickel, President of Pine Belt Chevrolet located in Lakewood, New Jersey Bob Siracusano, Owner of Sawyer Motors located in Saugerties, New York Brad Sowers, General Manager/Owner of Jim Butler Chevrolet located in Fenton, Missouri Michael Stoebner, General Manager/President of Honda Windward located in Kaneohe, Hawaii Annette Sykora, Partner of Smith South Plains Ford Lincoln located in Levelland, Texas Joseph Thurby Jr., Dealer of Thurby’s Riverside Ford located in Markleysburg, Pennsylvania Tim Urness, Dealer Principal of C. H. Urness Motors located in The Dalles, Oregon S. Mitchell Walters, President of Friendship Ford located in Bristol, Tennessee Chris H. Wilson, Dealer of Wilson Motor Company located in Logan, Utah Phil Winslow, Owner of Winslow BMW of Colorado Springs located in Colorado Springs, Colorado As I close this brief snapshot of the 2022 NADA Annual Conference, I would be remised not to share a quote from the organization’s Outgoing National Automobile Dealers Association Chairman, Paul Walser.  During his address to the convention, Chairman Walser said, “Imagine a workforce where diversity and inclusion are the standard, where we are the industry that encompasses everyone – so much so, that our efforts are respected and celebrated by other industries, government agencies, legislators, and everyday people looking for an opportunity or a career and where there is no shortage of people wanting to be part of it.” I couldn’t have said it better myself and I am proud to call myself a member of this tremendous community of consummate professionals.  
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Dealership Websites: Embracing & Implementing Change an Interview with 321 Ignition

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The automotive industry has certainly been hit hard by the pandemic resulting in everchanging ways of how car shoppers are shopping. This calls for dealerships to implement effective digital retailing platforms to support the new customer of today. To identify what draws these shoppers to a dealer's website and how to keep them engaged, Dealer Marketing Magazine interviewed Lyamen Savy, Founder & CEO at 321 Ignition. She explains why it’s critical for dealers to optimize their websites and monitor their search/SEO strategy — not just today, but constantly. Dealer Marketing Magazine: How have you seen dealership websites change over the last 5 years and are there any important lessons that have been learned that dealers should be aware of going forward?  Lyamen: Dealership websites haven’t kept pace with websites in other industries for many years and that’s part of what inspired the idea for my company, 321 Ignition. As I was doing research on what was currently available to dealers from their website providers, I was shocked. There wasn’t a single mobile-first website provider even though the large majority of dealership website traffic is on mobile. The other thing I noticed was how the industry was very segmented with few companies offering integrations and no one discussing their partners. My previous experience at Microsoft helped me to really understand the power of partners. When I was developing our company, I knew we needed to be mobile-first, customer-first, and partner-powered from the start.  DMM: Creating a seamless customer experience is crucial with an increasing market of millennial car shoppers. How should a dealership set up a successful website? Lyamen: Research has found that 78% of car buyers start their shopping online and of those, more than 70% of people are using their smartphone to access the dealership website. Because of all that online shopping, consumers are visiting less than 3 dealerships on average. If people can’t visit your website, your chances to get them into your dealership are getting smaller.  When it comes to setting up a successful website, it needs to be mobile-first, not just mobile-responsive. A mobile-responsive website is designed for a large screen and is adapted to fit a smaller phone screen. The problem is that a design that works on a computer looks busy and overwhelming on a phone screen. A successful website won’t just work on any device, it has the correct user experience for the device the user is on. 321 Ignition websites are designed with mobile-first in mind and they look amazing on desktop, too.  DMM: How can dealerships use tech tools to create a high-functioning website and create a successful customer experience? Lyamen: A tech tool alone is just a widget. Dealerships invest in tech tools to help them solve business problems. However, if tech tools are not installed on a website using an API, then they won’t achieve the business objective and goal. The problem with a lot of website tech tools in the automotive industry is they are just widgets and iFrame codes vs API integrations. Widgets and iFrames create a poor user experience, they are disjointed single-point solutions vs a complete solution, they slow down the website, they hurt SEO, and most of them don’t match the rest of the dealership branding. At 321 Ignition, we invest in API integrations with any technology provider in the automotive industry to help dealers provide the best consumer experience and achieve the ultimate business outcome. DMM: What inspired the start of 321 Ignition and what is the core dealership problem your business is solving? Lyamen: One of my best friends used to work at a car dealership and she used to come to me for marketing advice all the time as a friend and trusted advisor since I’ve been doing marketing for 18+ years. One day she contacted me because her website provider, MotorWeb, was acquired by FusionZone. She wanted my help and opinion in evaluating them. As I started digging deeper, I discovered all automotive website providers were missing critical elements that I knew helped convert website visitors to leads. These were things we had tested at Microsoft and CapitalOne and I knew would work in the automotive