Whether you’ve been to dozens of conventions, or if it’s your very first time, knowing how to network and make the right connections is a key part of making the most of your NADA Show experience. Industry insiders, partners, competitors and colleagues are all present under one roof at this auto industry event, presenting a unique opportunity to connect, share and learn the latest tools and solutions together.
Jason Moses of Moses Auto Group in Huntington, West Virginia attends NADA Show regularly. He’s found that the connections he makes at the show last for years to come. “Seeing vendors year after year at NADA Show has helped me establish relationships,” says Moses. “Even the people I don’t end up doing business with can end up being good connections when we share info and tips.”
But how do you make these connections? Moses advises that the key is to be confident and assertive.
“I’m not afraid to speak my mind,” he says. “I go to the booths and talk to exhibitors, I go up and say hello to manufacturer reps and let them know if I have an issue.”
More Than Just Luncheons
Richard Stephens is vice president and general manager of Stephens Auto Center in Danville, West Virginia, and NADA Convention Committee Chairman. He’s been to more than 20 NADA conventions and his experience attending the show first as a dealer himself and now as an NADA Board member offers him a unique perspective. “Scheduling the time to get the most out of it is critical,” says Stephens. “Industry relations is much bigger than just the luncheons.”
He also advises not to miss the “informative and fun” general sessions, and especially the Make Meetings. “Question and answer sessions in make meetings are great opportunities to talk with a maker on a closer level. Some will even stay after if they can’t get to all of the questions,” says Stephens.
Select Workshops Carefully
Making sure that you are attending the workshops that address your needs will also ensure that you are surrounded by colleagues and industry experts who are interested and experienced with the same issues. With more than 100 workshop sessions on over 60 trending topics, it’s easy to feel like you might miss something. This year, there are more digital marketing-related workshops than ever, plus sessions on dealer/executive needs, employee recruiting and retention, legal and regulatory updates, fixed operations and more.
The Exchange is an especially great option session to make connections at the show. These peer-to-peer roundtable discussions feature topics selected by attendees and allow you to discuss current dealership issues and solutions directly with your industry peers.
Connect Through Technology
The NADA Show mobile app will allow you to connect with others at the show while in Vegas. Attendees can add fellow attendees as friends in the app. You will also be able to use the MyPlanner app feature connect with exhibitors at the NADA Expo, schedule appointments and learn more about the specific tools and equipment needs for your dealership.
After the NADA Show
Once you make these connections at NADA Show, whether business contacts, or friendly acquaintances, you can’t just keep them as a stack of business cards in your bag, or a bunch of new contacts in your phone. You have to follow up! Send an email the following week to remind the person of your interaction and let them know you’d like to connect further. Don’t wait so long that they might forget who you are. Requesting to connect on Facebook or LinkedIn is another great way to learn more about what the person does as well.
“Connecting on Facebook is another good way to keep in touch with folks you meet at the convention and create a bond with,” says Moses.
NADA Show 2018 takes place in Las Vegas March 22-25, 2018.
Register today for your chance to make the connections and learn the tools that will propel your business to the next level.