LAS VEGAS – If anybody at the 2015 RV Dealers Association Convention/Expo wasn’t worn out at the end of the first full day of events, then they weren’t trying hard enough.
A full day of classes, as well as Partners in Progress meetings, was topped off with a challenge from best-selling business author Scott McKain before the supplier expo portion of the show opened up for three hours of business and networking.
And if that wasn’t enough, there was a slate of invitation evening events that included parties hosted by the RVDA of Canada and American Guardian Warranty Service.
In his keynote address, McKain urged dealers to stop thinking in terms of clichés when they try to define what sets their businesses apart and instead try to get to the bottom of what gives them a competitive edge.
When the audience was asked for their thoughts about what they sell other than the basics, the most common answer was “a lifestyle”. The fact that this answer was so common illustrated McKain’s point that dealers really can’t explain why their business is superior to the competition.
“How do you differentiate if your own people don’t know why you are the superior choice?” he said.
McKain said it is important for a business to set customers’ expectations high that they will have a different experience than they will have anywhere else. In doing so, the dealers also challenge themselves.
“I don’t think dealerships get better, I think dealers get better,” he said. “I don’t think sales improve; sales professionals get better at what they do.”
McKain said there are four cornerstones that business owners should establish if they want to make their business great. First, they should be clear about what their advantages are. “You can’t differentiate what you can’t define,” he said.
Second, once those advantages are determined, dealers should pursue those advantages creatively. The third point is to communicate in the way the customers prefer. In the electronic age, customers don’t need dealers for basic information as much as they need them for insight.
Finally, the dealer needs to make the customer experience their focus by asking themselves, “What does it feel like to buy or service an RV with me?”
“When you do these four things, you have created the ultimate customer experience,” he said.
Leaders Bullish on Industry
Earlier in the General Session, both the U.S. and Canadian RVDA leaders gave positive outlooks on the industry from the dealers’ perspective.
John McCluskey, U.S. RVDA chairman, from Florida Outdoors RV in Stuart, Fla., said the current atmosphere shows that it is clear the industry is headed for a banner year.
“While production levels are high, the latest RV dealer survey conducted by R.W. Baird in partnership with RVDA shows that two-thirds of the dealers say their inventory levels are just right,” he said. “As a group, we as dealers are doing a good job matching our stock levels and ordering rolling stock based on our retail demands in our markets.”
Canadian Chairman George Goodrick of Adventure Sports Limited agreed that, despite the Canadian struggle with the exchange rate against the U.S. dollar, that business is good. That was evident later in the day with the large gathering of Canadian dealers in the Skyview room on the 26th floor of Bally’s.
“2016 promises to continue to be exciting for Canadians as we build on the success of our ‘Wildhood’ campaign,” he said of the RVDA of Canada’s Go RVing campaign.