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The Walk Around
21 minutes | Jan 17, 2022
EP40 - Optimize Your Sales Process in 2022
Whether it’s in-store, online, or a hybrid of both approaches to sales, your dealership’s process can always use at least some level of refinement. But with so many changes in our industry and among our consumers, how do dealers create a system that works for them and their customers? Beau Jarrett, VP at JM&A Group, joined our hosts Nick Funsch and Danny Vendrell to share his insights about optimizing the sales drive and meeting the demands of an evolving consumer base. Speaking from hands-on experience, Beau broke down some of the methods and tactics that he has seen work for successful dealers. He also shared his view of 2022 – and how dealers can take steps to keep up with market and consumer trends. A great conversation that addresses some of our industry’s most important questions: How can dealers assess opportunities for improvement? What are some of the trends dealers should be thinking about for 2022? Are inventory challenges enabling bad habits among sales teams? How can dealers navigate the challenges of in-store vs online retailing? Beau leaves us with an important takeaway: whether it’s online or in-store, the sales process is still about people. Learning to listen – to your customers, your team, and your industry colleagues – sets you and your dealership up for continued success and prosperity. Beau Jarrett started his career in automotive after working in customer experience in other industries. His retail automotive journey began on the sales floor and quickly moved to the finance side of the business. He has delivered results for JM&A Group and its customers for over 14 years, serving our Southeast region in various management and leadership roles. After many years and varied experiences, Beau still feels inspired by what excited him about working, in the first place: people. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
28 minutes | Dec 20, 2021
EP39 - The Benefits of Adding Auto Insurance to the Dealership Process
Adding an extra step to the retail automotive sales process seems like a crazy idea. But...what if that extra step can potentially create savings for consumers, as well as an average of $538 in F&I gross on the backend for dealers? Would that be an extra step worth taking? Ryan Fitzgerald, VP of Business Development at DealerPolicy, thought so. He and his company created a seamless integration that empowers dealers to connect their customers to licensed DealerPolicy Insurance agents so they can get great deals on auto insurance – at the point of sale. When customers save money on auto insurance through DealerPolicy before signing on the dotted line, dealers may turn those savings into potential profits or higher margin vehicles at the store. Happy customers, happy dealers. Ryan visited The Walk Around podcast to chat about the early days of DealerPolicy and the impact his company has had on both dealers and consumers. In this episode, we’ll discuss: How auto insurance at point of sale created other opportunities for profits What we hope to experience in our industry, in 2022 How dealers can introduce new products and services to the sales process Ryan leaves us with a key takeaway: seamlessness makes a big difference. Vendors that refine the technology dealerships use to offer consumers the best value possible can win big in 2022. Born into a retail automotive family, Ryan began his professional career at a young age. From assisting with test drives to owning his own independent dealership, Ryan has hands-on experience in the industry. After completing his studies at the University of Vermont, Ryan also achieved success for many years as an investment banker – before returning to the automotive industry to build what would become DealerPolicy. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
24 minutes | Dec 6, 2021
EP38 - Lessons from a Career in Automotive
A long career in automotive is neither an easy feat nor a boring journey. In an industry that continues to evolve alongside customer needs, technology, oil and gas prices, and car maker innovations, staying power depends on our ability to adapt and share knowledge. Ed Sheehy, President of Southeast Toyota Distributors, joined The Walk Around podcast for a frank conversation about the lessons lived and learned through his decades-long career in automotive. Ed will soon be a retired veteran of our industry. He plans to enjoy some boredom, improve his golf game, travel, and keep his mind sharp by learning Italian. In the meantime, he answered some very helpful questions: What are some of the big changes in our industry over the past 30 years? How has the industry remained the same – what's the common thread, no matter the chapter? What’s on the automotive horizon? Ed also reflected on his career, sharing wisdom for dealers by revisiting some of his own successes and lessons. His number one piece of advice to dealers? Pay attention to all trends, particularly those effecting consumer behavior, and be prepared to adapt regularly. Change, even when it feels sudden, is normally gradual, announcing its arrival in subtle ways well in advance of mass adoption. The best retailers will be looking for the indicators and already moving. Ed leaves us with an important takeaway: study up on all types of business and industries, because automotive does not exist in a bubble. Ed Sheehy leads Southeast Toyota Distributors as President and has been with JM Family and SET since the early 1990’s. A true veteran of our industry, he has been part of some of the automotive industry’s best and most challenging chapters in recent history. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
