Toronto Auto Consulting

Car Biz Insider Ep#4

Car Biz Insider featuring Sam and Dave Barber – Northern Honda – Ep #4


Car Biz Insider will be hosting two special guests from Northern Honda.


Sam is currently working as a Sales Manager in Northern Honda

Dave is the Dealer Principal of Northern Honda

We will be discussing how the dealership had one of the best years during Covid-19 and Sam’s transition from account to Sales Management. Northern Honda is a great community dealer and have lots of followers on Facebook. We will be talking about the remarkable story of the dealer being one of the very few dealerships in Honda network to hit yearly Retail Sales Objective set by Honda Canada.

We will be streaming live on


If you miss watching live, you can always watch it after, googling Car Biz Insider on Google.

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00:00:29 Jon Toker

Hi everybody, this is your host Jon Toker from car Biz Insider.

00:00:34 Jon Toker

I have two amazing guests here with me today from a northern Honda Dave Barber and Sam Barber.

00:00:40 Jon Toker

How are you guys doing today?

00:00:41 Sam Barber

Hey John, I’m good you good.

00:00:45 Jon Toker

Good, thanks for being on the show.

00:00:46 Jon Toker

I’m excited to host you guys together because you know it’s it’s amazing that having the father and son together and.

00:00:54 Jon Toker

Sam, you’ve been doing a phenomenal job for, uh, last? What 1820 months? Now you’re in the sales management.

00:01:01 Sam Barber

Yeah no, no, not that long.

00:01:03 Sam Barber

Both 14 months now little over a.

00:01:04 Jon Toker

But yeah, so we got a lot to talk about it today, so why don’t we start from Dave Dave?

00:01:05 Sam Barber

Year so.

00:01:11 Jon Toker

Why don’t you introduce yourself to us and talk about some of those jerseys behind you?

00:01:15 Jon Toker

So what’s the story behind them?

00:01:19 David Barber

Thanks John, thanks for having us. Yeah, my name is David Barber. I’m the dealer principal at Northern Honda. I’ve been in the car business since 1989.

00:01:30 David Barber

Yes, I have a family background in hockey. My Uncle Bill Barber played for the the Flyers back in the 70s and 80s and my wife’s second cousin is Tim Horton’s. So I I was.

00:01:45 David Barber

Actually a little bit better than.

00:01:46 David Barber

Billy and hockey.

00:01:47 David Barber

But it kind of bored.

00:01:49 David Barber

After a while, so I thought.

00:01:50 David Barber

I’d revert by revert the selling car.

00:01:52 David Barber

1st and actually just joking, I wasn’t that good so I I I had no choice but to come in and and join the car business, which I’ve enjoyed immensely.

00:02:02 David Barber

I’m I’m still wondering why Sam didn’t make it to the show ’cause he’s got the jeans of both the Barber side in the heart inside, so I don’t know what his excuses.

00:02:12 Sam Barber

I don’t like the corners.

00:02:14 Sam Barber

You know, going into the rough stop.

00:02:17 Jon Toker

That’s amazing. So, uh, Bill, Bill Barber is your uncle, basically right? And that’s you, Sam’s great uncle and a I think it was a phenomenal player. And and Tim Horton’s of course.

00:02:28 Jon Toker

You know, like.


Bigfoot software?

00:02:32 Jon Toker

Is the legend so uh?

00:02:33 David Barber

Yeah, we’re proud.

00:02:35 David Barber

Of him he.

00:02:35 David Barber

Had a he had a fantastic career.

00:02:37 David Barber

Was cut short with some injuries but he accomplished quite a bit with two Stanley Cups with the Flyers and then he was part of the administration management team with the Tampa Bay Lightning at one a cup as well so he’s not too late.

00:02:52 David Barber

People can say they have 3 Stanley Cup rings.

00:02:55 Jon Toker

It’s it’s amazing.

00:02:57 Jon Toker

So so why don’t you talk about yourself a little bit?

00:02:59 Jon Toker

What’s your educational background?

00:03:01 Jon Toker

How did you ended up in the in the dealership?

00:03:04 Jon Toker

And if you feel it fairly young person I know.

00:03:06 Jon Toker

And, uh, I think you’ve been doing a phenomenal job.

00:03:08 Jon Toker

So let’s talk about yourself a little bit.

00:03:11 Sam Barber

Yeah OK, thanks John yeah.

00:03:13 Sam Barber

So my name is Sam Barber.

00:03:15 Sam Barber

I’m the sales manager here at Northern Honda I’m David Son.

00:03:19 Sam Barber

Uh, I joined the business back in 2018 after finishing a quick stint with TransCanada Pipelines came on board and joined the family business.

00:03:30 Sam Barber

So to speak.

00:03:31 Sam Barber

My my sister Katie was working while has worked here at the at the dealership as well.

00:03:35 Sam Barber

Over the last few years.

00:03:37 Sam Barber

Uh, my educational background I I went to school for business.

00:03:43 Sam Barber

I got my bachelors degree in finance and and then I continued on and did my masters in Finance and investment management.

00:03:49 Sam Barber

Also and.

00:03:50 Sam Barber

Uh, you know, I didn’t think I was going to join the the car business so to speak.

00:03:55 Sam Barber

When I was in university I.

00:03:56 Sam Barber

Was going to be a big.

00:03:57 Sam Barber

Wall Street are so.

00:03:59 Sam Barber

To speak down in New York.

00:04:00 Sam Barber

But it’s, uh, in a couple meetings with with my old man and talking about the business and kind of grew my interest over the years and and came on board here in 2018.

