One Man Visited 600+ Dealerships in His RV to Help Them Leverage Their IDS Software

Meet Paul Roberts

paul roberts

For over 30 years, IDS has had the honor of being a trusted partner to many dealers. But one of the most unique people we have partnered with has got to be Paul Roberts.

You could say that Paul is one of the original digital nomads. For the last 15 years, he and his wife Denise have been traveling across North America in their RV, visiting dealerships that use IDS. In that time, Paul has dropped into more than 600 dealerships to answer questions they have about our software and provide additional training.

Needless to say, it’s not common for a software company to have someone like Paul knocking on their customers’ doors.

So, how did Paul end up on his extended road trip?

The Year Was 2008…

I worked for Pan Pacific RV (now Camping World) for 9 years. I was hired at Pan Pacific specifically to help with the IDS implementation and support. So, I got to be a fairly well-regarded expert in how to use IDS.

Then, 2008.

We went into a recession and my wife got laid off her job and the RV business was down, as it tends to get sick quickly. So, we decided to and at that point we owned a motor home, so we rented our house out and decided to move into the motorhome full time.

About a year into that project, I decided that I needed something to do, so I went to Sean Raynor. He was the salesman who sold us the software at Pan Pacific. So, we already had a relationship. I had relatives in North Carolina. We were visiting the relatives. And I went over and chatted with Sean and said that I have an idea.”

paul roberts map

Repping IDS On the Road

You have dealers all around North America that are starving for attention. I was driving around in my motor home anyway. And I have all this expertise in how to use the software. I propose that for a flat fee, I would go visit a dealer for three hours and send a report back and say this is how they’re doing.

Sean said, let’s give it a try. We were headed from North Carolina at that point up to New York where I have more relatives. He gave me half a dozen dealers and said stop and see these guys, and then we’ll discuss it afterward.

It turned out to be a raving success. I would stop for three hours and just talk to them, listen to them, answer their questions from an IDS standpoint.”

10 Years Living on the Road

No, nobody from IDS says, hey, I need you to go see this dealer.  I go where I want and do touristy stuff. We play golf and visit relatives. If there are dealers around, I visit them. If there are not, I find other stuff to do.

I just got done with a trip. We drove to New York, went to a family reunion, and then went up into Northern Ontario and visit a bunch of dealers. Then, we drove all the way back across Canada on the Trans-Canada Highway. I visited dealers in Winnipeg, Thunder Bay and Saskatoon that had never seen anybody from IDS after they went live. After aal, who goes to Thunder Bay? It’s not on the way to anywhere.

A question I often get is, how much is this costing us? I would tell them, it’s not costing you anything—really.

Paul’s Approach to Helping Dealers

I see my job is to help dealers best use the software they have, and expose them to new features.  I don’t do formal training. If they feel they need more help, they can contact their Account Manager and arrange for someone from Professional Services to help them.

paul roberts rv

Half of the dealers that I go to are just astounded that I showed up and was as helpful as I am. The turnover in the RV business is such that even if I’ve been at a store a year ago, there’s a good chance that there’s somebody new that needs help.”

These Days…

In the summer we go north, and, in the winter, we go south. I have no interest in being in Wisconsin in February or Phoenix in July.”

What Makes IDS Different

For over 30 years, IDS has partnered with dealers to develop technological solutions that meet their needs. Many of the folks on our team have worked in dealerships themselves and know first-hand what goes on in a dealership, day in and day out. You don’t get that kind of intel and deep understanding of dealership processes unless you’ve been right there, on the floor and in the shop.

We pride ourselves on the strong relationships we’ve formed with our customers over the years. They’re the foundation of what we do. Our software isn’t what it would be today without our collaboration with customers.

If you would like to speak to an IDS representative about how we can partner with your dealership to meet your goals, let’s get in touch!

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