25 minutes | Nov 22, 2021
EP37 - Focus on Your People to Win in 2022
As a new year approaches, we start to look ahead with eyes made wise by the lightning-quick evolution of our industry. Quick pivots towards an emphasis on digital retail, a younger generation rising to the top of the consumer list, a chip shortage that won’t seem to end, and the emergence of EV’s as possibly more than a short trend, have all given our industry an opportunity to grow through challenge and opportunity. What should dealers be looking at and aiming their businesses towards, in the new year? From the perspective of a business built to support dealers in their growth and profitability, what are some of the keys to continued success for dealerships? Enter Frank Abate, Zone VP at JM&A Group. A seasoned automotive retail veteran, Frank has seen many trends become standards, changes that transformed the industry, and successful dealers that navigated challenges towards opportunities. He visited The Walk Around for a frank and insightful discussion about keys to dealership success. Hint: the list includes retention, prudent planning, and listening to consumers. What drives a high-performance showroom? How do successful dealers align people with purpose? What should dealers be doing to improve customer experience? How can dealers and their teams budget accordingly for 2022? What are some predictions for the new year? How can retail automotive talent prepare for long careers in our industry? Frank reminds us that ups and downs happen in our industry – but successful automotive retailers persevere when they stay true to their roots but evolve with the times. Frank Abate has enjoyed a long and successful career with JM Family. He worked alongside Founder Jim Moran three decades ago at JM Pontiac. Since then, he has continued to serve as a true partner for dealers and an expert in our industry’s keys to success. He also enjoys pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving...and Squish-Squish. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
26 minutes | Nov 8, 2021
EP36 - Invest in Diversity and Digital Retail to Evolve the Sales Process
Two of our industry’s most important topics for the past year have been digital retail and diversity in retail automotive. Some might see them as two separate topics, but Kerri Wise sees them as a singular call for innovation. As VP of Marketing at AutoFi and President of Women of Color Automotive Network (WOCAN), Kerri Wise has her finger on the pulse of both topics. She recently joined The Walk Around podcast for a conversation about embracing these two types of change in our industry – and the potential advantages she sees possible, if individual dealers get on board and move the needle before disruptors and dealer groups do. Among the questions we explore in this episode: Why should dealers invest in both digital retail and talent diversity? When it comes to digital retail innovation, should dealers stay on the sidelines and let someone else go first? What are the risks of trying new tools or steps in the automotive retail sales process vs keeping things as they are? How are digital retail and diversity similar, as opportunities for industry innovation – and what are the potential benefits of answering the call? Kerri leaves us with a brilliant idea: digital retail is just retail. If dealers can embrace the moment and break away from old ideas, they can optimize the sales experience for their customers AND their businesses. Imagine an industry where dealers and their teams can do more because they’re leveraging data, tools, and more diversity of perspectives in their workflows. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
25 minutes | Oct 25, 2021
EP35 - Meeting Consumer Demand Despite Low Inventory
As our industry continues to embrace and integrate digital retail tools and strategies, consumer data has more value than ever before. But what types of data should dealers be collecting and analyzing? And what should dealers be looking for in the data? More importantly, how can dealers use consumer data to inform their marketing, advertising, and sales tactics? Peter Leto, CEO at Foundation Direct, joins our very own Nick Funsch and Danny Vendrell for a candid and detailed conversation about the important role data plays in modern dealerships. Peter shares from his experience working with dealerships through Foundation Direct, as well as his previous experience at Google. Peter, Nick, and Danny break down data, marketing and advertising, and keys to digital retail success for dealerships. Among the questions answered in this episode: How can dealers meet the demand of consumers with limited inventory? What can dealers do to market at the increasing speed and expectations of consumers? How do dealers use data to impact the customer experience and increase through put in the store? What should dealers be thinking about when they analyze consumer data? Peter reminds us that consumer demand is at an all-time high, despite the inventory shortage – and that dealers have an unprecedented opportunity to meet consumers where they are on many platforms. All it takes is a commitment to using data to inform communications decisions. Prior to becoming CEO of Foundation Direct, Peter Leto led retail automotive initiatives for Google for 11 years – including serving as Founder of Google’s Retail Automotive division. He continues his work in our industry through Foundation Direct, where he helps guide long-term strategies and future-proof businesses. He can be found on LinkedIn or at Foundationdirect.com. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