00:04:11 Sam Barber

As one of the accountants and I kind of learned my.

00:04:16 Sam Barber

Yeah, so on the back end side side how things worked and and an opportunity came about last year to kind of gain some more knowledge about the store and about the business in in general.

00:04:26 Sam Barber

So it kind of came down here January 2021 as a sales manager, and it’s been kind of.

00:04:34 Sam Barber

And you know, learning you know, growing as as the day goes here, so it’s been good.

00:04:42 Jon Toker

I I think Sam you started in the the carb is like the sales side of things and probably one of the toughest times you could possibly start.

00:04:51 Jon Toker

And and I think it’s pretty good because that allows you to become a.

00:04:56 Jon Toker

I would call as an expert in database mining because you and your loyalty manager.

00:05:01 Jon Toker

Uh, because I I was working with the dealership before you were in the sales side, so I remember you were working with Rex in the in the in the in accounting depart.

00:05:11 Jon Toker

And then you came on board as a sales manager and I could seriously see the the improvements in the dealership while you were there because I have access to see your, you know some some numbers you know with the appraisals and stuff so.

00:05:28 Jon Toker

I think it was a great time that you started in the business, so those were the those are the questions I’m gonna ask you towards today that day you guys were one of the very few dealerships to hit your retail sales objective from Honda Canada, right?

00:05:35 Sam Barber

Not for sure.

00:05:44 Jon Toker

Last year

00:05:44 David Barber

Uh, yes. In 2021 we were fortunate enough to hit our target and I have to say there it’s been a lift in the in the variable side of the store, said Sam.

00:05:56 David Barber

‘s gone down there.

00:05:58 David Barber

So so yeah, he’s he’s brought a renewed energy.

00:06:03 David Barber

A lot of a lot more.

00:06:04 David Barber

Patience than I have now.

00:06:06 David Barber

Just kidding, but he’s actually no Sam and some of the other younger staff members have really embraced the database mining CRM.

00:06:18 David Barber

You know, we take we’ve, you know, we’ve joined up with some vendors that have helped us mine our database and and yeah, I mean 2021 was a successful year.

00:06:28 David Barber

And every year, we’ve seemed to have grown since we moved into our new facility back in 2016.

00:06:36 Jon Toker

That’s that’s amazing.

00:06:37 Jon Toker

And and the new facility looks actually really nice.

00:06:40 Jon Toker

When I visited your store, I was.

00:06:41 Jon Toker

Excited to see that.

00:06:43 Jon Toker

And how long Northern Honda has been in the business like overall, as as a Honda dealership?

00:06:50 David Barber

There’s a contradiction there. I think Honda has a SEV for 1989. I think it was 81 so that.

00:06:57 David Barber

Uhm, we’re the third ownership group to have Northern Honda since its inception.

00:07:06 David Barber

So, but we’ve been. I’ve been involved since 07 and owners since 09.

00:07:12 David Barber

Raymond Charette was the owner previous to myself and my partner and Jim Wilson was the owner prior to race rezzo.

00:07:22 David Barber

Both are quality dealers before us and.

00:07:24 David Barber

Yeah, they made it easy.

00:07:26 David Barber

For our transition back in 09.

00:07:30 Jon Toker

Yeah, no, definitely.

00:07:32 Jon Toker

Your dealership is a very good reputation in the area that a lot of people respect you in your Google reviews and your Facebook reviews speak about it when people go check, you know they can.

00:07:41 Jon Toker

They can see that.

00:07:42 Jon Toker

Uh, so I like to start with some questions and uh, and that’s basically going to be the dealerships operations right?

00:07:51 Jon Toker

And whoever wants to answer, you know, feel free to jump in.

00:07:55 Jon Toker

And I I have actually rommates this morning to Barbara family and high of Al says good morning.

00:08:01 Jon Toker

So I I’m sure, was Rahmat your DRM back in the days from on the finance?


Yeah, yeah.

00:08:08 David Barber

Yeah, we miss from it.

00:08:10 David Barber

We because of.

00:08:11 David Barber

Kovid, we haven’t had any in person at dealer meetings, so everything has been virtually the last couple years, so it’s been a couple years since I’ve seen Rama and.

00:08:19 David Barber

How you doing Romit?

00:08:22 Jon Toker

Good, good, uh.

00:08:23 Jon Toker

I remember visiting the store one day was actually, uh, I think was on March and we came there and I was driving on the highway and I see a sign says halfway through the North Pole.

00:08:33 Jon Toker

I’m like, oh OK.

00:08:35 Jon Toker

It’s going to be cold when I get there.

00:08:38 Jon Toker

I like it and.

00:08:38 Sam Barber

It’s not that it’s that that’s that’s.

00:08:40 Sam Barber

An overreaction it’s not too too.

00:08:42 Sam Barber

Bad yeah.

00:08:43 David Barber

It’s a misconception.

00:08:44 David Barber

People think we’re farther north than we are, but little do.

00:08:48 David Barber

A lot of people on the GTA know we’re three hours to the airport, even driving.

00:08:53 David Barber

The speed limit.

00:08:54 Jon Toker

Yeah, it’s not bad.

00:08:55 David Barber

Without that gun.

00:08:55 Jon Toker

It’s actually a nice drive.

00:08:57 Jon Toker

Yeah, it it is a fun drive and uh no.

00:09:00 Jon Toker

I came there and it was nice like I was like.

00:09:02 Jon Toker

I think 7-8 degrees or something and then in the next day I woke up in the morning it.

