Interview with Joel Bassam Director of Marketing at Easterns Automotive Group

Interview With Joel Bassam

This Zoom video call is a discussion between Todd Smith from 360Converge and Joel Bassam Director of Marketing at Easterns Automotive Group discussing the current state of the automotive industry. We discuss selling in these fluid times with Digitial Retailing and the shift Easterns have made to work from home and the changes to there sales processes. We also talk about marketing changes and the shift in messaging during COVID-19.

Video Transcript

Captions
00:00
your eye Todd Smith here again CEO of
00:04
360 converge on here today with Joel
00:07
Bassem from Eastern Automotive Group you
00:12
are I guess the official marketing
00:14
director is that their official title
00:16
sure that’s the official title I think
00:19
titles are almost relevant yeah oh you
00:23
do a lot more than just the marketing
00:25
yeah for sure
00:27
that’s usually what I’m always like well
00:29
you have an official title but what do
00:30
you really do so right right well cool
00:34
hey Joel I really appreciate you taking
00:35
time today it’s kind of been obviously a
00:38
very interesting time in business and
00:40
I’ve been trying to record some of the
00:42
conversations I have with people to give
00:45
other people insight on what people are
00:47
doing from their own perspectives you
00:50
know kind of share ideas so what I’d
00:53
like to do is kind of set you up for an
00:56
easy one here you know March 15th
01:00
so halfway through last month you know
01:02
what were you doing and what has
01:06
happened you know for you and at Eastern
01:09
since then so kind you get a big like
01:13
softball hit there yeah I mean just his
01:16
background we’re a completely
01:17
independent company independent used car
01:20
sales as an OEM requirements but yeah we
01:23
we had our best weekend in recorded
01:25
history the first weekend of March and
01:28
then slow started to see that kinda
01:30
start to dip and so we were we were at
01:34
that ready to go five weekends in March
01:36
tax money’s come in
01:37
you know we had more inventory than we
01:39
had ever had in our history we really
01:42
we’ve always practiced on stocking up in
01:44
the winter I’m kind of jokingly saying
01:46
like no we’re hybrid fattening up in the
01:48
winter and getting ready and our recon
01:50
facility was cranking out 250 cars a
01:52
week getting ready to sell and then this
01:54
thing hit and we have just been you know
01:57
trying to reel back and adjust to the
02:00
demand that we’re seeing in the market
02:01
right now ok so as you’re adjusting walk
02:05
me through I mean you guys have a pretty
02:07
well-established BDC with Tim and
02:10
everybody at that team you know you
02:13
already have that
02:14
running you know what has changed in
02:17
that environment
02:18
have you gone more digital or where is
02:22
your where is it coming from now what’s
02:25
going on there sure yeah I mean we were
02:29
already fully capable of selling cars
02:30
online and we had been practicing that
02:32
with in-store pickup we had always
02:35
looked at the digital retailing
02:36
experience as a way of helping customers
02:39
save timing of sorne and creating a
02:40
better experience and that was always
02:43
reflected by a really high Net Promoter
02:44
Score and similarly Todd that I know
02:48
you’d spoke with before we used roadster
02:50
we’re big fans of their platform and so
02:53
what’s really changed in the last week
02:55
is we’ve expanded those offerings to
02:56
include home delivery and at home test
02:58
drives full transparency we haven’t seen
03:01
a lot of demand even though we’re
03:02
offering it and the circumstances that
03:04
are out there we’re still not seeing
03:06
demand for it customers want to leverage
03:08
the tools that we’re offering and save
03:10
time in the store and we’re practicing
03:11
on the proper hygiene and CDC guidelines
03:13
to make sure it’s a safe environment for
03:15
the customers and our employees but the
03:18
biggest change we’ve seen besides just a
03:20
massive decrease in demand and leads and
03:23
website traffic call traffic everything
03:25
you can possibly think of is the ratio
03:27
of lead to what roadster calls borders
03:30
which is the beginning of the process of
03:31
selling a car online is up forty five
03:34
percent last time I checked and so we’re
03:36
we’re generating less leads but a huge
03:40
majority of them are now going through
03:41
the digital retailing process where
03:44
before that was maybe 10 percent twenty
03:46
