Car Biz Insider featuring Brian Kramer Ep #1 – Automotive Podcast
Discussion will be;
1- Current market trends
2- Retail best practices
3- How to beat the status quo in the business
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00:00:27 Jon Toker
Hi everybody, this is your host Jon Toker from Toronto Auto Consulting.
00:00:30 Jon Toker
Today we’ll be hosting our first episode of Car Biz Insider and I have a great guest with me here
00:00:36 Jon Toker
Brian Kramer, from Germain Toyota of Naples.
00:00:39 Jon Toker
How are you Brian?
00:00:40 Brian Kramer
I’m doing wonderful.
00:00:41 Brian Kramer
Thanks for having me on the show.
00:00:43 Jon Toker
Yeah man really appreciate it in your busy schedule.
00:00:46 Jon Toker
You join our first show, so why don’t we just jump right in?
00:00:49 Jon Toker
I know you have a very busy schedule, so I’ll put you in the spotlight.
00:00:52 Jon Toker
You can talk about yourself a little bit.
00:00:54 Jon Toker
Then I can bombard you with my question.
00:00:57 Brian Kramer
That’s perfect, so my name is Brian Kramer.
00:01:00 Brian Kramer
I’m a manager of a couple of car dealerships to Germain Toyota of Naples, Lincoln of Naples, down in Naples, FL, which is beautiful.
00:01:09 Brian Kramer
Today it’s in the you know, low 70s and sunny out and it.
00:01:16 Brian Kramer
We’re blessed to be working where we’re working.
00:01:19 Jon Toker
That’s amazing man, you know, uh, in in Ontario we’ve been getting these snowstorms like 3 days in a row so we got that 50 centimeters first.
00:01:28 Jon Toker
Then we get.
00:01:29 Jon Toker
That 20 centimeters and right now is like minus 15 Celsius outside, so I don’t know what’s that in.
00:01:33 Jon Toker
Fahrenheit, but it is pretty rough.
00:01:37 Brian Kramer
Robin is gorgeous in the spring in the in the fall.
00:01:40 Jon Toker
Oh yeah, Oh yeah, for sure.
00:01:41 Jon Toker
Like we don’t get that crazy hot you know.
00:01:44 Jon Toker
I mean actually, last summer was pretty bad too here.
00:01:46 Jon Toker
Like we got really high temperatures but.
00:01:49 Jon Toker
You’re right, spring and summer.
00:01:50 Jon Toker
It’s pretty good.
00:01:52 Jon Toker
Uh, my brother was actually there two weeks ago was vacationing in Naples and he said it’s just absolutely gorgeous place.
00:01:59 Jon Toker
So you’re, you’re a lucky guy to be there.
00:02:01 Jon Toker
And it it’s pretty good man.
00:02:02 Brian Kramer
It is, that’s it, it’s.
00:02:03 Brian Kramer
Not as pretty in the summertime.
00:02:05 Brian Kramer
When you get the swamp and the Everglades about 5 miles.
00:02:08 Brian Kramer
That way you know middle of July it gets, it gets pretty sweltering, but every everything got pluses and minuses, right?
00:02:15 Brian Kramer
Just like the used car business.
00:02:16 Jon Toker
Exactly exactly man, uh, in terms of are you from Naples originally like Florida, or did you born and grow up there or?
00:02:24 Brian Kramer
No, I’m from.
00:02:25 Brian Kramer
The South side of Chicago.
00:02:27 Jon Toker
Oh, so you’re almost Canadian.
00:02:27 Brian Kramer
00:02:29 Brian Kramer
Right and then I grew up and I went to high school in Columbus, OH, and started my career out there with the domains and spent a lot of time in Columbus. OH, without you know, graduate high school there obviously, and but I didn’t come down here until 2000.
00:02:44 Brian Kramer
I went to Tampa with AutoNation in 2011 and then moved around to a few different stores and then.
00:02:50 Brian Kramer
Ended up came back to Jermaine’s in 16 at the Toyota store.
00:02:56 Jon Toker
Wow, and just in terms of your Toyota, I was looking at that the the Toyota there in actually Florida there’s a thing called the Southeastern Distributors, so it’s kind of separate then the the Toyota USA itself.
00:03:11 Jon Toker
Like in Canada we have Toyota Canada, right?
00:03:13 Jon Toker
And they distribute the cars, but in Florida it’s slightly different, right?
00:03:16 Brian Kramer
Yes, so Southeast Toyota where you get southeast Toyota?
00:03:19 Brian Kramer
You’ve got Gulf states Toyota.
00:03:20 Brian Kramer
Then you have Toyota North America.
00:03:23 Brian Kramer
Uh, in Southeast Toyota is I like to equate it to Division One college football or the NFL.
00:03:30 Brian Kramer
You know when it comes to that, they’re they’re highly aggressive.
00:03:33 Brian Kramer
They like to win. They they, you know, even though it’s just a, you know. I think it’s six states they do. 25% of the Toyota.
00:03:39 Brian Kramer
00:03:40 Brian Kramer
The United States WOW and and the throughput.
00:03:43 Brian Kramer
Is very strong and it’s a it’s very.
00:03:46 Brian Kramer
It’s a very competitive environment and a lot of pressure which makes them makes them great.
00:03:53 Brian Kramer
They’re they’re, they’re great for the dealers.
00:03:54 Brian Kramer
00:03:55 Brian Kramer
Their expectations are extremely high, but so is their level of support.
00:04:00 Jon Toker
Wow, that’s amazing and just just for the record, your store in average month.
00:04:06 Jon Toker
How many new curves do you guys sell?
00:04:09 Brian Kramer
Well here as of late, it’s been, you know, however many cars we can get allocated.
00:04:13 Jon Toker
00:04:15 Brian Kramer
But last year it was.
00:04:20 Brian Kramer
Well, two years ago it was just under 6.
00:04:22 Jon Toker
1000 a year nice wow.
00:04:25 Brian Kramer
And the last year it fell off a little bit. It was closer to it was just under 5000.
00:04:30 Jon Toker
Under 5000, WOW, that’s like a province of no, I’m kidding.
00:04:33 Jon Toker
We saw more cars than that here, but.
