As franchise dealerships, we’re warning you – the market is changing and it’s not waiting for anyone. Traditional dealerships are under attack, and the automotive sales industry is evolving faster than ever. We draw parallels to the downfall of Blockbuster and the rise of giants like CarMax to illustrate the urgency to adapt or face extinction. We talk about how today’s consumers are shifting their preferences and leveraging technology to redefine the rules of the car buying industry. Remember, prosperity can breed complacency – don’t let your guard down.
In the wake of the pandemic, business strategies are being reshaped and we explore how this has accelerated the need for change. We discuss the recently passed “boom market” and how it has left many of us unprepared for what lies ahead. As we share our experiences of navigating through tough market conditions, we emphasize the importance of staying informed, adaptable, and striving for excellence. We challenge you to be better today than you were yesterday. Join us in our mission to evolve, improve, and thrive in the evolving automotive industry. Don’t miss our next episode where we will delve into the essential skillsets needed for success in today’s market. Stay tuned and stay ahead of the game.
David Lowe: 0:00
Welcome to Prepare to Win. Today’s topic, listen to this, today’s franchise dealerships are under attack. We’re gonna break that down. Hey, don’t worry, there’s good news too. Stay tuned.
Grace Lupoi: 0:22
Alright, hi. I’m Grace Lupoi. I’m with David Lowe, the Automotive Sales Coach. Now we’re talking about this shocking title of dealerships are under attack. What do you mean by that?
David Lowe: 0:32
So yeah, it’s actually the headline of our leadership action plan page. If you’re on YouTube you can see me holding that up. But listen, that picture of this guy is history from Newsweek Magazine. It’s from a magazine that I got in 1996, right, he’s got the cigar smoking salesman on it. It says this guy is history right and it basically the headline says angry consumers are forcing a revolution on the car lot. That was 1996. Now we’ve known forever that buyers, customers, car shoppers, do not like the way we sell cars and we’ve been telling them listen, this is the way we do it, kind of forcing them into our way. Right, the way we’ve always done it. I haven’t agreed with it, but that’s the way it’s been done. And so what is happening now is in 96, the tools weren’t available. The internet has changed everything. Technology since 1996 has gone so moved, so fast. In fact, at a GM dealer, at a GM dealer meeting the other day, gm said that the car business changed more than the last five years, than it changed in the last 50 years, and they expected to change that much in the next two. Against when I say dealerships are under attack, we’ve been under attack. However, that threat is increased. I want to talk about those things, and what I mean by that is the threat people competing for our business, our competition is growing and they’re getting better, they’re getting smarter and technology is kind of ushering that in. I want you guys to think about blockbuster for a minute. Right, they pretty much had the entertainment market handled, didn’t they? You know what I mean. You want a movie, what did you do? I mean I bet you, everybody listening has at one time gone to blockbuster on a Friday or Saturday night and waited for the new release to be returned. Right, what do you return? What do you return? Right? And so they knew we wanted movies and wanted them now, unfortunately, the technology took them out. Netflix said yeah, we know you want movies and you want them now, but why drive to a store when you can push a button? So technology creates competition. The principle, of course, is that on demand entertainment, right, and blockbuster was the technology of yesterday, but we’ve got it. We know that principles never change. We’ve been talking about this throughout this podcast drive time tips on living and selling with excellence. We want to remind everybody who’s listening that the principles that drive success, that create joy, peace and stuff, those things are not changing, right. But oh my gosh, techniques and technology move fast, right? So the good news is, if you know that and you’re aware, you can make plans. We’re going to talk about that, but let’s continue talking about the threat. Now, we’re not the only industry. I just talked about blockbuster, but it’s happening everywhere. You see guitar stores, you know Rick and Morty guitar stores empty, and yet online you know what I’m saying, right, I had a friend that went for Black Friday sale to a Sam Ashe. He said he walked in there was nothing on special and there was nobody in there on Black Friday. That’s not the way it used to be. So we have to be aware and I think that sometimes we’ve had a pretty good run. The car business I’ve been at 38 years and that’s 16, 17 million. We had some downtime in 2009 and 10. Covid gave us a little scare but turned into be the most profitable years in the car business. But we’ve had a good run of it. And when you have a lot of prosperity could be the enemy of excellence. We talk about that a lot. In fact, we have a podcast coming up devoted for that. Look for that one prosperity enemy of excellence. What we mean by that is some complacency and apathy and entitlement can settle in, and so the reason for the shocking headline is that we’ve had it good and we want to protect, right. We want to move into the next season, this upcoming market, today’s market and tomorrow’s market, you’re just going to have to be better, right. And so today’s podcast I want to just this is the wake up call Come on out of our complacency, out of our apathy, out of our entitlement, and let’s start looking at the ways we need to improve to not only survive but really thrive in what’s next. Is that cool, yeah?