industry, too. I also quickly realized that website providers were charging extra for services and solutions that should be table stakes — things like technical SEO or Google Analytics tracking. On top of all of that, other vendors were calling her every day trying to sell her website widgets that should have come standard with any website. I couldn’t believe what was going on in the industry and realized that it was a good opportunity to help small businesses and follow my passion for marketing. My company, 321 Ignition, is the only mobile-first website provider in the automotive industry designed to assist new and used car dealerships of any size in creating the best customer experience to serve the exploding online car shopping market. Using native mobile features and the best practices from Fortune 100 companies across a variety of industries, 321 Ignition offers a time-saving and frictionless online customer experience optimized for car shoppers on the go. DMM: Why are VDP visitors so important and does 321 Ignition leverage these visitors? Lyamen: The VDP is the moment of truth. The purpose of the SRP is to intrigue consumers about the cars available in stock. The purpose of VDP is to educate and close (aka ask for the sale). When a consumer lands on the VDP page, their sequence of thought is, “Do I want this car? Can I afford this car? How do I buy this car?” The goal of the VDP is to collect micro “yes’s” to all these questions along the way to get to the ultimate “Yes” which is the sales lead and car sale.  To get to the ultimate “yes,” you have to anticipate and overcome all sales objections and eliminate all elements that cause friction and anxiety. You have to be ruthless in prioritizing content based on hierarchy and sequence of thought, especially for shoppers on a mobile device. Imagine as the user is scrolling down the VDP, you’re anticipating their sales objections, overcoming them, and collecting micro “yes’s” along the way. DMM: How do your smart financing applications work? Lyamen: Credit app leads are probably the warmest and highest quality leads salespeople can receive because these are people who are ready to buy a car and they just want to know what they can get approved for. There are 2 parts to the credit app, the consumer experience and the internal staff at the dealership experience (BDC reps, F&I managers, etc.) For consumers, since we know that majority of them, over 70%, are filling out the credit app on a mobile device, with one finger, instead of a keyboard with two hands and ten fingers, it‘s all about having empathy for the consumer. It’s important to think about in that given moment, at that given time, what would be most helpful for the consumer filling out a long credit application with one finger. At 321 Ignition, we leverage mobile-native features to make it faster and easier to complete a long credit application on a mobile device. For example, this means that the keyboard automatically changes to a numeric keyboard when adding in numbers and our Google maps integration allows us to autocomplete addresses. We also use smart field technology which subtracts or adds fields to the form the user is filling out based on their answers. This saves the consumer time by skipping fields that are not relevant to them.  For internal staff at the dealership, they want 2 things — 1) to get more leads i.e. capture consumers' contact info that started but did not complete full credit app — and 2) to save time re-entering credit app information into credit soft pull and hard pull software. To address the first need, our credit app has a shopping cart abandonment feature to help. When a customer starts filling out the credit app, on step 1 we only ask for basic contact info (name, email, phone). When the customer clicks “next”, we wait for 25 minutes and if they didn’t complete the full credit app, we send a lead notification to the dealership’s CRM saying “John Doe started credit app, but did not complete” so that the salesperson can follow up and try to close them.  We also have an API integration with DealerCenter and 700 Credit and all credit app leads are automatically sent to DealerCenter, 700 Credit, DealerTrack, RouteOne, CUDL, and AppOne for F&I Manager to do credit pulls and submit applications to banks. We’re always looking for more credit and banking partners and can share our API documentation. DMM: So your company offering will help a dealer operate a successful and optimized website. What should a dealer focus on after that? Lyamen: Most dealerships we talk to think they have a website traffic problem when really they have a website conversion problem. Once dealers sign up for 321 Ignition mobile-first website, they can confidently invest in paid media and SEO content, and accurately measure ROI. These are some of the ways we’ve seen dealerships leverage their new website:  Google ads When we launch dealership websites, we set up their Google Analytics goal conversion tracking to only track real leads (i.e. online web form submissions, click-to-call, and click-to-drive) instead of page views and average time spent on site. This allows paid media managers and agencies to launch Google Ads with a “Target CPA” bid strategy that will use Google machine learnings to optimize campaigns that will generate maximum leads at the lowest cost per lead. Facebook & Instagram Shops Facebook Marketplace for Auto has been discontinued. Dealers now have an opportunity to advertise their inventory on Facebook and Instagram shops. 321 Ignition mobile-first websites have the microdata schema dealerships will need to get their inventory live in Facebook & Instagram shops. On-page SEO & blogging In-house marketing teams and agencies can save time from cleaning up schema markups, SEO title tags, and meta description, and instead, focus their time on producing fresh new content. Our WordPress backend has a ton of content blocks that help save time and create new pages without HTML knowledge. We also offer a mobile-first blog that helps increase organic ranking and convert organic visitors to leads using relevant HTML5 banners (no coding knowledge required to create them). DMM: Thank you for your time today! Is there anything else you’d like to share? Lyamen: As a company, we’ve been partner-powered from the beginning. We partner with other technology providers to help them provide complete solutions for dealers and we partner with agencies and consultants to help them increase value and achieve more in less time. We know we’re all better together and nobody can do it alone. If you’re looking for a true partner for your dealership or clients, we’d love for you to get in touch. For more information click here
