From June 18-21, more than 2,000 independent dealers and exhibitors met at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort for the 72nd annual NIADA Convention and Expo. It was the largest exhibit in the association’s history, setting a new attendance record for the third year in a row.

Steve Jordan, CEO of NIADA, welcomed attendees on Tuesday morning and encouraged them to invest in themselves and their businesses in order to prepare for the future. This year’s theme of Rewriting The Playbook focused on the imminent changes throughout the industry, even though as Jordan noted that “future may not be coming on the time you expect.”

This year’s Mega Conference was the first joint convention since NIADA merged with NABD in December 2017 and provided a state of the industry today as well as a vision of where the industry is heading. The schedule of events included 60 educational sessions in 5 categories, including Retail Operations, Legal and Compliance, BHPH, CPO and Digital Media.

Probably the most sought-after sessions were those in the Digital Media category.

Mark, a member of NIADA from Florida said, “I personally am not up to speed on digital advertising so that was my main reason for attending NIADA. I got more insights than I bargained for!” SEO, inventory marketing and digital retailing there was no shortage of informational sessions on digital marketing.

But one session stole the show.

Rich Bolandi’s (Gravitational Marketing) session “Cracking The Facebook Code: The Playbook For Using Facebook To Sell More Cars” delivered a powerful one-two punch of high-level digital marketing strategy and practical steps dealers can implement today to get more leads.

By focusing on Facebook, which Bolandi calls “the biggest opportunity for dealers in digital marketing,” this session gave attendees a step-by-step guide to immediately increasing leads and sales at their dealership. Bolandi is a nationally recognized expert in digital marketing who has also spoken at Digital Dealer and NADA. To download the slides from his presentation, click here.

A Solution For Every Problem

Some attendees came searching for new solutions from the Expo Hall that would increase profitability at their dealerships. “It was my first time attending NIADA and I was pleasantly surprised with the valuable content. We came here to see what processes we could make more efficient. From website and texting tools to F&I and accounting, I got all my answers.” Said Rob from Indiana.

Luckily, the record-breaking 210 exhibitors provided lots of opportunities for dealers and dealership employees to network and forge partnerships. “We came to NIADA to connect with some of our vendors and grow relationships with new partners.” Stan from Mississippi said.

Updates On Legislative, Regulatory and Compliance Issues

In his General Session on Tuesday morning, Shaun Peterson, Senior Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs for NIADA/NABD, provided an in-depth update on the work the association has been doing in both Washington, D.C. and with local governments to defend the interests of the associations members. Highlights included a tête-à-tête Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan and updates on the CFPB, now the BCFP (Bureau Of Consumer Financial Protection).

Break out sessions included valuable opportunities for dealers to earn continuing education credits and ensure they’re compliant with federal laws. “This event brings all the important compliance issues to the forefront so you have peace of mind moving forward.” Catherine, a Controller out of Indiana, said.

A Force To Be Reckoned With

Ultimately, the Mega Conference provided dealers with a valuable opportunity to network and learn about the most current technologies, products and services.

Steve Jordan’s sentiments that “we are better together” were echoed by attendees. Kevin from North Carolina remarked, “If more people came to NIADA, our industry would be in much better shape.”

Indeed, coming together to network with a group success-minded dealers could be one of the most valuable things you do all year. You’ll learn and grow faster when you learn and grow with others. To find out how you could join the most exclusive club in the car business, click here.