00:04:36 Jon Toker
Uh wow, that’s amazing and used cars.
00:04:38 Jon Toker
You guys really stepped up the game because a couple of months ago.
00:04:42 Jon Toker
I don’t know if you remember, I reach out on the clubhouse and ask you like how was your look, the book?
00:04:46 Jon Toker
How many cars do you guys have praised and?
00:04:48 Jon Toker
You said you guys used to appraise like 200 cars a month. Now you took it up to like.
00:04:52 Jon Toker
How many now appraisals?
00:04:54 Brian Kramer
00:04:57 Jon Toker
Wow, that’s me and your.
00:04:58 Jon Toker
What was your look?
00:04:59 Jon Toker
To book back total 38%, you said.
00:05:01 Brian Kramer
Yes, so we’re going away from look the book I was actually at dinner last night with two people talking about that.
00:05:09 Brian Kramer
It’s more about how many trades can we win, because what we’ve found here as of late is obviously holds.
00:05:14 Brian Kramer
The wholesale game is changing, and by maximizing the acquisition side, even if we wholesale more cars.
00:05:21 Brian Kramer
Actually when we hold some more cars, we’re making more money in wholesale, but we’re also making more money in retail just from our choice of acquisition, so.
00:05:29 Brian Kramer
We’re now you.
00:05:30 Brian Kramer
Know and obviously the business changes and the world changes.
00:05:33 Brian Kramer
But the way that we’re looking at it right now is the PVR or the you know price, the market, and all those things is dictated by the quality of the vehicles you can source, not necessarily.
00:05:45 Brian Kramer
You know with the the markets doing it, you know we bought a 2013 FJ Cruiser yesterday. 4 wheel drive white with 37,000 miles so.
00:05:54 Brian Kramer
There’s no competitive set for that car, so what’s it worth, right?
00:05:58 Brian Kramer
I mean, there’s all.
00:05:58 Brian Kramer
There’s one with 10 miles that just went through Manheim for 80.
00:06:02 Brian Kramer
Or I was bringing a trailer for 82 grand Wow.
00:06:06 Jon Toker
That’s amazing that I I remember back in the days when I was working in a Toyota dealership as a used car manager that was back in 2013.
00:06:13 Jon Toker
I used to buy those FJ cruisers like the older ones like 0809 with two 300,000 kilometers on them and called my wholesaler and it was shipping them to Middle East and I was getting crazy money for it and the dealers didn’t know that.
00:06:26 Jon Toker
So I was like scooping all the cars I I gave them like 5-6 grand. I turn around sell for 1213 thousand you know I was making some wholesale.
00:06:34 Jon Toker
Gross, for myself, it was pretty good, right and?
00:06:37 Brian Kramer
Kinda like the rental car business right now.
00:06:39 Jon Toker
Yeah, how’s that rental car business?
00:06:41 Jon Toker
Are you guys being so do you guys come in terms of giving them a fleet car?
00:06:45 Jon Toker
Like do you sell them new cars?
00:06:46 Jon Toker
Like did you have contracts in the past with the rental car companies?
00:06:49 Brian Kramer
We did in 2016, but but after that we we became sales efficient and we didn’t have enough cars to in order to do that. So and obviously it wasn’t very profitable.
00:07:01 Brian Kramer
All that’s changed right now with used cars, so we started our own rental car agency here at the dealership with Southeast orders help.
00:07:10 Brian Kramer
They kind of guide us told us how to set it up. So now we’ve got to think 140 cars in that fleet.
00:07:15 Brian Kramer
It ranges, you know, goes a little bit less, a little bit more, but the these cars were ordered a couple years ago, but the the cars coming out of that fleet service now are obviously very profitable.
00:07:27 Jon Toker
That that’s really good.
00:07:28 Jon Toker
So like if I come down for a vacation in Naples, and if I can’t find the rental car at the airport, I can come rent one from you, right?
00:07:34 Brian Kramer
Yes, 100% do it all the.
00:07:36 Brian Kramer
Time would you?
00:07:38 Brian Kramer
For little point stands.
00:07:38 Jon Toker
Me a good deal because I’m car business.
00:07:40 Jon Toker
Nice, that’s good man.
00:07:41 Brian Kramer
Here we go.
00:07:43 Jon Toker
00:07:44 Jon Toker
Anyways, you’re you’re a good guy.
00:07:45 Jon Toker
You’ll help me out.
00:07:46 Jon Toker
I know for sure that’s good, so I I had couple questions I prepared.
00:07:50 Jon Toker
I mean, and you know what?
00:07:52 Jon Toker
I don’t want to like ask you like difficult questions.
00:07:55 Jon Toker
You know there’s no point doing that.
00:07:56 Brian Kramer
Bring it when I’m I’m all in.
00:07:56 Jon Toker
Because I don’t have.
00:07:58 Jon Toker
That’s good, one question, I’m really curious to know is you know we were doing business differently before COVID-19 hit? We had the up bus show up on Saturday.
00:08:07 Jon Toker
We sell 50 cars.
00:08:08 Jon Toker
We call high five each other and all whole 9 yards and then the COVID came in and people scared to go to dealerships and lockdowns happen.
00:08:15 Jon Toker
I don’t know exactly how did you guys handle it in Florida, but in Ontario we actually shot.
00:08:19 Jon Toker
Down our dealerships and didn’t allow people to go in unless you have an appointment right?
00:08:23 Jon Toker
So that changed this scene a lot.
00:08:25 Jon Toker
How did you?
00:08:26 Jon Toker
Guys change the way you guys do business post COVID night.
00:08:29 Jon Toker
Is there anything changed specifically and major profitable or made things a little bit difficult?
00:08:34 Jon Toker
Anything that you’d like to share about that?
00:08:37 Brian Kramer
Yeah, I mean our entire business model basically, but as soon as that happened, you know, sat down with Wendell Hardy who’s our GSM and our in our whole management team and we said how are we going to attack this?
00:08:47 Brian Kramer
What are we going to do to approach this?
00:08:48 Brian Kramer
And you know, we had the.
00:08:49 Brian Kramer
Same issues down.
00:08:51 Brian Kramer
Here we were working the kind of every other week.
