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How Do I Plan for (and Make the Most of My Time at) MDCE 2014?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsey Johnson
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The 2014 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, taking place Nov. 16-19 in Orlando, Fla., is an amazing opportunity to take advantage of the best educational resources the marine industry has to offer its retailers. As a MICD, we’re confident you’re already aware of MDCE’s value to you and your business. Chances are you’ve been attending for many years running and it’s become a can’t-miss annual event for your dealership.

But as the conference looms and you prepare your team to attend, perhaps the 30-plus Educational Track Sessions and Pre-Conference Workshops seem a bit daunting. You can’t attend them all, so how do you know which to choose? What will be the most beneficial to your business? How do you effectively and efficiently navigate this year’s educational offerings?

Fear not; the MICD Program is here to help! Let us give you the low-down on how to most successfully approach this year’s conference. We’ve got the scoop on how to best plan your time at the event, divide and conquer sessions and workshops, and meet MICD continuing education requirements, no matter your level of Certification (Step 1, Step 2 or Five Star).

For starters, the first and best thing to do in order to navigate your way around this year’s MDCE is to download our free e-booklet, "The MICD Guide to MDCE." It’s available to all Certified Dealerships as a benefit of Certification and is housed in the MICD Portal under the "Continuing Education” tab for each program step.

The Guide conveniently breaks down the entire list of MDCE 2014 Pre-Conference Workshops and Educational Track Sessions and explains how every, single one of them count towards one of your three areas of MICD Program continuing education requirements: Step 1 requires 10 hours of Leadership & Management training; Step 2 requires an additional 10 hours of Sales & Marketing courses; and Five Star MICD requires yet another 10 hours of HR & Succession Planning. Browse the descriptions, which are easily separated by education requirement category, and decide which conference offerings are best to help further your business goals and keep you headed down the path of continuous improvement.

Secondly, you will need a plan of attack for attending these sessions and workshops once you select the ones that interest you most and are necessary to fulfill your MICD education requirements. After sitting down with "The MICD Guide to MDCE,” perusing the session and workshop summaries and deciding which you feel are most beneficial for your dealership, think about how many team members you have signed up to attend the conference. Add up the number of hours each of the sessions and workshops you selected take to complete and determine how much ground you can cover in a day with the team you’re planning to bring. Remember: It’s possible to knock out all 30 hours of education requirements at this ONE annual event, so make the most of your time at MDCE and take advantage of this unique opportunity by spreading out team members to cover the maximum number of presentations possible.

Be sure you aren’t spread too thin. If you only have two team members currently signed up to attend MDCE but need a third individual to cover the full slate of required hours you hope to complete at the conference, it might be more prudent to purchase one additional MDCE registration than it is to send employees to other seminars at different times of the year in other areas of the country. What if the HR & Succession Planning opportunity you need winds up taking place during the height of busy season? Can you spare one (or several) of your best employees during that time? At the end of the day, it may be easier to make a greater investment in attending MDCE and get all the education credits you need in a one-stop-shop venue.

Finally, use the unique situations that MDCE offers to get more out of the conference than just classroom-type education. The event provides one-of-a-kind networking opportunities to mingle with peers and discuss best business practices outside of the scheduled sessions and workshops. It affords you the chance to meet with conference presenters one-on-one at designated receptions to pick their brains about the topics that are top of mind in your dealership. MDCE also boasts a full Expo Hall floor, filled with 80-plus exhibiting companies offering everything from dealer management software and finance and insurance options, to marketing assistance and business management opportunities. Boat, engine and trailer manufacturers also will be on hand showcasing their latest models and giving you a sneak peek at their current product lineup.

The expanded Expo Hall floor and hours of operation at this year’s MDCE will give you that much more time to make excellent decisions for your business designed to boost the top and bottom lines and propel your dealership forward into 2015 and beyond.

Follow the simple guidelines outlined above, and you’re sure to have the most successful and impactful MDCE experience possible!