DealerTalkX Toronto 2017

Another conference is in the books! DealerTalkX in Toronto took place November 16th in a very hipster and industrial venue called the Warehouse. Although it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, and our Uber might have dropped us off at the wrong door, the content presented made it well worth the trip.

DealerTalkX Toronto 2017, The Warehouse, Toronto, ON
DealerTalkX Toronto 2017, The Warehouse

The morning started off with an interesting presentation from Malte Kruger from which is Germany’s largest vehicle market. He spoke about the importance of reviews when it comes to a vehicle market place and how a German Audi dealership gained 1000 reviews in just 18 months. The key – ask! If you don’t ask for the review, why would your customers think to give you one? Continue reading “DealerTalkX Toronto 2017”

Dealer Talk X 2016 – Calgary

DealerTalk X Calgary 2016This past Thursday we were fortunate enough to attend the 2nd annual Dealer Talk X event in Calgary. It was amazing to see how the event grew and evolved in just one year. As always, there were some amazing speakers and here is a quick highlight reel of what they had to say.

The day started off with an inspirational keynote from the 2010 Canadian Olympian Gold Medalist, Jon Montgomery, titled Dreaming Big and Living Bigger. “Things are only out of your reach if you put them there” was the overlying message throughout Jon’s presentation. We all face so many challenges on a daily basis, but some of those challenges exist to push us further; we just need the drive to get there and to celebrate the small victories along the way!

For the first breakout session we listened to Rick Johnston talk about behavioural economics and how the consumer buying cycle has changed, but not in the way you think. Most buyers still go through these 6 phases: Meet & Greet > Fact Finding > Vehicle Selection > Present > Demo > Write-Up, but what has changed drastically are the Fact Finding and Vehicle Selection phases. It’s not uncommon to have a customer walk into the dealership and say “I want a 2016 Honda Civic EX-T in lunar silver metallic, what’s your best price?” So if that’s the case, have your salesmen adapted to this shift? If the customer is coming in to buy and ends up leaving without a vehicle, where is the disconnect? Just because customers are coming into the dealership already set on a vehicle, it doesn’t mean that you can’t provide them with different options for things like financing, leasing, warranty packages, etc. Don’t limit yourself just because the customer says they want to finance the vehicle for 72 months. Give them options.

Our second breakout session was with David MacDonald. David spoke to us about market strategy and financial research and how it pertained to 3 demographics: Albertans, women, and millennials. This was a data-heavy session, so it was perfect for us data nerds!  For Alberta buyers, here were the top three reasons why customers wanted to purchase a newer car:

  • 29% Previous vehicle had too many kilometers
  • 28% Newer or different features in their vehicle
  • 27% Treat myself to something newer

The decision process varied  from rational (too many km’s) to emotional (I work hard so I deserve this).

Here are a few more stats to get you thinking:

  • 85% of Albertans are searching on a desktop or laptop
    • 42% are also searching on mobile, but they tend to go back to desktop to dig deeper into research
  • 73% of Canadians said having no-pressure sales was the number one thing that mattered to them
    • 48% of Canadians also said they want an easy to navigate website
  • 42% of recent car buyers and future intenders in Canada are women
    • 87% of all car purchases are influenced by a woman
  • 60% of millennials will graduate with debt ($40 to $50k)
    • Millennials also lean more towards used vehicles: New – 46% and Used – 54%

Another important takeaway from this session was when David took us through the advertising mediums each demographic uses the most. For each demographic, newspapers were on the bottom and radio didn’t even make the list. Something to think about if you are using either of these to advertise.

After lunch, we got to listen to Rohn Jackson chat about changing our demographic targeting. He brought up a great example about how the data on him as a buyer says he’s a 32 year old male (so a millennial), but when he walked into a dealership with his wife and 6 month old son, he wasn’t seen as a millennial, he was seen as a parent in need of a family vehicle. So if that’s the case, why do we focus on demographics like age and gender? Why not focus on parents? His main message was: don’t focus on a product segment, focus on a people segment.