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Automotive Marketing Evolution: Interview with Bob Ruth Ford

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Over the last decade we have seen so many changes in automotive marketing. The evolution of social media has changed the marketing landscape. With the changes over the last year in our industry, it is more important than ever to have your marketing processes and procedures in place. One area that has been of particular interest for me has been video, specifically short-form video, and watching dealerships utilize it to reach and convert their customers. There are dealerships across the country that are utilizing TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube to reach new customers. There are some that do an incredible job of taking their social media presence to the next level and then there are others that are still trying to work out all the details to get their team(s) firing on all cylinders. Over the last few years, I have been watching a Ford Dealership based out of Dillsburg, PA, Bob Ruth Ford, take their social media presence to new heights. To say I am impressed with their marketing processes and procedures is an understatement. When I had the opportunity to speak with their Marketing Director, Stephanie Clark, a rising marketing star in the car business, you know I was going to ask her all about their philosophies on video marketing! Melanie: Stephanie, Tiktok vs Instagram Reels vs YouTube vs LinkedIn. How do you determine which video platform to use/share on? Stephanie: Determining which platform to use and what to share where is super important. To tailor our communication among the platforms we use our key of simple sentences. So, for example, Instagram is “Here is a photo of coffee,” Facebook “I like coffee,” TikTok “Here I am dancing with coffee,” LinkedIn “My skills include making coffee,” Youtube “Here I am drinking coffee.” So, making sure all of our content reflects across the platforms, it helps us to keep in proper communication with each client. We aren’t going to communicate with people on LinkedIn the same way we would on TikTok. Finding our audience on these platforms comes from determining who our ideal customer is and where they spend their time. It’s important to focus on the user and not the product. Showing them a brand-new Explorer is great but provoking an emotion will go so much further. My personal favorite is Facebook. We have worked hard to build credibility with our followers on that platform and we get a lot of engagement through it. We are completely transparent, putting out all information that customers could want or need, along with some fun and silliness incorporated along the way. This is my favorite because you can get so creative with it and reach SO many people, and it’s very trackable. We see a lot of success with customer testimonial videos. New customers seeing and hearing a current customer say, and confirm, what we preach as to who and what we are as a company, makes all the difference. We could say something a hundred times, but it has so much more meaning when it is coming directly from our customer, and them saying that this was their experience, and therefore it was so unforgettable. YouTube is our holy grail! Every video we make goes on YouTube. Our customers can find anything and everything that they need to know about our dealership there. We have different playlists pertaining to different categories – our VIP buying process, our VIP selling process, a day in the life at the dealership, how-to videos, and any current event sponsorship events we’re doing within the community. It can all be found here. Our channel creates brand awareness all while being entertaining. They can learn about us as a company or learn about any vehicle or service they’re interested in. With Instagram Reels, Millennials are the biggest users on Instagram and spend about half an hour a day scrolling. This is where we show “here is a photo/here is a video of coffee.” Users are scrolling fast and need their attention caught quickly and it’s only going to last a few seconds. Successful Reels capture attention within the first two seconds. The communication on Instagram Reels is tailored to millennials that want natural-looking content. We advertise here that “We are in business,” it’s up to date and tasteful. An aesthetically pleasing feed is what attracts people there. A huge part of the Reels is appropriate CTA’s (calls to action), there’s no point in putting something out without meaning to get some form of return. Utilizing Reels on Instagram is an in-between of fun and information. People aren’t necessarily coming to Instagram to buy a car – however, in our instance, they absolutely can – but to see what our company is up to, that ‘hey we are in business!’ and that we do keep up with our customers there. LinkedIn – This is our “my skills include making coffee” platform, which is an older demographic – baby boomers, gen x, millennials. We create business relationships here, show how and why we are ahead of the times within the industry, and keep our customers and followers up to date with what our processes are / what technology we are using / what vendors and business partners we work with / and how we operate overall as a business. We also post video content here – mostly informational content on us as a company and/or employment opportunities. Almost like a current event – what we’re up to in the business world / how we are impacting those around us. It’s a place where people can learn from us and vice versa. M: Do you find that customers are reaching out to you through TikTok? S: TikTok – this is our ‘fun’ platform. We show personalities around the dealership, but still incorporate hot vehicles and keep it branded to Bob Ruth Ford / automotive content. We can stay with the trends while also making it pertain to the industry and remain relevant. People go to TikTok for entertainment, so I think it’s a great place for customers to see us real and raw and that we are people just like them. There’s a younger generation on TikTok than, say, LinkedIn, that is right at that first-car-purchasing age, so keeping up with them and getting in front of them is crucial. This generation isn’t going to see us on LinkedIn or even Facebook anymore. Gen Z is scrolling TikTok more than they are Facebook. Our people have gotten more comfortable in front of camera and video because we utilize it so heavily, it’s just become part of everyone’s day at work from sales, to accounting, to management. They’re used to having cameras in front of them and we aren’t afraid to put ourselves out there, and it’s really benefitted us. Which I think is a huge part of this platform, you can’t be afraid to do something silly or outside of your comfort zone! M: What is one tip for choosing the right video sounds and content? S: Always go with what’s trending. Anything that’s trending can be aligned with the brand focus – granted it’s within appropriate guidelines, etc. You can take sounds and make them relevant to your brand and industry. It takes creativity and stepping outside the box, as well as your comfort zone. My team and I have embarrassed ourselves plenty of times, you just have to laugh along with those watching. The same goes for hashtags: we use our core list of hashtags that are part of our brand, as well as throwing in the trending hashtags. That gives it a good mix to reach new audiences and keeps our current hashtag followers in the loop with content. It’s also important to follow other hashtags relevant to your brand, which keeps you zoned in with what others are doing around you. Following those have helped us to see what “trending” is and how we can follow a trend but do it better and differently, staying on brand with us. I love Stephanie’s perspective on social media and hearing what works for Bob Ruth Ford that can be transferred to your dealership. The take-aways from Stephanie’s experience that I know will help leadership all over the country, is to know your audience per platform, know what kind of content to share on those platforms and get comfortable being on camera, and to incorporate marketing into the culture of the business. Are you utilizing video in your dealership’s marketing strategy?      
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London EV Show 2021 Announces Rescheduling

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London - 18 October 2021 - The organisers of the London EV Show 2021 have decided to reschedule and relocate the event to the Business Design Centre, located at 52 Upper St, London N1 0QH, UK from 14 - 16 December 2021 . Due to some unforeseen turn of events, the organisers had to change the venue and move the event by a week's time to the Business Design Centre (BDC), an iconic central London exhibition centre, celebrating more than 10 years as a Carbon-Neutral venue. Since the launch of the event earlier in the year London EV Show 2021 has received tremendous interest not only from the UK but internationally too and is anticipated to become one of the most-influential EV shows in terms of scope and participation. The CEO of Valiant Business Media, Mr Shariq Abdul Hai stated that the ultimate endeavour of Valiant is to provide our clients with a smooth and unhindered experience and we are looking to use the venue exclusively with a state-of-the-art 6000m2 + of space that features a large exhibition area, a dedicated conference auditorium, several breakout rooms, and onsite parking. “We are cognizant of the fact that you must have started planning the schedule for one of Europe’s most-awaited EV shows. We do apologise and understand that unexpected schedule change and venue relocation may cause some inconvenience. We had to make the change keeping in mind the overall event experience. Providing everyone involved with the best event experience is our ultimate endeavour and we very much look forward to hosting you at the event.”, Abdul Hai further added. The Business Design Centre is an iconic venue in the heart of London and hosts some of the best events in the UK and an average of 1 million visitors annually. BDC has built a strong reputation for being a certified carbon-neutral venue where sustainability is at the forefront of everything to leave as little of an impact as possible on the planet. The organisers are very optimistic about the London EV Show which is already emerging as the EV industry's can't-miss event and have expressed great regret for this untimely decision which was not at all anticipated.   The organisers look forward to a bigger and better London EV Show and meeting all the participants in person from the 14 -16 December 2021! For more information, please contact: Ambreen Mir Assistant Manager - Media Partnerships  Email id : partnership@valiantbmedia.com Ph. no. : +442081441168 
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Why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are Key to Dealership Success

