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Dealership Valuation Services Blog

Compilation of Brady Schmidt Interview re: Dealer Growth Conference

Posted on: August 30th, 2023

This conference will provide valuable information for dealers that are looking to grow and scale their organizations. It will also help them see things from a seller’s perspective. Buyers that are looking to grow oftentimes find themselves competing against large groups and publics to acquire dealerships. Many buyers don’t realize that it comes down to the seller’s perception of who that buyer is and how good of a fit they are for the dealership.

Any seller is concerned about a buyer’s ability to get approved by the manufacturer and whether they have access to the capital necessary to close the deal. No seller wants to start the process unless they know the deal is going to go through to completion. What is also critically important, however, is the way a buyer presents themselves. Sellers are looking beyond money and closing. They may have been leading these dealerships for 30, 40, sometimes 50 years. Their identity is closely associated with their business and their employees are like family. These sellers seriously consider the people that will be taking over the business. How a buyer tells their story to a seller is very important, because a seller is considering “Will this buyer be a great fit for my business? How will they treat  my employees? Will they continue the legacy that I’ve built? Will they continue to support this community?” We have seen deals where sellers chose buyers with offers that were hundreds of thousands of dollars less than other buyers’ because they were a perfect fit for their dealership. Dealers attending this conference will learn how to win the deal.

I will present stories of literal nightmares and successes. There are simple mistakes that buyers make that throw wrenches in the process and cause them to lose deals. Most of those stories revolve around maintaining confidentiality in the process. There are many ways that confidentiality can get broken. Here is an example from one of our recent deals. Prior to closing, the buyer filled out paperwork for the state license, using the dealership mailing address on the application . Mail started showing up at the dealership with the new business name. The business manager received the mail and questioned the dealer.  It became a real problem, although it was an innocent mistake on the part of the buyer. That leads to a simple rule of thumb: when you fill out paperwork in advance of the closing, use your home address and then change it after closing!

Why bother attending this conference?  The presenters are excellent, first-in-class professionals that can help groups grow their business smartly. The quality of content is good enough reason to attend. Buyers underestimate how much they can do to prepare to succeed in growing their business. This conference is an opportunity to  learn the common mistakes that dealer groups make when they’re trying to grow. We helped Lithia buy over 40 dealerships before and after they went public. They got very good at organizing before meeting the sellers and making strong presentations.  In those early days, they were competing against much larger groups to win deals. By attending this conference, you will learn tactics that will help you be the one to win the deal. Prepare now! When the right deal becomes available, this conference will help you be ready to strike and win the deal.

I attend a lot of conferences throughout the year to grow myself in our own profession and be better at what we do. I learn takeaways that help me overcome challenges and get more deals done. Come to this conference! It’ll be a good time. A lot of good people will be there. You’ll make quality contacts. You will walk away with legal resources, capital stack structures, and preparation tactics. You will make contact with a good banking source for financing. Besides the practical takeaways, you will build relationships and resources for the future.