Grace Lupoi: 4:53
you’re right and I think we talk about how we were wearing those trips every single day. Right, we see people doing business and buying cars but, like you made a great point, game plans have to continue to change and take that proactive action to continue to stay moving in the right direction.
David Lowe: 5:07
Well, you just hinted. Yeah, so we’re selling cars and making money, so a lot of times it goes unnoticed, right, right, that’s the complacency. Well, let me tell you something. There’s about 20 million use cars sold in the United States by franchise dealers. They say about 40 million use cars change hands, but a lot of them are private parts and stuff. So let’s say that this 20 million figure is accurate, just as an average by franchise car dealerships. Car Macs came around and what did they do? They stood in line at the auction and kept their hand up. You know, we can buy a car and guys were paid per car. They didn’t give what they paid. Anyway, we all laughed at them. They lost millions of dollars. And yet here they are still around and Car Macs is stealing almost a million retail sales a year from franchise dealers. So one 20th of the use cars being sold by franchise deal are now sold by Car Macs. That’s what I’m talking about. We’re under attack. And now the last few years Carvan has moved in, right, carvan has moved in and people made fun of them and sure they had some error. They made some mistakes. They sold half a million cars pretty quick, right, and they’re retooling right now they’re figuring out what they did wrong and they’re coming back. So that’s the type of things that are changing and we have to be aware. Because if you’re aware that your competition is getting, we always say you’re getting better or you’re getting worse Right, but why get better if you don’t have to Mm-hmm. So today’s podcast about seeing the need to get better, can I tell you there’s good news. A team that’s aware, a team that’s united with a proven game plan, that is willing to update their techniques and technology to meet the market, that’s willing to practice and develop their skillset and that’s willing to execute with excellence and passion, will survive in any market. That’s our basically dealership playbook. Right, three things you need to win, all, right. So we talked about Carvan and we talked about Car Macs. Have you noticed all the big used car stores in Indy? Oh, yeah, these high-end import used cars. So, in fact, the biggest retailer of luxury imports in Indiana is not a franchise dealer, it’s not a Mercedes dealer or luxury, it’s an independent. So, all over, we’re seeing big independence go up and steal from the franchise dealer Right. And then let’s talk about manufacturers. Right, they, oh, they’ve been played Right. I always went forward in the 80s they came out with their sales standards. They’ve been trying to control us and they’ve tried all these different things CSI, another control mechanism. We know that they view Stare step programs, cash incentives based on sale. They want to be in the dealer’s business without owning the dealership. They want to use our brick and mortar to do what they want to do and they’re taking more and more control and they’re using the new EV, the new selling models, as an excuse to do it. In fact, some of them may be starting additional franchise. You may not just have Ford, but you might have Ford Blue or Ford EV. In order to make it, you might have to pay up to sell both. So they’re pretty emboldened right now. Because of the technology, we see Hyundai sign their contract direct with Amazon to sell cars online. And, of course, we’re seeing new competition. I mean, how many Tesla’s do you see every day?
Grace Lupoi: 8:31
So many and it keeps growing, and not even just Tesla, though I mean Rivian. I think there’s so many other manufacturers that are starting right and they’re taking hold of this competition.
David Lowe: 8:42
It’s never before. I’ve been a car business 38 years. I used to drive down the road. I know everything. I could see the emblem. I know it. There’s more Rivians in my neighborhood than I think there are BMWs. What?
Grace Lupoi: 8:52
the heck is that car.
