The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode 485 · 11 months ago

Chris Potgeiter: Be Proactive


Chris Potgieter is the Product Marketing Manager at automotiveMastermind and joins the show to express the importance of dealers being proactive in creating loyal customers. The pandemic has demonstrated our ability to react to unforeseen circumstances, but similar to automakers, it's time to be more proactive in anticipating customer needs and adapting the the evolving demands of the market.

What we discuss in this episode:

  • We're still stuck with shiny object syndrome in the industry, but that's not going to serve our best interests. The best tools in the world won't work unless we do.
  • It's important to understand the context in which we are forced to operate today.
  • Chris explains that it's important to be proactive in discussing the dealership business portfolio and discussing ways to bring customers back to the store.
  • The Bull to Stock market has evolved very quickly in the United States.
  • What we thought was a sleepy industry snapped into gear quickly.
  • The last two years during the COVID pandemic has pushed the industry forward by at least 5 years.
  • Dealers already have many of the tools needed to provide a frictionless process. It's all about how to utilize them.
  • Car dealers should consider how to continue selling more with less. Chris explains that the pandemic might have been the catalyst for smaller showrooms and less inventory across the board.
  • Does Chris look like Robert Pattinson? Watch the YT video on our channel to see for yourself!
  • Automakers have been pursuing EVs for more than 20 years. They aren't making snap decisions; they are approaching their work methodically.
  • While most of the retail industry reacted to the pandemic, it's traditionally the behavior of auto dealers — to react rather than be proactive. In contrast, the automakers have been proactive in their efforts and thinking into the future.
  • What will the future dealership look like?
  • Listen to the full episode for even more insights from Chris Potgieter!  

