Dealer Week closed Wednesday with motivational speaker Clint Pulver talking about employee retention and management styles, and playing the drums to Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”
The closing event was an unconventional way to close what had been an unusual event, which MRAA had tweaked to be a new type of dealer trade show. MRAA president Matt Gruhn said more than 600 dealer personnel signed up for Dealer Week, and there were 115 exhibitors on the show floor. Trade Only Today live-streamed 25 videos from the event.
“We custom-built Dealer Week for you by sending out a bunch of surveys after last year’s event,” Gruhn said from the stage. “After today, we’re going to take the results of those questions to start building what’s next for Dealer Week in 2020.” The event moves to Austin, Texas, next year.
Gruhn also announced that the association had relaunched its MRAA Resource Center so that non-member dealers could access the tools and resources found there. “We decided to make these free to all dealers so that they can benefit from the knowledge in there,” Gruhn said. “They let you learn from and develop your teams.”
Gruhn and MRAA vice president Liz Walz spoke to Trade Only Today about how the first Dealer Week went. “We feel that it was a great week, from the initial field trip before the conference to all the educational events during the conference,” Walz said.
Motivational speaker Pulver held three different sessions, including a drumming session after he explained how a traumatic childhood experience led to his discovery by an elementary school teacher that he was a natural drummer. Pulver told his story, then demonstrated his drumming abilities, raising the energy in the conference center. He did a couple of solos, then accompanied a Def Leppard track, which his father had given him as a child.
Pulver then spoke about four managerial styles, explaining to the dealers about the pros and cons of each, and encouraging them to become “mentor managers” with a focus on high standards and good communications with employees.
“You may focus on the growth of the company, but your employees will focus on the intangibles — the wants and needs in their hearts,” Pulver said. “Every employee thinks, Let me know when it gets to the part about me. It’s not so much about entitlement as human nature. No significant loyalty will ever happen without significant connection. You must get to the part about them and how they fit into the workplace.”
Walz concluded Dealer Week with advice to dealers to make performance plans based on what they’d learned at the conference. “Our goal is to have you take your business and the industry forward,” she said.