When sizing up the membership of the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
The IARA has attracted key consignor and auction players who not only represent broader locations and operations, but also serve as informed leaders with deep insights and influence. Add it up, and quality trumps quantity.
For the membership committee, communicating the mission and goals to new and prospective members while keeping the current membership engaged remains the leading goal. But regardless of numbers, professional diversity and international participation from Canadian counterparts help define the alliance.
The committee is led by Co-Chairs Holly Vollant and Chris Clarke, who also serves as IARA Treasurer. Members include long-term consignor and auction partners, who provide stability and leads to new members.
Creating Membership Value
Much of membership revolves around messaging and making the case for the IARA being a place to connect long-term around industry issues, education, and information, the co-chairs say.
“A big focus during the last five years has been on having a value proposition based on all the industry changes, such as electrification, autonomous vehicles, and compliance issues,” Clarke said.
The IARA’s educational compliance modules and CAR certification program can demonstrate to prospective members that the IARA offers resources to smaller companies and operations that don’t have the scale and resources of larger ones, Clarke said. “For members, it’s about having a large network within the industry that has an impact on changing the industry.”
While the IARA represents consignors and remarketers, the presence of auction members helps create a unified voice to addresss mutual challenges, he added.
“Much of our focus also is on increasing the consignor base, which can be part of a greater voice in the industry,” Vollant said. That means persuading many smaller consignors who think they may not be able to make as big of an impact as larger ones that they can contribute to industry changes.”
A diverse membership base requires a different angle on benefits and roles tailored to each segment, she added.
“We are out there recruiting, prospecting, and pointing out the reasons you should join. We talk about the opportunity for consignors to communicate and collaborate, and to third-party service vendors about engaging with the industry.”
Another way is to grow organically through word of mouth, Clarke said. That has been a continuing strategy for 20 years, resulting in long-term loyal members.
“This has been a grassroots effort to get members to join, based on who you know and growing membership through the contacts of committees, colleagues, and networking,” he said.
The Membership Committee plans to use social media more to reach members from different segments. The alliance offers tiered membership fees based on business types and sizes, as well as promotional deals. “There’s a lot of uncertainty now in the industry. Our goal is to centralize information and make it accessible by leveraging the website and investing in its technology,” Clarke said.
Note: This article appeared in the IARA 20th Anniversary Commemorative Issue published in November 2021.