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The car business is rapidly changing and modern car dealers are meeting the demand. I'm Michael Sirillo and together we're going to explore what it takes to create a thriving dealership and life in the retail automotive industry. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with subject matter experts that are designed to help you grow. This is the dealer playbook. One can't help but think about how quickly the retail automotive industry has evolved over the last two to three years. By my best guests, the pandemic has moved US forward by at least five years, maybe more, and has really underscored the importance of people, process and product, and I mean look, there's nothing quite like a chip shortage and an employee shortage to drive that message home. However, we're also seeing a shift in consumer demand, with online retailing as a big push and, of course, with governments and automakers making big plays in electrification. Joining me today is Chris Poscayte, the VP at automotive mastermind. He has a rich experience in the global retail auto industry, working with automakers in both North America and South Africa. My Man Chris. Thanks so much for joining me on the dealer play book. Thank you, my bough it's awesome to be here. Appreciate the invite absolutely. Now, how well did I do? How well did I do on that last name? Ten out of ten, definitely. I mean it's an offer conso name. I'm born and raised English. I even struggle at the best of time, so I think you pulled it off. Does offer cons have like a German influenced behind? Definitely has a German Dutch kind of that gottle Gotcha. It's not not the most peasant to the yeah, well, yeah, not just friendly. Not The Spanish. Yeah, I guess it depends. You know, years ago I went and did missionary work in the Philippines and learned to speak one of their dialects and I remember coming home and I was filling out an application for school and it asked if I spoke any other languages. So of course I put Sebouano in, which was the dialect, and basically the system came back and was like no, no, it's got to be a real language, like what, what's the real language? I was like Oh no, anyways, I'm so glad you're here. I'm excited to chat with you about the the climate of the auto industry today. I mean, obviously today is where I want to start, right there's a lot there was a lot of excitement around GM's recent keynote at cees where they, you know, showcased the new electric Silverado and they even made some mention of a on to me, and I mean of course you go on Linkedin and all of the dealers are very excited about this and O. E. Look electrification and new Silverado and all of these sorts of things, and my mind immediately went to but what about today? I mean, in order to get to tomorrow, I must pass through today, and I think that's where I want to start, right we see that automakers are limiting supply to dealers, who are obviously selling the vehicles. But then there's the catch twenty two, because if there's nothing to sell, how do I sell it in order to get more supply? And so I'm just kind of curious from your experience, from what you've been able to now witness and and of course, drawing on your past experience, what are perhaps some things dealers could be doing today to get creative, maybe to mitigate or offset the supply chain and then, of course, get creative, working with the the resources that are at their disposal today to perhaps a chore or keep the Ball Moving forward right. I mean, as you mentioned, that man supplies deafinitely topic right now and it has been for a couple of months on the moss of mind side with commas and essentially pivoted offa. So you know, up until very recently...'s ready been known by the deal is as a new vehicle sales and walking platform and we have, you backed off that platform and now have sought it to expand it off of. So what I mean by that is, you know, conquest acquisition. How to deal is use this technology to go and identify other customers within their markets that they didn't originally sell the vehicle to and mark it to them, but not necessary to even sell them a new car, but just to acquire that that vehicle, and I think dealers have been doing that together with service to sales acquisition. kind of thinking about the service drive. How do I identify the right cause in my in the lane, in the service drive and put forward already good offer to that customer where maybe the customer doesn't need that second authird vehicle in the household anymore because they work in remote they not commuting quite as much right and they able to loyalize their customers. I think that's really what it's coming down to, is how do we keep those customers that we have sold to that our part of our put photo and keep them all to the dealership? I think that's ready probably top of mine for most dealers nowadays. Yeah, it's interesting because it really underscores for me the importance of people in this whole mix. Like I've always felt like the retail auto industry in particular. I mean I've been in the industry now since I was about sixteen, so it's really all I kind of know. But I've always been fascinated by this concept of the Shiny object and over the years, especially as a creator of, you know, a socalled shining the object, the conclusion that I've come to is that the best tools in the world won't work unless I do rise. Like I use the analogy of going to Home Depot and purchasing the most expensive hammer, the shiniest, nicest looking hammer I could find, and that damned thing still won't hang pictures on the wall. Unless I pick it up and hammer some nails into the wall, that sort of a thing. And so I think you're right. It's really interesting to be able to look or peer inside the dealership and say, okay, well, we need to develop a process. So I guess my next question to that point is what kind of offers are you seeing? Any offers that are working better than others to not only acquire the vehicle but perhaps really enforce the importance of loyalty, like human to human relationship building, right, I think I mean Tal whine. This is all buy peractivity. It's about actually understanding the context in which we set today. I think all the DEA is definitely understand that Fusha and then thinking about, you know, what did the next six months look like? Because for many of the customers, you know, Independent on what tool they using, they going to know which customers Lisa's I do in the next six months. And I think it's about being proactive, engaging the BBC's having those sales meeting, talking about the portfolio and which customers might becoming all least in the next six months, and having those conversations today versus waiting for that call from the customer saying Hey, but I've just got a call from my financial services division. Is Cause Lias is up next week. What Calldia have for me? So I think it's about that productivity and that, you know, that could be up on calls, it could be emails, it could be, you know, the product of type of marketing that we run in camp campaigns, but I think it's ready just having you know, as we know in the US, it's ready been able to stock market. That is changed very quickly in the last couple of months and I think the the deal is, I mean, to their credit, of very entrepreneurial, Entrepreneuri by nature, and they've been able to adapt very quickly to this and have changed their processes to be more pro active reaching out to customers, and I think that's that's working really well for them.

