We continue our efforts to reach out to dealers, sharing with them what we learned during our May visit to Japan. This time CJ and I traveled to Phoenix to present to CDA (Copier Dealers Association). Scott has been busy with our annual survey and attending other events, freeing us up to travel to the various dealer meetings.
This is the fourth time we have shared with a dealer audience the significance of our travels to Japan. From an industry perspective, we are unique in that our focus is on independent dealers, in the United States. That separates us from the data collection organizations that present in Japan on a periodic basis. We don’t provide statistics other than how dealers are performing in the United States. At the same time, we learn where companies such as Canon, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Ricoh, Sharp, and Toshiba are planning to take their distribution partners in the near and long term.
Each of the independent dealer groups, including BTA, have become an excellent resource for us as we have excellent relationships with all of them. When you think of how many there are it represents an excellent means of communicating with a significant number of dealers that are committed to having the best possible understanding of where the business is going.
Addressing these dealer gatherings has been a learning experience. In going through our transition, I am mindful that we need to take advantage of every opportunity for CJ to visit with dealers and establish his own relationships. This is something he has done quite well.
He gave his first presentation at a previous CDA meeting in Kohler, WI this past June. That gave me reason to reflect on my first time out in 1985. Paul Shields was the president of CDA and asked if I were open to attend one of the group’s meetings. I leapt at the chance and have never looked back.
We have racked up a lot of frequent flyer miles attending these meetings. Much of what we learned about the dealer business during the past 33 years was at those many meetings. The only negative about participating at these meetings is that we ca not share anything we learn at these events. The reason for that is if you want to learn from your fellow dealers, you must become a member. To some degree that makes a lot of sense. In other ways it makes no sense. All the dealer groups would like to have new members and are making a serious effort to broaden their ranks. Unless you have been invited to attend one of the meetings to gain some first-hand knowledge about what is typically offered at a meeting, how can you determine what value any of them represent.
That said, this was a very good meeting and the turnout was excellent. The agenda was solid through Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. From learning about the culture of one of the leading leasing companies (GreatAmerica Financial Services founder Tony Golobic), the results of our trip to Japan, to a well-received presentation from Konica Minolta Business Solutions (KMBS) President & CEO Rick Taylor about the company’s acquisition of MWA, it was a full agenda.
There is much to be said about the presentations at these dealer meetings, but of greater importance is the ability to network with the various vendors that support these events as well catch up with one’s fellow dealers. There is much to gain by being a member of anyone of these groups.
This week, October 25-26, we are scheduled to present at American Co-OP, in Dallas. This is the last dealer group we will present at in 2018. Once that is completed, we begin a tour of the manufacturers, including Canon, Kyocera, Ricoh, Sharp, and Toshiba. We have not confirmed presenting at Konica Minolta, but I have no doubt we will.
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