29 minutes | Oct 11, 2021
EP34 - Data, Leadership, and Opportunity in Fixed Ops
Communication and teamwork have track records of success in businesses across all industries. In retail automotive, the need for collaboration has never been greater. As technology and customer experience evolves into a faster pace with more inputs and touch points, dealerships need to move swiftly and collaboratively in order to keep up with demand. How? By innovating and creating solutions as teams. One area of the dealership that stands to benefit from collaboration between departments is Fixed Ops. With a growing shortage of technicians and higher demand for new skills and certifications, service departments all over the country have been scrambling to find fresh talent. Warren Henry Automotive Group created a solution to this talent shortage that not only benefited their business but also created career opportunities for young people in the Miami-Dade area. Erik Day, Chief Financial Officer of Warren Henry Automotive Group, joins The Walk Around to discuss communication, leadership development, collaboration, data, and how their business created their own technicians. In this episode, we’ll break down: How to use data to help teams become more successful Keys to breaking down barriers between departments Addressing fears that limit knowledge sharing and training A solution to the technician shortage – and how Warren Henry created Fixed Ops opportunities Erik also leaves us with an important bit of wisdom...about wisdom: “Knowledge is knowing the answer; Wisdom is knowing what questions to ask.” A twenty-year veteran of the automotive industry, Erik Day has served as Chief Financial Officer of Warren Henry Automotive Group since 2005. He has led the business through growth and expansion, more than doubling revenue in his tenure. Erik started his automotive career in financial services, then OEM, then onto the retail side. His deep understanding of the vertical also includes hands-on experience with IT, programming, and database engineering. A true visionary, Erik Day also co-founded Flex Wheels, a vehicle subscription company and subsidiary of Warren Henry Automotive Group. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
31 minutes | Sep 27, 2021
EP33 - Our Favorite Moments From the Past Year
Time really does fly. We started The Walk Around a year ago to share industry insights and introduce our Insiders to retail automotive thought leaders. Here we are, with over 30 episodes recorded and thousands of listens from all over the world. Thank you all for being part of the show – as guests, listeners, and fans. This week, our hosts Nick Funsch and Danny Vendrell celebrate one year of epic conversations by reflecting on some of our most memorable moments: Jake McKenzie talks about margin compression and how to differentiate your dealership. Brian Benstock explains why customers value time more than money. Jason Stein breaks down how the pandemic accelerated digital retail in automotive. Jesse Itzler shares how to start building your life resume. Michelle DiTondo explains the importance of communication during a period of disruption. TJ Prayner discusses the ways that digital retail reflects the world we live in. Damon Lester emphasizes the importance of embracing diversity in automotive retail leadership. Bob Lanham shines light on the differences and influence of sales vs marketing backgrounds among dealership leaders. Brian Kramer breaks down how to keep leadership and teams motivated during digital transformations. Sacha Lindekens explains how to use empathy to understand customers and boost sales. Nick and Danny share their excitement about the state of our industry, the future of retail automotive, and the varied perspectives, tools, and strategies available to dealers right now. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
23 minutes | Sep 7, 2021
EP32 - How Dealers Can Reduce Friction for Buyers and Sellers
The past few years have raised the bar for automotive retail online shopping. Technology continues to improve and top shoppers become younger. What can dealers do to keep their sales pipeline flowing towards profitability? Enter Durran Cage, Founder and CEO of Cage Automotive. He joins The Walk Around podcast for an exclusive conversation about the modern sales process, improving customer experience, and reducing friction points for both buyers and sellers. What should GSM’s and Internet Directors at dealerships be focused on? How can dealers identify the friction points in their sales process? Where is retail automotive headed? How can dealers self-evaluate and prepare for change at their stores? In a conversation loaded with actionable advice, Durran Cage leaves us with this nugget: Use praise to reinforce the behaviors you want more of at your dealership. Self-evaluation and process optimization is important, but equally important to the success of your dealership is the buy-in of your team. Durran Cage is a 15-year veteran of retail automotive. He began his career on the sales floor, moving up then over to Chrysler, where he became a District Sales Manager in Memphis, TN. In 2008, as the economy stumbled, Durran saw promise and opportunity in online sales and marketing. Putting it to work worked for him and his team, and a few years later Durran moved from dealership to consulting. In 2018, he founded his own company, Cage Automotive, where he and his team impact the employee and customer experience on all levels. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
