Dealer Forum Agenda Set!

Join Us for Business Boosting Sessions, Nov. 5-7

Staff Report

The power equipment industry is changing drastically, with diverse products and world-changing technology all demanding your attention. We need time, too, to focus on business-boosting ideas and strategies for success. That’s exactly what we are doing at the OPE Business Dealer Forum in November. In this event, OPE dealers will meet and learn from industry experts and other dealers on topics impacting business today.

You’ll learn skills related to technology, marketing, service, sales, and more. This event brings together dealers, manufacturers, and service providers in spaces made for learning, networking and connections. You’re not going to test string trimmers or kick the tires on a new tractor. We assume you’ve done that recently. What you will do is test ideas and kick around topics about business efficiency and growth.

Join us in Dallas

Seminars, Sunday Nov. 5

Awards Presentation

We will begin the event by celebrating top performers in the power equipment industry at our awards ceremony. We will recognize dozens of people making an impact in sales, marketing, and manufacturing. We’ve been collecting nominations for the OPE Business Leaders Under 40 and Movers & Shakers awards. And it’s an impressive group of OPE professionals. You’re going to want to meet them.

Seminars, Monday, Nov. 6

Opening Keynote address

Is the economy revving up, idling, or stalling out? Curtis Dubay, Chief Economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will walk through where the economy is now, where it’s going in 2024, and where it’s likely to be in 2025. He’ll talk inflation, the Fed, interest rates, and what all that means for consumer spending on the products you sell.

Dubay will also dive into potential policy changes in Washington, the impact of the 2024 elections on the economy, and more. Be prepared to leave this keynote session armed with actionable knowledge and a sharper perspective on how to navigate the ever-evolving economic tides and steer your business toward greater success.

As an economist, Dubay tracks the condition of the economy, analyzes the impact of public policy on economic growth, and runs the Chamber’s Chief Economists Committee. Previously, he was senior economist at the American Bankers Association and a research fellow in tax and economic policy at The Heritage Foundation. He also worked at the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and at the Tax Foundation.

Topic: Industry Trends, Your Plan

You can spot trends by studying data, but are you distilling that data to make better business decisions? With 24 years of dealer and manufacturer experience, a team of industry experts from Constellation Dealership Software will guide a conversation on how economic trends are most affecting our industry and what you can do about it.

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This group studies data specific to the power-equipment industry, and also across related industries including tractor, RV and marine. They will share knowledge gained through their monthly market data reporting. And dealers should expect to discuss specific topics around sales trends. Harness the power of national and regional outdoor power equipment insights in this interactive discussion.

Speaker: Dave Johnson

Dave has collaborated with OEMs and third parties in the OPE, powersports, marine and RV industries for more than 24 years. He brings a wealth of knowledge in delivering industry-leading data and interfaces across many partnerships. Dave is a member of the OPEI statistics committee and a board member of OPPAA.

Speaker: Eric Johnson

Eric has a 27-year history of developing and delivering cutting edge integration and solutions for dealers in the OPE, Powersports, Marine and RV industries. A former parts and service department manager, Eric is familiar with the daily operations in the dynamic dealership environment. As Data Architect for Constellation Dealership Software, he is currently developing advanced solutions for dealers with integration points increasing efficiency and profitability.

Speaker: Don Miller

Don has a 20-year history of working with dealerships in the automotive, Marine, RV and OPE industries. Don was the GM for a successful multi-location automotive dealership in Florida for 15 years. He regularly visits dealerships to consult with the principals examining their operation, making recommendations on the best practices to drive their business. Don is the creator of the Dealer Insights and Trends (DIRT) report benchmarking performance for dealers in the OPE industry.

Topic: Online Reputation Management for Dealers: Truth and Tactics

There are a number of myths about managing your business’s online reputation. The truth is, dealers can do a lot to take charge of their dealership’s image and brand online. Join Brett Morris, an interactive media expert, as he helps make this SEO exercise understandable. You’ll learn how to enhance your business listings and make your website a magnet for customers so you can continue to grow awareness for your business.

Speaker: Brett Morris

The owner and founder of Dealers Digital, Brett is an award-winning interactive media and marketing professional skilled in the production and deployment of multimedia campaigns for ecommerce platforms. He holds particular interest in the development of emerging technologies as it relates to traditional marketing paradigms and online shopping customer experience.

