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AM conference: Turning browsers into car buyers

David Martin – one of the outstanding speakers at this year’s NADA Convention, according to many of the UK dealers who made the trip to Florida – will offer autoretailing delegates a fresh perspective and innovative ideas for turning prospects into buyers.

His presentation, Turning ‘I’m Just Looking’ into ‘I’ve Got To Have It’, is one of the most keenly anticipated at this year’s convention, which takes places on June 7 and 8 at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham.

Brought to the industry by AM magazine and the Retail Motor Industry Federation, autoretailing 06 is dedicated to helping professional, pro-active motor retailers become more successful – by selling more new and used cars and retaining more customers.

The two-day event includes a conference for senior industry executives on Day 1, and a comprehensive programme of management workshops on Day 2. Both days of the autoretailing convention are dedicated to helping motor retailers to sell more cars and retain more customers.

Declan Curry, writer, broadcaster and the face of the BBC TV’s Business News, will chair the conference on Day 1.

In a new development for this year’s autoretailing convention, a series of ‘five-minute blasts of innovation’ will expose delegates to some of the very newest products and services at the cutting edge of the industry, all firmly focused on improving profitability. They include cutting the cost of your phone calls with VOIP, a new route to online used car sales, and successful email marketing.

#AM_ART_SPLIT# Also scheduled to appear on Day 1 of autoretailing 06 are:

  • Lyell Strambi, chief operating officer, Virgin Atlantic Airlines Retaining customers – a world class success story. Virgin’s loyalty levels are close to 98%. Strambi will present a case study of this success, in a market that has parallels with – and some useful lessons for – the motor industry.

  • Jonathan Browning, vice-president – Sales, Marketing & Aftersales, GM Europe, and chairman of Vauxhall CRM and loyalty schemes that help to sell more cars.
    Browning will look at CRM and loyalty programmes in the motor industry today and in the future – where they are working well, and why, and how manufacturers and dealers can increase retention, particularly through dealer-based initiatives.

  • Sue Brownson OBE, chief executive, Bluebell BMW/Mini
    How one small dealer group has achieved outstanding customer loyalty. Bluebell is renowned for its high levels of customer service and loyalty. Sue will describe some of the initiatives and strategies they have successfully employed as the company has grown through the years.

  • Simon Gulliford, former group marketing director, Barclays plc
    How to engage with your customers. A former Honda retailer, Gulliford will show delegates how to make their companies more successful by using information as a source of competitive advantage, gaining true insight rather than just doing more research, and by genuinely engaging with the customer.

  • Paul Flatters, chief executive, The Future Foundation
    Understanding and anticipating customers. Flatters’ presentation will help you to sell more cars and increase loyalty by understanding what is really going on in the minds of your customers, both now and in the future.

  • David Carter, managing director, Carter & Carter
    What makes a dealership succeed. Drawing on data gathered from mystery shopping and consultancy, Carter will highlight success stories from the industry including practical tips that can be implemented right away.

  • John Whiteman, managing director, ICDP
    Updating the franchise model. Whiteman will present results from ICDP’s latest research and will explore the prospects for the franchise format in the light of Block Exemption, market maturity, and dealer concentration.

  • Max Warburton, Motor Analyst, UBS
    The global auto industry – picking tomorrow’s winners. Top City analyst Warburton will assess the key factors driving the global auto industry and give predictions about the carmakers he thinks are best-placed to prosper.

  • Rt. Hon Alistair Darling MP, Secretary of State for Transport (may change due to cabinet re-shuffle)
    The Government’s vision for transport and motoring. Is the government anti-motoring and anti-motorist? What plans does it have for motoring and the transport system? What is the latest thinking on road pricing, alternative fuels, the MoT and more? All will be revealed at autoretailing 06.

    #AM_ART_SPLIT# autoretailing Day 2 – management workshops

    Day 2 of autoretailing 06 includes a series of management workshops, arranged into three separate ‘learning streams’ – sales, aftersales and general dealership management. Delegates can switch between the different streams throughout the day. That means you can construct your own ‘training programme’ for the day.

    Each workshop is designed to help improve profitability in a key operational area. Recognised experts in their field will share best practice and offer clear, impartial guidelines for dealing with the issues that AM readers tell us they face every day. They will focus on practical solutions, and equip you with tools and techniques you can use to become even more successful.

    You will hear about a number of ‘quick wins’ you can take away and apply to their your business. The workshops will also consider longer-term planning issues.


  • Corporate Chieftains or Dinky Developments: Who are your customers and how can you find more? Kirk Fletcher, sales director, Experian

  • How to close more sales enquiries Neil Pursell, managing director, MARTEC
  • Beyond sales process Robert Purfield, director, Purfield Hines Partnership
  • Using the internet to sell cars Alex Lowe, sales & marketing, 2nd Byte
  • Improving the performance of sales teams Steve Robinson, training director, Sustaining Excellence


  • Standards, satisfaction and profit John Whiteman & John Kiff, directors, ICDP
  • Raising service and parts profits Nic Garwood, TTL Consulting
  • Selling service to the owners of older used cars Andrew Waterworth, BTC
  • A service plan that actually works Peter Smyth, director, Swansway Garages
  • Managing your parts manager David Lansdowne, Lansdowne Associates

    General dealership management

  • Leadership and change: creating a performance-based culture Clive Eaton, Director, Copernicus Solutions
  • Recruiting, developing and retaining the best people Tim Bryant, learning solutions specialist, rts consultants
  • Strategies for retaining more customers Paul Turner, managing director, apd research & development
  • Meeting the FSA regulations speaker to be announced
  • Improve your financial monitoring James Mullins, manager, Grant Thornton
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