This is a transcript of MM Podcast Episode 021: Leadership In An Auto Dealership With Glenn Pasch.
Welcome to episode 21 of the Motorcar Marketing podcast. In this episode’s main segment I’m going to be talking with Glenn Pasch from PCG Digital Marketing. We’re going to be talking about leadership in automotive dealerships. He also offers up some great tips for getting every position at an auto dealership so this episode has something for everyone so stay tuned for that.
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A couple of quick notes. Any website or links that I mention in the podcasts can be found on the website in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with every episode in case you’d rather read the show or look at something later on. You’ll find all the podcast show notes at www.motorcarmarketing.com/podcasts and look for episode 21.
We recently put together a great free guide for car dealers called Quick Start Auto Dealer Marketing guide. You can get it by going to motorcarmarketing.com/guide. It’s completely free. You just put in your email address and the lessons will be emailed to you over the course of the next few days. We’ve tried to concentrate on the high-leverage things you can do with each marketing channel so you can get the maximum results in the shortest amount of time. We’ll be adding more lessons to this guide in the future, but to start out we’ll show you how to increase your ROI and sell more cars on craigslist, how to quickly set up a Google Pay Per Click campaign, how to begin generating leads from local search engine optimization and how to effectively use email marketing to generate leads and correspond with your past customers. Again, this guide is completely free. Just go to motorcarmarketing.com/guide.
So now let’s get into the main segment today. I’m talking with Glenn Pasch from PCG Digital Marketing. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome, Glenn, to the Motorcar Marketing podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show.
Glenn: Thanks so much for having me. I’m looking forward to it.
Ashley: So to start out, I wonder if you can give us an overview of your career and how you got into the automotive industry?
Glenn: Interesting. A long time ago I was an actor for a while. I worked in hospitality and then moved into working with a company that did customer service phone calls, customer call centers and then my brother, Brian, started PCG Digital Marketing. He moved into starting with SEO and one of the verticals happened to be automotive. So I came to join him. He asked me to join the company because he’s really good at selling and marketing and I’m better at operations and training the people. So it was a good match, and so automotive became just a vertical that happened where there was a need and we seemed to fill it and we found our niche and so probably about 85 percent of our client base is automotive dealers throughout the US, Canada, and now we’re branching out into Mexico and Europe.
Ashley: Great. Great. Where did leadership come into that? I originally found you through an article that you wrote about leadership in car dealerships. How did that kind of play into this?
Glenn: One of my skills it seems from the beginning, I always ended up running teams, coaching and mentoring people. In transition between jobs I became an executive coach so I really was working with people on their struggles of how to run a team, how to be an effective coach, how to get through to people and helping them and coach them to set a better example for their team and actually understand what the difference between a leader and a manager was.
Ashley: So let’s kind of dig into car dealerships specifically. What are some of the biggest leadership problems you see in car dealerships?
Glenn: Twofold. One is I think there still is an arena of do what I say not what I do so you have sometimes it’s all about numbers, numbers, numbers which are very, very important, but what I don’t see is a consistency from a leader of how things should happen. It seems week 1 of a month we do things certain ways, week two and three we tend to follow more of our processes and then week four it’s let’s just hit our numbers. So I think there’s the consistency, accountability, playing favorites—we can go down any one of those roads.
Ashley: Let’s talk about smaller dealerships. I mentioned before the interview I worked with a lot of smaller dealerships in Southern California and when I’m in those dealerships, it’s a really tight-knit group, but everybody’s kind of wearing different hats. But I definitely feel like sometimes there is a lack of leadership really because the guy who’s in charge is just so busy running the day-to-day operations. I mean, would you have any tips for some of these smaller dealerships that are just struggling to get through the day much less actually lead their team.
Glenn: It’s a very good point. It’s just that an automotive event Tracey Meyers and Troy Spring had the unfair advantage automotive mastermind group and there were a lot of small dealers and this topic came up. We started talking about it, the idea of a ten-dollar-an-hour job vs. a hundred dollar an hour jobs meaning where should someone spend their time. And your point is correct. A lot of times we’re wearing multiple hats. We’re just trying to get jobs done and so you spend so much time working in the dealership, you don’t have time to work on the dealership. So you need to as a leader take a step back and say who is setting the curriculum so to speak? Who’s setting the process? Is there accountability? And you have to really budget a piece of your time to really spend following up on other people. I think that in a small dealership gets lost because we’re all trying to just get things done.