25 minutes | Aug 30, 2021
EP31 - Why Marketing Affects All Aspects of Your Dealership
Imagine an automotive retail future in which the external perception of our industry has shifted towards heightened interest in entry-level positions, seamless customer experiences, and long-term profitability for dealers. That is a snapshot of a future that Kyle Mountsier, Founder of Contagious Auto and Host of The Contagious Podcast, is working towards. How? By helping dealers improve their operations processes, shift internal perceptions, and move our industry in the direction of longevity. Kyle joins our very own Nick Funsch and Danny Vendrell on The Walk Around, for an exclusive conversation about three of his passions: advancing automotive retail technology, shifts in people and dealer culture, and transformational marketing teams that impact all aspects of the business through their practices. Among the topics discussed in this conversation: How can dealerships change the industry through marketing? What should dealers be considering, in terms of branding and technology? How can an investment in internal marketing benefit the bottom line of a dealership? What are some keys to a successful integration of new marketing technologies? Kyle leaves us with a thoughtful takeaway: Creating brand loyalty is a multilayer process that requires intention, innovation, and investment on many levels. If dealers make the commitment to empowering their marketing teams with the tools and support they need, internal shifts will benefit the profitability of their businesses. Kyle Montsier is a twelve-year veteran of retail automotive. His career includes leadership roles in almost all departments of dealerships, but his passion for the industry has been expressed most recently through marketing and communications. A visionary with a true passion for people, technology, and all things automotive, Kyle works with dealers and dealer groups to support operational efficiencies that move the needle for their businesses and the industry at large. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
24 minutes | Aug 16, 2021
EP30 - Adapt Your Digital Marketing for Today’s Consumer
Denise Galiatsatos, President of PCG Digital, joins our very own Nick Funsch and Danny Vendrell for an exclusive conversation about digital marketing, advertising, and branding on this episode of The Walk Around. As the consumer profile evolves towards a younger, more tech-savvy audience, marketing and advertising will also need to adapt. In this chat about meeting your customers online, Denise answers some of the industry’s most pressing questions: How can dealers differentiate themselves in today’s digital space? What impacts to brand voice have we seen in the past 18 months? How can dealers balance price-driven messages and mission or culture-driven messages? Where is retail automotive heading – and what can dealers do to move in the direction of long-term profits? Denise leaves us with a valuable automotive retail digital marketing tip: Facebook and Instagram advertising deliver best bang for the buck. If dealers focus on helping the new wave of consumers understand why they would want to be customers, the results could be game-changing on these platforms. As President of PCG Digital, a full-service agency that specializes in digital automotive advertising, Denise Galiatsatos is passionate about helping dealers find their brand voice and bringing their messages to shoppers. She and her team have helped dealers maximize their ad spend and ROI on Facebook and Instagram by using social media sales funnels. Denise has also demonstrated her expertise by serving the larger community as a public speaker and educator, with international experience and keynote addresses at conferences. A published author, Denise has taken readers on a journey to understand and fully utilize the digital landscape, in her book, “Can You See Me Now?” Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
20 minutes | Aug 2, 2021
EP29 - Consumer Data Trends to Watch with Tyson Jominy of J.D. Power
Even in an industry that relies heavily on interpersonal connection and intuition, retail automotive depends on data and analysis now more than ever before. When it comes to consumer knowledge, J.D. Power has set a high standard. On this episode of The Walk Around, Nick Funsch and Danny Vendrell are joined by Tyson Jominy, Vice President of Data and Analytics at J.D. Power. An automotive veteran, Tyson Jominy has been with J.D. Power since 2009 and the Ford Motor Company before that. Working with OEMs on pricing and incentives, Tyson’s impact on our industry has been felt both at J.D. Power and at dealerships across North America. He shares his thoughts on some of the most telling consumer insights from J.D. Power’s extensive research from the past year. Besides the imbalance of vehicle supply and consumer demand, 2020’s impact has been felt on the sales floor in big ways. Baby Boomers have been replaced by millennials as the number one buying group, opening a door for new ways of sourcing and serving customers. Higher-end vehicle sales increased since last year, with sales above $80,000 doubling while sales below $20,000 dipped 30%. Tyson breaks down even more insights from J.D. Power’s vault of consumer data and research, answering questions that include: What are the current trends and how long will current trends last? How have millennials impacted automotive retail? Which direction do we see the EV trend moving towards? How can dealers prepare for the inevitable shift in vehicle supply? What does current data predict for the rest of 2021? Tyson also reminds us that despite low inventory, profits are still high. Dealers should stay the course and invest profits in tools to meet the needs of a new wave of customers. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