The day wrapped up with an invigorating keynote from Scott Stratten. If you haven’t heard him speak at an event yet, you should! The overarching theme of his presentation was customer service and how it affects your brand. From doing something as simple as responding to tweet, to going through the amazing sequence of events that the Ritz Carlton staff did to return a stuffed giraffe, (if you haven’t heard the story about Joshie, check it out here), the stories that your customers (or staff) write are usually the ones that stick. The most common issue is that customers simply don’t feel as though they are heard and it’s amazing what an immediate response can do to defuse a situation and how it can start to build a story for your brand.

If you would like to see any of the presentations, they will be posted on the DealerTalk website in a couple of weeks. A big thanks to DealerTalk for putting on another great event, we look forward to coming out again next year!

photo with Jon Montgomery and his gold medal!

Highlights of DealerTalk 2016

This year’s edition of Kijiji’s DealerTalk went down at the Allstream Centre on Tuesday, September 20.  One of the changes for this year was having two streams that attendees could attend; one for sales and marketing, and the other for the executive level.  I personally thought this was a great way to provide attendees with the flexibility to attend what mattered to them most.

Jon Montgomery speaking at DealerTalk TorontoThe day opened with an inspiring keynote from Georgian College Alum, Olympic Gold Medalist and TV personality Jon Montgomery.  Jon is definitely a charismatic and fearless guy. Who else flies head first down a sheet of ice at 140km/hour? Or just hands his golf medal into a crowd and says: “I’ll get it later”?

After Jon Montgomery, dealers were invited to head to their first break out session.  Due to the fact that I can only be in one place at a time, I cannot give you a break down of all the sessions, but if you are looking for a bigger breakdown check out the site:

I checked out Alan Dickie’s presentation on how he uses video and Facebook for his business and how car dealers can do the same.  Alan is definitely an energetic presenter.  He opened with asking everyone in the room to go to Facebook and put in their status “if I can guarantee you $3,000 over what your vehicle is worth would you trade it in?”.  Towards the end of the session he asked the brave souls who did it what happened.  It definitely generated some buzz.

After Alan I checked out Susan Seto’s data driven presentation on what motivates Canadians to buy a car.  This was a jam packed session with a lot of charts.  Having just attended Google’s Think Auto event, I was interested in seeing what Susan had to say.  It’s important to note that Think Auto samples 5,000 individuals while, to my understanding, this data was based on 1,800 individuals.  Biggest difference in my mind was in the data on most important sources used when buying a car.  There was a little bit of overlap, but while Google says Search, OEM Sites, Dealer Sites and Reviews are where customers are looking, Kijiji – surprisingly – placed classified sites on the list and did not have a single mention of dealer websites.  Seems a little convenient, but then again, I sell dealer websites and Kijiji sells classified listings.  You’ll have to decide for yourself or trust Google!

After lunch I checked out Kyle Costa’s presentation which focused on some fundamentals that you need to get right and then some next level initiatives you can work on when you have the foundation laid.  I agree with Kyle’s mentality that other industries are being disrupted and our industry is ripe for the picking.  Companies like Carvana and Beepi are making an attempt to change the game and if you don’t step up, they will succeed.  Kyle provided real examples straight from the trenches that are working for him, not just ideas a consultant dreamed up and has never tried.

DealerTalk TorontoKevin Graff closed the day with an afternoon keynote which was very impressive considering he had only 30 minutes. Kevin had everyone agreeing that we can all sell more and provided us with five foundations to do this:

  1. Focus on Goals – if I called anyone in your store would they know their target?
  2. Share Results Constantly
  3. Accountability for Success – people play the game different when they know it matters
  4. Ongoing Training and Coaching – do you train every week?
  5. Make it Worthwhile

Overall, I thought that the day was well put on and well received by the attendees.  I also really appreciate the sweet K-Way jacket from Kijiji!

2 Upcoming Automotive Conferences You Won’t Want to Miss: AR Canada & Dealer Talk 2015

conferenceThere’s a growing tradition in Toronto: Once April rolls along, the hockey season ends abruptly and the automotive conferences begins in full force. (It’s okay Leafs fans, you could live in Edmonton like us, where the first signs of snow mean the Oilers are already thinking about the June draft.)

Coming up in just a few months are two such conferences in Ontario’s capital that Strathcom Media cannot endorse enough. They are chances to listen to some of the industry’s top thought leaders, network with your peers, and get all of your questions answered to prepare you for the year ahead. Continue reading “2 Upcoming Automotive Conferences You Won’t Want to Miss: AR Canada & Dealer Talk 2015”

What We Learned at DealerTalk 2013

DealerTalk 2013
Credit to Grant Cardone for the picture.