00:08:55 Brian Kramer
You know most of the staff, but a lot of the lot of the management team volunteered to just work through it because we were retooling and we were going to, so that’s their chance to reinvent ourselves.
00:09:04 Brian Kramer
So we changed our marketing slogan.
00:09:05 Brian Kramer
We stopped advertising pricing and you know, I notice one of the questions on here.
00:09:10 Brian Kramer
How does the low competition affect your pricing back then?
00:09:13 Brian Kramer
It used to affect us significantly.
00:09:15 Brian Kramer
But anymore when we changed our branding after COVID-19, we don’t worry as much about what everybody else is doing. We just worry about our customers. We worry about sourcing the best car.
00:09:25 Brian Kramer
Hours and what can we do to make sure that we’re acquiring the best selection of cars that nobody else can?
00:09:31 Brian Kramer
Offer which I.
00:09:32 Brian Kramer
Think is a lot of what CarMax does.
00:09:33 Brian Kramer
And in Carvana does they don’t really bid up or bid at all on the proxies when they when it comes to the bad Carfax cars high mileage late model, they cherry pick all the stuff and then they let everybody else fight.
00:09:45 Brian Kramer
At the auction over all the less desirable cars.
00:09:49 Brian Kramer
Because they didn’t win it at the curb, so we’d rather win it at the curb so that.
00:09:54 Brian Kramer
We’re not dealing with that when we stop advertising payments as low as discounts as much as and all the other things that go along with that and kept on trying to go into a race to the bottom with an algorithm to see if we could be.
00:10:05 Brian Kramer
It did it for decades, right? Can it be $10 less than this dealer? You know? How can I?
00:10:09 Brian Kramer
How can I improve my real estate listing on this third party site in this third party site when we just started?
00:10:14 Brian Kramer
Worrying about our business.
00:10:16 Brian Kramer
00:10:17 Brian Kramer
How we’re going to take care of the customers and how we’re going to market to all that stuff.
00:10:22 Brian Kramer
The the You know it got more profitable.
00:10:25 Brian Kramer
The sales associates made more money managers, made more money.
00:10:28 Brian Kramer
But most importantly it was more effortless and less friction.
00:10:31 Brian Kramer
Now it was a lot, you know, it’s a much longer story on how it got to that, but we also had to, you know, customers didn’t want to come in, so we decided we were going to go.
00:10:39 Brian Kramer
To them and we empowered the sales.
00:10:41 Brian Kramer
People to you know, appraise cars on an iPad so that they could do 80% of it at the beginning they were facetiming the used car manager or the GSM.
00:10:50 Brian Kramer
And then shortly thereafter, you know, partner with the accutrade.
00:10:53 Brian Kramer
They could then pop up an instant cash offer you know like but.
00:10:57 Speaker 1
00:10:57 Brian Kramer
It was immediate.
00:10:59 Brian Kramer
And then we we had to honor it.
00:11:02 Jon Toker
You’re sending your your your salespeople to people driveway.
00:11:06 Jon Toker
Basically, to appraise the cars and bring the card that they prospective car that they’re going to sell.
00:11:10 Jon Toker
Let customer look at that car at that time and and you’re on the spot.
00:11:14 Jon Toker
You’re utilizing FaceTime and iPad to communicate with this store to put a number on that particular vehicle so the customer doesn’t have to come into the showroom.
00:11:23 Jon Toker
Are they or were they?
00:11:25 Jon Toker
Like, can they finalize the sale at that moment?
00:11:28 Jon Toker
Like is there like can you do a bill of sale right on the spot?
00:11:31 Jon Toker
Get them sign it, you know, go through that credit app.
00:11:33 Jon Toker
Sell the business.
00:11:34 Jon Toker
Office products or is that the capability or.
00:11:37 Brian Kramer
It’s a good question, yes, so they can’t.
00:11:39 Brian Kramer
They can do all of that.
00:11:40 Brian Kramer
They can’t do the so they can send the menu, get the drivers license, upload customer can upload it, even if they’re not there for coming in for an appointment, insurance card, stips all those sorts.
00:11:50 Brian Kramer
Things in terms of the actual legal documents, the bills that the purchase order finance contract.
00:11:59 Brian Kramer
They they can, you know, get the credit application, then communicate with the finance manager.
00:12:04 Brian Kramer
So there’s a different iPad with Darwin that the F and I managers use in the event that that happens.
00:12:10 Brian Kramer
Which is rare because typically.
00:12:12 Brian Kramer
Once we go out to them and facilitate that type of transaction, or at least the appraisal, the customer guard goes down and they said OK.
00:12:21 Brian Kramer
Now now you got not just digital trust, you’ve got real trust and they said, well here we’ll sign the menu.
00:12:26 Brian Kramer
We’ll give you all the documentation and then let’s set up an appointment later on today we’ll just come into the dealership we.
00:12:31 Brian Kramer
Can do everything there because.
00:12:33 Brian Kramer
They realize that they can.
00:12:35 Brian Kramer
Actually, we’re going to do what we say we’re going to do, and then the the behavior of the customer completely changes because they’re, I think most of the time they’re waiting for the shoe to drop.
00:12:43 Brian Kramer
That something is going to change that we’re not going to do what we said we’re going to do, and I think that’s what causes customers to be defensive.
00:12:51 Brian Kramer
When you trust them first.
00:12:53 Brian Kramer
Then they’ll trust you.
00:12:54 Brian Kramer
We expect them to trust us without trusting them.
00:12:58 Brian Kramer
And and I think that’s where I went wrong for the beginning of my career.
00:13:02 Jon Toker
That’s that’s really a nice to hear that kind of experience that you’re creating for your customers.
00:13:07 Jon Toker
Because you’re absolutely right, once that guard is down, they build that kind of rapport with you.
00:13:12 Jon Toker
Then things become a lot easier in terms of deliveries.
00:13:15 Jon Toker
Do you deliver the cars to their location with a truck or something like that at all?
00:13:19 Jon Toker
Or people pick up from the dealership?
00:13:22 Brian Kramer
It’s whatever is best for the customer, so we you know we we do accommodations of everything in between and.
00:13:28 Brian Kramer
We had a.
00:13:30 Brian Kramer
Was it last week that we delivered up north?