26 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
EP28 - Talent Development for Better Retention and Recruiting
With over a decade of hands-on experience in leadership development roles, Kevin Dean, Chief Development Officer for Joe Bullard Automotive, began his tenure with the dealership as a consultant. After a successful engagement, the dealership invited Kevin to join the team and further enhance the company’s talent development program and processes. To gain experience and perspective, Kevin began his full-time tenure at Joe Bullard Automotive as a sales manager, then as a general manager for their Acura store. With a better understanding of the nuts and bolts of the business, Kevin set his sights on creating a talent development program that would stand the test of time. By using surveys and testing ideas, Kevin created Driven, a program that modernized and optimized talent, hiring, and recruitment. A family-owned business with three generations of history, Joe Bullard Automotive and its leader, Ty Bullard, already knew that evolution was the key to longevity in our industry. Kevin and the team implemented the new system, refining it over time so it suited the company’s culture and aligned with its long-term goals. Kevin Dean joins The Walk Around’s Nick Funsch and Danny Vendrell for a conversation about investing in existing talent and development as a means towards a better bottom line and a stronger company culture. Among the topics they discuss: Beyond improvements in retention and recruitment, can a development program transformation impact dealership results? What does a successful program for developing talent look like? When using surveys, how can dealers create regularity and accuracy? How can the lessons learned in training sessions become habits at a dealership? How can dealerships get middle management more involved in talent development? In an episode loaded with wisdom, Kevin Dean reminds us that “what got you here won’t get you there.” A willingness to adapt and invest in the tools, tactics, and time needed to evolve will help dealers optimize their existing development processes, improve retention rates, attract top talent, and boost their bottom line. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
38 minutes | Jul 6, 2021
EP27 - What Digital Retail Really Means for Your Dealership
Born and raised in an automotive family, Joe St. John has a lifetime of industry experience and success. Currently serving Stone Eagle as SVP of BizDev, Joe started his retail automotive career early...selling his first car at age 5. From there, Joe grew into a role on the sales floor and became the General Manager of a dealership by age 30. He expanded his toolkit in Silicon Valley, taking on leadership roles and deepening his understanding of technology. His academic and career successes earned him a teaching role at Oklahoma State University, where he has been celebrated for his passion and innovative teaching style. A seasoned expert in technology, data, and retail automotive, Joe St. John’s mission at Stone Eagle is to help dealers maximize profitability. As our industry reshapes in the wake of 2020’s global pandemic, Joe sees tremendous opportunity for dealers in the adoption of technologies and the embrace of consumer data. 2020’s lessons taught dealers the bottom-line value of adopting technologies that improve the customer experience and shorten the distance between a customer inquiry and a sale. According to Joe, investments in automotive retail technology are investments in the consumer lifecycle. Technology increases efficiency, improves margins, and creates upsell opportunities for dealers of all sizes. In this fun and fact-filled episode of The Walk Around, Joe St. John and JM&A Group’s very own Nick Funsch address these important questions: Why is digital retail being embraced by some of the industry’s biggest players? What are some of the trends in automotive retail technology for 2021? At the dealer level, what is the “x-factor” in digital retail? How are new vs used margins being impacted by the events of the past and present year? What should dealers be preparing and planning for? Joe leaves us with an insightful takeaway: Efficiency is the magic lever to pull for profitability. Technology plus a human can be better than either one or the other. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
31 minutes | Jun 22, 2021
EP26 - How to Boost Fixed Ops Revenue with Google
