Add by RSS Feed
Get the Android app
Get the iOS app
The Walk Around
A car dealership podcast that brings all things automotive to your listening ears! Learn how to grow your dealership, or grow your automotive career with sales, Finance, Fixed Operations, and Leadership insights.
Sep 26, 2022
EP52 - The Walk Around Podcast Turns Two!
It’s 2022, we can celebrate podcast birthdays right? Well it’s our second birthday at The Walk Around podcast, and we couldn’t be more excited. Throughout the production of more than 50 episodes (wow!), we’ve discussed the automotive trends and issues facing the modern industry with thought leaders across the nation. In this episode, Marc Spoto and Elliot Schor are joined by our first season’s podcast hosts Danny Vendrell and Nick Funsch. Together, they reflect on highlights from the past two years and end with – you guessed it – A Schor Thing. And a special, heartfelt thanks to one former host who helped shape the beginning of The Walk Around. Thank you to all who have listened – we’ve had over 10,000 listens on our episodes! We hope you’re learning plenty of actionable tips for improving processes in all areas of your dealership. Make sure to subscribe so you know when new episodes are released. 😎 Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Sep 1, 2022
EP51 - What Should Dealers Focus On To Drive Growth?
Matt Poepsel, PhD, VP of Professional Services at The Predictive Index (PI), a leading talent optimization software platform, discusses the ways leaders can promote transformation among their business practices and teams. He started his career as a Marine, then went on to become a leadership author and speaker who is passionate about the intersection of business and people aspects in an organization through talent optimization. He answers the questions leaders from all industries may already – or should— be asking for strategy enhancement, effective business leadership and fostering people development. With his background at PI, Matt talks about embracing leaders’ and employees’ unique traits and positioning each team member in a role that suits their characteristics in order to create cohesive teams. Hear why, for fun, he calls himself, ‘The Godfather of Talent Optimization.’ His memorable catch phrases will be sure to stick in your mind long after listening to the podcast. What else you’ll hear: * The need for a humanistic side in leadership with transparency and integrity * Acknowledging generational gaps in values and context at dealerships * ‘Being, Belonging, and something bigger than myself’ – how Matt’s necessary “3 killer Bs” have affected business operations amidst post- pandemic and recent societal changes * Nature vs. Nurture in terms of business leadership and developing people – is one more important than the other? * Dealership brand loyalty and brand extension – Matt’s response is the “holy grail” that OEM executives will appreciate ;) Dealers, you’ll learn actionable tips – and quality advice – for upholding strong leadership values and people practices at your dealership. For more about Matt, visit his LinkedIn profile. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Aug 29, 2022
EP50 - KC Crain Talks Family Business Dealings and Automotive News
KC Crain says he doesn’t like to give advice – only opinions, but we think the insights he gives are quite compelling. From starting as a reporter to his current role as CEO at Crain Communications, a publishing company that includes dealer-favorite Automotive News, he has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to working with family and managing customers to navigating the influence he has overseeing an industry-leading publication. Based in the Detroit area, KC is active in business and civic activities and is passionate about the city’s current and future growth. Listen in to the podcast where our hosts Marc Spoto and Elliot Schor hear KC’s take on: * Family-run businesses - conflicts, benefits and his opinion on raising the next generation * Turning frustrated customers into long-term relationships * The age-old battle of print vs. digital content * Automotive News and the pressure of being an industry leader * EV and the Tesla effect – Will EVs be a majority of future sales? Will some EV manufacturers fold in the next few years? For more about KC, visit his LinkedIn profile. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Aug 15, 2022
EP49 - The Power of Customer Segmentation
From humble beginnings living on a hog farm in the Midwest, to Chief Revenue Officer at EchoPark Automotive, Sonic’s nationwide pre-owned vehicle sales company, Thein Truong’s career history is a testament to the benefits of versatility in business dealings. He’s had successful positions in the worlds of finance, consumer packaged goods companies like PepsiCo, and technology startups. So why did he transition to the auto industry? Thein delves into this career move and explains why he finds the passion and knowledge in this industry to be so incredible. Through his multifaceted careers and work experience in consumer-facing industries, Thein has a unique perspective on the automotive industry’s dealer-facing focus. He shares the areas he believes could help the industry save time, build lasting relationships with customers, and improve processes. What else is covered in the podcast: * How the auto industry can learn from Nestlé’s realization that US consumers wanted bottled water before they knew they wanted it * The power of customer segmentation – knowing your consumer’s lifestyles and needs * The importance of value-added time – and quality time at that - when dealing with consumers and educating them before AND after the sales process is completed * Where Thein sees EV sales going and whether he thinks consumers are ready. His answer may surprise you! * Brick and mortar dealerships - a thing of the past? * And they even discuss how customer segmentation in the automotive industry can relate to...Starbucks? Grab a cup of coffee and listen in to get all the details. For more about Thien, visit his LinkedIn profile. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Jul 5, 2022
EP48 - What Are Your Customers Really Thinking?