Ashley: I wonder if there are maybe some specific practical tips like are there certain things that you see a lot of these managers and leaders doing that maybe they should not actually be doing, and as you say, these are more ten-dollar-an-hour jobs. Maybe there are some specific things you can say. You know, I’ve seen a lot of dealerships doing this and really they should be delegating those to the ten-dollar-an-hour employee.
Glenn: Right. I would say I’ve seen dealers who are shooting the photos; they’re uploading the videos. They’re the ones who are running every single deal through. They are even handling phones, and when I question them, I said why are you still doing this? And it comes down to well, this is the way we’ve always done it. It’s okay, I can do it and do everything else which is a fallacy. Sometimes it’s a little bit of ego. I know my team could do it, but I just think I do it better. And instead of spending your time training them to be better, you just end up doing it and then something’s going to fall through the cracks because you’re just doing too many things and you can’t really do them all well; you’re just doing.
Ashley: No. Those are some great tips for sure. So let’s talk about your certification program. I took a look at it right before the interview. Maybe you can give us kind of a two-minute elevator pitch, sort of an overview of what your certification process is and the courses are and who is a good fit for taking those classes.
Glenn: Great. We have been—PCG Consulting—we’ve hosted events and done a lot of focus on education and training in the automotive space for the last four or five years. What we’ve found, though, as we’ve grown and focused our training, a lot of times people will go to a conference and it will be a one-size-fits-all and the audience will be a dealer principal, general manager, a general sales manager, BDC, Internet salesperson, and someone, even myself would be presenting. And I have to try and create a message that gives something to everybody. What we said was let’s take a step back. In terms of digital marketing where most dealerships are spending almost half of their marketing budget on digital, does everybody know their role? So what we did was we split it up. We created classes for dealer principal general manager. The next one is general sales manager, another one digital marketing manager, salesperson, the reason being a dealer principal was almost ignoring the digital marketing or didn’t really want to understand it because they thought they had to be so well-versed. I have to understand analytics; I have to understand how my website works. And what we said was no you don’t. That’s your marketing manager’s job. This is how you hold them accountable. Here are two things that you need to focus on, and it’s become a big relief for the attendees to finally say (1) I’m sitting with the dealer principals and general managers so they’re all my own colleagues. I can feel comfortable. (2) Someone’s talking to me at a level that that’s all I need to worry about, and it was very, very refreshing. So we have these classes every month here in New Jersey. We are bringing them around the US in November. We’re going to be up in Seattle. Next year we’ll be moving them into doing something in Texas. Some dealers are asking us to bring them more local instead of shipping their people over. In terms of who should go, as I said, every single role should fit because even a salesperson should understand how to use digital marketing to market themselves. One of the biggest opportunities that we’re seeing is fixed ops and parts. I polled dealers and probably on the low side, let’s call it half of the revenue of a dealership is coming from the back of the house so to speak, but yet maybe only 20 percent of their marketing’s there. So teaching them how to market those services online is going to be really beneficial in getting that fixed ops manager or parts manager involved and give them some education. I think it’s going to really supercharge a dealership in 2015.
Ashley: So what does it mean, you call it a certification program? What does that actually mean? They go through a test. Some people at the end of the weekend or at the end of the three-day session, they don’t pass the test or they don’t get certified? What does the certification actually involve?
Glenn: Well, it’s twofold. One is the classes are small so you only have 15 people so it’s very customized to getting your questions answered, very hands-on. Here’s how it applies to your dealership. Once you come through those two days, you have a list of things you’re going to do. The following two months we have follow-up webinars. Are you doing what you said you were going to do? Where are your problems? Where our difference is, is it’s not just here’s your video; here’s your certificate. It’s really about implementation. Two or three months afterwards, then we’ll give them a test, and then they have to pass that test with a good percentage of it being correct for them to say yes I understand, but more importantly, it’s how they’ve been using it. What are your results from this? How has this impacted your business vs. I just saw a video or I went to a class and here’s my certificate. Thank you very much and nobody knows if they’ve actually made a difference to you.
Ashley: Do you recommend—I mean, I know someone who’s in the digital marketing space—things change. Is this something that a person should go to year after year just to get the latest and the greatest changes in their specific deal? Digital marketing is certainly going to change over the course of the next year or two years or three years.