David Lowe: 8:53
That’s right. And these are good cars, good manufacturers that have been learning from everybody else for all these years and they’re taking the best of the best to come up with a business model. And using technology, in fact, like the Rivian thing, you go online and put a deposit to order your car. You know what I mean. So can I tell you something? I’m telling you right now that we are under attack franchise dealers and I’m telling you it’s not anything new. And here’s the thing when this happens, what a dealership needs to do is decide what skill sets do we need to survive and what’s next? In fact, let’s do a podcast Next week. Let’s do one on the skill sets, the soft skills that people will need to survive and thrive in today’s market and tomorrow’s market. But we’ll leave that for next week. This week, we’re talking about being under attack and I think that when you take a look at it, we realize we are. And can I tell you something? I think that I have a lot of friends that get cars. In fact, in my neighborhood, during COVID, almost everybody bought a car. They all called me should I buy a car right now? How do I get a deal? I’m like you’re lucky if you find one. You’re not right and to a person they all hate, who they bought from. They bought anyway because they wanted the car. Every dealership I go to, dealers are telling me I don’t think we’ve sold a car in four years. What does that mean? It means during this COVID gross boom where supply drove, profits higher than ever. The lack of supply means drove profits higher than ever. We really got kind of lazy Right, and not just on the consultant front Manager, gm dealer. We just kind of sat back and the money’s rolling in. And that’s human nature. That’s human nature. You kind of get in that groove and you kind of have these expectations, this kind of entitlement that next year will be better than this year. But it’s not always that way. And so we’ve got to be aware that maybe over the last few years we haven’t done a great job earning customers respect and that maybe has made us ripe for the attack that’s happening. People want to revolt and do that. They’ve wanted to revolt in 96, according to this, but now there’s the technology and the competition to do that. And I think that even before the COVID thing we really became an industry of clerks instead of consultants. What I mean by that? I’m not sure how many salespeople would come to the desk and know why people were buying what they were buying, right, how it fit the life. You know what I mean. So, hey, why are they getting a new car? They’re trading a 10,000 mile car. Why are they doing that? And they don’t have an answer. Why are they moving from a truck to an SUV? You know what I mean. You’ve seen it on the floor. So I think that maybe for some years we’ve become complacent because the car business 16, 17, dealers are making money. Why train the? You got it or you’re not. Mentality it’s been around. That’s catching up and as that’s catching up with us and new competitors and new technologies are here, it’s kind of all coming to a head. That’s what today’s podcast is about. I’d like to make everybody aware that I am a career automotive sales professional. I plan on dying right here on the floor. Train right. Well, I can’t think about retiring. I love this so much. We love inspiring today’s sales professionals to become students of Excel. It’s really kind of are driving on 58 years old, what kind of really trips my trigger now is really seeing people grow and live into their full God given potential. I know that does for you, Grace.
Grace Lupoi: 12:48
David Lowe: 12:49
And so we wanna tell, we wanna wake you up and say you know what the good news is? If you’re awake, the skillet song Awaken Alive right, I’m awake, and I’m alive. Awake means I’m aware, right, I’m aware. And I know that what I do and how I do it matters. I know that I also am not afraid of what’s coming up, because all I have to do is keep the principles I know and update my techniques and technologies. Automotive sales coach is all about that. In fact, our training is state of the art, up to the minute for today’s marketplace, and we’re constantly releasing new stuff, that kind of as the market adjust, we what that adjust with it. Yeah, it’s what makes it so powerful. So the good news is, if you’re awake and you’re alive alive meaning taking personal responsibility for yourself Awake here’s what’s happening in the marketplace. We know what’s happening, no lying about it. We know competition is coming after us. Alive, no worries. I’ve been in tough games before. This is when you got it right, get going, and I think that we just realized that we’ve got to update our techniques and technologies. We can thrive. And, guys, I’d like to take you back. You’ve heard the story before and I don’t know. 2009 and 10, the car business dropped from 16 million cars to about 10 million cars.
Grace Lupoi: 14:17
Bad years in the car business Bad years right.