Ever wonder what’s really going on behind those Sales Satisfaction and Customer Service Index reports? In addition to serving as industry benchmarks, you should be using them as more than tools to measure and improve results. Doug Betts, President of the Automotive division of J.D. Power explains all this and more in this episode of The Walk Around. Listen in for his take on hot topics like: * In what ways does pursuing a better CSI score potentially hurt the customer experience? * What are some ways dealers can better utilize these reports or capitalize on new opportunities through J.D. Power? * What has J.D. Power learned about “configuration complexity” in car customization and customer experience? How can too many options hurt dealers, sales and customers? * What does research show about customer willingness to adopt EVs? What role does infrastructure play? * Is J.D. Power working on a way to measure quality in EV batteries so customers can buy used EVs with confidence? For more about Doug, visit his LinkedIn profile. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Jun 20, 2022
EP47 - The Cool Factor: How A Rebrand Journey Reshaped Kia
From their cool Robo Dog Super Bowl commercial to big hits in vehicle rollouts, Kia is riding an incredible wave of momentum and innovation. Its branding journey has shaped the look and feel of its products and dealerships as well as their talent. From a mobility transformation and commitment to remain a leader in the EV space, its plans for the future are bringing new buyers and profitability to the brand. In this episode of The Walk Around, Eric Watson, Vice President of Sales Operations for Kia North America, shares his insights into industry trends like consolidation (good or bad?), the future for EVs, and the million-dollar question: will inventory ever go back to normal? Catch the full episode for answers to questions like: * How has Kia’s “cool” brand strategy translated into dealer profits? * Is a direct-to-consumer model in Kia’s future? * What does an ideal inventory supply level look like for the future of the industry? * Is customer experience a differentiator for dealers now that they can’t rely on inventory? * From an OEM perspective, what is your view on consolidations? Is it healthy for the industry? * How has Kia anticipated consumer expectations for EVs? * Is there technology on the horizon to help overcome EV obstacles? For more about Eric, visit his LinkedIn profile. Watch the full episode here or listen on your favorite podcast streaming site. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Jun 6, 2022
EP46 - Bright Future for Dealerships of All Sizes, Expert Says Alan Haig
For those in the automotive sales industry, Alan Haig’s word is as good as gold. Haig, founder and president of Haig Partners, has been involved in the purchase or sale of more than 350 dealerships with a total value of $5.1 billion. He is also a former senior VP of Corporate Development with AutoNation. In this episode of The Walk Around, Alan shares insights on how incredible the past year has been for dealerships and predicts what the future holds for “mom and pops.” Thinking about business ownership? He’s got advice for you, too. In this episode Alan answers pressing dealer questions like: * Are we in a “bubble” in terms of dealer valuations, and if so, where is it going? * Do you think dealers see a future for franchise dealerships? * With new business models from large-scale groups, are there still opportunities for small town dealers to differentiate themselves? * How can first-time business owners rise from the ranks? * If you were looking to make the move toward ownership in a smaller market, which brand would you target? * Do you think inventory levels will come back to where they were before? * Will manufacturers be satisfied with the market share they settle in? For more about Alan, visit his LinkedIn profile Watch the full episode here or on your favorite podcast streaming site. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
May 23, 2022
EP45 - Leadership Secrets from a Navy Seal
