Dealer takeaways from Montreal DealerTalkx

The last DealerTalkˣ 2018 conference has concluded, leaving Montreal-area dealers and other attendees excited about the valuable insights they gained — and plan to implement in their dealerships.

Presenter Philippe Bertrand captivated dealers with his session about performance. “His session was very interesting,” says Etienne Provencher, Sales Manager, Used Cars, Mercedes-Benz Trois-Rivières. “The things he discussed, I’m seeing that now at my dealership.”

Bertrand reminded the audience that 540,000 people will be retiring in 2019, leaving room for a new generation of employees: millennials. He suggests considering hiring people that are not in the automotive industry; better managing expectations between employer and potential employee; and thinking outside the box when it comes to hiring someone for a position that can be altered or adjusted to fit everyone’s needs.

The session left dealers like Provencher considering certain changes — particularly when it comes to store hours. “Does the old model of nine-to-nine still work?” he asked, knowing that millennials require more flexibility. “Should we change it to something like nine-to- five, and then extend hours on certain days and just hire more people?”

Provencher was also one of two volunteers during Mike Haeg’s session, which explored the importance of customer service and taking advantage of using your phones to properly set appointments and boost sales. During this session Haeg had Bertrand call Provencher’s dealership, Mercedes-Benz Trois-Rivières, to inquire about a car.

The conversation was a bit awkward at times, with the sales representative answering Bertrand’s questions with short replies and providing him with vehicle specs — but not pursuing him to come in for a test-drive or to see the car at the dealership. “I had to lead him a bit,” says Bertrand, who asked about store hours and inquired about when he should show up for a test-drive.

It was an experience that reaffirmed something for Provencher, the Trois-Rivières dealer: “The phones are not for selling or providing things like vehicle specifications, they are for making appointments,” says Provencher.

Overall, attendees said they received valuable information from the sessions and plan to review their notes back at the dealership. This, some said, may lead to a few conversations with their teams.

Organized by Kijiji, Canada’s largest online classifieds site, the theme of DealerTalkx 2018 is “The Agile Dealership.”