Cup o’ Joe: These ARE the Days!

These ARE the Days!

By Joe Hughes

I just was at the latest meeting of the Northwest Ford Truck Association (formerly Club), and reminiscing about the time twenty years ago when another FordPro, Chris Webster (Bickford Ford), Geoff Strother (Nelson Truck, an upfitter), Robert Jorgenson (now Summit Truck Body), Verle Ketchum (now Mullinax Ford), Tim Tobin (Northside Ford Trucks) collaborated with a most excellent Steve Hurley (Ford CBM Retired and missed), to start the Club. 

It just seemed like a good idea to get together to listen to upfitters, to Ford keys, to Ford (now) FinSimple, and one another talk about the latest trends.  Talk about the challenges of being the “step-child in the sales department” that everybody envied.  Talk about how we worked to serve vocations, to build long-term relationships, and the many other things related to each dealership we served.

It took a little work, but with 5-6 agreeable professionals working together (building relationships at a different level, professionally), we kept on doing it because while we gave a bit of time getting it started, but gained so much in the process.  It’s like when you’re called on to teach a group something, you end up learning so much more about the subject; you become better, while helping others get better.


If you felt like it, you could try putting one together.  With an enthusiastic CBM, it’s likely you could pull it off, and learn and grow in your expertise, and likely build a bigger book of business.  It’s not rocket surgery, as they say, just good people getting together with good people.

I remember Ray, a dealer located nearby, asking me why he would want to come and talk around his competitors…who ended up serving on the Board after the second year, serving for seven years until he retired.  Getting together with peers can open up new opportunities, and getting to know distributors and bodybuilders is vital to growing your completed chassis business. 

If you are located within a hundred miles (or two hours’ drive) from a club, you should go to a meeting and see what I mean.  Not all clubs operate the same way: some meet every month or two at the same location.  Others meet in different locales, at distributors’ operations.  The NW Association meets sometimes in North Seattle, sometimes in Portland, some 160 miles away.  It is so meaningful that some travel the ~200 mile distance for a meeting…regularly! 

If you are in an area where you feel that not enough dealers are within range, I encourage you to meet other FordPros that are 2-3 dealers distant from your location, so you don’t feel like others might think you’re poaching.  Share a meal, a cup of coffee, find out how they do dealer trades, meet the bodybuilders in the area.  Make the effort to meet with other FordPros, and see for yourself the difference it can make in how your work feels to you. 

Do it now.  Pick up the phone, meet somewhere with your peers.  These are the days!  Start something!