AutoCon 2012! AutoCon 2012! AutoCon 2012! Phew...
By now I am sure that if you are reading this that you are aware that AutoCon 2012 is over. I am sure that you have been bombarded with emails, blogs, and social media posts promoting the ultimate Automotive Dealership Digital Conference. Well, AutoCon has been over for the past 5 days. Those of you that know me know that I like to write reviews after I attend a conference or convention.
Let me start out by saying that AutoCon 2012 has been a huge. Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno, Mike Myers, Brian Pasch, Carrie Hemphill (First Class Educators) have proven to be a real class act and true pioneers of putting on an automotive conference. The First Class Educators name fits exactly with how they operate and what they offer to the automotive industry. I am talking about the setup of the event, the quality of speakers, content, the food setup, the preparation, the venue, and many other aspects of event planning.
So how great was AutoCon? It was amazing! We kicked off the event with a powerful keynote session that included Jim Ziegler and Bill Lovejoy. As always Jim, was entertaining and fun to watch. It was an even bigger treat to see Jim get a lifetime achievement award. The event continued with the AWA awards. I had been really tired from a long day of travel so I cut out a little early just to relax. That first day I got to hang out with my friend and client, Eric Nichols of Apple Honda. He was there on a full ride scholarship on behalf of TrueCar (Thanks TrueCar for allowing Eric to further his education). I even hung out with my friend Jason Mitchell of Classic Chevrolet in Beaumont, TX. Eric and I played some slots and blackjack. We had a great dinner and relaxed. I got to hang out with Grant Cardone and his crew along with Richard Bustillo (Rick Case Honda) while these guys crushed it at Blackjack.
On Thursday, we went full force at attending workshops. It started out with my friend Sean Stapleton of VinSolutions where he had an amazing keynote session. As always, Eric and I visited a session that Ralph Paglia was giving on "The Evolution of Digital Marketing". Later on we saw Lon Safko
give an amazing keynote session. I had met Lon and even bought his books. They are worth every penny. I got to hang out with some awesome dealer people including Adam Barish (owner of Route 23 Honda) and Bear Goodman (eCommerce director of Holmes Auto Group). Later on we visited the workshop that April Rain (Digital Rain) had put on and it was very powerful. I had taken some time to relax and visit the exhibit hall. Later on I was hanging out with Dan Weik (BusinessRater) as we went to the VinSolutions party. There I met some people from Morrie's Auto Group and hung out with Megan Barto of (Ciocca Honda).
On Friday, my man Grant Cardone had a killer motivating keynote session. I then visited a session by my friend Marc McGurren (PCG Consulting). He had an awesome session on BDC and digital marketing. I like Marc because he is a knowledgeable and professional person. After that session, I went to see the undisputed king of prospecting himself, Fran Taylor who spoke about many ways of being a successful sales person. Even though his session had nothing to do with digital marketing, he was still able to discuss and show how the basics of 20 years ago still work today in dealerships across the country. Later on I saw my very good friend John Giamalvo of Edmunds.com talk about SEO and maximizing opportunity. After that session I met a dealer with their internet manager that had approached Eric Nichols because they read about his success story. I had them scope out VinSolutions for a CRM tool and they talked with Eric about what it took to make him successful at his dealership. I finished the day with seeing my very good friend Tracy Myers who is one of the top independent dealers in the country as well as a motivational speaker. He is just such a smart guy and I am so honored to have him as a friend. I laid low that evening because I was preparing to speak the following morning. I missed the awesome AutoBash party but there will be others.
The following morning, I woke up and got ready. I put on my pressed suit and walked out of my room feeling like a million bucks. I walked into the conference and ready to have the best session ever. It was unfortunate that a lot of people had either left Friday night, early that morning or slept in after partying the night before. However, it was still a good attendance. I have an attendance of 15 people and was speaking at the same time as Ralph Paglia, Jim Radogna, Brian Pasch , Jim Ziegler, Dave Page , Jack Simmons (cars.com) and Richard Bustillo . We all had our fair share of attendees. My session was "The Evolution of the BDC" and it went great. I was told by attendees that the information that they learned in my session was so strong that they had a plan when they get back to their stores. I was amazed that my Q&A session lasted 30 minutes too. For those of you that missed the session, I will present a similar session at future conferences that might include Internet Sales 20 Group and Digital Marketing Strategies Conference. As always, if you would like to personally be trained on this workshop and get your dealership going, feel free to contact me and we can get started.
I ended the conference by having lunch with Brian Pasch, Glenn Pasch, Carrie Hemphill, Ralph Paglia, Tracy Meyers, and Benjamin Freedman. It was a great way to finish the conference and have a celebration of the ending of a successful conference. My only regret is that I missed some sessions that I wanted to be at. However, I will catch up with them in the coming days as the content is available for attendees to view. I could not be everywhere at one time. I had enjoyed being a part of this conference and I look forward to being a part of future AutoCon conferences. I also want to thank the creators of AutoCon for giving me the opportunity to share and provide quality information to the automotive industry.