DealerTalk was a huge success and we were ecstatic we could help sponsor it. We’d like to give big thanks to Kijiji for making an absolutely fantastic event this year! Everyone who was lucky enough to attend got an inside look at some of the latest automotive internet marketing strategies, and there’s no doubt that this is an exciting time in our industry.

The Four Seasons was an excellent venue and we all enjoyed sumptuous food and a great atmosphere.  Of course, we weren’t there just for the food. We learned some valuable lessons from the leaders in strategic automotive marketing:

1. Retargeting in the Real World

Paul Potratz was our first speaker, and just as promised he gave some valuable insights on how effective retargeting can bring back potential customers, and we learned some creative methods of targeting different types of online customers.

2. Social Media Clinic

Scott Monty set the record straight in his social media discussion, where we looked at some great examples of successful social media campaigns in the industry. He showed us examples of several creative Ford campaigns that had the analytics to back up their success. You can check out Scott Monty’s blog [] to see his social media insights for yourself.

3. Break Time

Jay Onrait from TSN was our lunch time guest, and he was absolutely hilarious. The two things we took away from it are that you have to be yourself, and that O’Toole doesn’t take road trips.

4. Dominating Your Market

The third speaker was Grant Cardone, a very engaging and energetic speaker in person. His message was to pull out of obscurity and dominate your market. Don’t try to compete, he says. Rather, dominate the market. And that doesn’t mean trying to provide the lowest price (a big mistake). Even if you’re successful in your market, you should be focusing on how to keep your customer’s interest.

5. Empower Your People

Our fourth speaker was John Edeleman who runs an extremely successful non-franchised dealership by his own rules. John empowers his people his customers and his community and has had tremendous success doing so.

We will be sharing these valuable lessons in the coming year with our clients. We were so happy we could sponsor such a fabulous event and we look forward to joining you next year to keep up with automotive dealership trends at DealerTalk 2014!

Don't Miss Dealer Talk 2013 – Get a free coupon code!


Registration is on now for Dealer Talk, the one-day sales and marketing event that will change how your business thinks for 2013. This year’s event is a must-attend for both franchise and independent dealerships and the list of all-star speakers just keeps growing.

  • When: March 7, 2013 – 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
  • Where: The Four Seasons Hotel, Downtown Toronto
  • Strathcom Coupon Code: SMIVIP

DealerTalk largely focuses on marketing and communication strategies and technologies as well as ways that you can empower your sales force and become a leader in the market for 2013. It’s an opportunity to gain experience from industry experts and network with leaders in your field. With a wide scope, the conference is valuable to dealerships at all levels large and small.

Strathcom Media is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s big event, and you can get in with our coupon code for a special rate. Learn more about DealerTalk and register online at their website. Time’s running out to pre-register, so get a ticket while you still can!

Some of the Star Speakers that you’ll see at DealerTalk 2013 include:

Grant Cardone

grant cardone

Sales expert and New York Times best-selling author, Grant Cardone is internationally recognized as a sales and business expert and is best known for his work customizing programs to improve company profitability and brand identity. He has been named the Top Sales Expert and a Top 10 Business Coach to follow on Twitter.

John Edelman

John Edelman grew his business from just a handful of cars and 2 bays to over 130 bays and over 5,000 cars sold a year. He’ll share his story on how he succeeded by empowering staff, customers and his community and grew his business to where it is today and thriving in a small town of just 1500 people.

Paul Potratz

Paul Potratz

As an Industry Leader in Social Media Marketing for the Automotive Industry, Paul Potratz will share valuable insights on dealer strategies to recapture potentially lost customers with retargeting marketing. Car dealers across the company have successfully implemented Potratz’s unique e-commerce marketing techniques to increase sales and succeed online.

Scott Monty

Scott Monty

Scott Monty was listed by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 influencers in social media. He’s been called an “unstoppable force of nature,” “best corporate social media lead on the planet” and “a visionary” by Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally. As a social media advisor for all activities at Ford including blogger relations, marketing support and customer service, he has become the “thought leader” in social media.


See you there!