percent of our deals I’m now it’s fifty
03:49
to sixty percent of our deals I’ve
03:50
already almost bought the car online at
03:52
santa-rasa deal are your as your BDC I
03:56
know they’re working from home right now
03:58
are they still at the high level of
04:01
engagement with those shoppers through
04:03
the platform or abuse are you actually
04:05
seeing shoppers more self-navigate now
04:08
through the process well it’s a mix of
04:11
both so we are seeing engagement so like
04:16
I mention the website or down but the
04:19
engagement scores of those users and
04:21
engagement per user on per VDP is up and
04:25
so you can kind of you could argue that
04:27
both ways
04:27
I would say there’s no there’s no
04:30
correlation necessarily because you
04:32
could say there’s less looky-loos
04:33
because people aren’t at the market and
04:34
the people who are on the site so I
04:36
might be spiking those numbers but our
04:39
BBC is then we’ve adjusted our word
04:41
track slightly to allow them to really
04:44
push the digital retailing environment
04:46
as opposed to before was more of a
04:48
passive okay we had this opportunity I
04:50
invite you to you know go through our
04:52
Express experience but we always
04:54
prioritize the appointment you know we
04:56
would never block a customer and then
04:57
we’d get the appointment then start the
05:00
messaging afterwards of saying if you
05:02
want to save time in the store you can
05:03
just buy this car from home and then
05:05
people would take better leave it now
05:06
it’s more of upfront customers saying
05:09
how do I spend less time in your store
05:10
like I want to buy my car because I’m in
05:12
need and really that’s almost all the
05:13
customers are seeing right now it’s
05:14
customers in need how do i how do I
05:17
minimize the time sort of oh great we
05:19
have this tool are you ready to go
05:20
everyone’s already trained on it
05:21
everyone that’s familiar with it and
05:22
loves it we were treating those
05:24
previously as what we called priority
05:26
appointments and you know I think
05:29
another webinar I was talking about too
05:31
is you know digital retailing you should
05:33
just be the hottest leads now it’s the
05:36
way to go so it’s it’s just it’s changed
05:38
the perspective from the customers and
05:40
the BBC agents it’s interesting so so
05:43
your reps now are just really pushing
05:46
right into it verse just having it as a
05:48
channel it’s become the channel yeah
05:51
exactly I mean we’ve we’ve paused almost
05:53
all of our traditional marketing we’ve
05:56
kept on a lot of our OTT and television
05:58
networks with adjusted messaging that’s
06:01
really you know not salesy it’s you know
06:03
we are here we’re gonna get through this
06:05
together if you’re in need we have this
06:07
online store and if not we’ll see you
06:09
when you’re ready that’s really the
06:11
messaging we’re getting out there I even
06:12
just kind of 15-second commercial that’s
06:14
just purely thinking essential workers
06:17
it doesn’t mention anything about
06:18
Easterns and anything about buying a
06:19
chissus from the Easton’s family thank
06:21
you for what you do and I think that’s
06:23
the kind of tone and thing you need to
06:25
out there because no one’s in the market
06:27
when this thing started I was joking
06:29
about it before because our immediate
06:31
kind of me search that we were getting
06:33
back from our stores is prime businesses
06:35
dried up you know that everyone in those
06:37
stores are in our subprime people in
06:39
need and you know the reality
06:41
course I mean your 401k stay gonna tank
06:43
you’re in the market those are prime
06:45
customers they’re thinking about getting
06:46
a Jag they’re gonna wait now they’re not
06:49
they’re not jumping at the opportunity
06:50
to go by and you know the nicer version
06:52
so they can wait and all the research
06:55
shows that all right so you said the the
06:58
people that are buying they’re coming
06:59
through less output through the digital
07:02
process a lot of secondary type credit I
07:05
assume at this point these are people
07:07
that have to have cars but finding the
07:10
way and the path to make that available
07:12
to him have you shifted any of your
07:14
digital marketing to really try to fine
07:17
tune into that area yet with messaging
07:21
for that particular type of shopper or
07:23
are you still just kind of keeping it
07:25
broad right now online or if you just
07:27
pull back the Rings completely well I
07:31
mix of all of those things so okay we
07:33
were we’ve we’ve always had a majority
07:35