00:09:06 Jon Toker

Was minus 30.

00:09:07 Jon Toker

I’m like what?

00:09:08 Jon Toker

A fluctuation in temperature.


I cannot.

00:09:12 Jon Toker

Uh, OK, I’ll I’ll jump.

00:09:15 Jon Toker

Start with my questions.

00:09:16 Jon Toker

So my first question is, uh?

00:09:20 Jon Toker

Going to be this so nordon on there was a successful operation like over the years you guys were doing a really good job in terms of hitting your targets right?

00:09:29 Jon Toker

Successful operation did a decent job with the used car business as well.

00:09:33 Jon Toker

How would you? How would?

00:09:35 Jon Toker

You compare your. How would you explain to your success in 2020 and 21 compared to the?

00:09:40 Jon Toker

Previous years because you changed the way you do business completely because you had no walk in traffic anymore, right?

00:09:46 Jon Toker

Pretty much.

00:09:46 Jon Toker

I remember the days you guys had.

00:09:47 Jon Toker

Nobody walked through the front door, everything was appointment.

00:09:50 Sam Barber

Yeah, I I what what?

00:09:51 Speaker 1


00:09:52 Sam Barber

I think what has.

00:09:53 Sam Barber

Changed since is your kind of like the.

00:09:56 Sam Barber

The industries changed so much since.

00:09:59 Sam Barber

And I’ll go out dating back to 2020. And since COVID really started right that you know the government enforced.

00:10:06 Sam Barber

That you you.

00:10:07 Sam Barber

Be going back to the appointment.

00:10:09 Sam Barber

Only version people kind of have that sense now that you know there’s more, there’s more phone calls looking for for appointments because they’re not necessarily sure what’s what’s coming.

00:10:18 Sam Barber

Like what the rules and regulations are for for automotive business so that that kind of help us, you know it, it it forced us to to to kind of, you know, monitor our activities, so to speak on our plot.

00:10:31 Sam Barber

Forms, whether that’s through our traffic management system or whether that’s through our CRM platform, we use auto alert as well, and that’s been a really helpful tool and it and it’s up to management to to monitor what our guys do and sit down and kind of come up with a daily game plan because we don’t.

00:10:48 Sam Barber

We know that the foot traffic just isn’t there anymore.

00:10:51 Sam Barber

It’s, you know it’s a lot long online and and you know.

00:10:56 Sam Barber

Over phone or phone.

00:10:57 Sam Barber

Calls and video calls or whatever.

00:10:59 Sam Barber

However, you want to put it, but it’s.

00:11:01 Sam Barber

I think the.

00:11:03 Sam Barber

What what’s helped us I think.

00:11:04 Sam Barber

Society in general is the demands been there?

00:11:07 Sam Barber

A error has increased, sorry.

00:11:09 Sam Barber

Uh, since since you know since 2020, because inventory has had.

00:11:17 Sam Barber

Has been in the.

00:11:17 Sam Barber

News as a as a problem so people know that you know the the options aren’t there.

00:11:22 Sam Barber

You know Honda has been, you know, fortunate enough for at least our store in 2021. We we.

00:11:28 Sam Barber

Didn’t really see the.

00:11:30 Sam Barber

You know that inventory shortage, so to speak, until later on in the year.

00:11:36 Sam Barber

So we’ve been fortunate that way.

00:11:37 Sam Barber

But customers didn’t really don’t really necessarily know that until they they call in and then we actually have the availability so.

00:11:43 Sam Barber

That’s part of our success.

00:11:44 Sam Barber

But I think also it comes down to us managing our daily activities.

00:11:50 Sam Barber

And doing our reach outs and follow ups with customers just to to let them know and keep them updated with situations.

00:11:57 David Barber

Yeah, it didn’t add to that.

00:11:58 David Barber

I mean the consumer to Sam’s point has adjusted and we’ve tried to adjust as quick as they have, even though as a whole the industry probably hasn’t.

00:12:06 David Barber

But I think the entire industry is getting.

00:12:09 David Barber

A lot better.

00:12:10 David Barber

Uhm, you know tracking and monitoring and measuring the activities in the digital world as well as.

00:12:18 David Barber

The phone, the phone.

00:12:19 David Barber

And the E leads are measured now more prominently than any other stats, so.

00:12:26 David Barber

We we want to keep that at the forefront on a daily basis and the employees have adjusted.

00:12:33 David Barber

They’re you know their targets and their expectations when they come into work as well.

00:12:39 David Barber

So we’re not unlike a lot of dealerships that have done well in the new environment.

00:12:45 David Barber

It’s just that you know, identifying it and working it.

00:12:48 David Barber

To its fullest.

00:12:51 Jon Toker

So if my question would be this if you guys haven’t made those adjustments right with the database mining and you didn’t invest into those digital tools that you were talking about it, and what would you think the outcome in terms of the post COVID in terms of sales?

00:13:08 Jon Toker

So imagine you were like an old school dealer.

00:13:10 Jon Toker

No improvements and just go right in.

00:13:14 Sam Barber

Well, what’s that line, John?

00:13:16 Sam Barber

It’s like you either adapt.

00:13:17 Sam Barber

Or die right?

00:13:18 Sam Barber

I mean, it’s kind of how that it’s I mean.

00:13:21 Sam Barber

If you didn’t update with these.

00:13:23 Sam Barber

These tools that are out there to dot to.

00:13:25 Sam Barber

Datamine your to all your.

00:13:28 Sam Barber

Information with your customers that it would be hard to be successful.