Tony Carroll, Senior Automotive Strategist at Google, returns to The Walk Around to discuss how Google products like Search and Analytics can help dealers increase Fixed Ops market share. A 20-year veteran of the Automotive industry, Tony started his career in retail. With a decade of experience with an OEM before joining Google five years ago, Tony understands many of the challenges and opportunities dealers consider as they grow their businesses. He joins Nick Funsch, Director, ACE/F&I Specialist & Associate Development, for a candid chat about why dealers should be investing in Google Search and measuring their results closely. Currently, there are over 280 million vehicles on the road (and all-time high) and the average age of those vehicles is now 11.9 years (another all-time high). As vehicles age, so does the demand for parts and service. But how are consumers finding what they need to maintain their vehicles? Current metrics report that 43% of vehicle owners who purchased parts and service called directly from Google searches. Another important metric to consider is the amount of parts and service business being both captured and lost by dealers. In a $350 billion industry, only 30% of the business is being captured by dealers. The rest is being won by independents. What can dealers do to increase market share and boost business in their service drives? Tony recommends the following: Advertise on Google Search Start with radius targeting around your store, keeping your business local Measure spend vs results and other key metrics Calculate ROI and allocate budget accordingly Over time, dealers can also expand their radius, use Google’s machine learning to optimize bidding, and integrate video and YouTube into their advertising strategies. Google’s goal is to help dealers drive profitability and service their communities. Tony leaves us with something to consider: If a competitor stood at the counter of your service drive and poached your customers, you would likely be upset. According to Tony, that is what is happening online in today’s marketplace. Therefore, he recommends that dealers take the necessary steps to win and retain Fixed Ops customers via search and other Google tools. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
25 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
EP25 - How to Prepare Your Dealership for 2021 and Beyond
One of the most recognizable faces and reliable voices in Retail Automotive, Jim Fitzpatrick from CBT News has been immersed in our industry for over 25 years. Jim began his Retail Automotive career on the sales floor of Toyota dealerships in South Florida, rising to the role of Dealer Principal by age 40. During his storied career, Jim has also held executive positions at JM&A Group and AutoNation. In 2004, Jim founded Force Marketing, which quickly became one of the biggest digital marketing companies in the automotive industry. In 2012, with his wife and business partner, Bridget, Jim co-founded CBT News – the only news platform specifically for Retail Automotive, at that time. With over 300,000 unique monthly visitors and daily newsletters received by over 37,000 subscribers, CBT News serves our industry as a leading source for news, training, best practices, and marketing trends. Fun fact: more people view news segments on CBT News than any other automotive media platform. With decades of hands-on experience and a following that includes franchise dealers, OEM executives, and vendors, Jim Fitzpatrick has more sight lines than most in our industry. He joins Nick Funsch and Danny Vendrell on The Walk Around podcast for a conversation about how dealers can set themselves up for success as consumers and technologies evolve. Among the burning questions we discuss in this episode: Which industry topics should dealers be focused on in 2021? What did 2020’s pandemic teach us about digital retail and the consumer shopping experience? Is digital retail here to stay, worth investing in, or a fad that will eventually lose momentum? How can dealers position themselves for growth, regardless of their current opinions about digital retail? Will the EV surge continue, and what can dealers do about it? Jim leaves us with important reminders for dealers to listen to their customers and peers, embrace some of the changes, and adapt their businesses to meet consumers where they are. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
31 minutes | May 24, 2021
EP24 - How to Modernize Your Talent Processes for a New Generation
Did you know that, since the 1980’s, almost 2.6 million prime-age men in the US have chosen to opt out of the workforce? Or that COVID-19 has created a labor shortage in the United States? Kevin Hull knows. And he joined Nick Funsch and Danny Vendrell for an episode of The Walk Around podcast ripe with tips and insights about dealer talent challenges and opportunities post-COVID. Currently serving JM&A Group’s customers as our Dealer Talent Services Manager, Kevin Hull is no stranger to recruitment or talent. Once a recipient of the South Florida Business Journal’s prestigious 40 Under 40 Award, Kevin earned his reputation in the talent and recruitment industry at award-winning executive search firms. A self-described “human optimist” with a sincere passion for his work, Kevin also embodies his worldview through his involvement with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and his dedication to his family and local community. On this episode of The Walk Around, Kevin shares with Nick and Danny what he has learned about talent, recruitment and retention, since the beginning of the pandemic. Among the topics covered: The current state of talent and what top dealers are doing today to turn new challenges into opportunities What steps employers can take to successfully match the right roles with the right applicants? The differences between the customer journey and the applicant journey (hint: there shouldn’t be any) Three steps dealers can take to modernize their talent, retention and recruitment strategies and processes Kevin leaves us with a key takeaway: focus on people, but leverage gut and science in your process. Dealers who consider multiple data sources put themselves in the driver’s seat when it comes to finding, hiring and keeping top talent. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