Yeah, and and to kind of piggyback on that, it has been very inspiring, I would say, to see how quickly what we used to think was a sleepy old industry just snapped into gear and said Hey, we got to meet some demands here. And and you know, as I kind of of alluded to earlier, I really feel like the last two years in particular has probably forced, whether we wanted to or not, as forced US forward by at least five years in the sense that, you know, we had to get creative with zoom calls and facetime and Messenger and, you know, doing at home deliveries and and all of these sorts of things, and I think what it's helped dealers realize is that they already have many of the tools and resources they need in order to have a much more friction lists process, and I'm wondering if you're seeing the same thing on your end. Yeah, I agree. I think it's definitely been a catalyst. To your point. They've adapted very quickly to this and I think, you know, a lot of this was going to change anyways. It's just been a bit of a force back to happen sooner rather than later, and sometimes we need that. You know, it's it's often easier to kind of doing what we used to and I think naturally everyone is a little resistance to change. So I think that this has been one of those force factors that have pulled forward what it was going to be inevitable. It's digital retailing, it's, you know, it's not keeping so many vehicles in stock in this case because, you know, not they haven't got that option right now right. But I think that this will actually change how how we as an industry in the US sell vehicles, stock vehicles, and I think that's gone. Other days of having, you know, a couple of hundred vehicles in new a new Cole inventory. I think this is just kind of a yeah, this is, this is this will be written down in the history books and I think this will also safe deal as well. I mean they can run on actually no organization. They are not going to be having significant full plan expense and beat just be more generally proactive with customers and also communicating with them, probably using technologies. That's will be expected from the new vietico buys in the future as well. HMM. Okay, now, I told you I wasn't and I promised Nikki I wasn't going to throw you any curve balls. So here's a curveball for you. has anyone ever told you that you look like Robert Pattinson, famous actor? No, no one has. This would be a great time for Nikki to come back in here and support me on this. I just I just had to say, Nicki, does he not resemble Robert Pattinson a little bit. We gotta get a little we gotta get at but I can see it, can you nuts? I'm sitting here this whole time, we're talking on a motive and I almost came up with a line of questioning about the upcoming Batman movie. Look, go into yes, we could talk about the outsiders. Oh Gee, roblow, I just had to I just had to say it. Kept call me crazy, but I'm just I'm sitting here and I'm like, do I have a crush on this guy? What's happening? I'm getting the Robert Pattinson. Okay, so lets I'll bring this back around automote to my promise. So so let's move into the because that you're right at it's all going to come down to process, no matter how you dice it. Sure, process is unsexy to some, but it is the thing that's going to drive us forward through today and into tomorrow. One of the things that that you know, I've had the pleasure of interviewing some of the automakers might call are on from Nissan Global, and I've asked him about electrification,...

...and this is where I want to kind of pivot the conversation, if that's okay. I wanted to get a sense from him how long the automakers have been pursuing and or thinking about evis and and really the point was I needed to get across the fact that usually, where the rubber meets the road, we're constantly trying to react and and so I'm glad that the industry reacted the way it did to the pandemic and at home and all of these sorts of things, because they reacted very quickly and then, of course, like you had said, that forced us to kind of evolve. But then you look from the automaker perspective, and I know you've got you've worked with BMW. Mike at Nissan was saying that they've been thinking about it for at least two decades and pursuing it and toying with it and poking at it. Was it the same you know, did you see that kind of same level of looking into the future with your experience at working with automakers? And how do we, in your opinions, start to get dealers, where rubber meets the road, to think that far in the future so that we're not necessarily always reacting? But to your point being much more proactive in our approach right. I mean I'm thinking back to ready my time. I joined the BMW Group, like I mentor, I met automotive mass mind now, but I joined the BMW group straight out of the university back in two thousand and ten and one of the cause that I was able to take home was the Minie. And before that there was the activity as well. I think you guys had that here in the states, and so you know, that's already more than a decade ago. And before that there were other experimental vehicles out there. You know, at that points of time you were in the mini Cooper or the one series, you having good amount of range. They obviously wasn't the infrastructure ready to support kind of the mass market for that, but I think the technology was already there right. The market wasn't. And there's a whole you know, there's many factors that play. You to be thinking about the consumer market, you need to see how the technology, if it's ready for the infrastructure as well that's on the ground. And every market is very different. I mean I think the number one selling model in Norway at the moment just is Tesla and electric vehicles I mean Ev's take up a significant share of the pipe when it comes to new vehicle sales. Here in the US, I think we still ended two thousand and twenty one around less than ten percent, about eight percent, of new vehicle sales. So I think that there's many different factors that play. You know, from my time at the M D A group we had launched the I three about a decade ago at this point. I'd follow it up soon after that and I think it's ready. Always just kind of that balancing act. When is the right time? When is the consumer going to be ready, when is it going to be supported by the infrastructure, and also from a dealer mindset as well, so that you know, it's kind of three different pieces to this puzzle right and I think that we getting very close to kind of prime time. You see that today. I think Tesla as well, particularly for us in the US, has again been one of those catalysts to create this change and kind of force the rest of the ohim brands to, you know, kind of perk up, poke up or be more aware that and prove that there is true be a market there and Concuem as ready for this technology. So I think you kind of now is that time two starts thinking about how who, knowing that this is this is the beginning and it's going to start scatting and it's going to scale pretty quickly from now on. MMM, you'd mentioned something earlier that that I want to just draw on for a minute. Smaller dealership footprints.