of a subprime business you know five
07:37
years ago as a company our core identity
07:39
was Easterns where your jobs your credit
07:41
and that’s still our trademark slogan
07:43
and so that uses 100% of our business
07:46
for subprime I would say you know in
07:48
what as we transitioned into becoming a
07:50
more full spectrum dealership and being
07:53
a pure one price model we’ve had a more
07:55
full you know spread of customers it was
07:57
probably 60 40 60 being subprime what
08:01
what most would consider subprime and
08:02
forty being crime the messaging that
08:05
we’ve adjusted on a digital marketing
08:07
now is you can buy if you need to and
08:09
we’re targeting the subprime customers
08:10
with the keywords that they’re searching
08:12
for and all of the price and model
08:15
specific marketing that we were doing
08:16
we’ve completely lost just because I
08:19
don’t think people are starting their
08:20
searches or looking for those and if
08:21
they are they’re not worth the
08:23
conversions right now we’re focusing on
08:25
those need customers and making sure in
08:27
front of them okay that makes a lot of
08:29
sense so you’ve definitely you’ve
08:31
shifted marketing obviously your BDC is
08:34
working from home so how is that
08:36
transition and did you have to do
08:38
anything special to accomplish that or
08:40
did you already have some of those tools
08:43
in place or how did that work yeah that
08:46
actually was you know a huge huge shout
08:48
out to our BBC manager in a Director of
08:50
Sales Tim he had this
08:53
this had started to kind of stir you
08:56
know their reports and things like that
08:57
so he had begun the process of taking a
09:00
couple agents a week and trying them at
09:01
home even though we had no reason to do
09:03
so there was no state order just to see
09:04
what it was like and it was a really
09:06
positive feedback and we had already
09:09
begun the process of integrating with a
09:11
new routing a phone routing system
09:13
called car Wars that integrates within
09:14
solutions too so we use for our CRM yep
09:17
that allows our users to mass outbound
09:19
calls and not come from their cell phone
09:21
all that happened to happen right at the
09:24
right time for us and so we keep one or
09:27
two agents at you know practice social
09:31
distancing at the office at a time and
09:34
that’s really more of just making sure
09:35
that if something happens they have
09:36
somebody there and then everyone else
09:39
works about our entire accounting staff
09:41
works at home our inventory management
09:43
staff works at home our tag and I will
09:45
depart meant has one person that comes
09:46
into you know physically handled tags
09:48
and everyone else is working from home
09:50
and then unfortunately we had the
09:52
furlough or entire reconditioning staff
09:55
but that staff has actually been pretty
09:57
seamless that specifically b2c staff has
09:59
been seamless to work from home so okay
10:01
walk me through now to sell cars you
10:04
still the BDC will get them through the
10:07
roaster process you still have to make
10:09
you know trade ins you know obviously
10:12
test drives are probably off the table
10:15
right now but still what we’re offering
10:17
if you don’t want it yeah okay yeah so
10:21
are you
10:22
so for trades how are you are you just
10:25
using roasters process or did you guys
10:27
already have your own or yeah so what we
10:31
we had already been using the road to
10:32
process for all digital trade ins and
10:34
then when they arrived at the store we
10:35
were verifying those numbers using a
10:37
prese lane and so the only thing that’s
10:40
changed now is that those those numbers
10:44
aren’t getting confirmed in-store aren’t
10:47
getting confirmed unless the person’s
10:48
coming to buy a car physically in-store
10:50
but the roadster process is really great
10:52
I know Todd talking about on the
10:54
previous call but the amount of
10:56
questions they asked them that until you
10:58
get and that goes right to our
10:59
wholesalers cellphone number and they
11:01
can immediately create a conversation
11:02
back and forth we had already fully
11:04
integrated that process so effectively
11:06
all of the people
11:07
had gone through those multi-step
11:09
process in the Roadster deal building
11:11
was already receiving a real number in
11:13
their trade and that hasn’t changed yeah
11:15
how are you feeling about those numbers
11:17
they’re getting put on right now time I
11:19
had a deep talk about that because it’s
11:21
like auction there’s no market place so
11:23