32 minutes | May 10, 2021
EP23 - The Right Way to Digitize the Sales Process at Your Dealership
On this episode of The Walk Around, Nick and Danny welcome Brian Kramer, General Manager at Germain Toyota in Naples, Florida. Once a recipient of the prestigious 40 Under 40 Award from Automotive News, Brian has decades of experience piloting digital solutions for many dealerships in the United States. He has been leading Germain Toyota’s digital transformation initiative, refining processes and removing friction points in sales transactions. Currently, his team is paving even more of that path by implementing a paperless process at Germain Toyota. He shares more about his hands-on experience and what he and his teams have learned along their journey of digital transformation. Some key takeaways from this episode: Look at the whole ecosystem, consider all the pieces and players in the sales process Budget time and resources for error losses, along the way Listen to customers and try to keep up with their needs and feedback Brian Kramer reminds us that the biggest key to a successful digital transformation is to know your “why.” He shares that when we lead with clarity and assemble a team that aligns with that purpose, the results will be worth the investments. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
28 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
EP22 - What Are Car Buyers Really Saying About Virtual F&I?
Jonathan Jordan, Virtual F&I & Sales Strategy Manager at JM&A Group, knew from a young age that his career would be in automotive. Fascinated by sales and service process, he started working in dealer stores as early as college. After many years of learning, honing and sharpening his skills, he focused his attention on F&I. When the pandemic hit, Jonathan and his team at JM&A Group were already piloting and learning from a rollout of Virtual F&I. As dealers scrambled to integrate online shopping and buying experiences for their customers, Jonathan and his team were at the ready with expertise earned through real implementation and evaluation. Jonathan Jordan’s team believes that Virtual F&I, as well as online shopping tools, is vital to the success of dealers – both online and in stores. With hands-on experience and research to back it up, he joins Nick Funsch and Danny Vendrell of The Walk Around for a chat about the reality of Virtual F&I. Jonathan shares his knowledge by posing some important questions: When it comes to shopping and buying F&I products online, what do customers want? How can dealers help their customers explore and understand the options available to them, via online tools? What do dealers need, in order to make the buying process work as well as it already does in-store? Jonathan Jordan also left us with a key to success for implementing any new technology to a dealer store: having good processes in place. Dealers who focus on refinement and improving what might not seem broken will have an easier time integrating Virtual F&I into their stores. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
33 minutes | Apr 12, 2021
EP21 - How to Market Your Dealership Efficiently
Bob Lanham started his career selling cars at a Toyota dealership in the Southeast part of the country. Since then, he has risen through the ranks of the dealership, eventually becoming the Sales Director at Hulu which led him to his current position as the Head of Automotive Retail at Facebook. Having worked closely with dealer groups, manufacturers, franchise dealers, and OEMs, he brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Bob shares his take on how the industry reacted to the pandemic and what shifts he’s seen. With sales volume cut by 70+ percent for some, dealers learned quickly that they had to understand marketing and media in a way that cut costs but still allowed for an effective return. His team believes that the average dealer can cut about 30- 50% of their marketing spend and still market effectively by leveraging a media mix marketing strategy. Bob shares steps that the GMs of today can take to drive this strategy in their stores: Step 1: Outline all your marketing and advertising expenses. Including cost! Map it all out. Step 2: Ask a lot of questions and make sure your expenses are, in fact, investments. What is your return? Are the people handling your marketing and ad spend up to the task? Step 3: Never look at what media you buy in a silo. This includes all media and advertising initiatives. Media platforms do not work in a silo they work together and drive each other. Step 4: Keep an active role in communicating if you use a vendor for your marketing and media. Bob Lanham left us with two principles to keep top of mind: Your advertising and marketing spend is not meant to be a tax. When you take away the bias of how you buy media and look at what you should and should not buy, your media mix becomes more powerful. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
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