Big Takeaways from the 800% Auto Club Retreat

By: Arnold Denah   |   28 Oct 2022

This episode of The Dealer Playbook Podcast is unique as Michael Cirillo is on location with Glenn Lundy and dozens of automotive industry professionals at the 800% Elite Automotive Club retreat in Atlanta. With loads of fascinating conversations happening surrounding technology, culture, sales, and so much more, Michael was there to capture the action and bring it to DPB listeners.

In this episode, Michael questions several owner-operators in attendance to help inspire and motivate listeners with ideas about how we can successfully make it through this next phase of growth.

 

 

Michael interviews some of the top names in the automotive industry. In a conversation with Damon Lester, soon to be the former president of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD), who also recently acquired a dealership despite the doom and gloom that's being shared throughout the industry, Damon says, "There's a massive opportunity if people pay attention to people. People still need transportation to get to and from work. People still need a vehicle to take to go on vacations with. And cars do matter, but people matter more. And so long as we bring back the value of why dealers exist, then we're fine."

Damon also shares that there are crucial points about how employees in his dealership work differently from the rest. For example, they make the decisions right then and there - the sales team votes and fights for the price using their own experience, knowledge, and brain power. Each employee is empowered. They know what they need to do and have the authority to get it done in the dealership.

In a chat with Aaron Lange from Lange & Fetter Motors in Ontario, Canada, Michael and Aaron talk about the need for action within a dealership: "We need to just start. Sometimes you can explain a vision to people, and then what I find works well is we'll do it together until we get good at it. And then everybody can play to their strengths and do their thing. Trust them to get it done."

Michael also had an opportunity to tour Beaver Toyota in Atlanta, Georgia, which was an eye-opening experience. Beaver Toyota operates like no other dealership you've likely ever seen. It's an experience: a place where you go to enjoy the cool amenities as much as a place to buy a car. We know that new shoppers are aligning themselves in this way: with experiences, connections, and memories more than just "things." And here we have dealerships that are taking that notion and really running with it.

There is so much more to digest in this episode - you don't want to miss it!

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