it’s really hard to tell what stuff’s
11:25
worth and you know are you are you
11:27
taking a super conservative approach are
11:29
you just trying to stick with what the
11:31
book was or you know that’s it I mean
11:36
you only get caught water later and true
11:39
you know I mean I think that depends on
11:41
your on your perspective on wholesale is
11:43
so I say we’ve always taken the
11:45
perspective because we are we don’t sell
11:48
cars off the street are our customers
11:50
vehicles that we trade in our our Avenue
11:53
to a sale we’ve never looked at it as a
11:55
profit Center and one maybe two percent
11:58
of those cars are gonna be up to our
11:59
standards of you know on average our
12:02
cars are two years old unless 30,000
12:04
miles a lot of those cars aren’t gonna
12:05
trade it in and so it’s always been put
12:10
that number in the right place and
12:11
honestly if push comes to shove and
12:13
you’ve got a deal on the table and you
12:15
need a thousand more on a trade we’ll
12:16
just step up and pay it even if that
12:17
means so we’re gonna have a net zero
12:19
outcome at the holes at the market later
12:21
but yeah the reality is we’re offering
12:23
less for traits because that’s what the
12:24
market is it’s it’s gonna get worse
12:26
before it gets better MMR has that build
12:29
unnatural built delay in it and so we’re
12:32
gonna see what the books continue to do
12:33
I mean NID is gonna I don’t know what’s
12:36
it gonna do in May I mean this values of
12:38
kind of drop and it’s gonna be traumatic
12:40
which will help the dealer’s somewhat
12:41
but there’s no demand it really doesn’t
12:43
matter yeah that’s true so what else
12:47
have you’re talking to people to all the
12:50
time any good insights or ideas you’ve
12:54
you’ve heard out there so far I don’t
12:58
know I it’s it’s everyone has their own
13:00
way of kind of peeling this thing back
13:01
and what their states are allowing
13:03
aren’t allowing we’re in the position
13:05
right now where we’re just so caught up
13:08
we’re trying to download what the DOJ is
13:10
coming out with their updated guidance
13:13
of what what you can and can’t do for
13:15
the PPP and what that means for us and
13:17
how we’re gonna make that actually a
13:19
practical business case supposed to
13:21
a blank check we’re sending to our
13:23
customers for the art our employees for
13:25
not working which isn’t our intention we
13:27
want to have work for them
13:28
the reality for us is going to be that a
13:30
lot of that work is going to be
13:32
proactive training for the future so
13:34
that when the lights get turned back on
13:35
we’ll come out of this actually better
13:36
than we were before and you know that’s
13:39
that’s easy to apply to sales staff and
13:41
so it’s management staff but it gets a
13:43
little trickier when you’ve got
13:44
reconditioning and body shop staff of 75
13:46
people I mean that’s that’s a little
13:49
more difficult field to send people to
13:50
work Pajar send people to school
13:52
digitally in a time like this so I’ve
13:55
been so tied up in that it’s it’s trying
13:58
to figure out the best way to get the
13:59
most forgiving and the most amount of
14:00
money and then apply it in the most
14:03
efficient way possible yeah it’s
14:04
interesting you mention Etta
14:06
there was a study done by Harvard after
14:09
the recession of 2008 and the companies
14:13
that just shrunk up fired people you
14:17
know verse the companies that furloughed
14:20
or reduced pay but kept them on um
14:24
actually came out of it like it was like
14:28
a tenfold rate their success or comeback
14:32
was so much faster and became much more
14:35
profitable and I think there’s a lesson
14:37
there that we could probably all learn
14:39
that you know this is this pause button
14:42
might be a good opportunity to really
14:44
you know train our people invest in them
14:47
personally right because they can’t do
14:50
their normal job so let’s give them a
14:53
job of becoming smarter more efficient
14:56
better better process etc so yeah well I
15:01
couldn’t agree with you more I mean if
15:02
you don’t think I shamelessly screenshot
15:04
what she posted on LinkedIn about coming
15:05
out of this thing trained and sent it to
15:07
my entire staff you’re crazy
15:09
but yeah it’s a that’s that’s we already
15:12
had a big training kind of mindset when
15:16
it came to our staff anyway we cross
15:18
train like crazy we bring out
15:20
VinSolutions trainers regularly we bring
15:23
out roaster trainings right really
15:24
retraining and cross-training all the
15:26
time so that’s already been part of our