What do Navy Seals executing combat tactics have in common with running a car dealership? In a word, leadership. Best-selling author and decorated former Navy Seal officer Leif Babin sits down with us to share battle-worn lessons that will help unlock your most effective, efficient dealership. In this episode, Leif answers pressing dealer questions like: * What does “extreme ownership” mean? * How can you solve business problems with leadership? * What was one of your biggest mistakes on the battlefield that you still learn from today? * What happens when leaders miss the big picture? * Can you fail at being a good leader if you aren’t a good follower? * What was a great dealership experience you had recently and why? * Do the best dealerships build tactical or strategic relationships with customers? * How can “decentralized command” help your dealership grow? In this episode, Leif unpacks his best leadership advice that you can use immediately. “It’s easy to get sucked into what we’re doing, our daily tasks...and forget about the bigger picture, the other people that depend on us...the other resource we can utilize to help us be successful. Every leader...needs to be thinking about that all the time...It’s about the overall team and the overall mission.” Don’t miss this opportunity to learn critical strategies for leadership success straight from a Navy Seal. For more about Leif, visit his LinkedIn profile. Watch the full episode here or on your favorite podcast streaming site. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
May 9, 2022
EP44 - What Do Car Buyers Value? Experience Over Price
So much has changed in our industry in recent years, and not surprisingly, consumers have too. Bob Lanham, Head of Automotive Retail at Meta (Formerly Facebook) returns to The Walk Around to share insights on what makes today’s car buyers tick. In this episode, Bob answers pressing dealer questions like: * Do dealers still need to advertise? * Are CSI scores real, and do they matter? * How do you bring in new customers? * How do you see dealers playing in the new world where manufacturers are moving more upstream? * Do different generations approach car-buying in the same way? (Hint: Boomers are completely different than Gen Z, and Millennials are a mix of both.) * Should dealers be spending money on the Metaverse? In this episode, Bob shares his insights that can help your dealership reach buyers and keep them coming back. For more about Bob, visit his LinkedIn profile. Watch the full episode here or on your favorite podcast streaming site. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Apr 25, 2022
EP43 - Pivoting in a Pandemic: How Avis Budget Group Manages to Maximize Every Opportunity
What could an uber-successful head of fleet services for a car rental group teach you and your dealership about thriving in an upside-down automotive environment? Turns out, a lot! Douglas Campbell, Head of Fleet Services for the Americas with Avis Budget Group shares insights he’s learned through the course of a winding automotive career that led him from the “box to the boardroom.” These tools could change your career trajectory forever. In this episode, Douglas, Elliot and Marc share insights and answer questions like: * How has Avis achieved profitability up 100% year-over-year in such a challenging environment, when most companies are trying to stay alive? * How did relationships with OEMs make a difference in being able to “pivot” in these challenging times? * What’s your acquisition strategy in such an upside-down used vehicle market? * What advice would you give an aspiring retail associate on how to make the leap from retail sales to the boardroom or the executive table? * If you had to do your career over again, what would you have done differently? Douglas shares his personal story and choices he wishes he’d made during his retail automotive career -- advice that can help get you where you want to go, faster. Tune in to put your career on the fast track with battle-worn advice like, “If I could do it all over again, I’d go through F&I and take it as far as I could, then the doors are wide open,” Douglas said. “I’d also spend time in used cars because they make everything float. Stay involved on the used side of things.” For more about Douglas, visit his LinkedIn profile. Watch the full episode here or on your favorite podcast streaming site. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Apr 11, 2022
EP42 - The Walk Around Podcast is Back
New hosts. New guests. New Insights. Stay tuned to the Walk Around podcast!
