With the conclusion of the first ASOTU CON in the books, it is time to reflect on what we took away from the conference. As industry descended on Philadelphia it was certainly felt that this was not as much of a conference, but an experiment. An experiment that we were all a part of and responsible to make the most out of. It was a bold approach that was easy to appreciate because the cadence of the clinical and industrial feel of an industry conference, while exciting for some, has its limitations and can feel redundant. We can all agree that the courage of the ASOTU team to hold this conference and invite us all to the experiment is something to be celebrated.
For those that could not attend, we want to offer our perspective – and for those that did, we acknowledge that all of us had an opportunity to digest non-traditional content in the most positive context.
1. Single Point of Contact is out of the experimental phase
Brian Benstock provided a high-energy and insightful reflection on his ambitious Paragon machine. The way he spoke about his store was enlightening for the A2Z Sync team. We are at a point of transition ourselves. A2Z Sync has been advocating, educating, and building tools for Single Point of Contact sales models for years. Hearing Brian talk about it from his point of view was not from a posture of education, but rather from a posture of a fundamental truth. The Paragon machine runs on high octane – it requires the right tech, people, and processes and certainly does not happen by chance.
Brian solidified the perspective that the industry is in the phase of adopting the Single Point of Contact and A2Z is in a unique position to foster this model. Heavy hitters have transitioned and they are not looking back. As we reflect on how Paragon has implemented A2Z, we’re encouraged that as we have conversations with innovative dealer groups, others have already forged the path using Single Point of Contact to streamline sales operations with great success.
2. The Automotive Community is Bought In on Human Connection
The grand experiment of ASOTU CON had more great moments than clumsy ones. The tone that carried the conference past its “first time doing this” was the appreciation for the ambition and the buy-in on human connection. It was a refreshing perspective for the automotive industry and one we have a lot of congruency with. The origin story of many of our clients and how they came to A2Z Sync was not one where they were shopping for better technical nuts and bolts in the sales process – they were looking to provide a unique and efficient buying experience for their market and their staff. At the end of the day, we are on a mission to provide the tools and training for our stores to deliver world-class experiences in-store and online. It was refreshing to talk less about tech and more about the human experience in how we can differentiate and improve the automotive industry.
3. We are not a marketing vendor, but we play a huge role in the brand story
Sometimes going down a different path has its benefits. Normally, we like to consume content from our integrations partners to see what they are thinking about, and what approaches they are taking with their clients that will impact how we leverage their unique fit in the market. Instead, I took some time, and perhaps confess I was a little lost and attended the discussion on Content that Crushes. Bob Lanham’s discussion about how great brands don’t talk about payments and vehicle features. Instead, they focus on making authentic connections with their brands. We certainly don’t think of ourselves as a marketing company at A2Z Sync, but Bob’s discussion made me realize our part in the brand story. The takeaway for us is that we need to ensure we are celebrating our client’s success in amplifying their brand story and the enhancements their stores have achieved by having the courage to deploy human-centric sales operations.
4. Claude Silver has a different mind than most and we are better for it
Claude’s discussion was encouraging and inspirational. The lens that she created for us is that higher EQ is critical in our space in automotive retail. Creating habitual behaviors and having solid and efficient processes serve to unlock the mind and energy to create an authentic human connection. The reason this is so encouraging to me is the appreciation it brings for our engineers that work tirelessly to simplify and connect the technology we use to the most simple degree possible. I could not be in higher agreement with Claude’s perspective and appreciate her bringing additional focus on how important our mission of simplicity is to unlock the best in the people that are our end users humans.
Brian Allee is on a mission to help dealers build and grow their business into a modern retail experience for both customers and employees. Brian is obsessed with assisting dealers in evolving in a sustainable and proven way. Trained as a dealer, he has over 15 years of retail experience in all things variable operations. In 2019, he crossed over to dealership technology, training, and consulting. As a “student of the game,” Brian enjoys learning from dealer partners just as much as he loves sharing the knowledge acquired over the years.