#IS20G9 – Phoenix, Arizona – September 12, 2016

Day 1

At many events of this type,  the organizer is going to get everyone up, get a mixer going, play loud music and tell the people in attendance about themselves and why their event will be awesome, then layout the schedule and off you go. At #IS20G9, Sean kicked it off, got everyone excited and within about 10 minutes paid an amazing tribute to one of the auto industry greats – Tammie LeBleu, who had recently passed on August 20, 2016. (The tribute video that was shown live a the event can be viewed HERE.)

The (first) keynote came from Bob Lanham with Facebook. There are WAY too many statistics to throw at everyone reading this – but Bob’s talk was off the charts, biggest thing I got out of it, Facebook, it’s no longer social media – IT’S MEDIA. They are a media juggernaut, and anyone and everyone should be advertising on Facebook. If you are not, you are so 2008…

We got info from Sean V. Bradley, this guy sleeps, breathes and thinks of ways to make money. He has worked together with an outside company to create a product called, “Money Mind Mapp,” this looks to be an extremely innovative tool. This brings the digital world of sales together with the physical world and pushes the power to your sales reps to help and break down HOW they can make money in automotive sales. Simple and effective information.

Next Up… Composites. Having been engaged in many other 20 Groups, I was curious how we would get into a “Internet Composite” after all, there are so many seeming intangibles online. This too exceeded my expectations. First they explained the metrics and composites so that the audience could understand them regardless of where in the dealership they were working. Then #IS20G9 covered them (the composites), showed who was competitive in each area and had experts who could explain the mechanics. They offered many tangible tools to measure our own websites and ideas to take home.

After lunch, and still on Day 1, they launched the “Everything Video Panel.” A group of brilliant minds in the auto industry in advertising, video production, digital and traditional marketing, and a few just kick-ass sales people that are using video to drive and grow their businesses. The consensus was whether you are using OEM video, your own TV commercials, vehicle video – you don’t have to strive for perfect video or outstanding effects, they key for video is JUST GET STARTED! And… get started now. You can post from your phone or whatever floats your boat, but now is the time to go! The other suggestion from many of the panelists is send video through text, email, whatever it takes. If a picture is worth a thousand words – a 30 second video is worth… nearly 1,000,000 words (30 x 60 fps x 1000 words). #BOOM.

The info and the magic keep flowing… At this point everyone is already overwhelmed… we are a half day into what I would say is going to become a life-changing (or at least business-changing), event!

The question gets asked, “Will the real BDC Manager please stand up?” And, here comes Toni Anne Fardette. She is the Business Development Director for the 22 rooftop, Atlantic Auto Group. This lady is an absolute powerhouse! Confidence, presentation, just everything about her is intense! Toni Anne’s most prevalent point, to me, was that it is ALL about the right people. There are many BDC impostors out there and because of that, often a dealership BDC does not produce what they should.  It always comes back to the same two things, once you have the right people – BDC is about process. If you are failing, it’s because one of those two is broken, people or processes. Therefore, you have to monitor both of those things diligently EVERY DAY! Monitor the people, influence their attitudes, measure the results from your process. All of this is simple, but it isn’t easy, it has to be repeated over, and over, and over, and over… you get the idea.

Next there were many third  party lead providers/presenters at the #IS20G. Most of the companies and people in this category were involved in presenting as well. They presented information to learn though, not to pitch their product. During the entire three days, many of the vendors engaged with the attendees and each other in a smooth and educational format. The next two presentations came from Ryan Leslie with VAST/Carstory, followed by Scott Pechstein with Autobytel. I put these two together not because the message was identical, but because they are from two totally different automotive third party lead companies and both sent several similar messages. Car buying is still a people industry, getting in contact with those people is going to be won (or lost) in the online battle arena! Over the next couple days, depending on the vendor all agree that somewhere between 88% and 90% of consumers start online and somewhere between 65% and 90% of consumers end up buying something different when they come into the showroom anyway. And… when a consumer hits the showroom, they are only going to visit 1.2 to 2.0 dealerships before purchasing. All in all, be engaging globally, not just online, but in text, email, phone – and certainly when the customer gets in to your showroom!

Last, but certainly not least on Day 1 is LA Williams, his workshop titled, “The Absolute Best Phone Sales Strategy,” was awesome. This guy is an animal, a phone and BDC trainer that works for Sean with the Dealer Synergy Team. Totally laid back and comfortable when he presented, the confidence he carried himself with is amazing. LA came out of the music industry, has been in hundreds of dealerships, and trained and consulted with dealers on how to improve their phone process… and LA Williams is completely blind. Two things that stood out to me from LA – one, you have to use the mutual fund concept when it comes to third party leads! DIVERSIFY! And, second, people will definitely remember how you make them feel. Automotive is still a relationship business, so you have to exceed customer expectations and make sure the experience is as awesome on the showroom as you make it out to be online and on the phone.


To close out day one. Sean and Karen Bradley and the Dealer Synergy Team hosted a surreal “White Party.” The rules were: wear white, and preferably  something that has some orange “pop” to it, oh, and have a lot of fun… but not so much fun that you won’t be on time to the conference tomorrow morning. The party was two fold, partly was to let the dealers, dealership staff, salespeople, vendors and all participants unwind and decompress at the close of the first day – the other reason was because Sean wanted a stellar and memorable Birthday party – he was celebrating his 40th birthday bash! All in all this night was awesome! The white party included, first and foremost, the entrance of one of automotives’ favorites and all-time greats, the Alpha Dawg, Jim Zielger; decked out in orange bow tie and down to the white shoes. The event was huge, great networking and communication between many of the attendees, and included a dance contest. LeeLee Williams sported some killer shades and busted a move or two… or three. Then, it turns out the Dealer Synergy Team including Sean and Karen have as many dance moves as they do moves in the car business. I would say the only thing missing overall was Jim Ziegler pulling off a head spin, or at least the worm.

Impression and Recap (click to  read the intro)


Day 2 (click to read the day 2 recap)

Day 3 (click to read the day 3 recap)