Dealers from around the nation gathered in Dallas, Texas, at the beginning of November to attend the third annual Powersports Business Accelerate Conference. The 2023 conference provided speaking sessions and networking opportunities throughout the three-day event, allowing dealers to fill their notebooks with new perspectives, practices, and ideas from industry professionals and fellow dealers.
“I found by far the most valuable, networking with everybody,” says Andy Brinkhaus, general manager of Simply Ride, located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. “I learned so much from that. We took back a tremendous amount of information.”
Brinkhaus also notes that he and his team enjoyed learning from keynote speaker Stephen Barth, founder of HospitalityLawyer. com. Barth energized the audience with his lively explanation of emotional intelligence and why it is an important aspect of a successful business.
Margaret Stevens, parts manager of ARS Powersports, located in Okeechobee, Florida, also mentions the value of Barth’s opening session on the third day of the conference. She shares that Chief Economist Curtis Dubay, Finance and Insurance trainer Rob Greenwald, and industry Consultant and Trainer Steve Jones especially shared practical knowledge that she is relaying to her team. She is connecting one-on-one with her co-workers to share what she has learned about their department to streamline practices and increase efficiency.
“Hands down, it was great,” she says. “I can’t wait to go to the next one. I thought it was a good, intimate connection, and I walked away and learned something.”
The conference began revving up on Sunday, November 5, with a panel discussion from general managers and industry professionals. The panel discussed slowing floor and online traffic and how to combat a decrease in leads. AJ Meisel, general manager and F&I manager of Plano Kawasaki Suzuki Aprilia, located in Plano, Texas, also discussed the benefits of 20 Group participation. While the industry continues to change, the panel shared what may be the silver lining of 2024.
Before the first day wrapped up, a blend of new and familiar faces gathered during the welcome networking reception. Some dealers and vendors reconnected, and others met for the first time.
Curtis Dubay, chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, kicked off day two with an overview of today’s economy and where it may be headed based on current events. Dealers took away an understanding of what to expect in 2024 regarding consumer spending, the workforce, and more.
Dealers were presented with numerous relevant topics throughout day two and networked with fellow dealers and vendors between sessions. Dealers were reminded of the value of the relationships built between customers and employees within their business. While online shopping prevails, dealers can find the unit that best fits a customer and continuously satisfy consumer needs. Details about this topic were followed by a session highlighting the importance of staying up to date with technology and having a presence on all platforms used by customers. Performance Brokerage Services shared how to determine a dealership’s value, what the buy/sell market looks like today, and valuable insights about tax-minimizing financial planning.
Rob Greenwald then took the stage and shared how to boost F&I sales through each department and how to improve performance continuously. He also discussed the concept of “social currency,” how to connect with customers by understanding their wants and needs, and how to boost employee satisfaction and productivity simultaneously.
After a day full of transitions from topic to topic, dealers gathered once again for dinner and a networking reception. Powersports Business recognized industry leaders and best-in-class dealerships during the Honors Award Program and Reception. Dealers and industry professionals were as excited as the Powersports Business team to celebrate honorees and the excellent work they bring to the table daily.
The last day of the conference began with keynote speaker Steven Barth, who engaged dealers in an enticing presentation about the necessity of emotional intelligence in a successful business. He shared what drives younger employees to be productive, what to ask during the interview process to find resilient employees, and when an employee makes a mistake, how to respond as a leader. The presentation was a favorite of many and set the tone for the final day of the conference.
Mark Sheffield of Woods Cycle Country, Spader Group, and NPDA gave an insightful presentation on Advocating for Purposeful Advancement. He shared some proven HR strategies to help dealers steer clear of the pitfalls of promoting based on tenure alone. He shared a more scientific and data-driven method of evaluating employee performance to see if they have the skillset for the job.
Steve Jones of SJ Consulting and a 20−group presenter discussed how to make more money in your service department by boosting labor and P&A sales with effective service writing procedures.
Finally, the last panel of the day had some Q&A with the audience about today’s distribution challenges and opportunities for dealers as some new players enter the market.
“The coordination of the event itself is always a super smooth process,” says Harrison Herron, finance and business manager of Foothills Motorsports, located in Powdersville, South Carolina. He has reinforced what he learned with his team and says he wants his service manager to attend next year. “I gave them an overview of the event and touched on a lot of it,” he says.
Check out the December edition of the magazine to see more photos from the conference!