So this is something that I've felt for quite some time in fact. So we've been producing the show now for going on nine years and I'm like a Grandpa of a podcaster at this point, but I remember years ago, as we were contemplating the future and what would dealerships look like, I always felt strongly that dealerships would take on a smaller footprint. Maybe service departments would get bigger, but show rooms would get smaller, floor plans would get smaller because we would be able to you know, well, and we actually I don't know if it was a bmw or something I just saw on Linkedin the first vehicle that can change color dynamically. Yeah, I did think that that is did you see that? One of the nonsense to see is from being doug as well. Yeah, okay, so for my ads. Yeah, yeah, so I think this is really intriguing because back years ago, before any of this was even on anybody's radar as far as pandemic and how far we going to move into the future and electrification and all that kind of stuff, I really felt like it would be smaller show rooms where there would be one of each model that you could look at, but that it could perhaps now. Back then I thought maybe there would be some sort of spotlights that could change its color dynamically, but now we're seeing technology where, you know, push of a button, a vehicle can change its entire appearance. It's a tire, you know, color scheme, and then that's basically how we would work. And then dealerships today largely would become kind of like the Tesla model, where you walk in you're like, oh, there's the Silverado, there's the F one hundred and fifty, there's the you know, the the BMW, whatever I like it, I can sit in it, I can throw on some VR goggles and test drive it right, I can see it in the color I want and then I order it and it shows up at my door and by and large, things are really starting to move into that direction. From your perspective, though, maybe your opinion, what are things that dealers could be doing today to prepare for that, but also while, you know, spinning the plates of the needs of today. Yeah, I mean I think it's for deal as obviously this this massive capital investment that's gone into the buildings and the facilities and the constant updates that also need to get made to that, and I think that kind of a squift footage all that show, I'm has. It's always a bit of a game, a bit of a balancing act because I om portfolios in terms of the product offerings have grown. I mean, if you think about all these little niches that have been carved out with it be sport activity vehicles, board activity coops, you've got kind of these crosso cross betweens or crossovers between us a regular sedan and an SUV product as well now from many of them makes so I think being able to have and showcase every one of the vehicles that have been offered by a brand as is almost impossible today. So I think integrating these type of augmented realities that you were talking about, whether it be, you know, configurate vehicle configurators on an IPAD or, you know, hopefully in the future we do see some type of VR integration. I'm sure that's going to come and I would even question whether there's going to be a need to go into that show room to see that Vr version of a vehicle you can just maybe plug in at home and see that for your son. I think that this there's so many tools out there today and I think deals have done a fantastic job with updating their website, making sure that their inventory is displayed on those vehicle display pages and and also, you know, photographing these vehicles really well. I mean when it came to me personally, after leaving BMW and now having to actually got and purchase the vehicle myself, truth be told, you know,...

