Jamie Smalls of Gidieons Go & Tow, LLC., in Yemasse, S.C., is always looking to pick up tips from other dealers.
The chance to learn from peers in the used vehicle industry led Smalls to register for the Carolinas Independent Auto Dealers Association’s Fast and Furious Dealer Training Experience at the BMW Performance Center in Greer, S.C. Jan. 25-27.
“I always enjoy getting other dealers’ insight and finding out what they are doing at their dealership,” Smalls said. “It’s great to share ideas.”
Dealer-led education, including multiple dealer panels, is at the heart of the program organized by Marty Coates, CIADA Associate Executive Director. Coates said the program neared capacity quickly with its packed education schedule and a chance to take to the BMW performance course.
“I’m excited by the list of participants. Approximately 50 percent have not been to an event,” Coates said. “It’s a chance to show what we are about. It’s a great networking opportunity. It’s just the beginning of what they can learn.”
The networking and the opportunity to hear from other dealers in the trenches, finding inventory, underwriting deals and hiring employees resonated with dealers.
“Dealers are keen on wanting to hear from seasoned dealers,” Coates said. “They want to talk and listen to other dealers.”
Tim Evans of owner of Evans Auto Sales in York, S.C., will be attending. He highlighted the ability to network at an event like this.
“The first event I attended I forged relationships that I still have today. People that I met at my first conference I talk to or interact with on social media weekly,” Evans said.
The Fast and Furious Dealer Training Experience is also in a portion of the region where the CIADA has previously not held events. Coates said they were able to draw in new participants from new areas of Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.
“Another attraction was the regional connection. What I’m hearing from dealers is they are excited to have it in their backyard,” Coates said.
CIADA President Jerry Padrick has been encouraged by the response of dealers to the program.
“It’s dealers teaching dealers,” Padrick said. “The dealer panels will have great information. It’s a large tool and something we will do more of in the future.”