15:28
culture and now it’s just forgot how to
15:29
facilitate that in the environment in
15:31
which we’re not going to be physically
15:32
in the same space because even
15:35
if we wanted let’s I mean forget all the
15:37
realities of forgiveness amounts and all
15:40
the accounting side you have to do it if
15:41
we had a blank check from the government
15:43
is that you can pay everyone period
15:44
which that isn’t how the VP is really
15:46
worded but if that was the case we
15:50
couldn’t have her full stuff come back
15:52
because we won’t be able to practice
15:53
proper social distancing and proper
15:54
hygiene we wouldn’t have the work form
15:56
and that will actually would that would
15:57
be a bad thing
15:58
all right so we’d still need to figure
16:00
out a way of getting getting them on
16:02
rotating schedule so we wouldn’t have
16:04
too many salespeople on the floor that
16:06
would put put the health of our
16:08
employees at risk and our customers as
16:09
well and just trying to find out the
16:12
right avenues of that luckily we have
16:13
again this is another like you think we
16:15
had just thrown on a corporate trainer
16:18
someone who had worked in in a
16:19
collegiate field doing management
16:21
classes we hired him full-time and gave
16:23
him but director of brain Snyder’s title
16:25
and I get we hired a March first
16:27
I mean timing of that couldn’t have been
16:29
better yeah but yeah well you he’s he
16:32
knows how to do this stuff and he split
16:34
the other digital platforms and he’s
16:35
ready to launch in the second that we
16:36
can hire people
16:38
we’ve had enough demand that we’ve only
16:41
we’ve kept we started this entire
16:43
process
16:44
you know March March 15 with 306
16:47
employees we we made the decision to
16:51
terminate 30 of those employees because
16:53
they were brought on as effectively
16:55
seasonal hyo’s for the uptick in taxis
16:58
employees that were kind of meant to be
17:00
on a trial period and if they were great
17:02
they were great and if they didn’t cut
17:04
it and that’s okay they’re kind of
17:05
brought under our version of Christmas
17:08
Ida Christmas tree lot or I mean and
17:11
then after that we you know slowly began
17:13
the process of furloughing chunks of
17:15
employees where we’ve landed now as we
17:17
furloughed 96 employees and we’re be
17:19
able that we’ve been able to keep 100
17:20
and so for those employees at some
17:23
version of full pay there are
17:25
potentially there hours have been
17:27
slightly cut our entire management teams
17:29
are the massive pay cut just you know
17:30
because we should but you know out of
17:34
that we’ve been able to keep enough
17:35
people intact to your point to come out
17:37
of this better and that’s really what
17:39
we’re looking forward to is we believe
17:41
that we’re gonna be ready for this when
17:44
the lights come on we’re going to be
17:45
able to really come out of the gates
17:46
hard we had
17:48
I had been planning for some version of
17:50
the neck anomic downturn for years we
17:53
had we had always had that in the back
17:55
of our mind every manager meeting we had
17:56
monthly was hey you know I believe
17:58
there’s an economic downturn don’t over
18:00
don’t overextend yourself personally
18:01
make sure you’re ready to go and you
18:04
know as a company were practicing we
18:06
turn down opportunities because we
18:08
didn’t we felt that we didn’t want to
18:09
overextend ourselves because we believe
18:11
something that’s coming nothing like
18:12
this obviously but we believed something
18:14
was coming not this but so we had enough
18:16
cash you know and Todd mention that
18:19
liquidity be is gonna be the biggest
18:21
issue for everybody right now yeah and
18:23
so we had planed for that a little bit
18:25
so we’re ready to go but we’re still
18:28
trying to collect data as it’s happening
18:30
and unfortunately that’s hourly now yeah
18:32
so what do you what do you look at like
18:34
what’s your dashboard look like I mean
18:36
obviously I assume Google Analytics you
18:38
mentioned web traffic you’re looking at
18:40
roadster data that’s people going
18:42
through that process I assume your got
18:45
your spent crank pretty down on like
18:48
Facebook and what do you use what what
18:51
is your what your what your – look like
18:54
yeah so I mean I have my own debt Vince
18:57
VinSolutions lets you build your own
18:59
custom dashboards so that I check on
19:01
every day and that’s just constant lead
19:02
for traffic and conversion traffic
19:04
metrics based on where those leads are
