Carol and I traveled to Hawaii to attend a Select Dealer Group (SDG) meeting Feb. 18-21. Our initial reason for attending was to watch CJ, Andy Slawetsky, and Patricia Ames participate in a panel discussion about industry trends and manufacturers.
Unfortunately, CJ developed an ear infection and his doctor advised him not to fly. SDG President Mike McGuirk asked me to fill in for CJ and I was happy to do so.
The agenda called for us to participate in two panels, one focused on trends and the other on manufacturers. The first panel was set up as a presentation and the second was more of an interactive discussion with the dealers. Both panels were moderated by John Hey of Strategic Business Associates.
John did an outstanding job of getting dealers involved in the discussion. It was truly an exchange of best business practices. While Patricia, Andy, and I did our best, John showed us how important it was to include input from dealers about the subjects we were addressing.
All the independent dealer groups have similar structures and codes or policies for their meetings. Because of this, we are not allowed to share the specifics of what is discussed at these meetings.
The question you might ask is why report on a meeting if you cannot divulge what was addressed? The answer is simple. We want to point out the value of these independent dealer groups.
We have addressed American CoOp, BPCA, BTA, CDA, ICDA, and others. These meetings are an opportunity for dealers to network and share business practices. More importantly, it allows the dealers who attend these meetings to form relationships with their peers in the industry. This enables them to reach out to another member to find out how they are dealing with or have dealt with a similar issue.
This type of interchange is invaluable, and you cannot put a price on it. Dealers with common product lines tend to talk to each other the most. Other areas of discussion among dealer group members often revolve around production print, MPS, and IT services.
If you are not a member of an independent dealer reach out and ask if you can become a member. Most have rules against competitive dealers within a market or region joining that group. However, we believe that attitude is changing as the dealer population continues to decline.
If you need assistance reaching out to any of these dealer groups please ask CJ, Scott, or myself for assistance. We will make the contact for you. That is how important we believe these organizations are to dealers.
We have been invited to address American CoOp, CDA, ICDA, and SDG (for a second time) this year. It is our commitment to helping dealers have the best available information and ensure they have worthwhile and very capable presenters.
Thanks to Mike McGuirk, president of SDG and CEO of ProCopy for allowing us to sub for CJ, and for the pleasure of Carol and I joining him and his lovely wife Kelly for dinner.