00:13:33 Brian Kramer
I forget where somewhere in the Midwest the spouse was on vacation in Europe, so we texted the electronic documents to the spouse.
00:13:45 Brian Kramer
They signed up.
00:13:46 Brian Kramer
You know all the everything they needed to do securely with an attestation trail.
00:13:51 Brian Kramer
The other spouse was down here, you know, Snowbird physically signed the other half of the paperwork or the documents ’cause there’s no paper and then we ship the vehicle.
00:14:04 Brian Kramer
I forget to whatever the house is up north, so there’s no rhyme or reason to it, even if they’re here local.
00:14:10 Brian Kramer
You know, if they want us to bring the.
00:14:11 Brian Kramer
Our team, we will.
00:14:11 Brian Kramer
We do a lot of that.
00:14:13 Brian Kramer
It’s there’s no rhyme or reason to it.
00:14:15 Brian Kramer
We just ask the customer what they.
00:14:18 Jon Toker
So you mean up north, you mean out of state of Florida like you can take it to Michigan or like different states?
00:14:24 Speaker 1
Oh yeah, we.
00:14:25 Brian Kramer
Should all over the country shipping to Alaska anywhere wow.
00:14:30 Brian Kramer
I mean, we get, you know, we’re fortunate that we get, you know Naples.
00:14:33 Brian Kramer
A lot of people Naples.
00:14:34 Brian Kramer
It’s got a little bubble down here.
00:14:35 Brian Kramer
They don’t really travel outside of, you know, might go to Miami or might go to Tampa, but it’s not like a major metro where you’re commuting a lot, so the so the cars are much nicer.
00:14:44 Brian Kramer
The roads are really well kept, so they’re typically in better condition, and they’re typically in lower miles because it’s such a small. There’s like 22,000 population in this.
00:14:53 Brian Kramer
Down, so there’s not people going, you know, long distances and if they do, we rent cars so they don’t have to put the.
00:15:01 Brian Kramer
Miles on their.
00:15:01 Brian Kramer
Car, but but we typically see you know people only spend half.
00:15:06 Brian Kramer
The year here.
00:15:07 Brian Kramer
A lot of really desire like a a 13 FJ Cruiser with 30,000 miles. You don’t see those everywhere so people will travel.
00:15:14 Brian Kramer
From all over the United States, either, well, you know reimburse him for their airfare will put him up for a night in a hotel.
00:15:20 Brian Kramer
Or you know, worst places to stay if they want to drive back, but in most cases the customer just arranges we we send them a contact information for a transport company.
00:15:30 Brian Kramer
They pay for the transport and we’ll ship it wherever we’re given the option if they want to come here, we’ll ship it there.
00:15:36 Brian Kramer
There’s obviously a process for identity, and you know Bill of lading.
00:15:40 Brian Kramer
And all those sorts of things for out of state tax exemptions.
00:15:43 Brian Kramer
But no, we’ll do whatever the customer wants to do.
00:15:46 Brian Kramer
We’ll find a way to do it, as long as it’s legal.
00:15:48 Brian Kramer
00:15:50 Jon Toker
Well yeah, you got you gotta do your.
00:15:50 Brian Kramer
00:15:52 Jon Toker
Do do you?
00:15:52 Jon Toker
Know what report?
00:15:53 Jon Toker
I would love to see from the manufacturer.
00:15:55 Jon Toker
You’re pumping Pompa report like.
00:15:57 Jon Toker
How does it look like?
00:15:58 Jon Toker
Like which states are you pumping in?
00:16:01 Jon Toker
And you know that would be really.
00:16:02 Jon Toker
Funny to see.
00:16:02 Jon Toker
Your pumping pumping report from the manufacturer.
00:16:05 Brian Kramer
Well, so it’s more unused in terms of of new cars we we do get some of that, you know, from up north and down below it.
00:16:13 Brian Kramer
00:16:13 Brian Kramer
It hurts us if they don’t serve us within 12 months because they’re spending a few extra months up north versus coming down here.
00:16:20 Brian Kramer
But when it comes to used cars, it’s completely decentralized.
00:16:24 Jon Toker
Wow, that’s that’s that’s amazing man.
00:16:27 Jon Toker
Uh, the other question I have is, uh, you talk about this.
00:16:32 Jon Toker
The metaverse of Facebook like and and you, you’re looking to utilize that in sales.
00:16:39 Jon Toker
Would you like to explain a little bit more about it?
00:16:41 Jon Toker
Because I want to know so the idea would be like you want to digitize.
00:16:44 Jon Toker
This experience for people with the VR and stuff like that.
00:16:47 Jon Toker
What’s the game plan on that and how soon?
00:16:51 Brian Kramer
So I’m very fortunate to work with a lot of really smart millennials.
00:16:56 Brian Kramer
Ryan Robbins, our new car director, he’s reversed, mentored me on this metaverse thing ’cause he’s very well read on it and allowed me to lock up a bunch of the teeth domains that I normally wouldn’t have even known how to get through Coinbase wallet, but.
00:17:10 Brian Kramer
In talking to him and now trying to to get outside of the industry to figure out what other people are doing, you know Walmart’s doing and how are other people trying to lock this down and what are their plans for it?
00:17:20 Brian Kramer
The simplest way.
00:17:23 Brian Kramer
Because that’s like a 8 hour conversation.
00:17:26 Brian Kramer
The simplest way to say it is it’s just the version three of the Internet, right?
00:17:30 Brian Kramer
It’s 3 dimensional Internet and there it Domino’s is is right now the the best case study you can go into a Domino’s in the Metaverse and Decentraland or or something like that and you can walk into a Domino’s.
00:17:42 Brian Kramer
00:17:43 Brian Kramer
Order pizza and it will physically show up at your house.
00:17:46 Brian Kramer
Even though you ordered it in the Metaverse, and as Michael Cirillo was telling me the other day there was something I was thinking, he called it half life and he said that Pizza Hut was doing that years ago, but it just wasn’t mainstream and I thought this is mainstream either, but neither was the Internet back in the late 90s I remember.
00:18:05 Brian Kramer
And saying, yeah, there’s a we have to have an Internet.