19:05
actually coming from and even but that’s
19:07
somewhat unreliable I had hired an
19:11
outside company called measure marketing
19:12
and building a fantastic data studio set
19:15
Google data studio that pulls on my
19:17
analytics in and does daily weekly and
19:19
monthly KPI is based on what I had
19:21
chosen for those and then breaks down
19:23
all of the unique engagement scores and
19:26
engagement metrics per vehicle data page
19:28
per user or in total and then per make
19:30
them for model and stuff like that so I
19:31
can track down to a pretty granular
19:33
level what’s getting engaging on the
19:35
site and then react in real time and so
19:37
checking that almost daily it’s constant
19:39
for me reviewing the platforms that we
19:41
have out there making sure the messaging
19:43
is clear I spent the last week making
19:45
sure that all of our code that 19 update
19:47
pages are active and have more resources
19:50
not only for our customers but for our
19:52
employees as well to get access to of
19:54
like simple things like ADP guidelines
19:56
and how to make your own cloth mass
19:58
that’s publicly available on our site
19:59
just things like that I think are more
20:02
than anything else and then this this
20:04
last couple days has been translating
20:06
all that into Spanish and making sure
20:07
that those pages are up to date and
20:08
stuff like that so and and then tomorrow
20:10
I’m sure there’s gonna be a new
20:12
guideline that comes out they’re gonna
20:13
have updated all day so you can only be
20:16
so proactive in a time in which you have
20:18
to react to something every hour yeah so
20:21
do you have you scheduled like
20:23
deliveries are you just doing it every
20:25
day or have you are you blocking these
20:27
for deliveries how’s that working for
20:29
cars on we so we have had mixed emotions
20:34
about deliveries we were lucky enough to
20:36
be part of a beta test with cars calm
20:39
and part of the beta test with Auto
20:41
Trader to do auto trader called a market
20:43
extension program cars that con didn’t
20:45
have a name for it and where they were
20:47
you know allowing us the public publicly
20:49
offer our vehicles and other dmas for
20:53
floor costs just to see what the demand
20:54
was and we found such a lower in such a
20:58
lower percentage of customers clicking
21:01
through MSRP to be DPS and then actually
21:04
taking action on those meaty piece
21:05
themselves cuz we have no brand equity
21:06
of those markets right you know
21:08
companies like carvanha are constantly
21:10
pumping traditional marketing those
21:11
markets and they’ve built up some
21:12
version of trust or familiarity and we
21:15
didn’t see any demand I mean push me in
21:17
the show when we talked to customer they
21:18
said I’ll just come pick it up it’s fine
21:19
you know like because I still think that
21:21
there’s a huge chunk of customers even
21:23
in the pandemic like this like they say
21:24
I’d rather just come and make sure that
21:26
everything’s legitimate there yeah and
21:30
see what it is and that’s not you know
21:32
that we’re were believers in this
21:34
process we want to be able to deliver
21:36
cars the customers simply just don’t
21:38
want it at least our customers don’t
21:39
right now and I was joking about this
21:42
last night with our wife but she was
21:43
asking about have you had customers who
21:44
want delivery and I was saying you know
21:46
if you had to choose like right now like
21:49
would you rather have some stranger
21:50
bring your groceries to store you can
21:51
you go to the grocery store I think
21:53
right now having some Rando show up at
21:54
your house with your car you might
21:56
actually feel better about going to the
21:58
facility and seeing what they’re doing
21:59
and how they’re practicing their hygiene
22:01
did what guidelines are practicing
22:02
versus substrains or showing up in your
22:04
house yeah and I might be a failure in
22:07
my part for messaging so no I think
22:09
you’re right I mean think about like you
22:10
have some strangers show up you don’t
22:12
know them
22:13
how are you going to deal with and
22:14
versed show up at the store
22:16
or you know there’s plastic on the seat
22:18
there’s plastic on the steering wheel
22:20
you know the cars
22:22
smells like Clorox right lately and you
22:25
know and we don’t have a fancy
22:27
equipments yeah the guy over is like hey
22:29
your paperwork six feet away you know
22:32
yeah oh go work through it fine I’m over
22:35
here shouting this day yeah yeah it’s
22:38
gonna be interesting
22:39