Topic: New Product Development and Brand Birth

Even in this competitive marketplace, now can be a good time to introduce new products and to add a brand to your dealership – for the right reason. Andrew Firth, CEO of Yakta, will talk about how his company developed a new mower and prepared its launch into the North American OPE market. He’ll explain his company’s history, and why it matters to dealers today. Yakta is launching its new products this fall, with a unique look at both products and business relationships.

Topic: Communication. It’s A Process, Not A Post

Glenn Hansen will talk about the most effective methods of using today’s digital communication tools to reach your customers. Is it all about social media, or are there better ways to find, reach, and connect with potential customers? With years of experience as a magazine editor, advertising pro, and marketer, Glenn has created and shared stories across a range of industries. He’s learned that, while nearly everything about communication tactics has changed, the basics of good communication remain. And they have business-boosting power.

Speaker: Glenn Hansen

Editor of OPE Business and contributor to Powersports Business magazine, Glenn has been telling stories about engines, dealerships, and manufacturing for decades. He ran advertising and PR for a motorcycle manufacturer for several years, started his own content-marketing business, and now works with EPG Brand Acceleration to share stories about outdoor power equipment.

Seminars, Tuesday, Nov. 7

Keynote Day Two: Mastering Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

Studies have shown that up to 80% of our future success depends on EI (emotional intelligence) rather than IQ. The truth is, mastering emotional intelligence is the key to unlocking your true potential as a leader and communicator.

Join insightful keynote speaker, Stephen Barth, as he details exactly what emotional intelligence looks like in leadership. You’ll walk away with a clear understanding of EI, a gap analysis for your personal path to mastering it, and insights on how to professionally cope with stress and challenges. We’ll also discuss how to apply emotional intelligence in your own organizations to develop engaged, productive and committed employees.

Topic: Transform Your Business. Strategies for Customer-Centric Growth

How can you find new business opportunities, discover the needs of your market, both existing and new customers? The customer has made a lot of changes to the way they spend their time and money. Other businesses are adapting; even McDonald’s now accepts 13 forms of payment. Are you still accepting only four credit cards, cash and checks? In our industry, he who adapts first to the different customer wins the business and loyalty of the customers. The rest continue as they did in 2019, selling equipment on price and having a repair center.

Speaker: Tom Shay

Tom Shay has a generational legacy of small-business leadership and has been delivering profit-focused solutions for more than 25 years. As the owner of Profits Plus Solutions, Inc., Tom is a wealth of information and can provide business-growing solutions for OPE dealers.

Topic: What’s Next? Lessons for Succession Planning

Josh Flynn will share practical strategies and insights for preparing a business for a successful transition, whether due to retirement, a career shift, or a sale. The goal is to ensure a smooth, continuation of the business and ensure a bright future for their employees. He’ll delve into strategies for maintaining business as usual during the transition period. And you’ll learn how to ensure employee retention, maintain customer satisfaction, and keep the business thriving even through significant change.

Speaker: Josh Flynn

Josh Flynn, the new CEO of the recently acquired Power Equipment Plus, hails from the family-owned holding company Chenmark based in Maine.

Topic: Boost Traffic and Build Relationships with Open House & Event Marketing

In-store events can improve short-term revenue and long-term relationships with existing and new customers. Learn how to run them, target niche audiences, and work with product manufacturers for maximum impact. In the age of digital meetings and screen time, in-person events hold immense potential. And when done well, they can build relationships with existing customers and attract new buyers to your store.

Speaker: Heather Wilson

Heather has years of hands-on experience helping powersports and power equipment professionals market themselves and their businesses.

Topic: Service Efficiency & Profit

The service business model is quickly changing. Are you leaving money on the table? Staff shortages, electric products, and big-box stores all impact your service shop. At every point of the service process, you might be acting in a way that costs you money, is inefficient, or is a time killer. Specific processes, practices, and habits can improve your service shop to make it a top profit center and efficiency winner. We’ll focus on key areas of your service work that can improve your profitability.

Speaker: Tim Berman

Previously an OPE dealer for 20 years, Tim Berman is an Innovation Manager at Ideal Computer Systems, where he designs new apps that help OPE dealers compete with the box stores and Amazon. 

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