00:18:07 Brian Kramer
We have to have a computer, so if you hear AOL and it says you’ve got mail, make sure you run over there and check the thing and you know then print it and then call the customer and that’s how we respond.
00:18:17 Brian Kramer
Internet leads back.
00:18:18 Brian Kramer
Then, and I think that that cut the metaverse is just another way to submit a lead in the.
00:18:23 Brian Kramer
00:18:25 Brian Kramer
It it’s not going to be the only way you know, Zuckerberg says it’s it’s going to be.
00:18:30 Brian Kramer
Maybe it is, but I think it’s just going to be, you know.
00:18:33 Brian Kramer
You’ve got chat.
00:18:34 Brian Kramer
You got Internet.
00:18:35 Brian Kramer
You know, as Internet transitions over and then 5G and 6G come out. I think that’s just going to be the next evolution of the Internet. It’s going to be more 3 dimensional. It’s not going to be.
00:18:46 Brian Kramer
You know I I remember a night in the in the late 90s.
00:18:51 Brian Kramer
What’s name Eric over the guys that brand Google? Before that he run, he ran Sun Microsystems and he said Yellow Pages are going away and most all the transactions by 2000 are going to happen on on the Internet.
00:19:03 Brian Kramer
And they’re saying that now by 2025 that’s what it’s going to be like for the Metaverse. I just think it’s the next evolution.
00:19:09 Brian Kramer
Of the Internet and it, it’s one of those things.
00:19:12 Brian Kramer
The people that were Internet only in the early 2000s. It was probably premature, but if you’re not, you got to have one foot in the future and 1 foot in the present, because if you just have one foot in the present, you’re over your at some point when that overlap happens, you’re going to be overpaying for marketing.
00:19:31 Brian Kramer
You know people that are paying for newspaper currently or over paying for it versus the ROI and if they.
00:19:38 Brian Kramer
Aren’t looking at the metaverse.
00:19:39 Brian Kramer
You can under pay for it right now with domains and mana and real estate and making sure that you have placement in there.
00:19:48 Brian Kramer
Or you’re going to end up overpaying later when it’s too late.
00:19:50 Brian Kramer
When you’re trying.
00:19:50 Jon Toker
To play catch up, you’re going to build a dealership there in metaphors like the you know, Jermaine.
00:19:54 Jon Toker
Tired of Naples will be there too.
00:19:56 Jon Toker
Like can I walk in there, you know.
00:19:58 Speaker 1
I’m gonna build.
00:19:58 Brian Kramer
Yep, that’s it.
00:19:59 Jon Toker
A showroom get?
00:19:59 Jon Toker
Up with cars you know, make sure they’re get merchandise everything.
00:20:03 Brian Kramer
So I was talking to John Jermaine and I was talking to Jerrod Kilway, who you know with with the organization.
00:20:09 Brian Kramer
They’re they’re developing right now.
00:20:11 Brian Kramer
A auto mall with all the franchises.
00:20:15 Brian Kramer
So you’d walk in and you can you know.
00:20:18 Brian Kramer
Shop around for any maker model and you know with the you know the gloves or whatever it’s tactile you’d be able to get into the cars and take a look at him like a virtual showroom without actually physically going into the show.
00:20:31 Brian Kramer
But the I mean it’s a it’s a complex web of, you know, there’s no regulations.
00:20:37 Brian Kramer
There’s no pricing from the OEM rules in.
00:20:41 Brian Kramer
The metaverse right now.
00:20:42 Brian Kramer
I mean how we’re trying to figure out if you if somebody submits a league, where does it go?
00:20:45 Brian Kramer
Does it go into CRM?
00:20:46 Brian Kramer
Just go into chat tool.
00:20:47 Brian Kramer
Can you back link all of our technology into that?
00:20:50 Brian Kramer
Can we do a paperless transaction in the metapher?
00:20:54 Brian Kramer
So storyboarding that while trying to keep doing our our day job is you know it’s always a challenge.
00:21:00 Jon Toker
Did did did.
00:21:02 Jon Toker
Facebook trying to reach you out and have some sort of special partnership with you to help you out at pilot project with you at all.
00:21:08 Jon Toker
Or like nothing because.
00:21:11 Jon Toker
I know Brian Benstock in in in New York, right?
00:21:13 Jon Toker
He runs the number one Honda dealership in the world and.
00:21:17 Jon Toker
Back in the days he went to the Google and they have a partnership.
00:21:20 Jon Toker
Google really helped him out in terms of the appointments to voice all that stuff.
00:21:23 Jon Toker
So they had a pilot program for him and he really embraced it.
00:21:26 Jon Toker
I thought maybe because you’re embracing this metaverse with Facebook, I thought they would come to you and say, OK, Brian, we’ll give you a hand with that.
00:21:34 Jon Toker
Let’s pilot project and test it.
00:21:36 Jon Toker
Anything at all, or.
00:21:38 Brian Kramer
No, they’ve got. You know, H&M has a as a store in there. Walmart’s about to open up.
00:21:43 Brian Kramer
Store, but I think it’s really in the beginning stages of it, and even if they did, we don’t have the infrastructure to be able to connect it.
00:21:51 Brian Kramer
We’re just now reaching out to developers that build those buildings to figure out what what the cost would be.
00:21:57 Brian Kramer
What’s the cost for the real estate in Decentraland and what’s the?
00:22:03 Brian Kramer
You know what’s the cost for for building the showroom and how much space do you need to build in order to fit that many cars in there and just trying to understand the virtual.
00:22:13 Brian Kramer
Logistics of it.
00:22:14 Brian Kramer
We’re just in the beginning phases, so even if they did, I don’t.
00:22:17 Brian Kramer
I don’t know that I don’t know they have the bandwidth.
00:22:19 Brian Kramer
I think thinking next be so explosive that we’re going to be trying to keep up with them.
00:22:26 Brian Kramer
And I don’t have the bandwidth to be able to pull us along with them.
00:22:28 Brian Kramer
I think it’s it’s just an extremely innovative time and it’s kind of uncharted, and nobody really knows where it’s going.
00:22:33 Brian Kramer
It’s exciting as hell.
00:22:35 Jon Toker
Well, like it’s it’s it’s.