Feb 7, 2022
EP41 - Leadership Skills for Top Dealers
Leadership continues to be one of the hottest topics in business – not only in our industry but across the spectrum of business, in general. So, what are successful dealers doing to lead their retail automotive teams? Glenn Pasch, CEO at PCG Digital, unpacks answers to that question in a frank and informative conversation on The Walk Around, with JM&A Group’s Nick Funsch and Danny Vendrell. At dealerships, leadership styles can vary as widely as personalities and business goals often do. Being willing to grow and evolve as a leader can be as important as a dealer’s willingness to listen and adapt – and to nurture their team. In this episode of The Walk Around, Glenn, Nick, and Danny explore many aspects of retail automotive leadership by diving into these questions: * What advice have you received over the years about leadership? * What separates leaders from laggers at dealerships? * What are leading dealers keeping in mind today? * What trends are you monitoring fo…
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 sal…
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 po…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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, leaders…
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 importa…
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 dealersh…
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 technol…
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 un…
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…
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…
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 v…
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 par…
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. Wit…
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…
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 ke…
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 po…
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…
Mar 29, 2021
EP20 - Exploring F&I Trends: What Happened and What to Expect
Joining us on The Walk Around is one of our very own, Elliot Schor, AVP of Sales Operations with JM&A Group. Elliot’s role within the company gives him the opportunity to help dealers, groups, and OEMs grow their profitability while retaining customers. He is a trusted advisor and strategic partner to dealers of many different sizes, and works with them to reach the goals they set out to achieve. Elliot recalls how the last year went through the lens of his dealer partners. From both an industry and personal perspective, dealers were unsure of how the future would shape up, but through it all, F&I shined and a huge focus on digital was solidified. Dealers were able to compensate for the reduction in volume with increases in gross. There is no doubt that the consumers’ need for automotive retail and support continues. From the rise of digital retail, to meeting customers' demands, Elliot dives into the top things for dealers to keep an eye on as we lean into 2021. Like this episo…
Mar 15, 2021
EP19 - Overcoming Turnover in the Dealership
Joining the podcast today is Adam Robinson, CEO and Founder of Hireology a people solutions company that has worked with 1 in 5 dealerships across the country. Joining him is Matt Ellmer of Priority Automotive, 20 store group with locations in throughout Virginia including Hampton Roads, Roanoke and the DC area. In this episode we explore new and effective ways dealers can start executing the hiring process in a better way. Did you know it costs an average of about $16,000 per head turned over in the first 90 days of employment and dealers lose 35% of new hires within the first 90 days? That is a staggering statistic that can hurt dealers in the short and long term. To avoid a loss like that, it’s all about giving a new hire a great experience and opening the door for financial benefits to follow. Here are some thought starters you can use to start maximizing your hiring process: * Start thinking of recruiting as a part of the sales and marketing process * Realize people are t…
Mar 3, 2021
EP18 - Building a Diverse Dealership with Jorge A. Plasencia
Joining the Walk Around Podcast today is entrepreneur and civic leader Jorge A. Plasencia. He is chairman and CEO of Republica Havas, a creative media and communications agency. He provides strategic brand communications and growth counseling to fortune 500 companies like Toyota, Walmart, and Google. With humble biggening's doing radio live remotes at car dealerships in Miami to working for The Florida Marlins alongside entrepreneurial legend Wayne Huizenga, he has seen the inside of dealership a few times and learned first-hand how the industry works from a different perspective. A master of multi-cultural marketing, Jorge and his team are subject matter experts in communication and reaching the people that matter most for businesses. Jorge shares how his background and culture shaped the way he communicates brand messages to audiences of all types. Here are a few key takeaways from the episode: * Great marketing starts with understanding the people in your audience. You mus…
Feb 22, 2021
EP17 - Innovating to Meet Consumer Needs with Brent Sergot
Brent Sergot is the Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager of Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC. the world's largest independent distributor of Toyota_’_s and a subsidiary of diversified automotive corporation, JM Family Enterprises, Inc. An associate since 2001 Brent has held many positions within JM Family. Prior to joining the organization, Brent was already an established automotive thought leader having made his mark in various industry organizations focused on wholesale remarketing fleet and retail. In his current role he manages the day-to-day operations of Southeast Toyota. His mission? Driving a complete focus on the dealership. Get the 50,000-foot view of the Automotive industry with Brent. From modern retail, to industry disruption, and pivoting during a pandemic, there is a ton of valuable insights to unpack in this episode. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Feb 15, 2021
