Event Planning 101: Chapter 6

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"Knowledge is power." — Sir Francis Bacon, 1597

Yes, 1597 was a long time ago, but that famous quote has never been more relevant than it is today. Think of all the things you need to know about as a powersports dealer: New products, new technologies, new laws and new regulations (as if the old ones weren’t enough). The list goes on and on. Now think about what is involved in keeping you and your staff up to date on all of these topics. This can all be a bit overwhelming. That’s where some exciting new happenings at Dealer Expo will help.

One of our goals at Dealer Expo is to make the show the place to learn about making your business more efficient and profitable. While there are a number of avenues available at the show to help make that possible, from meetings with exhibitors, networking events, etc., I’d like to give an update about a program we think is very important — our Dealer Expo Learning Experience. We recently surveyed attendees about what they would be most interested in learning about. We split the survey into the four main content pillars of Dealernews:

• Management

• Sales

• Marketing

• Service

We then asked you what you would be interested in learning more about. Not surprisingly, a theme ran throughout the majority of the responses — you want to hear about subjects that will help you make more money. In short, sell more.

OK, so that’s no big shock, but what are we going to do about it?

To start with, we’re going to take advantage of the expanded Indiana Convention Center and what it has to offer. Last month, Tracy Harris told you all about the great new facilities at the Indiana Convention Center and the investments made by both Indianapolis and Dealer Expo to improve the Dealer Expo experience.

One of the numerous ways the new facilities will make the Dealer Expo experience better for everybody is the availability of space. Yes, it’s a big building, where all the exhibitors will now be in one unbroken space, but it is also a facility with plenty of meeting rooms. We’re going to use this space to build a unique learning environment — not just classrooms — but a true interactive learning program.

To accomplish this, we’re bringing a large part of the learning experience right out on the show floor. Product demonstrations, how-tos, safety seminars, audience participation programs and the like will take place in new learning and entertainment centers located throughout the show floor. Not just product demonstrations, but examples of how to display, promote and sell these products. There also new topics such as buying and selling used powersports vehicles, building a gear and apparel sales program, and legislative and regulatory actions that directly impact your business.

That doesn’t mean there won’t still be a place for you to learn the latest in business systems and technologies. The new space in the convention center gives us the flexibility to have more roundtable meetings with industry leaders and business experts. We’re going to bolster the already popular online business seminars, going beyond last year’s advertising seminar to include e-commerce and customer retention programs. We’ll have business system presentations on how technology can make your service and parts departments run more efficiently.

I didn’t mention the best part about the entire Dealer Expo Learning Experience: It’s absolutely free for attendees at Dealer Expo. That’s right, programs that would cost hundreds of dollars on the open market are included with your Dealer Expo attendance.

We’re working hard to make the Dealer Expo Learning Experience a vital educational resource for all categories of dealership employees. I don’t want to fall back on the old cliché “Something for everyone,” but we’re going to try. Look for a rollout including the schedule of courses, programs and speakers online at Dealerexpo.com starting in mid-October.

Sir Francis said it best all those years ago. Knowledge really is power. The more knowledge you have, the more you have control over your business and your success. Join us in February to find out for yourself.

This story originally appeared in the Dealernews October 2010 issue.