00:22:37 Jon Toker
It’s amazing that you guys are like I think this in early stages but it’s amazing that you guys are talking about this so early like that and that’s pretty good.
00:22:47 Jon Toker
Let’s see where that takes.
00:22:48 Jon Toker
Maybe I’ll do my consulting business on the on.
00:22:51 Jon Toker
The meta first we show up there briefly.
00:22:53 Brian Kramer
I wouldn’t chill.
00:22:55 Jon Toker
That would be amazing.
00:22:56 Jon Toker
Hey, I’ll show up there.
00:22:57 Brian Kramer
The brick the brick and mortar I.
00:22:59 Brian Kramer
I mean you if you think about it, you know Kroger right now is trying to be the number 2 grocery store in Florida without having a grocery store.
00:23:08 Brian Kramer
And I was just up in Orlando and they saw Kroger delivery truck.
00:23:12 Brian Kramer
And they’re all over the place, but they’ve like Ghost Kitchen grocery stores, so they’re not using brick and mortar.
00:23:17 Brian Kramer
They’re going completely virtual like Instacart.
Oh yeah, we have.
00:23:22 Jon Toker
That too so like I booked for like let’s say 11:00 AM to pick up my stuff.
00:23:25 Jon Toker
I show up to the grocery store with with my car so they can up on like load it to my car and I wait another 3540.
00:23:32 Jon Toker
Minutes so not a good experience.
00:23:36 Brian Kramer
No, that’s poor execution.
00:23:37 Brian Kramer
That’s the fear of everybody in this metaverse, you know, is that you try to advertise it before you.
00:23:42 Brian Kramer
Wait for it.
00:23:43 Jon Toker
Yeah, yeah, but that’s OK.
00:23:45 Jon Toker
I mean yeah, we got COVID stuff and they’re short staffed, I understand, but.
00:23:49 Jon Toker
Uh, well the other other question I have in my mind.
00:23:52 Jon Toker
I don’t want to keep you longer here with thinking about trying to keep it under 30 minutes because you’re a busy guy running multiple stores and you know.
00:23:59 Jon Toker
Uh, what do you think about outside people like in car business like vendors, consultants, gurus, experts?
00:24:07 Jon Toker
I see a lot of comments on LinkedIn in different various places about the dealerships should be doing their business this way.
00:24:14 Jon Toker
Don’t they do this way?
00:24:17 Jon Toker
Uh, without understanding the daily challenges of an operator, because before I become a consultant I worked in car business.
00:24:23 Jon Toker
10 years right?
00:24:24 Jon Toker
I understand exact daily challenges, so when I consult with my clients I don’t say crazy things to them because I know there are challenges, right?
00:24:31 Jon Toker
And I by no means.
00:24:32 Jon Toker
I always tell them like I don’t know better than you are.
00:24:35 Jon Toker
My job is I’m less distracted than you are.
00:24:37 Jon Toker
Because my job is the consult, but I see a lot of experts and vendors and marketing people making these bad comments about all dealers should like what do you think about that?
00:24:46 Jon Toker
Do you think that’s a fair statement?
00:24:48 Jon Toker
They make it about the judging you without.
00:24:50 Jon Toker
Even sitting in your chair.
00:24:52 Brian Kramer
Yeah, I mean they can only you know as I’ve gone through my whole career, I’ve looked at the world the same way you know and until until I’ve understood from their perspective and every time that I.
00:25:06 Brian Kramer
I get a different job or a different market or whatever.
00:25:09 Brian Kramer
I look at things differently, you know, and and I remember.
00:25:12 Brian Kramer
You know, talking to a mentor years ago and I said, how you know?
00:25:14 Brian Kramer
How can this be and why are we doing this?
00:25:16 Brian Kramer
And he said, you know, from the perspective you’re.
00:25:19 Brian Kramer
Looking at that.
00:25:20 Brian Kramer
That’s all you’re going to see, and he goes.
00:25:22 Brian Kramer
But like we were sitting on the beach.
00:25:24 Brian Kramer
And I walk.
00:25:25 Brian Kramer
Up a mountain and I can see over here there’s something else over here and I I just have a wide vision ’cause I’ve made more mistakes than I’m going to look at it differently than you are.
00:25:33 Brian Kramer
And I can’t expect you to look at it from my perspective.
00:25:37 Brian Kramer
Or vice versa.
00:25:37 Brian Kramer
So, and I don’t look at any of this, you know?
00:25:41 Brian Kramer
And those people that post any negative things.
00:25:44 Brian Kramer
Some of them have valid points.
00:25:45 Brian Kramer
Maybe some of them don’t, but it’s also you know there’s people that look at stuff as glass as half full.
00:25:51 Brian Kramer
They look at the glass as half empty.
00:25:53 Brian Kramer
I just wanted to talk about the benefits.
00:25:55 Brian Kramer
Of ice and how we can sell the glass of water.
00:25:57 Brian Kramer
I mean, it’s.
00:25:59 Brian Kramer
And and not worry about all that other that other stuff.
00:26:02 Brian Kramer
And some people are going to get, but that’s that’s really what stifles innovation.
00:26:05 Brian Kramer
It’s what stifles so many dealerships from being able to, you know.
00:26:11 Brian Kramer
Think about how much more profitable could it be if we wholesale more cars.
00:26:14 Brian Kramer
Or what if there is a better way?
00:26:15 Brian Kramer
Or you know?
00:26:15 Brian Kramer
There’s so many egos in this business, obviously.
00:26:20 Brian Kramer
Nobody wants to admit that anybody does anything better than them, and I’ve spent a decade traveling from dealership to dealership dragging my poor wife along with me.
00:26:28 Brian Kramer
Every city we went to we to go visit dealerships.
00:26:31 Brian Kramer
You know the best around the world.
00:26:32 Brian Kramer
Park places the schools, Fletcher Jones and all.
00:26:35 Brian Kramer
All these other amazing dealerships all over the country and.
00:26:39 Brian Kramer
She’s like, Oh my God, I’m still sweating my car and I ’cause I wanted to and I’m just going and people would like Bernie Moreno would just tell me how they run their business.
00:26:47 Brian Kramer
And they’re an open book, and I learned a ton and it was.