00:13:31 Sam Barber

I don’t, I I can’t see how you could be without knowing, you know.

00:13:37 Sam Barber

Who who you have out there in?

00:13:39 Sam Barber

Least portfolios and who you have.

00:13:40 Sam Barber

Out there in finance and cut in cash.

00:13:43 Sam Barber

It’s just if you don’t have that platform and you if you can’t filter these different situations out to see where customers are at and.

00:13:52 Sam Barber

That you’re doing.

00:13:54 Sam Barber

If you’re doing it, the.

00:13:54 Sam Barber

Old school way of going back into your your just your DSM and you know tracking down who you have in.

00:14:00 Sam Barber

Your portfolio manually, it’s it’d be.

00:14:02 Sam Barber

Hard to succeed you.

00:14:04 Sam Barber

You need to keep up with what other?

00:14:05 Sam Barber

Stores are doing, and that’s what I.

00:14:07 Sam Barber

Think it’s important to talk to to peers such as law such as yourself and other stores.

00:14:13 Sam Barber

Get out there to see what they’re doing, what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, and kind of figure out what.

00:14:19 Sam Barber

The best solution is, so that’s.

00:14:21 Sam Barber

I I don’t.

00:14:22 Sam Barber

Think the short.

00:14:23 Sam Barber

Answer is I don’t think he’d be successful if he didn’t adapt to these new tools.

00:14:27 Jon Toker

What would you say Dave?

00:14:28 Jon Toker

You go to your group 20 meetings with a whole bunch of other dealerships too, and have you seen any of those dealers they didn’t utilize the database mining practices like you guys did and that they didn’t have a good results last two years.

00:14:41 David Barber

No, I think my group is predominantly pretty strong.

00:14:45 David Barber

I mean, we’re always talking about the challenges, but we’re always mostly talking about the opportunities and the improvement.


And love.

00:14:53 David Barber

That has to do with your staff and a lot of it has to do with your vendor selection.

00:14:58 David Barber

Also, the relationship with the vendors as well.

00:15:03 David Barber

I mean all your relationship with the OEM is always important, but the vendors that we choose and work with, we’ve developed relationships.

00:15:13 David Barber

As close to them as we have with the OEM.

00:15:16 David Barber

Uhm, so choosing the right vendor and working with them and and setting up the right processes is key.

00:15:24 David Barber

And we share that in the dealer group all the time.

00:15:27 David Barber

I’m I’m with.

00:15:28 David Barber

I’m very fortunate to be in a very strong Honda group across the country, and we’re tight knit and we share a lot of ideas and we make.

00:15:36 David Barber

Everybody accountable, so I mean to that point, I would recommend joining a dealer group and and picking the right ones and developing relationships through those avenues.

00:15:47 David Barber

But yeah, I, I mean you.

00:15:48 David Barber

You do have to adapt and I’m sure you’re going to hear that when you talk to all the dealers in on your podcast.

00:15:56 Jon Toker

Yeah, some some you know.

00:15:58 Jon Toker

Unfortunately a lot of them trying to adapt, but there’s still some belief that things going to go back to the old days of OK.

00:16:05 Jon Toker

You know the chip shortage is going to go away COVID is.

00:16:07 Jon Toker

Going to disappear.

00:16:08 Jon Toker

You’re going to go back to good old days and.

00:16:11 Jon Toker

I, I don’t think that’s ever gonna go back to those good old days that you know, because the things are changing.

00:16:17 Jon Toker

People getting used to the lifestyle and, uh.

00:16:21 Jon Toker

Yeah, I hope all the dealers adopt like you guys do it and I’m.

00:16:24 Jon Toker

I’m really actually when I talking to you guys more and more.

00:16:29 Jon Toker

Back in the days I was very impressed with the store because some stuff that you guys do normally I would expect to see them in a big order. Group would do stuff like that with like 20-30 rooftops. But you guys being in a small town.

00:16:42 Jon Toker

Dealer I I remember the conversation with your used car manager sales manager and he he he showed me something about auto alert like I didn’t know that your store had the auto alert and then he said yeah we have it.

00:16:56 Jon Toker

But you know, like we’re trying to implement it.

00:16:59 Jon Toker

You know, we knew with.

00:17:00 Jon Toker

But I’m like, why don’t you tell me a lot alert before it’s it’s a good tool, you know, like I I have experience using it in the past I can help you.

00:17:07 Jon Toker

It is like, oh really is it is it?

00:17:09 Jon Toker

Is it?

00:17:09 Jon Toker

You know I’m like yeah yeah we can chat more and I was very impressed to see that, you know, because you would expect that in a big auto group would have stuff like that because you know they go to the NADH.

00:17:20 Jon Toker

And see some tools utilize it.

00:17:22 Jon Toker

They have the budget for it to negotiate with the vendors, ’cause that’s the challenge too.

00:17:26 Jon Toker

When you’re single point dealer.

00:17:29 Jon Toker

Your negotiation power is not as big as a 20 dealership motor group.

00:17:32 Jon Toker

2 right?



00:17:33 Jon Toker

But no, I was.

00:17:35 Jon Toker

I was impressed and then your digital marketing practices you were partnered with a local company there and.

00:17:40 Jon Toker

It was amazing.

00:17:42 Jon Toker

I see some chat coming in from Ramit says he’s doing fantastic.

00:17:47 Jon Toker

Thank you Sir.

00:17:48 Jon Toker

Got to hear your team has managed to maintain a tight ship through the pandemic.

00:17:53 Jon Toker

That’s good.

00:17:54 David Barber

Yeah, right?

