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AM conference: ensuring maximum profitability

As consumer confidence continues to remain weak and the outlook for new car sales uncertain for at least a year, AM’s forthcoming event is designed to offer insight and advice on ensuring maximum profitability.

The ‘Running a Profitable Dealership Conference’ on November 17 will cover a wide range of topics from a macro economic outlook to techniques to take back to your business on motivating staff.

Keynote speakers include The Carphone Warehouse head of customer services Anita McErlean, and Andrew Bryan from the Henley Centre for Customer Management, who will focus on customer retention, and the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders’ Matthew Croucher who will set the scene with an economic overview.

Full speaker line-up:

Economic overview: setting the scene for the conference

Matthew Croucher, economics manager, SMMT
This session will set the scene for the conference.

Financial stability is a growing concern for any business, the past few months have shown that we are well on the road to recovery but will there be an unsighted dip ahead?

The backbone of any business is the consumer and the consumer responds to the latest economic views.

We will delve into the global automotive state and give you latest thinking and advice on when the consumers will spend.

ROCE update and overview

Daniel Taylor, partner & Paul Burrows, principal, Grant Thornton Automotive Services

Paul and Dan will explore some of the changes and trends from the AM100 over the last 10 years, reflecting on growth and financial performance measured across a range of key performance indicators.

This will include Return on Capital Employed (‘ROCE’) which is a theme for the AM100 top dealer update to be published in the magazine at the end of November.

Paul and Dan will give a preview of the results and trends, as well as exploring how asset and debt bases have moved.

Relationship banking

Tim Smith, sales director (North), Black Horse

Tim is one of the senior directors within Black Horse.

He is responsible for a significant number of the dealer relationships that Black Horse currently hold.

Relationship banking is something we’ve all heard of, yet the majority would feel that this is all but non-existent.

Tim will share his expectations of his customers, along with professional requirements delivered to his customers.

This will teach you where relationships can be created, managed and ultimately give you some key pointers into improving the relationship to your benefit.

Regulation; keeping it legal

Stephanie Murdoch, managing director, Alliance Consultancy

The next 18 months will bring about significant challenges for dealers involved in the arrangement of consumer finance and insurance with the introduction of new legislation and change in regulators.

Stephanie will give you a checklist of invaluable pointers to ensure that your business remains legal and profitable through this transitional period.

Identifying areas that dealers may overlook and issues the regulators will focus on will be key points in this presentation.

Tax; how the changes can benefit you

Jacqui Gudgion, senior tax manager, Grant Thornton

With the newly formed coalition government attempting to claw back some of the £900bn public sector debt, tax changes were inevitable; though not all of the changes will have a negative effect on your cash flow.

Jacqui will explore the latest government changes and give you advice on how to profit from these.

We will also look into the imminent VAT change to help you plan ahead as forward purchase towards the end of the year will become more noticeable.

Explore the value of customer retention

Andrew Bryan, associate director, The Henley Centre for Customer Management

Customer management and retention is more than giving customers what they want – it’s about exceeding their expectations.

Hear how a strong focus on creating customer loyalty needs to be at the centre of the dealership business strategy to maximise profits.

He will also look at customer research and profiling – identifying direct routes to the most profitable customers.

Motivating staff to maintain efficiencies

Simon Bowkett, managing director, Symco Training

Staff motivation is a fundamental driver of profit.

Unmotivated staff are unlikely to be polite, courteous or up-sell your additional sales products.

A motivated staff member can make all the difference and also leave a long lasting impression with the consumer that will keep your business at the forefront of their minds when requiring additional products or services.

This session will look at how to increase your staff motivation for those that really make the difference – your front of house staff.

Customer service from the high street

Anita McErlean, head of customer services, The Carphone Warehouse

We all know that it does not cost as much money to keep a customer as it does to gain a new one.

Keeping a customer feeling special may seem like an odd notion however it is the best form of free marketing.

Happy customers spend money and also tell their friends and family about your business.

Top tips to improve profitability

Nigel Pates, managing director, Win Win World
Nigel states his belief that improving dealership performance is like a race driver improving his lap times.

It’s 50 little improvements that add up to something quite big. Nigel will delve into the hottest tips and best practices that he will share to help you increase your profitability.

> The conference is sponsored by Grant Thornton

To book your place or for more information contact Kate Howard on 01733 468146 or email



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