A few months back I attended Autocon 2012. There I learned a lot of new techniques and processes to help bring my dealership to the next level in automotive internet sales. But instead of running home and writing a review right away about the courses I attended and what they spoke about, I decided to wait about writing about what I heard and implement it instead.


So it has been over 2 1/2 months since I returned home from AutoCon 2012, and 2 1/2 months since I implemented what AutoCon taught me. I have increased my monthly sales out of my dept. by another 5-6 cars. I have changed my social media strategies and how my dept. responds to leads. Not to mention tightened the belt on my sales dept. with their follow-up processes and note taking. What AutoCon has taught me works and I would like to thank and recognize a few people I have met there.


First and foremost I would like to say that the convention was absolutely amazing. It was a very informative 4 days. It was more than I ever expected, I have been to so many so called training seminars before sponsored by big name vendors that always turn out to be some kind of sales pitch. This was not that type at all.


I met heads of major automotive marketing and consulting firms, trainers that teach it all and vendors that will sell you the moon, I even met the ALPHA DOG. I went to various seminars. I went to one hosted by perhaps the best motivational speaker I have ever met, Mr. Grant Cardone. By the way Grant I wear the motivational wrist bands proudly and remember that “Success is my Duty” and that “Champions Dominate and not to be a little bitch”, my kids and co-workers like that one the best. Hahaha.

I learned that the all mighty and powerful Google is ever evolving and will continue to remove my reviews even after they promise not to. And that the dealership is only as strong as its internet marketing. I learned that the BDC processes are what bring in customers for Stan “THE MAN” Sher, and Social Media is the wave of the future from Lon Safko. Ralph Paglia taught me where to go from here in “The Evolution of Digital Marketing”. Brian Pasch taught the facts of Google Analytics. And let’s not forget the King of Prospecting Mr. Fran Taylor.

But out of everyone I saw and heard in the course of my 4 days or continuous training one stood out above the rest, and that was “Simple Steps to Maximize Your SEO” by John Giamalvo of Edmunds.com.  I met John the first day during signup and found out that like myself he is a fellow New Yorker and lives quiet close to me on Long Island. John is the Director of Dealer Strategy for Edmunds.com. He asked me if I would like to attend his class that he was holding on Friday afternoon. I told him I would be more then happy to. Over the next few days I learned it all from the some of the greatest minds in our field. Then Friday came and so did Johns class, to be truthful at first I wasn’t expecting much it was an SEO class being taught by a vendor. I figured it would be another pitch on why to use them. Truth be told it wasn’t. John in the course of 45-60mins hit it all.

  • The Changes Google is making, why reviews are so important and where to post them
  • What content is acceptable for proper SEO and what should be done on Social Media
  • Why a quick price is need to stop a shopper from surfing around the web for more pricing
  • I learned that Google doesn’t play well with 1-800 #’s for SEO
  • Why send customer to your homepage when all they want is the car they are looking for
  • Why my Google analytics is affected by OEM marketing efforts

Just like Grant Cardone wrote to me in his new book “HIT HARD AND HIT FAST” is exactly what John did he covered it all the good the bad and the ugly. It is a course that I believe should be watched and attended by all dealerships nationwide. I believe I took the most away from this one class then any others, They were all above and beyond anything I have seen before but this one stuck out to me the most.


I would also like to thank one group most of all. And that is TRUECAR. I was also one of there 12 scholarship winners and if it was not for them I would have never been able to attend AutoCon.

And Last but not least I want to acknowledge the amazing job that someone did to get the whole event to roll as smooth as it did. Carrie Hemphill and FCE really made sure that the whole event was top notch. She was the one who alerted me that I won my scholarship and also made sure that the event ran as it should. And to all my new friends I met and continue to network with all I can say is I will definitely see you next year at AutoCon 2013.

-Eric A. Nichols
Internet Sales Manager
Apple Honda
Ericn@applehonda.net

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Comment by Eric Nichols on December 1, 2012 at 7:52pm

thanks hope to see all of you soon and have a great holiday, John give me a call we'll meet up one day when you can for lunch

Comment by John on November 30, 2012 at 5:19pm

Hey Eric,

Thanks for the great review and kind words. I think I can speak for everyone you mentioned in your post that it is most satisfying as a presenter when suggestions are implemented and they reap rewards!

Too many times we are striving to maximize the amount of internet contacts, spending too much effort and funds to get a few extra, while forgetting to properly handle the consumers who ARE engaging with us. Kinda like fishing late into the night to try to get a few extra fish, while those we already caught are going bad on the dock! 

It amazes me sometimes that the simplest of things consumers ask us to do, like giving a customer the quote they asked for, or landing them on a page that makes sense to close the sale, has become so elusive.

I hope you, your family, and the folks out at Apple came through the storm OK. Hope to see you again soon.

Thanks again, and Happy Holidays!

Johnny G

Comment by DealerELITE on November 30, 2012 at 9:59am

Eric,AutoCon 2012 was a Awesome Event, Looking forward to meeting you at AutoCon 2013 

Comment by Ralph Paglia on November 30, 2012 at 4:26am

Thank you for what is obviously a very sincere and genuine review... Especially since you have had time to implement some of what you learned at AutoCon and have seen actual results!  http://www.AutoCon.US

Comment by Stan Sher on November 29, 2012 at 8:43pm

My main man...I am glad you enjoyed it.  It was awesome.  Here is to many more years of success.  You are growing and becoming the greatest.  I am so proud to have been there with you.

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