00:26:50 Brian Kramer
Amazing all you.
00:26:51 Brian Kramer
Have to do is.
00:26:52 Brian Kramer
To ask and then they would share it all and then actually take it instead of to poke holes in it.
00:26:58 Brian Kramer
And then you know ’cause a lot of people that would just ask questions just just to walk you into a bear trap.
00:27:03 Brian Kramer
Which is fine, but if you really seek to.
00:27:07 Brian Kramer
Understand then to respond.
00:27:10 Brian Kramer
I think that’s the that’s the key and and and a lot of people that say those things.
00:27:14 Brian Kramer
There’s negative points, and their situation might be different because of the management structure or their level of empowerment or their level of trust with themselves, their team who they work for.
00:27:24 Brian Kramer
There’s so many different factors.
00:27:29 Brian Kramer
I can’t relate to or.
00:27:31 Brian Kramer
I wouldn’t want to because I wouldn’t want to look at the world that way, but that’s what makes the you know.
00:27:36 Brian Kramer
If everybody did what they were supposed to do, then it wouldn’t be competitive and it wouldn’t be as exciting.
00:27:43 Jon Toker
Yeah I absolutely agree with you.
00:27:44 Jon Toker
I think my message to those people would be like be a little bit more forgiving and and I think dealerships have a lot of challenges and daily basis so that’s why they do some stuff sometimes and they may not make sense, but they’re not doing that in a bad faith.
00:28:01 Jon Toker
I don’t believe that because I worked in the in the industry.
00:28:03 Jon Toker
Like still working in it and I have a lot of dealer friends.
00:28:06 Jon Toker
Then none of these people are bad people or trying to rip people off or anything like that at all like that was back in maybe 50s or 60s, right back in those days.
00:28:14 Jon Toker
But now in a modern dealership like a gentleman like yourself, I don’t think you have any kind of bad faith to do any kind of back to any customer like your job is to make profit.
00:28:24 Jon Toker
Nothing wrong with that.
00:28:24 Jon Toker
Like in every every enterprise, right?
00:28:26 Jon Toker
Like you gotta make money.
00:28:27 Jon Toker
It’s nothing wrong with that.
00:28:29 Jon Toker
But these, uh, I think those people the third party should be a little bit more forgiving and trying to have a little bit more friendly approach to the dealers.
00:28:37 Jon Toker
So all of us can evolve the business, I believe right?
00:28:40 Jon Toker
Because they have a good point too.
00:28:41 Jon Toker
But they got to take it a little bit easier.
00:28:43 Jon Toker
I think that’s my two cents.
00:28:46 Brian Kramer
I think that you know.
00:28:48 Brian Kramer
And I still have a lot.
00:28:48 Brian Kramer
To learn I’m learning more everyday I was picking.
00:28:50 Brian Kramer
I mean, five of the smartest people I could find.
00:28:53 Brian Kramer
Their brains last night about the used car business, whereas it’s going.
00:28:57 Brian Kramer
What’s next, and you know, I heard that they were over on the other coast, so I drove over there last night and had dinner with him because I wanted to see from their perspective.
00:29:05 Brian Kramer
You know what they were seeing or and I and I got all kinds of great ideas out of that conversation.
00:29:10 Brian Kramer
But I also think that I’ve had amazing mentors and a lot of the people that are making you know, negative comments or whatever.
00:29:16 Brian Kramer
Haven’t had anybody to help them the way that people help me.
00:29:20 Brian Kramer
And that’s not necessarily their fault.
00:29:22 Brian Kramer
It’s just the lack of understanding.
00:29:25 Jon Toker
Perfect man, well we’re in that 30 minute mark.
00:29:28 Jon Toker
I really appreciate you coming in today.
00:29:30 Jon Toker
In the first episode, so I’m planning to do these weekly, hopefully sometime down the road.
00:29:36 Jon Toker
We can have again with you because like Brian, I really respect you and and I’ve been following you for a while on LinkedIn now and I was, you know, sometimes.
00:29:45 Jon Toker
Asking you questions commenting in your stuff.
00:29:47 Jon Toker
Hopefully we can do this again, and I know you’re busy.
00:29:49 Jon Toker
I don’t want to take more of your time.
00:29:51 Jon Toker
Anything that you would like to say anything, any advice, anything at all?
00:29:58 Jon Toker
I’ll put you in the spotlight again.
00:29:58 Brian Kramer
I I would like to answer one of these.
00:30:01 Brian Kramer
One of these questions that Xavier.
00:30:03 Brian Kramer
Rest, what’s your take on new and?
00:30:04 Brian Kramer
Used car leases.
00:30:07 Brian Kramer
And like everything else that anybody says, I don’t.
00:30:09 Brian Kramer
I don’t know that there’s a right answer, or even what the right answer is, but I know this.
00:30:15 Brian Kramer
I know what what we stand for at this location and what we don’t stand for, which is a very difficult thing to do.
00:30:20 Brian Kramer
My managers remind me of it all the time.
00:30:22 Brian Kramer
Our slogan is simple, fast and easy, and if it’s not simple, if it doesn’t make our process.
00:30:27 Brian Kramer
Simpler if it doesn’t make it easier for the customers and for the associates.
00:30:30 Brian Kramer
And it doesn’t make it faster even if there’s more profit to be had.
00:30:35 Brian Kramer
Which that there is.
00:30:36 Brian Kramer
Then we we say no to it, and it’s kind of like the apple philosophy.
00:30:41 Brian Kramer
They could make a lot more phones and they almost made washers and dryers.
00:30:44 Brian Kramer
And there’s all these things that you know, appliances that they had, TV’s that they could make that they choose not to because they want to put tremendous energy behind the the few products that you put all their products on.
00:30:55 Brian Kramer
On a table and they generate more gross domestic product than.
00:30:59 Brian Kramer
Then Texaco or.
00:31:02 Brian Kramer
And and you can put everything on a conference room table, but they say no to you know they see jobs you say I’m I’m more proud of all the ideas we say no to than the ones we say yes to because it allows us to put tremendous energy behind the few that we do choose.
00:31:15 Brian Kramer
So there probably is I I did use car leases back in the day, but it’s more complicated and it’s not.
