Dealers share best practices, tips to close out Dealer Forum

After spending three hours together, exchanging ideas and best practices in their roundtables, dealers reached a consensus — they needed even more time together.

During Wednesday’s closing session of the BHPH Dealer Forum, Eddie Hale of Neighborhood Auto in Decatur, Texas, expressed the gratitude of dealers for the opportunity to learn from their peers during Tuesday’s roundtables.

“We had a lot of excellent ideas, but the format itself was the best idea, a mini 20 Group as some called it,” Hale said.

“When you look at it and say, ‘I’m going to be in there for three hours.’ When we left some of the people said it’s hard to get all this in within three hours.”

Hale served as one of the veteran dealer moderators during the roundtables. Dan Francis of Andrews Auto Sales in Evansville, Ind., Ben Libby of Highway Motors in Chico, Calif., Mark Jones of MCMC Auto in Fort Worth, Texas, Luke Godwin in Godwin Motors in Columbia, S.C., Chad Randash of Randash Auto Center in Billings, Mont., also led roundtables. Dealers were matched up with other dealers of similar size and configuration for the peer learning sessions.

“We had a great group with a lot of discussion,” said Randash on Wednesday as dealers recounted their best tips and practices learned from the roundtables.

Godwin added the insight from so many veteran dealers in his group was invaluable.

“We had five dealers with more than 35 years of experience,” Godwin said.

Each moderator had at least one dealer from their group present a top idea. Jeff Watson of Four Seasons Auto shared his pay structure for techs. Gordon Tormohlen of Tormohlen’s Good People Auto and the NIADA President told the crowd about his workout plan with customers. Francis described maintenance reminder alerts sent to customers. Billie Northern explained Auto Express’ offering a life coach for employees. Tommy Brandis, the Mid-Atlantic IADA executive director, reminded dealers they are in the relationship business.

Mark Anderson of Anderson and Sons in Newton, Ill., went into detail about how his dealership has been able to create community with its vehicle giveaway to a needy family at Christmas time. Anderson said last year, the dealership received 7,500 nominations that turned into leads, while also helping a family. The dealership did a countdown to the giveaway and showed the moment they surprised a family on Facebook Live.

“It’s like the Publishers Clearing House,” Anderson said.

“It really puts us in a better light with the community.”

Make plans to join dealers in New Orleans next fall for another chance to collaborate and learn from peers at the 2024 Dealer Forum.

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