Exciting news today! The organisers of November's Service Dealer Conference & Awards have announced who will be delivering this year's keynote address - and it's a fascinating one.
Confirmed for the DoubleTree by Hilton Oxford Belfry is Robin Horsfall, an ex-SAS soldier and a member of the counter terrorist team that memorably stormed the Iranian Embassy in London in 1980. Remarkably he was part of those iconic images we all know so well, of that elite squad helping to rescue the nineteen hostages who had been held for six days.
These days Robin is a motivational speaker, author and veteran’s campaigner, who will be talking to our dealer delegates on the theme of overcoming adversity and motivating teams.
I must say, I think this is an inspired booking on behalf of the organisers. I have a feeling that our dealer readers will have an overwhelmingly positive response to Robin's style and the wisdom he has to impart. Because, let's face it, adversity is a concept that dealers are unfortunately only too familiar with - especially over the past couple of unprecedented years.
Through conversations we've had with our readers we're acutely aware of how issues such as the pandemic, recruitment and supply have affected the network. We've been told how it can feel at times like fires are constantly being fought and tails perennially chased.
And these issues aren't even the big one that industry members regularly cite as being the principal factor regarding a good or a bad season. Rather than any economic or political consideration, including the incoming recession, weather is of course always going to be the number one influencer - and right now we're seeing some extreme conditions in play.
Hosepipe bans are spreading, the term drought is being used more frequently and the grass is scorched across swathes of the country. So that famed dealer resilience is being tested once again.
By the time we get around to November 24th, Robin's presentation will be a welcomed intervention - offering delegates some much needed inspiration to take back to their dealerships.
There are more announcements to come for the Conference too. Robin's is the keynote speech, but as ever there are further presentations to be confirmed, including interactive sessions and the ever-popular breakout seminars. I always feel these offer great scope for the dealer delegates to interact with the expert speakers, and crucially, with their peers and colleagues in the room - hopefully leading to a greater understanding of the topics under discussion.
As previously mentioned, this year's overarching theme for the Conference is Sustaining Dealerships. The day will be looking at methods dealers might think about for matters of recruitment, retention, and succession - all topics that readers have shared with us their concerns over.
So do mark November 24th in your diary. If you can spare a day away from the business, a trip to Oxfordshire could offer that spark of inspiration that makes a real difference in the business this year.
Further details of the event will be released via the magazine and this Update over the coming weeks, so do keep an eye out. Also the all-important information regarding this year's Dealer Of The Year competition will be announced soon as well.
Despite all the doom and gloom everywhere, there should be some exciting times ahead.