David Lowe: 14:20
I was running in Tom Wood Volkswagen at the time and we had a record 2009. So, while the other stores were like this, we were like this. And then I remember them coming to me in January of 2010 and saying what’s 2010 gonna be like? Well, the market has squashed it’s really bad 10 million cars and I said probably not like 2009. We had a great 2009. We had cash for our clunkers, we had the new Jetta TDI, we had like 60 orders come in. There was a lot of things contributing to our record 2009. And the cool thing is we beat that in 2010. And so the question is how? The principle-based techniques and technologies right. We kept moving forward, regardless of the market, and that’s really what we’re saying here today Know your market, keep the principles in line, but capitalize on the market by updating your techniques and technologies right. So today you did a living and with excellence, live event here at the training, so that’s awesome, right. And you had technicians and people from all walks of the group right To come in and you shared with them the principles of excellence. Right To be so effective they could be a benefit to others. What was the response like to that?
Grace Lupoi: 15:40
I mean it’s great, right, and we know that that stuff is not new and it’s always been around. We go back all the way to Solomon, all the way to Dale Carnegie, stephen Covey right, these principles do not change. And there’s something about igniting that inspiration and motivation into others and realizing that I can do what I’m doing the best of my ability, right. Whether I’m a tech, a porter, a service advisor, a sales consultant, whatever I’m doing, I can do the best that I can, the benefit to my team and also my whole deal is a message we need today.
David Lowe: 16:10
Right, so, as we’re under attack, we can go to the foundation that says no problem, we’ve got this right. The principles that drive success and excellence we own and we’re smart. We have the humility to say I better improve what I do and how I do it to meet today’s market right, and so this kind of cool. I think this whole podcast has been devoted To simply that. I really I don’t know. When you come online and I hope the people listen to this today are kind of thoughtful about it saying you know what, you’re right. We just kind of showing up every day and you’re right, there is more competition, things are harder, and I hope they also say this you’re right, I can win regardless of the market. Right, so prepare to win. It’s simple.
Grace Lupoi: 17:00
There’s a, there’s a quote that we have right in the training and it says what does your life or your work of mediocrity or excellence impact? Yes great way to tie up today’s conversation. And how can I maximize this market? How can I maximize my job, even what? I do how I do it. If I’m excellent, who do I impact? Mediocrity right, if I have that mediocrity, who does that impact?
David Lowe: 17:24
Yeah, I want to stay where I’m at that comfort zone and not grow and not adapt to today’s market. I’m kind of screwing everybody that I work with because it ripples in their life. You had some great comments from and text them. Yeah, I need to be better. I need to take control of my attitude right. So I’m hoping, as you said, as we wrap up today, that this franchise dealerships are under attack is not a warning, it’s an opportunity. Be awake, be aware and be alive. Take action right. Ok, so prepare to win. We’re all about giving you a proven game plan, not just a proven game plan with the principles that drive six that never change. But we’re always talking about new techniques and technologies, how to do things better as the market continue. We got to adapt to an evolving marketplace right. Gotta have a game plan. Number two, we got to practice and develop our skill sets right. So having a great game plan and having the team united on it is so important, but each member needs to take responsibility for, like a football team, the linemen have to block, the receivers have to catch the quarterback. Everybody has a job. They need to practice, develop their skill sets so they can execute. Of course, the third thing is executing with excellence, not perfection. After you’ve prepared with excellence, play with passion. And these three things the game plan, the preparation and the play right. Those are the three things that will guarantee our success, regardless of what market we face right. Does that make sense? All right so I can’t wait next week’s podcast we are going to take on the skill sets. Just a quick clue our boom market may have left us short Some really skills that we really need to get back to. I think you’re going to love talking about the not just sales, but manager skills, coaching skills as well. And so, grace, what can they find this podcast? Tell them about that and if they were looking for, if you’re looking to find it and follow it, work, we can find it. Where do we post?
Grace Lupoi: 19:27
We post on YouTube, right. We have our clips on LinkedIn, facebook, instagram, twitter, right. We’re all over social media and wherever you get yours, for podcasts as well.
David Lowe: 19:37
Yeah, apple Spotify heard of. Let’s see podcast maniac.
Grace Lupoi: 19:42
Yeah, we’re on that, that’s. Fantastic.
David Lowe: 19:44
So we’re, we’re out there on that and please like us and follow us, as Grace said, and we really appreciate you, we appreciate your time and we want to challenge you be better today than you were yesterday. And we want to challenge you, follow us and join us next week’s to talk about the skillsets you need to survive and thrive in what’s next. Good selling.