I did a lot of online research. I looked at a lot of content that third parties are putting out there on Youtube and I kind of made up my mind before even physically visiting the dealer show in terms of what I could you know what I was going to buy, and I think that you know dealers that I using platforms like Youtube, deals that are putting content out through social media, where the being instagram, just creating that awareness and showcasing what they have for their local community. I think that's what they could be doing already today using the technology that's in place, because I think that's most consumers are spending ninety percent of that journey in a digital in the did digital world, versus going into the shore room today, especially what Covid Yep, and and you bring up a good point because I think about my last two vehicle purchases. I purchased my truck because, I mean, it's Alberta, oil country and cattle and prayer. You got to drive a truck nice one of those? Why? Day? Yes, yeah, you'll have to rift rip my f one hundred and fifty out of my cold dead hands. is how I feel about that truck. But it was similar to your experience. It was a lot of youtube. It was hey, looking at the dealer website, looking up, Oh, what package is that? Okay, now I'm going to go youtube that package and see what it includes. And and I think it's a generational thing by and large, because there's there's a group of people, not just in the industry generally speaking, who say no, how could I ever be in a position to make that big of a purchase without ever stepping foot into it or touching it or adjusting the seat then I look at my generation. I was born in eighty two. So I'm like what I'm like the first year of the millennial, right, yeah, like I'm old enough to to be down with the fresh prince of Bel Air, but old enough to have still appreciated watching mash to you, you know, like I'm like, dying is weird. Pretty okay, so you get it. So so. But my last vehicle purchase after I had acquired all of that information, I think, because computers and technology have been pretty big part of my life since, I would say, at least eleven or twelve years old, right, Internet in the home, computers, all these sorts of things, it's been easier for me to adopt new technology than even, you know, siblings of mine that are four five years older than me. And and so when it came time to purchase this truck, I basically found the one I wanted. I found, you know, the dealer who had the one that I wanted and I message them and said I want this one. Can you deliver it to my driveway? And we worked it and four days later, after going through, you know, doing their approval and all that kind of stuff, the truck is in my driveway. Contrast that against my my second most recent vehicle purchase, where I'm a complete laydown, and I say this and we joke about it in the on the podcast, like, because I know what I want. Yeah, and I get the stimulation I need from Youtube and for like I can it. I don't know. I guess my point is, I'm rambling a little bit. My point is because I'm so accustomed to technology, I don't feel like I actually need to go and sit in and drive and whatever it's like. I already know what the experience is going to be like, and so I can just say that one please. Yeah, and I mean that's definitely I would say you and I some of them that regard. There's obviously customers out there. They don't want to be able to test drive the vehicle. They're going to be buying that, yeah, vehicle for cash. I didn't I was this, you know, the typical twelvezero miles, a years, three year at least, it says. Well, the longer term rental. But I think as we start... think about the future buys, particularly those that would be the early adopters of electric vehicles, we need to think about, you know what, what is what is the experience? I. How they experiencing other goods and other services and their day to day life. And right well, many of them, especially those earlier doctors of EVs, they're going to be shopping online. They're going to be using Amazon, they have been for many years. They're going to be ordering their food from door, they're going to be using like fresh direct. You know, they going to be living in a much more digital world and having that presence online for dealers, I think you know, I think most recognize that today, but I think that's going to play a more and more important role as you know, new, new, new consumers start entering this market, you know those ones, early s etc. Right, because that's just been part of their life. So I think, I think it already all starts with awareness. Money follows at tension and I think that as much as we spend time on the physical location of these dealers, and you know, it doesn't really matter which brand you look at today, most of the charms are fantastic, super high and nice and premium. But I think that's as much attention and focus and investment goes into that, dealers should also be thinking about you know what, how am I represented online? What content am I putting out's on Youtube? What does my social media look like? How to involve myself and become a influences, a well in this digital space, and that could also be participating and things. I podcast. I think this is a fantastic platform to do that. I mean it's probably the most authentic version of digital mockting it out there. Yeah, and to bedoping a Brond. Love it. Chris, thank you so much for joining me on the PODCAST. How can those listening get in touch with you? The basic connect with me is on Linkedin Presportida. As you said, you'll be able to find me there are and be working forward a mode of most of mind. So would love to connect with any of the listeners. Amazing. Thanks so much for joining me. Thanks, maco. I'm Michael Sirillo and you've been listening to the dealer playbook podcast. If you haven't yet, please click the subscribe button wherever you're listening right now, leave a rating or review and share it with a colleague. Thanks for listening.

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