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Do Your Homework Before Choosing a Business Partner

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I know this will come out after the big show but, as I’m writing this article, I’m sitting on the plane traveling to NADA right now. As I do, I’m overhearing a couple of dealers in the row behind me talk about the vendors they have appointments to see during the convention and what solutions they are looking for those vendors to bring to the table. I was in their position back in my retail days and I have to say, I’m impressed. It sounds like they’ve done their homework, know why they’re going and have a clear view about what they want to accomplish. When I was a multi-point executive manager and dealer and would go to NADA, I didn’t have an agenda. My only goal was to check out the latest-and-greatest that would help me achieve my humble goal of becoming the No. 1 franchise of my brand. I figured since it was the NADA convention everyone must bring value to the table

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I paid for that lack of planning.

I made plenty of hasty decisions, signing up for programs, products and ad campaigns I just shouldn’t have. I’m not saying they were all bad; just not right for my business model. I also learned that perception isn’t always reality. Just because they paid the crazy cost-per-square-foot price for a booth at the convention didn’t necessarily mean they were reputable. LegalZoom and the like makes it way too easy to set up a company. And, with all the domains available — between the traditional .com and now the favorite of new and sometimes unproven tech, the .io — you can find yourself getting into bed with some unsavory characters if you don’t ask some questions and do some research.

As I have written in the past, you’ve got to do your homework and connect the dots.  Is the company you’re going to do business with a reputable organization with your interest at heart? Or, are they just a bunch of quick-buck artists looking to score? Remember: Check out your potential partner. The same Internet that makes it easy for them to position themselves as bulletproof will also allow you to see the bullet holes — if you look for them.

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I hope you had a great show and got all you could out of it. I’m going back to my in-flight movie now, so good luck and sell like hell.

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