00:17:56 Jon Toker

A LinkedIn user.

00:17:56 David Barber

Thank you.

00:17:58 Jon Toker

Said refreshing to hear a dealer talk outright about data mining.

00:18:02 Jon Toker

It’s an important conversation to have because it also presumes that dealers have reliable access set clean data which is not often the case.

00:18:09 Jon Toker

That’s a good point.

00:18:10 Jon Toker

So how do you guys keep your data?

00:18:12 Jon Toker

Clean well for your database binding.


You just making sure.

00:18:16 Sam Barber

Your notes are up to date.

00:18:18 Sam Barber

Keeping a you know my mining through it on a on a daily basis.

00:18:24 Sam Barber

Checking in with the you know, uh?

00:18:27 Sam Barber

Well, with your sales staff sitting down and make sure that the clients that are apparently in this contract are still in it and just monitoring it on.

00:18:37 Sam Barber

A on a daily basis.

00:18:38 David Barber

Yeah, we also communicate.

00:18:40 David Barber

We also communicate internally through our DMZ.

00:18:44 David Barber

We’ve done a recent purge so we freshened up our entire database about a year and a half ago which was very.

00:18:52 David Barber

It was a very arduous process but it was worth every.

00:18:56 David Barber

Every hour we

00:18:57 David Barber

Put into it a good you know having good staff and believing in why we’re doing it was important and.

00:19:03 David Barber

That really helped.

00:19:04 David Barber

And also when we know somebody is no longer with us or it’s moved or unfortunately passed on that is communicated and it’s mandated to communicate it.

00:19:16 David Barber

So we’re trying.

00:19:16 David Barber

To stay relevant.

00:19:17 David Barber

You know on.

00:19:18 David Barber

A daily, weekly, monthly basis with our past customers and setting them up properly for future contacts as well.

00:19:27 Jon Toker

That that makes a lot of sense.

00:19:28 Jon Toker

You know.

00:19:28 Jon Toker

Clean data is more is very important for you to be able to work with it, because if data is not, you know.

00:19:34 David Barber

Have to trust it.

00:19:35 Jon Toker

Yeah yeah, email capture phone number capture multiple phone numbers, right?

00:19:39 Jon Toker

That’s that’s extremely important.

00:19:41 Jon Toker

I’ll I’ll ask, what is your overall opinion on the 2017 Honda CR V he owns one and so far it’s been great vehicle or what do you guys think about the 70?


Well, that was the.

00:19:55 Sam Barber

First model year of the new generation. Right back in 2017 of the this current CRV design.

00:20:02 Sam Barber

So I mean overall we we have great reviews on our end. I mean, I think it’s a great, reliable vehicle and that’s why on this the 2022 model looks very similar to the 2017 ’cause they know they.

00:20:14 Sam Barber

Not success with it, and they know they’ve built a wall, so no.

00:20:18 Sam Barber

Complaints on that front.

00:20:20 Sam Barber

It’s a great vehicle.

00:20:23 Jon Toker

I see on your used car inventory you have like 20 of them.

00:20:26 Jon Toker

Where did you guys get those cars from?

00:20:28 Jon Toker

Like a GT they will die.

00:20:29 Jon Toker

To have those cars.

00:20:30 Sam Barber

Yeah, it’s that’s just preselling right?

00:20:33 Sam Barber

Those are getting customers out and pre solve them into new ones, so so we’re fortunate enough where we’ve.

00:20:40 Sam Barber

We’ve done a.

00:20:40 Sam Barber

Good job with our with our staff here to to you know to to mine their our database and get our CR V customers into an upgrade.

00:20:48 Sam Barber

That upgraded unit and you know, that’s that’s what a big importance is for us is to, you know, build our lease portfolio to have this opportunity to hopefully get these return customers or repeat customers and.

00:21:06 Sam Barber

And so that way down the road it increases our use volume.

00:21:11 Jon Toker

Another another user commented a rising tide in franchise retail, automotive, automotive will rise old ships.

00:21:18 Jon Toker

That’s why this sort of open sharing of best practice so critical for industry.

00:21:22 Jon Toker

So thank you for you know, sharing these best practices with other fellow dealers because you know my network.

00:21:29 Jon Toker

I have a lot of people from like you know car business, so these kind of conversations really encouraging for other people too because.

00:21:37 Jon Toker

Sometimes they’re on the, you know, they’re hard to make it decision to go full blown with this kind of stuff.

00:21:43 Jon Toker

They still like to rely on, you know, sales events, which I’m not against to it, but I think you need to have a proper database mining process first before you just put all your effort and energy into the private sales.

00:21:56 Jon Toker

Do you guys have you guys been doing any kind of private?

00:21:58 Jon Toker

Sales at all in the last couple of years before pandemic ever no.

00:22:02 David Barber

We had our last.

00:22:03 David Barber

One, I believe was in 2016.

00:22:09 David Barber

So it’s it’s.

00:22:10 David Barber

Been a while now.

00:22:10 David Barber

We were investigating.

00:22:12 David Barber

Another vendor that we have good reviews with.

00:22:15 David Barber

Uhm, and came highly recommended, but then the pandemic hit and so that was it’s been put on the backburner and until the inventory supply changes for the better, that’ll probably stay the case for another year or two.

00:22:33 Jon Toker

Yeah, because like you don’t have cars right?

00:22:36 Jon Toker

Like whatever is allocated, it’s pretty sold anyways like the like.

00:22:38 Speaker 1

Yeah, yeah.

