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The Dealership Leaders of Today and Why I Only Hire Car Guys

I learned something very important this week. Everyone who has the automotive industry in their blood is a "car guy". It has nothing to do with your gender. In the 21st century, most gender roles are meaningless, even in our industry.

We've had the pleasure of hiring two of the best car guys in the industry in the past year. Last year (almost to the day) we hired Subi Ghosh to run marketing. Since then, she's brought so much more to the table that we promoted her to Executive Vice President and positioned her to represent us at NADA as well as upcoming conferences like Digital Dealer, Insight15, Innovative Dealer Summit, and the Women in Automotive Conference for which she is on the board.

This week, we hired Christine Robertson, an automotive eCommerce veteran who has helped propel Checkered Flag Auto Group to new heights over the last 8 years. She is already making an impact on our clients and will be heavily featured as a thought-leader within our company and for the industry.

All of this has reaffirmed something I've felt strongly about for the last year. Vendors need to hire car guys. These two superstars have brought more insight to the company and to our dealers than any marketing guru or digital expert from outside the industry ever could. Dealership experience is meaningful. It's so much easier to teach SEO or content marketing to a car guy than to teach the car business to an SEO expert.

Today's leaders at the dealerships can do so much more today than ever before. The market is much more complex. It's no longer a matter of throwing out liner ads in the newspaper and trying to get people in the door when taking phone ups. The sales process begins on the internet. Some people call it research, but the reality is that they're starting to actually initiate the purchase before they ever step foot on the lot.

Something that Subi, Christine, and other members of our team have taught me is that this industry is loaded with incredible talent that can and should be harnessed at every level. Vendors should be looking at talented dealership personnel to fill their job openings. Dealers should be taking full advantage of the talent at their store in ways that are much broader than just a few years ago.

We live in interesting times and we exist in an exceptional industry. I've learned so much over the last year and a half and I felt the need to share it. Go car guys!

Views: 1205

Tags: Car Guys


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Comment by Brian Bennington on March 22, 2015 at 8:39pm

Hey Gorham, I thought we had an agreement. I don't read your blogs or comment on anything you post and you reciprocate the same for me. I don't want to have to "rejoin" ADM because of some "accident." I wish you no ill will, but I also know it's best to have "zero" communication with you. And anyway, if you knew me, you'd like me even less than you do now. I know I would! (LLADF)

Comment by Tom Gorham on March 22, 2015 at 11:53am

"Something that Subi, Christine, and other members of our team have taught me is that this industry is loaded with incredible talent that can and should be harnessed at every level."  Yes Brian, it's true.  If you don't believe it, it simply means you haven't been in the right places to meet them or you don't recognize them when you see them.  I understand your emphasis on closing skills but the fact is, you've got to get them there before you can close them.  Tyson is a class act as are the "dealership people" he is discussing in this post.  I truly don't believe that most dealership people are "just putting in their time".  I believe that many, if not most, are striving to succeed in an ever-changing industry.

Comment by Brian Bennington on March 22, 2015 at 3:16am

Wow Tyson, I read your post twice as I was surprised you never mentioned Dealer Authority even one time.  I guess it's because DA is such a premier brand, you figured those "in the know" would know it was you, but you just might be excluding those who "aren't in the know."  (You know...the vast "IT uninformed.")  And, considering you were introducing two "guys" on your team, do you think mentioning who they're working for might make sense?

Reviewing your profile, I just had to visit one more time.  It is truly an exceptional site.  Classy, tasteful, informative (with the exception of no staff info) and beautifully simplistic.  If a dealer ever asked me who they should consider to build a new website, you would be my #1 recommendation.  (Did you or J.D. design it?)

As to your content aside from the excellent and positive introductions, it held nothing new. I've read many like it, in the same vein, here on ADM.  And personally, I don't believe "the industry is loaded with incredible talent."  A few have it, but most are just putting in their time, doing the best they can.  But, interpreting the "Rah-Rah, you can do it" nature of you post, I know why you wrote it and appreciate your enthusiasm .

As to David Lytle's comment about the ones to keep in your store are "the ones who see and believe the Internet is the center of the dealership," I see no correlation between that and closing abilities.  In my limited but long experience in this business, when I've asked dealership management what they look for and value most in a rep, it's closing skills.  Period.

Internet mastery, like product knowledge, is almost exclusively technical, and can be successfully taught to nearly anyone who wants or needs to learn it.  Closing mastery is considerably more complicated, nearly approach an art form, as it involves emotions.  Peter Murray Ph.D, in his Feb, '13 post entitled "How Emotions Influence What We Buy" commented "Most people believe that the choices they make result from a rational analysis of available alternatives.  In reality, however, emotions greatly influence and, in many cases, even determine our decisions."



Comment by Tom Gorham on March 21, 2015 at 4:55am

Amen Tyson!  I agree as well with David Lytle that, "The ones that you want to keep in your stores are the ones who adapt well to all of the changing environment. The ones who see and believe that the internet is the center of the Dealership."  Thank you for the article and the insight!

Comment by David Lytle on March 20, 2015 at 3:13pm

Love the article and it is absolutely true on many levels. The business has changed a ton over the last twenty years I have been in it. The ones that you want to keep in your stores are the ones who adapt well to all of the changing environment. The ones who see and believe that the internet is the center of the Dealership. Sure you'll have the occasional old car dog that the Dealer will hire every once in a while... but they usually don't last too long. The stronger, smarter, and more adaptable your Dealership Employees are.. the more successful you will be!

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