00:31:22 Brian Kramer
Simple to integrate all of that into our existing technology, so it’s one of those things that is tempting.
00:31:27 Brian Kramer
As it is, we say no to ’cause.
00:31:29 Brian Kramer
It doesn’t fit into our our our goal, our mission or vision, and it’s very hard to stay that disciplined.
00:31:36 Brian Kramer
When you know to get vendors that say, oh, look at this, I can.
00:31:39 Brian Kramer
Make another 100 grand a month.
00:31:40 Brian Kramer
Right, But what does that attention and that energy?
00:31:44 Brian Kramer
By focusing on that cost us in our primary business and the distraction?
00:31:49 Brian Kramer
So it’s extremely hard to keep a team focused.
00:31:52 Brian Kramer
And there’s some people that are wildly successful at it.
00:31:55 Brian Kramer
It it’s just not within our core principles.
00:31:59 Jon Toker
I think a lot of people are really successful in that is the people who are going after the subprime business with high interest rates.
00:32:06 Jon Toker
They they lease the car out.
00:32:07 Jon Toker
Then if the person doesn’t make the payment so they can take the car back easier kind of thing.
00:32:12 Jon Toker
I think that’s like lease to own kind of program.
00:32:14 Jon Toker
Times I find personally successful regular kind of person doesn’t really makes a lot of sense in a lot of cases.
00:32:22 Jon Toker
Sometimes it do, but you’re absolutely right.
00:32:24 Jon Toker
You got to look at the value proposition.
00:32:26 Jon Toker
The return on investment.
00:32:27 Jon Toker
So I put X amount of effort into it.
00:32:29 Jon Toker
How much I get out of it, that’s the question.
00:32:31 Brian Kramer
We would have to have another rooftop here because it would create confusion and obviously the the.
00:32:38 Brian Kramer
The the the mother of all in my my perspective, trust and clarity drive any organization.
00:32:46 Brian Kramer
So if there was another entity that we had, if we bought a lot down the street and just did that and did subprime can be fine.
00:32:53 Brian Kramer
But having them in the same dimension, so you got one salesperson that tries to architect like that or.
00:32:58 Brian Kramer
F and I manager this is here.
00:32:59 Brian Kramer
Let me do this and they get confused.
00:33:02 Brian Kramer
Everything slows down, indecision increases and and clarity evaporates, and.
00:33:10 Brian Kramer
I think that if you’re going to do that, you gotta have another, uh, separate brand.
00:33:14 Brian Kramer
That’s a separate experience.
00:33:15 Brian Kramer
That’s the sidebar from your if your if your simple, fast and easy, everything has to be simple, fast and easy service parts sales, new use efini virtual on you know in person over the phone it’s got to be just that it’s extremely difficult.
00:33:30 Brian Kramer
00:33:31 Jon Toker
So the the.
00:33:32 Jon Toker
The final question I have for you, are you guys are hiring for any positions in your dealerships like because you seem like a great mentor to work for.
00:33:40 Jon Toker
So whoever is watching this?
00:33:42 Jon Toker
Are you hiring so people should have like come work for you looking for people?
00:33:45 Brian Kramer
Of course, we’re always we’re always.
00:33:46 Brian Kramer
Looking for the right people.
00:33:48 Brian Kramer
Any more sort of media?
00:33:48 Jon Toker
You look at people.
00:33:50 Jon Toker
What are you looking for?
00:33:51 Jon Toker
Like lot people, anybody specific?
00:33:55 Brian Kramer
All the above now our manager management team are promoted from within. I’d say probably 90% if not more.
00:34:03 Brian Kramer
Because we indoctrinate them into the culture, and we’ve got, you know, Wendell.
00:34:08 Brian Kramer
Our GSM was a dealer principal GM.
00:34:10 Brian Kramer
You know, I’m fortunate that most of our people are over qualified for what they’re what they’re doing, but they’re they’re helping us build something amazing.
00:34:19 Jon Toker
Nice so people watching this go apply for a job if you’re in the Florida area like you will or you’re looking to move into that area.
00:34:26 Jon Toker
Brian is hiring great mentor, you can improve yourself.
00:34:31 Jon Toker
Amazing man haul.
00:34:32 Brian Kramer
John did John Gutman come down to Florida?
00:34:34 Brian Kramer
I’ll be up.
00:34:34 Brian Kramer
There in Ohio next week to see it.
00:34:37 Jon Toker
Perfect perfect man.
00:34:38 Jon Toker
You know what it’s it’s.
00:34:40 Jon Toker
00:34:41 Jon Toker
I hope to we can do this again sometime.
00:34:43 Jon Toker
Maybe in the in the summer or spring time again.
00:34:46 Jon Toker
And uh, in in meanwhile it was.
00:34:50 Jon Toker
I think it was a very, uh, productive meeting today like the podcast and very informative.
00:34:56 Jon Toker
And, uh, really appreciate it, man, thank you for your time.
00:35:00 Brian Kramer
Thank you stay warm Jarvis.
00:35:00 Jon Toker
All the last one pizza.
00:35:02 Jon Toker
Hope you sell lots of cars.
00:35:05 Brian Kramer
I think we’ll be we’ll be we’re fortunate we’ve got a great team we’re in the right place.
00:35:09 Brian Kramer
So next time that you’re down here, John, you gotta stop by the store.
00:35:13 Jon Toker
I will do that man and you give me a rental car.
00:35:15 Jon Toker
I want a Yaris.
00:35:15 Jon Toker
Do you have the Toyota?
00:35:16 Jon Toker
Yaris you renting out, that’s my favorite car.
00:35:19 Brian Kramer
So I don’t have a Yaris.
00:35:21 Brian Kramer
I’ve got, I go with more equipped vehicles, which is not normal for the rental cars we’ve got really well equipped cars.
00:35:28 Brian Kramer
’cause those were I look at it like ordering used cars.
00:35:30 Brian Kramer
It’s like a used car factory, so we’re going to.
00:35:32 Brian Kramer
Get you something a lot nicer thanks man.
00:35:34 Jon Toker
Thank you very much, OK?
00:35:36 Brian Kramer
I’ll see you.
00:35:37 Jon Toker
Have a good one.
00:35:38 Jon Toker