EP16 - Removing Friction from the Customer Experience with Brad Title
Brad Title is the Founder and CEO of Gubagoo, a conversational-commerce platform designed for dealers. You can find Brad most comfortable at the intersection between automotive and technology where he has been an industry innovator for over 30 years and has helped over 6,500 dealers worldwide connect with consumers. He walks us through how Gubagoo assists dealerships in aligning with the customer experience. Car buyers have many options outside of the traditional phone call, website form, or email. Brad and his team offer solutions to integrate all methods of communication like text, video, and chat, making the car buying experience less daunting for the buyer while connecting the dealer with the customer seamlessly. About 5% of consumers are completing the car buying process fully online but 95% are having a blended experience where they started online and finished in the store. In this episode you will learn how the way you integrate technology is the key to building the bridge b…
Feb 8, 2021
EP15 - Implementing Culture Change in Your Dealership
Chris May is the Director of the Performance Development Center (PDC), a professional services department of JM&A Group that helps dealers drive results. He is an automotive futurist with his eyes set on helping dealers “future proof” their business. With the industry getting more complex each year, dealerships need partners that have their best interest in mind. Chris and his team at the PDC help thousands of dealers every year achieve their goals through training, consulting, talent_,_ technology, strategy, sales, service, and F&I offerings and solutions. In this episode you will get insights into: * New perspectives on implementing culture change * Breaking large goals into smaller tangible steps * Defining your plan to grow your dealership * Accelerating desired outcomes Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Feb 1, 2021
EP14 - How to Leverage Google Search in Your Dealership with Tony Carroll
Tony Carroll is a Senior Automotive Strategist at Google. He collaborates with individual dealers and OEMs to consult on Google_’_s digital solutions and to develop scalable programs that support brands and drive results. With 12 years in the OEM space before his arrival at Google, Tony has an extensive automotive background. In this episode, he walks us through his journey and explains how Google has its sights set on aiding the Automotive Industry and what that means for dealers. He also sheds light on how a strong e-commerce presence can lead to more effective tracking and accountability in the car buying process. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Jan 25, 2021
EP13 - The Secret to Growing This Year – Building Your Growth Mindset
Joining us on The Walk Around this episode is Eduardo Briceno. He is the Co-founder and CEO of Mindset Works, a pioneer in growth mindset development services and programs. Since cofounding Mindset Works in 2007, he has served and influenced thousands of organizations in their advancement of learning oriented cultures and systems. Learn first-hand how an open growth mindset can help you identify mistakes you are making in your personal and professional lives and how to pivot those behaviors and live a more productive and happy life. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Jan 19, 2021
EP12 - Diversity in the Dealership with Damon Lester of NAMAD
Join us as we take a Walk Around with Damon Lester and explore how NAMAD is paving the way for diversity and advocating for minority inclusion throughout the industry. Damon Lester is the President of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers or NAMAD, a respected advocate for ensuring diversity remains a priority in the automotive industry. In his current role, Damon’s responsibilities encompass membership outreach and recruitment, industry relations, and dealership development as well as government and media affairs. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Jan 11, 2021
EP11 - Building Your 2021 Digital Storefront
Brian Pasch gives us his two must-know tips for optimizing your online presence in 2021. These strategies will get you more traffic online to grow your sales and service revenue. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Jan 4, 2021
EP10 - The Digital Retail Evolution with TJ Prayner
TJ has spent the last 15 years in the automotive industry solely focused on the Volvo brand. He serves as the VP of Sales and Marketing for Volvo Car Financial Services. Prior to joining VCFS, he held field roles at Volvo and interacted daily with Volvo retailers. F&I is TJ’s bread and butter, and he offers a wide range of insights and tips when it comes to the digital retail revolution currently taking place in the automotive industry. If you are looking for the inside scoop on how digital retailing is changing the game, you won't want to miss this one! Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Dec 7, 2020
EP09 - Leading Through Disruption
Michelle DiTondo is a Principle with Avion Consulting. She has 25 years of experience in Human Resources Leadership and Organizational Transformation. She served nearly a decade as the Chief Human Resources Officer for MGM Resorts International. She led cultural transformation and employee engagement initiatives for the company's 88,000 employees worldwide. Her focus is senior level leaders and large organizations, working to develop their executive presence, leadership style, and strategic thinking skills. This episode unlocks valuable insights on how to lead through adversity and disruption, a common challenge we have all been experiencing recently. Michelle shares her prior experience at MGM and how her team overcame tragedy in 2017 by fostering a culture of healing and empathy. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Nov 30, 2020
EP08 - Creating a Forward-Thinking Brand in Automotive
