Above: CJ and Frank Cannata discussed dealer diversification during their presentation at the ICDA March meeting.
CJ and I were invited to present at the International Copier Dealer Association (ICDA) March meeting in San Antonio. We know this group quite well, as they have invited CJ and me to become members. The benefit for members is that they can call upon us when needed, just like any other dealer in the group. Conversely, if we seek answers to a client’s query, we can contact them.
Recently we were involved in two discussions, one on wide format and the other helping someone find a source for a specific manufacturer’s used machines. Nothing earth-shaking, but it enlightened us as to what is on members’ minds and what information we can provide them.
At the ICDA March meeting, CJ created a presentation on dealer diversification. It was similar to what he presented at an SDG meeting in February. I was not with him at the SDG event and was pleased to have an opportunity to watch and listen to him this time. Always a kibitzer, I interjected my thoughts after each slide. It worked out well.
This stimulated a discussion among the dealers about what they were doing regarding diversification. Jim George, president of Donnellon McCarthy Enterprises in Cincinnati, Ohio, spoke about ACDI’s EV charging stations and how well they were doing with them. That stimulated questions from many of us, and we learned quite a bit.
Seeing the reaction, Jim contacted Mark Hart of ACDI and asked if he would like to present at the fall meeting in September. Looks like it should be a good meeting, as there are two other presenters lined up for that event.
Sharing Information at the ICDA March Meeting
This is different for us because normally, when we are asked to present, that is all we do. There is another dealer group that asks presenters to leave the room after they are done presenting. We do not take it personally as they do that with everybody. That group is losing out by not inviting the presenters to stay and listen to the other presenters.
Others feel differently, and that is their business, and we are not complaining. Those who present should be viewed as resources, and to ask them to leave and not contribute to any further discussion is a wasted opportunity.
The idea is for the dealers to get as much information as they can from all those attending the meetings who are acting as sponsors to present. As we are not selling anything, we are never asked to sponsor anything.
When asked to stay after we are done, it is a way to provide additional information and learn more about what they are interested in knowing. We truly appreciated having the opportunity to do this at the ICDA March meeting.
A Small Group
ICDA is a small group compared to the other dealer groups, and those who attend its meetings do so not only to share best practices but to take advantage of the location and bring spouses who are not in the business with them. Carol enjoys the women in ICDA and has developed new relationships. It is a win-win for them and us.
Hytec Dealer Services’ Presentation
In addition to the discussion about diversification, Emily Rodriquez, sales manager, dealer division, and Doug Sphar, power protection specialist for Hytec Dealer Services, provided ICDA members unfamiliar with the company an overview of their offerings. Some dealers were also unaware that Hytec Dealer Services distributes ESP power protection devices.
“It was a great opportunity to participate in the ICDA March meeting in San Antonio,” Hytec Dealer Services’ Rodriguez told me. “We had the ability to meet thriving dealers and present them with different tools and resources to help increase their service profitability. This industry is filled with great people willing to learn and collaborate to move their business to the next level. This group and meeting proved just that.”
The Sum of ICDA’s Parts
This is a good independent dealer organization and we appreciate having had the opportunity to present at the ICDA March meeting. They are lax in their rules on the number of meetings dealers must attend. We discussed that with the dealers at dinner, and they agreed (they hold two meetings per year), that dealers should have to attend 3 out of 4. Whether that will become a rule, we cannot say.
ICDA has an excellent schedule for its fall meeting, and we encourage anyone not a member of any of ICDA or any of the five other dealer groups plus BTA to try them. They are equally worthwhile to join.
In the next 7 months, we will attend most of the other group sessions, including American Coop, BTA, CDA, Pro Dealer, and the Sharp, Ricoh, and EcoPrint dealer meetings.
It is clear that dealers are well served when they belong to any of these independent dealer organizations. If there is one you would like to be introduced to, we will be happy to oblige. Just contact CJ or me, and we will facilitate a conversation.