00:22:40 Jon Toker

Yeah, that’s the situation in, but I think if if if this ramp up a little bit, the inventory situation gets better.

00:22:47 Jon Toker

And if you guys continue with your practices, I think you can grow your business too in terms of volume because.

00:22:53 Jon Toker

Really good practices are in place and, uh, we started learning how to live with COVID 2 right?

00:22:58 Jon Toker

It’s becoming a norm now.

00:23:00 Jon Toker

Like a like any other, you know disease out there like cold or flu.

00:23:05 Jon Toker

And eventually I think that’s going to be very good for your operation in terms of your used car business last year.

00:23:13 Jon Toker

Did you guys see any improvement over last couple of years?

00:23:18 Jon Toker

Like can you guys talk about your used car business?

00:23:21 Jon Toker

What you guys did differently?

00:23:22 Jon Toker

Any suggestions?

00:23:24 Sam Barber

I’ll I’ll start I.

00:23:26 Sam Barber

I’ll let let.

00:23:27 Sam Barber

Me not finish if.

00:23:27 Sam Barber

He has anything on top of.

00:23:28 Sam Barber

It, but just from a digital marketing standpoint, uh?

00:23:32 Sam Barber

You know we’ve changed kind of the way.

00:23:35 Sam Barber

Well, we’ve changed vendors and and how we promote our cars online and we’ve kind of paid more attention to capturing our photos, so to speak.

00:23:43 Sam Barber

And you know.

00:23:44 Sam Barber

With our detail or taking photos and making the proper shots to make the the car stand out online changed our strategy.

00:23:52 Sam Barber

When it comes to you, you know our budget allocation and and and yearly spend kind of focusing more unused and and prod as well as new but kind of a 5050 split because of the inventory shortage, that being, what?

00:24:09 Sam Barber

It is and I find that it’s been successful.

00:24:12 Sam Barber

We had great results.

00:24:13 Sam Barber

We’ve we’ve had, you know, we have a new loyalty manager or BBC.

00:24:19 Sam Barber

Uh, that started last year.

00:24:22 Sam Barber

That’s done a great job in mining Internet leads on used vehicles and and that’s that’s helped.

00:24:27 Sam Barber

Increasing some demand on that front.

00:24:31 Sam Barber

And in overall, you know it’s.

00:24:35 Sam Barber

It’s it’s it’s.

00:24:36 Sam Barber

It’s an online world for for used vehicles we’re getting a lot of calls from out of town customers and.

00:24:42 Sam Barber

And I think it’s just about trying to mine as much data mined as many used vehicles that you.

00:24:49 Sam Barber

Can from your current portfolio.

00:24:50 Sam Barber

To get the the.

00:24:51 Sam Barber

Product on your lot and then.

00:24:53 Sam Barber

That’ll lead to results so.

00:24:56 David Barber

Yeah, the other the other.

00:24:57 David Barber

Thing that is a big part of it, but the other thing too is raising the expectation raising the bar.

00:25:03 David Barber

You know we’ve gone from .4 to 1.5 to 1.6 to one last year. Is .7 to one guy the management team have a KPI at .8 to one this year?

00:25:15 David Barber

We’re focusing on a lot of the micromanagement of it.

00:25:18 David Barber

As Sam mentioned, the pictures that the timeliness of the photographs getting them on the website sooner, we have a dedicated technician for our internals.

00:25:27 David Barber

So reconditioning turn around.

00:25:29 David Barber

The time has gone from 8 days to three days.

00:25:33 David Barber

It’s about speed and maybe it’s all about speed.

00:25:37 David Barber

I think vehicles are appreciating.

00:25:38 David Barber

As we look at.

00:25:39 David Barber

Them out there.

00:25:40 David Barber

But this crazy market we’re in.

00:25:42 David Barber

But you know, raising the expectation was the first thing, and that was on me.

00:25:47 David Barber

And now everybody is seeing it, and everybody believes that we can do it.

00:25:52 David Barber

And the next step would be.

00:25:54 David Barber

Eventually, we’d love to see one.

00:25:55 David Barber

To one right now we know.

00:25:57 David Barber

That’s going to be a challenge with inventory, but everybody comes in.

00:26:00 David Barber

To the dealership now expecting to sell a used car to match what we’re doing in new and and.

00:26:06 David Barber

And that was a big part of it.

00:26:08 David Barber

To get it going too.

00:26:10 Jon Toker

Well, that’s like music to my ears.

00:26:12 Jon Toker

When you talk about, you know, increasing your used to new ratio because you know it’s it’s a very important metric, I believe.

00:26:18 Jon Toker

And every franchise car dealership should try to get to that one to one ratio, because when that happens, the magic happens because you use cars as different animals.

00:26:29 Jon Toker

You don’t only make money by selling them in the in the business office, you actually make money reconditioning them, selling parts and service too, right, right?

00:26:38 Jon Toker

Uh, it’s it’s.

00:26:40 Jon Toker

I believe I always call you scared departments of are the uh turbocharger of the car.

00:26:45 Jon Toker

Dealership, you know?

00:26:46 Jon Toker

So like in in the Honda CR V, you have that 1.5 liter engine. It’s a small.

00:26:50 Jon Toker

Engine, but you had the.

00:26:51 Jon Toker

Turbo charger and it becomes almost 200 horsepower and.

00:26:54 Jon Toker

Powers that whole big.

00:26:55 Jon Toker

SV No problem at all with the good fuel mileage so.

00:26:58 Jon Toker

I think every dealership must focus on the the used car because the self sustainability.

00:27:04 Jon Toker

Is the key.