I’m really interested what will happen
22:43
after like you know that’s a long thing
22:46
we will social distancing pay a real big
22:49
impact you know will digital retailing
22:51
is it being forced into like the
22:54
mechanism of the new reality I don’t
22:57
know I mean I think it’s being forced I
23:00
think it’s being forced specifically by
23:01
OEMs I mean I think the problem and and
23:05
you know I talked with Rudy from roaster
23:07
a lot and he’s a big believer in this
23:08
and they don’t have champions saying
23:11
that this is the way we want to do
23:12
business because we believe in it
23:14
they’re being forced by OEM saying get
23:16
digital retailing your site right now
23:18
and I don’t think that’s a healthy or
23:20
long version of doing it and then I also
23:22
think digital retailing is like the car
23:25
business version of AI like everyone
23:27
uses that turn with no real concept of
23:31
what that means or what it means to them
23:32
I think to a lot of people don’t reach
23:34
telling it’s the payment calculator bbp
23:36
and the reality is that might be digital
23:39
retailing for some people or their
23:40
version of it but you know the reason we
23:42
want to roadster because we believe that
23:43
it was truly digital retail because I
23:45
could not only see someone penciling a
23:47
deal but I could then build in the trade
23:49
equity I could then send real numbers of
23:50
them I coulda just threw a penny perfect
23:53
tax number that’s in a locality and send
23:55
that back to them they get signed those
23:57
little things that that that kind of
23:59
software does is what I would consider
24:00
to retain because I can sell a car I can
24:02
desk a deal digitally without them being
24:04
with me and so I think that yeah they’re
24:08
getting you know conscious you know with
24:10
slightly today saying that it was a
24:12
third of dealers and now it’s half of
24:13
you or so distributes on but again that
24:15
definition is so vague yeah yeah I mean
24:20
like I always think I think you’re 100%
24:23
and I’ve learned that from Todd and
24:25
other dealers and me in the past if
24:29
if you’re not committed to it it
24:31
trickles through the whole organization
24:33
you know if you can get a product
24:34
because you think you have to have it
24:36
first you get it because you want it
24:38
because you see the true benefits of it
24:41
I think it’s very different so yeah
24:43
that’s that ownership taking ownership
24:45
of a tool like digital retailing and you
24:49
have to let it permeate the entire
24:51
organization philosophically it can’t
24:54
just be hey we have a digital retailing
24:57
lane and I think that’s almost everybody
24:59
was like this is our normal lane in our
25:01
store yeah we have a digital retailing
25:03
Lane over here that’s a different Lane
25:05
and I think that’s a mistake and yeah I
25:09
think it has to come into there’s only
25:12
one way right by I couldn’t go any more
25:15
I mean yeah I can’t hear anymore I mean
25:17
I think it’s the the best thing about
25:20
digital retailing it’s also the worst
25:22
thing London retailing is I think if
25:24
you’re going to want to do it you have
25:25
to want to be transparent with your
25:27
customers and I think that that’s
25:28
something that would scare most dealers
25:30
that scares us off and you’re like
25:33
that’s that’s a we try we try to do that
25:35
the best we can I mean it’s like I
25:38
either summer I talk about there’s a
25:40
reason anybody I make if you’re scared
25:41
to show them what your warranty costs is
25:44
like what you’re warned that one scoffs
25:46
what do you want you prices the customer
25:48
worried if you’re unwilling to discuss
25:49
that just don’t even look into digital
25:50
don’t bother going into it like it just
25:52
you’re dead before this thing started
25:54
because that’s one of the things that
25:56
gets asked to us constantly and even
25:58
internally we still discuss this a lot
25:59
is what’s the reality of the loss of
26:02
payment shock because you’ve got someone
26:05
sitting in front of you and you’re
26:06
discussing really high interest rates
26:08
because like I said before were subprime
26:09
interest you can kind of explain it and
26:12
go over their credit report explained to
26:13
them why just gonna happen how it’s
26:15
gonna get better
26:15
what the next steps are but if you’re
26:17
just showing 22 interest rates and then
26:19
they just say I can’t afford a car I’m
26:21
out of the market like I’m done there I
26:22
know that but that’s a real cost so we
26:24
can never calculate but that’s that’s
26:27