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Q&A with Wil Lewis, Experian’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer Like many industries, the automotive industry has seen an increased—and much needed—focus on diversity in recent years. Why much needed? Consider this: Women make up 47% of the total workforce in the U.S., but only 18% of employees at automotive dealers.  While gender diversity is an important part of the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) conversation, it’s just that—apart. DEI is much more than a single factor. And, it’s mission-critical for your dealership’s success.  To better understand what DEI encompasses, how to intentionally bring the needed focus into your dealership team, and why it’s key for success, I talked with Wil Lewis, Experian’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, whose responsibility is to ensure Experian’s programs and products reflect the employees, clients, and communities we serve and is a workplace where employees feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. Amy Hughes: Thanks for taking the time to chat, Wil! Can you tell us how you define diversity?  Wil Lewis: First, and foremost, we need to look at diversity through a more nuanced lens. Intentionally expanding our circles needs to be about more than just representation and focus on additional topics. When I define diversity, I often use four distinct terms: diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.  Diversity equals representation. For example, how many women or veterans do we have working for our organization? How many people of color? We actually do need to count the numbers.   Equity is removing systemic barriers that stop any one of those marginalized populations from reaching their greatest success. An example of a barrier could be an assessment test that you have to take to reach a certain position that isn’t accessible to a person with a disability. Equity means ensuring that items like that in our systems and processes are cleared away.  Inclusion is inviting folks to the table. But not just inviting them, ensuring they’re engaged in the conversations happening. Belonging is the underpinning of it all. Once you’ve invited that person to the table, ensuring they have a voice, equal opportunity to speak and to be heard. This means their opinion and feedback is something that is sought after.  AH: What I love about breaking down those terms is that it doesn’t focus on a single underrepresented population, it’s everyone. Why is this important for the business to continue to be profitable and achieve your goals? WL: When we think about why DEI is important, it’s because our society is diverse. Our businesses and dealerships need to be reflective of society as a whole. This will likely impact their revenue and bottom line. Think about sales. If you walk into a dealership as a veteran, and the person you’re talking to also happens to be a veteran, then you can share stories about your time in basic training or other experiences, and that instantly builds a relationship. And that’s ultimately what sales is about: relationships. As we work to build our businesses, dealerships, etc. we want to ensure they have a diverse population so they can relate to their customers. Not having that kind of representation can mean your dealership can lose a competitive edge.  AH: If we recognize that representation is not where it should be in our dealerships, what steps can we take to become more diverse? Often, dealerships pass from generation to generation, so diversity may not be top of mind. WL: Here’s what’s key: The owner will always be the owner, and for some dealerships, the owner may often be a member of the family. I see this in my local dealership. But, that doesn’t mean the leadership team is fixed.  You can ask yourself, who’s your finance manager? Who does your inventory? There’s still an opportunity to diversify your leadership team. And, if you’re really good, you look at who’s on your sales floor, and you pull them up. Look for opportunities to promote from within. Research shows that diversifying leadership is strategic for your bottom line. A study by Gartner found that 75% of companies with diverse and inclusive decision-making teams will exceed their financial targets through 2022. Additionally, gender-diverse and inclusive teams outperformed their less inclusive counterparts by 50%. AH: Once you’ve increased representation, what are ways to increase belonging?   WL: The first step any leader needs to take is self-awareness. If a leader doesn’t realize there is an opportunity to fix it, or that there’s something that can get better, it’ll never change.  Once the awareness is there, the leader needs to talk about it. The people who work in these dealerships are good—and I mean really good—salespeople. Good salespeople are driven by revenue, so talk to them in their language and explain how this impacts the bottom line.  Then, you need to measure the impact. Each organization needs to set its own KPIs, because it depends on the baseline and where they’re starting. But the ultimate question is: are you representative of the community you’re doing business in?  AH: Would you agree that sometimes this means looking beyond just the zip code in which you’re located, and being representative of all the zip codes from which prospective customers may come from? WL : Absolutely. Beyond just sales, think about the marketing impact this could have. Bringing together perspectives that are representative of your potential customers ensures that you’ll be more effective marketing to them, based on your team’s collective experiences and understanding of things like communication preferences.  This really ties back to your first question, because it shows how if we go with the linear definition of diversity and just count numbers, not much will change. But, if you intentionally seek to create a culture where people feel like they belong no matter what their background or experience is, and they know their voice is valued, there can be transformational impacts for your dealership. Your customers will feel the difference when they walk into your showroom.