Glenn: Absolutely. I think that the book that this is based on, Brian’s book “Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing” attendees get that but they also have access to the PDF online version because everything updates. For instance, when we printed the book, literally out selling the book; everyone’s loving the book and a month later Google goes “no more Google authorship.” So now we have to go back into the book and edit. The key about these classes is because they’re live, they’re not videotaped and in the can somewhere is that this next round of classes we can address this. So every time someone comes it’s the most current up-to-date based on what we feel. So yes, some people will be coming back. We’ve been very blessed that the people who have gone through the classes, probably 40 percent of them immediately sign up some more of their staff to come to the next round of classes. So they’re seeing value, but you’re right. Everything changes all the time so regardless, coming to our education, there are so many other great conferences and great educators, the key is 2015 really has to be about dealers educating themselves on what’s going on because you’re spending so much of your money. The key is do you know what your vendors are doing? How do I hold them accountable? More importantly, how do I get more return out of the marketing dollars I’m spending?
Ashley: I wonder if we could just run through these classes and you could give kind of a highlight or tip, just something that people can take away from this podcast, something they might learn in one of these different specific tracks, so starting with the general manager/dealer principal track, what’s something they’re going to learn just to kind of whet their appetite.
Glenn: Well, what they’re going to learn is how to look at all of these reports, how to hold them accountable. For instance, most paid advertisement or paid search reports are only about ten pages. The other principal’s not looking it. We asked them how much are auto trader reports and most of them go I look at them, but I don’t know what I’m looking at. So for a dealer principal/general manager it’s how to sift through some of those metrics, what are most important metrics that you need to look at? But more importantly, what are the right questions to ask your team so that they can get to the information so you can make decisions to run your business. That’s dealer principal/general manager. Now general sales manager/Internet sales manager, those are the people who are handling leads, not necessarily, there’s a separate one for a BDC but what happens is even if you have a BDC, eventually those leads are coming out to the floor. So the question is if an appointment comes up, do you come in, we talk about a car and you leave, you didn’t buy from me today, is there a process that’s documented so that they can follow up that salesperson who’s holding them accountable, and it becomes for the general sales manager or Internet sales manager, how to create a process, how to maximize, how to communicate to the customer who is now more mobile centric than they were a while ago. Digital manager, that one’s a three-day course. That’s where we really get into analytics. We’re getting into paid search. We’re getting into all of your other vendors. Are you using things like log links or any of the other million products that are out there. How are you maximizing your CRM? How are you talking to your vendors? That’s what that digital marketing person and also how to unify your offline or what people would call traditional marketing? How do you unify that message so what I see offline, online, and on site all works? As I said earlier, salesperson, how do I leverage social media, linked-in? How do I really utilize all of these tools to communicate with my base so that I can ask for referrals. The BDC, pretty straightforward combination of either BDC manager, what are the metrics you should be holding them accountable? Really what we’ve learned from BDC is most of them are understaffed and so how do you really quantify how many people I should really need and how to hold them accountable. And then as we spoke earlier, the fixed ops, that I think for 2015 is just such a treasure trove of untapped money because yes, you have most service bays are pretty full but how do you continue to keep people from going out to the independents? How are you marketing them? In reality your pricing is about the same as theirs, but more importantly, you have trained technicians. How do you show up in search for that? Most people aren’t paying attention to that so that is going to help them really maximize and increase their revenue.
Ashley: Perfect. Perfect. Those are some great tips. So what’s the best way for people to keep up with you and potentially contact you if they want to learn more?
Glenn: You can always just go—well, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can connect with me on Twitter at glennpasch or you can always call the office at (732) 450-8200. As I said, we specialize in digital but we also do process training and coaching in leadership. Any way we can help dealers, we’d be more than happy to.
Ashley: I also found your blog too so that’s glennpash.com if you want to just learn specifically more about you. I will link to all that in the show notes so people can get that if they didn’t have a pen and couldn’t quickly write that down. Glenn, you’ve been very generous with your time. This has been a great interview. I’ve learned a lot so I know other people will too. Thank you very much for coming on.
Glenn: My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
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The next episode of the Motorcar Marketing Podcast, I’m going to be talking with Scott Hall from Swap-a-lease. Scott offers some interesting tips on how you can better use leasing to close more deals and potentially bring in more sales. I found him after reading an article he wrote on how leases work in Canada and how US dealers might be able to use that model to increase their own leasing rates. So we’ll be digging into that a bit as well. So keep an eye out for that in the next episode.
That’s our show. I hope you got some value out of it that can help you grow your business. Thank you for listening.