worth it for us like the reality of
26:28
being transparent the customers I think
26:30
long-term is is gonna build our brand in
26:32
a better way than if we were hiding
26:34
those numbers and showing them false
26:35
falsely low interest rates right and
26:39
look I agree 100 because name one
26:41
company that’s
26:43
highly transparent that’s not successful
26:46
like banking yeah I mean I don’t know
26:50
yeah how there’s a good one right yeah
26:57
like I mean almost is truly transparent
27:02
you know you’re you’re gonna be more
27:05
successful like I always like drift
27:07
those guys
27:08
David cancel and all which is a you know
27:11
online buy kind of chat widget and
27:14
unbelievably transparent and everything
27:17
they do and I found that interesting and
27:19
that’s that maybe it’s more of a SAS
27:21
mindset than a lot of other companies
27:25
and you know our industry is rooted in a
27:27
hundred plus year old industry I says so
27:30
right little challenging but yeah I
27:33
think it’s interesting I love this stuff
27:35
I mean I’m excited to see what comes out
27:37
of this I hope I hope we create better
27:40
experiences for customers and I hope we
27:42
leverage technology better that we get
27:45
more value out of these tools to create
27:48
the better experiences for our customers
27:50
as well as for the employees that you
27:53
just make it easier for them that they
27:55
don’t have to feel like I have to go to
27:57
the desk and get pounded go back to the
28:00
customer get pounded like Kay here it is
28:03
I’m just a facilitator you know yeah I’m
28:06
gonna and if the industry gets better it
28:08
helps every single person in it I mean
28:10
if the if the mindset of the customer
28:12
towards our initial changes because of
28:14
an experience that they had even a
28:16
competitor of yours that benefits you
28:18
and so I think everybody kind of go into
28:21
this model is there’s a good thing at
28:23
the end of the day but the concern is
28:26
going to be what’s the long-term
28:27
ramifications of people being forced
28:28
into something that we don’t believe in
28:31
and you know I think they’ll figure it
28:34
out I think if there was if there’s some
28:35
hesitation that’s gets them over that
28:37
little that beginning that’s yeah I
28:39
think it comes down to training to that
28:42
top-down commitment and in commitment to
28:45
Train forever yeah and understanding why
28:48
you’re doing it to I mean if if the why
28:51
right now it’s just because I need to
28:53
sell car to keep because I need to sell
28:55
car that’s
28:56
that’s not a sustainable why right fat
28:59
that’s a good point man they’re right on
29:01
yeah
29:02
well cool man I super appreciate getting
29:04
to spend some time with you it’s always
29:06
nice and I’ll Stackhouse
29:08
I got quarantined up in my like attic
29:10
area with my Philadelphia Eagles vet
29:14
stadium seats that I’ve been lugging
29:16
around for 20 years since they knocked
29:18
that thing down I was like I will keep
29:20
them alive ever and what the ones saying
29:22
ascendant yeah pretty much yeah DFS I
29:25
have a little package of batteries next
29:28
to it I can throw an email if they come
29:30
near my attic yeah and snowballs the
29:36
jail in the basement it’s great yeah I
29:39
I’ll give you a very funny story about
29:41
it my dad told me my dad helped built
29:43
the bat Stadium a whole area Slee a told
29:46
me a story I mean I still remember this
29:48
he said that so you know they put the
29:51
jail in the bottom of that Stadium which
29:53
was crazy in itself but they had him at
29:57
a man as the magistrate or whatever
29:58
there and the first guy they brought in
30:01
like all beat up drunk and the judge is
30:05
like yeah you know disorderly conduct
30:07
bla bla bla he’s like how do you plead
30:09
and a guy literally vomits everywhere
30:12
and it judges like guilty 20 bucks or
30:15
whatever it wasn’t like Hold’em away
30:17
anslee hilarious like these stories yeah
30:21
Hall of Fame Philadelphia that’s great
30:23
yeah I know man that’s how it works
30:25
along so well cool man let’s definitely
30:27
keep up in touch love to I mean we have
30:30
some other stuff to talk about later and
30:32
yeah I’m looking forward to seeing what
30:35
comes of this and you know I want to
30:38
keep watching your progress and see how
30:40
you’re working because it’s exciting
30:42
yeah yeah I appreciate the time you’re
30:44
all in this together and we’re gonna get
30:45
through it as an industry so absolutely
30:47
so hold on one second

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