How did NADA change from a reactive organization like many others in Washington, D.C., to a powerful one that is able to anticipate issues?
Part of NADA's 100-year story is that in the 1970s and '80s key staff members created association magic. We created consulting programs that helped dealer members, charged them fees and in the process gathered the data we needed to improve their future. Simultaneously, the association got essential insights about its members.
During that critical time in the industry, the NADA board had given us a green light and seed money to design and launch a variety of consulting businesses that provided deep understanding of dealership operations: 20 groups, Sales Trak, Shop Trak and the Dealer Candidate Academy were all launched as ways to provide services to members while giving us timely access to dealership data for industry- and government-relations efforts. Members got the additional services; we got the data.
Trade associations are organized to explain the impact on members of changes in laws, regulations and franchise agreements. By gaining direct access to thousands of financial statements through consulting programs, NADA staffers created a powerful way to see and test possible changes.