We have a very special guest joining The Walk Around in this Episode. Scott Vazin is the group vice president and chief communications officer for Toyota Motor North America. He is responsible for the company's internal and external communications, public relations, product and brand communications for Toyota and Lexus plus so much more. His extensive experiences and 30+ years in the industry have confirmed his spot as an automotive legend. Come take a walk around with us and learn all about Scott Vazin's unique perspective on automotive. Another episode you don’t want to miss! Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Nov 16, 2020
EP07 - Building Your Life Resume with Jesse Itzler
In this episode, we sit down with the one and only, Jesse Itzler! He is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Living with a Seal, cofounded Marquis Jet, the world's largest private jet company which he and his partner sold to Berkshire Hathaway/NetJets. Jesse then partnered with Zico coconut water, which he and his partner sold to The Coca-Cola Company. He's a former rapper on MTV and wrote and performed the NBA's Emmy Award-winning "I Love This Game" music campaign and the popular New York Knicks anthem "Go NY Go." When he's not running ultra-marathons, eating vegan food or being a dad to his four kids, Jesse can be found at the NBA's Atlanta Hawks games, where he's an owner of the team. Jesse speaks on how to get the most out of your own life both professionally and personally by building your life resume. Join us as we explore lessons from Jesse’s experiences and learn how you can apply them in your own life. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content l…
Nov 9, 2020
EP06 - Improving the Buyer Experience in Your Dealership
Today we have Chris Vester joining the podcast. Chris is the COO and visionary of Hubert Vester Auto Group. He has spent 30 years in the automotive industry across both fixed and variable departments and was the co-founder of GoGo Car, the industry's leading cognitive digital retailing platform, which was recently acquired by Option Soft Technologies. He leads us through his own personal history in retail automotive. He shares how his own experiences and accomplishments shaped the way his organization operates today. It’s all about recognizing customer pain points and making impactful internal changes accordingly to put yourself in a great position down the road. His mantra? “The customer journey is our priority”. Join us as we dive deep and unlock new insights with Chris Vester. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Oct 26, 2020
EP05 - The Current State of Automotive Retail with Jason Stein
Jason Stein, Vice President & Publisher of Automotive News USA, Canada, China, and Europe joins us on this episode of The Walk Around Podcast. He oversees 75+ reporters and editors around the world from Detroit to Paris to Shanghai. He also leads the digital sales, marketing, event, and audience departments. Before joining Automotive News, Jason was an award-winning columnist for several North American newspapers. He also hosts of the Daily Drive Podcast! Jason has a finger on the pulse of all things retail automotive, and he dives deep into the current state of our industry. He explains how the landscape accelerated 3-5 years in about 3-5 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and what dealers can do to build trust with customers. We cover it all with Jason Stein on this exciting episode! Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Oct 12, 2020
EP04 - Creating the Customer-Centric Dealership
Joining us on The Walk Around Podcast is the one and only Brian Benstock! Brian is the GM and Vice President of the #1 certified Honda and Acura dealer in the world, Paragon Honda and Acura. He and his team are coming off a month where they lead the nation in new Honda sales despite the pandemic. Brain talks us through his personal history coming up in the automotive industry, how he developed his skillset as an automotive professional, and how Paragon positioned themselves to set record breaking sales through digital processes. If you are looking for some real-world examples of how to work toward a frictionless and customer-centric process, you’ll enjoy this episode. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Sep 11, 2020
EP03 - Using Empathy to Understand Your Customer & Boost Sales
In this episode of The Walk Around we spoke to Sacha Lindekens on how a deeper understanding of customer’s needs and level of empathy can lead your team to reach higher sales goals. He speaks all things emotional intelligence, people skills, and putting yourself in the customer’s mindstate. Check it out here! Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Sep 10, 2020
EP02 - Leadership & Checking Your Ego at the Door
In this episode of The Walk Around, we have a special guest, Jeff Graddy, Ph.D. He is a partner and Advisor at Avion Consulting. He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and advises senior leaders and their organizations on how to maximize business performance through improved leadership effectiveness. It’s all about the magic of the team. The strongest teams are the ones who are always striving to do more. Coming from a Sport Psychology background, Jeff knows the effectiveness and capabilities of a proficient team. He spoke with us about the art of giving and receiving feedback, as well as checking our egos at the door. This is a good listen if you are looking to improve the effectiveness of your organization. Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Sep 3, 2020
EP01 - Standing Out: How Branding Creates Customer Loyalty
In this episode, we spoke to Jake McKenzie President and CEO of Intermark group on how a dealer can differentiate themselves in this competitive market. He explains why a dealer’s brand and how they build brand loyalty is so important. Here is what he had to say! Like this episode? Check out JM&A Insider for more content like this.
Sep 3, 2020
The Walk Around Podcast Intro
The Walk Around brings all things automotive to your listening ears! Learn how to grow your dealership, or grow your automotive career with sales, F&I, fixed operations, and leadership insights.