00:27:05 Jon Toker

For a franchise operation for the future.

00:27:08 Jon Toker

And what I mean by self sustainability is like without spending any extra dollars acquiring brand new customers.

00:27:14 Jon Toker

Let’s worry about our own customers that’s actively servicing here doing oil change because your service operations is very efficient too.

00:27:22 Jon Toker

I remember because you used to have a wash Bay and you remove the wash Bay now to another Bay there too.

00:27:29 Jon Toker

Because you were not happy, the fact that customers had to book appointments for a long time, so you said that’s unacceptable.

00:27:36 Jon Toker

I remember that conversations in and that’s very good too, because the customer service is very important, right?

00:27:42 Jon Toker

You don’t want people to wait three weeks for an oil.

00:27:44 Jon Toker

Change so I was not work.

00:27:46 Jon Toker

Not for your dealership for service operations.

00:27:50 Jon Toker

Is that working better when you remove that and put a another Bay there and help out the customers?

00:27:55 David Barber

Yeah, we we converted a uh, a detailed bait and put a hoist in it so we increased our capacity.

00:28:03 David Barber

We’ve internally improved our processes in our appointment booking we we use a BDC for appointment booking.

00:28:11 David Barber

We were we’re very fortunate.

00:28:14 David Barber

We’ve developed some young.

00:28:16 David Barber

Apprentices that have now turned into journeyman mechanics and and the turnover has been very, very low and everybody is kind of grown within over the last 10 years.

00:28:26 David Barber

So everybody improved gotten better.

00:28:29 David Barber

High, you know.

00:28:31 David Barber

They’re trained, you know, at a.

00:28:33 David Barber

Higher level than they were, let’s say even five years ago.

00:28:36 David Barber

But yeah, we’ve increased our capacity.

00:28:38 David Barber

We’ve also increased our employee count to.

00:28:40 David Barber

Meet the demand.

00:28:43 David Barber

So I mean we still have our challenges like any you know, any dealership?

00:28:47 David Barber

Getting the throughput.

00:28:49 David Barber

In in the stores during tire seasons, both in the spring and the fall, but every year we’ve tweaked things and gotten it to a level where it’s shortened.

00:28:59 David Barber

The appointment turn around time.

00:29:01 Jon Toker

That’s that’s great because customer service is extremely important because you sell the first car, but the service sells the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th car to those customers.

00:29:10 Jon Toker

You keep them happy.

00:29:13 Jon Toker

I’ll ask about any carbon buildup with the Hondas.

00:29:18 Jon Toker

I don’t remember.

00:29:18 Jon Toker

They had carbon buildup.

00:29:20 Jon Toker

They had some kind of like oil issue, but Honda changed oil and I don’t think they no longer have that problem in.


Now the distance.

00:29:24 Jon Toker

The cold climates.

00:29:26 David Barber

Yeah, the viscosity.

00:29:26 Sam Barber


00:29:27 David Barber

Change, and there’s been some bolt bulletins out.

00:29:30 David Barber

That corrected the problem.

00:29:32 Jon Toker

Yeah, and there was only in the very cold climates, right?

00:29:34 Jon Toker

Like extreme cold and because I drove curves, company cars and I put them a lot of mileage on them and I I drove them in very weird climates, right?

00:29:45 Jon Toker

Like I go up down all over the place.

00:29:47 Jon Toker

I never had an issue with.

00:29:49 Jon Toker

But again, mine was a 19 CR V. Then at the 2021, but, uh, yeah, and I I remember they were changing that. The oil grade on those, so I don’t see there’s any issues anymore with those at all, Rahmat said.

00:30:02 Jon Toker

With the inventory shortage, how important has been to participate in auctions?

00:30:06 Jon Toker

They acquire vehicles such as trade Ravi Block at that’s at Manheim.

00:30:09 Jon Toker

Are you guys acquiring any?

00:30:10 Jon Toker

Vehicles from there or simply.

00:30:12 Jon Toker

From your database.


How do I?


I think it’s.

00:30:14 Sam Barber

Important to definitely participate in those auctions, and it’s something that we’ve kind of looked at.

00:30:20 Sam Barber

We haven’t had much success yet, but it’s it’s become a main focus point now.

00:30:24 Sam Barber

Moving forward.

00:30:25 Sam Barber

Uh, because of the inventory way it is, it’s.

00:30:28 Sam Barber

It’s, you know.

00:30:29 Sam Barber

We’ve we’ve survived the last year because.

00:30:32 Sam Barber

Of you know we’ve.

00:30:33 Sam Barber

We’ve been fortunate enough with to have some inventories, so we’ve been.

00:30:35 Sam Barber

Able to get new.

00:30:37 Sam Barber

Some used cars in based off trades, but with with inventory on the new side being what it is.

00:30:43 Sam Barber

Online auctions will be important, it’s just there.

00:30:45 Sam Barber

The top, uh, you know, it’s a.

00:30:48 Sam Barber

Vehicles are, you know, with the way the the market is for the demand that the asking prices of these cars is it’s you got to wrap your head around pannarano a a premium for these vehicles, so it’s just keeping.

00:31:00 Sam Barber

Your eye on it.

00:31:01 Sam Barber

Our used car manager is going to start being on it on a daily and hourly basis and he’s going to spend most of his days.

00:31:08 Sam Barber

We’re moving forward trying to acquire some vehicles, uh, mostly on trade revenue blocks so.

00:31:14 Sam Barber

It’s definitely going to be an important part of our success for 2022 to to look at this. Look at those options.

00:31:21 Jon Toker

But just for the record, if anybody ever wants to sell the any kind of car, they can literally walk into your dealership and said I’d like to sell my vehicle.

00:31:28 Jon Toker

Can you appraise it?

00:31:29 Jon Toker

You guys will always evaluate any kind of vehicle basically right?

00:31:33 Jon Toker

You guys have no.

00:31:33 Jon Toker

Problem doing that I’ve ever.

00:31:34 Sam Barber

Well, that would be awesome and be often be.

00:31:36 Sam Barber

Awesome for customers to start lining up for appraisal.

00:31:39 Sam Barber

It’s great to.

00:31:40 Speaker 1

That’s good.

00:31:40 Sam Barber

See them rolling.

00:31:41 Jon Toker

Well, whoever is listening to this, you going to sell your car.

00:31:44 Jon Toker

Take the trip up to North Bay and sell your car to Sam where?

00:31:48 Jon Toker

They are ready to buy it.

00:31:48 Sam Barber

Follow up.

00:31:51 Jon Toker

OK guys time flies by with you, you know.

00:31:53 Jon Toker

You know when?

00:31:54 Jon Toker

You, when you’re with the people that you like and the time.

00:31:56 Jon Toker

Goes really fast.

00:31:57 Jon Toker

We’re in that 30 minute mark.

00:31:59 Jon Toker

I don’t want to take more of your time because I know you guys are extremely busy.

00:32:02 Jon Toker

And really appreciate you making up this time today, because I know Dave is always busy more with the Community dealership family like there’s a lot going on.

00:32:10 Jon Toker

Sam is working with deals all the time, so you’re giving me this 30 minutes.

00:32:14 Jon Toker

It’s phenomenal.

00:32:16 Jon Toker

Before the closing anything you guys want to add, say, are you guys hiring?

00:32:20 Jon Toker

Looking for people, you guys?

00:32:23 Jon Toker

OK, people from Georgian college contact you.

00:32:25 Jon Toker

Sam Young people ask you questions.

00:32:27 Jon Toker

Be open like anything you want to add.

00:32:29 Sam Barber

Anyone looking to get into automotive retail, you know, feel free to reach.

00:32:35 Sam Barber

Out to us.

00:32:36 Sam Barber

Whether it’s myself or or David, you know we’re open to.

00:32:41 Sam Barber

To for for people to to apply for positions here in any in any shape, way or or position that that they may want to may want.

00:32:50 Sam Barber

To be a part of.

00:32:50 Sam Barber

So it’s definitely.

00:32:51 Sam Barber

Reach out to us.

00:32:52 Sam Barber

You know that’s important.

00:32:53 Sam Barber

Moving forward is for for the younger generation people that are at Georgian and people looking to get in.

00:32:59 Sam Barber

I’d be awesome to to have them apply.

00:33:02 Sam Barber

Northern Honda up in North Bay and uh, thanks John very much for your time today.

00:33:07 Sam Barber

It’s been it’s been cool this hour for this our podcast debut so.

00:33:10 David Barber

Yeah nice, there’s a lot of fun.

00:33:12 David Barber

John, thank you for the time and let’s do it again sometimes.

00:33:17 Jon Toker

Yeah, we’ll do that in the summertime.

00:33:19 Jon Toker

Maybe I’ll come visit the store.

00:33:20 Jon Toker

Will do a.

00:33:20 Jon Toker

Live 1 from your start.



00:33:24 Jon Toker

Perfect guys, thank you again and again as as Sam mentioned, if you’re looking into getting into business.

00:33:32 Jon Toker

Uh, reach him out.

00:33:33 Jon Toker

He’s a young guy like you are and I think you finished the program anyways from Georgian right you did.

00:33:37 Sam Barber

Yeah, yeah, I guess finished up there this past a lot buddy.

00:33:37 Jon Toker

Something there I remember.

00:33:41 Sam Barber

Almost a year ago now last May.

00:33:43 Sam Barber

I finished up the automotive by dealership management program so.

00:33:46 David Barber

It’s a very.

00:33:47 David Barber

It’s a very dynamic business.

00:33:48 David Barber

Every day is different.

00:33:50 David Barber

It’s it’s a fun business.

00:33:53 Jon Toker

Look at Swain said.

00:33:54 Jon Toker

Swain said great work, so maybe he can give you some more cars.


You on the.

00:33:59 Sam Barber

Phone with me this morning, you know?

00:34:00 Sam Barber

As I was.

00:34:01 Sam Barber

Getting prepped and ready to go for that.

00:34:03 Jon Toker

Great follow great follow.

00:34:04 Sam Barber

Yeah, absolutely.

00:34:05 Jon Toker

Well everybody, thank you for watching listening. We’re live on LinkedIn today and YouTube if you want to watch this again, you can watch it.

00:34:15 Jon Toker

We’re also putting this up as as a podcast too, which will be available on Apple, Google, iTunes, Spotify.

00:34:23 Jon Toker

Bye so you can watch.

00:34:24 Jon Toker

You can listen to this in your car as well.

00:34:26 Jon Toker

So if you ever want to listen again but thank you very much guys.

00:34:31 Jon Toker

Keep in touch.

00:34:31 Jon Toker

Hopefully we’ll do this again and all the best.

00:34:35 Jon Toker

Hope you.

00:34:35 Jon Toker

Will sell lots of cars.

00:34:37 David Barber

Thanks for having us John.

00:34:38 Sam Barber

Yeah, thanks Robert, John have a good one.

00:34:38 David Barber

Yeah take care bye bye.