The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 6 months ago

How to Become a Leader w/ Chris Gronkowski

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Chris Gronkowski shares his wisdom about going from team member to team leader. While he pulled many valuable lessons about business during his time in the NFL, he admits that leading a team and being a member of a team are two very different disciplines. 

Maybe you were just promoted as a team leader, supervisor, or manager at your dealership and you're curious what you can do to grow your business and team. Listen carefully to what Chris shares about how to become a leader at your dealership.

For complete show notes and resources visit:  https://www.thedealerplaybook.com/chris-gronkowsi

FlexDealer

You've tried so many different things with your marketing but the dots never align.

Your current agency sends you a fancy report but you have no clue what it means...

That's why more dealers are choosing to partner with FlexDealer. They're the creative marketing people behind some of the auto industry's most envied brands.

"Flex takes an approach unlike others I've ever experienced, and I can honestly say that I trust you guys. It's a strange and wonderful feeling! Being on a team with them and knowing they are in my corner jacks up my confidence and ups the fun factor of the car business. I'm so grateful! - Aaron Lange, Lange and Fetter Motors

Find your best opportunities to grow with FlexDealer's free, immediate website audit. Visit www.flexdealer.com/website-audit 

Hey, before we hop into this episode,let's talk about why your website and digital presence isn't working. Now Iknow what you're thinking, Michael. We talk all about the Web sites all thetime. You talk about the websites, the websites, a hammer yada, yada, yada. Weget it. But for real, though, it's shocking to me how much guesswork stilltakes place and how its having a detrimental effect on whatopportunities you are able to leverage now. Over the last decade, especiallyfor the O. G. D P beers, you know, I've poured my soul into assembling a teamthat cares deeply about the progress of the retail auto industry that believesin my mission to enrich and empower dealers to perpetually grow. Now I'mmaking my amazing marketing team accessible to the dealer playbookcommunity so that you can start to thrive rather than merely survive.Right now, we're providing a just for you free website diagnostic that willshow you exactly what you need to do in a priority sequence so that you canfinally get the answers you need. Claim...

...yours by visiting triple W dot flexdealer dot com forward slash website audit That's triple w dot flex dealerdot com forward slash website dash audit. Uh huh. Okay. He was basically outlining what everyday looked like during the season. It was like my bowels quivered. I was like,No, no, I ain't doing that because it's nonstop. No sleep, constant stress.Have to perform. Have to show up, Have to work through it, grinding the teethlike you're talking about eating, you know, eating twigs and protein andexercising 74 times a day. And I just...

...thought, Whoa, this is the part of itthat nobody ever sees. Do you think you know, to your point about I would goback and do it every day? Is that did that set you up for starting yourbusiness and doing what you're doing now with ice shaker? Oh, absolutely,man. I pulled so many lessons out of it that, you know, it just got me ready.To be an entrepreneur is pretty much the same thing. But now I was runningmy own team instead of being a part of a team. But you know, the long days,the grind, I mean, everything's on you If you perform. If you do the work. Youhave success and, man the number one thing that you really learn and in thatI did a terrible job with was just really building that culture and teamatmosphere. Um, I think I just was so competitive. And when you start yourown business, it's kind of like your baby, right? And you don't want to giveup any of it. So you try to do everything from marketing the sourcingproduct as your emails. Uh, and I did it all, uh, setting out product. I wasengraving it, and, uh, we just stopped us from growing at the end of the day.And I just wasn't good at delegating...

...because I just didn't think anyone elsecould do it as good as me. And once my kids came along, um, things slowed downreally quick. I couldn't work 8200 hours anymore a week, and I had tofigure things out, and that's when I really saw the picture. I'm like, man,you know, teams win championships because of every player in the team,you know, doing their own job and doing it the right way. And when you look ata football team It's the head coach, and then you've got your assistance andyou have the players and everyone's got to play and everyone's got to do theirjob and do their part. And I finally saw that that vision and started doingthat with the business, and I was I was ashamed that it took me so long. Butthat's really what took us to that next level, Yeah, I think in my journey asan entrepreneur, everything you're saying resonates. I'm thinking itbrought me right back to starting my business. We've been going about 20years now, just shy of But I think about those moments where I was thedesigner, the marketer, the salesperson, the tech support person, the manager,this that and how frightening it was to...

They get to a point where I had I knewI had to bring people on the team to alleviate some of this and how bad Iwas. Like I went through this phase of I'm the boss, the trans ourrelationship as you do the job. I sign your paycheck, end of transaction, andI realized how awful like I turned through. I went through. People turnover like crazy because and I would sit here I go. Like I said to my wife, likeWhat is going on? How come these you can't find good help anymore? So I wantto ask you this in correspondence to You Obviously made it to the NFLbecause you already had proved yourself to a degree. Right In business, people are comingwith so many different varying levels of experience. Skill set, aptitude. Doyou find there's a difference between how you have to coach in a businesssetting versus, say, a professional athletic situation? Yeah, for sure,because I mean, the thing I see with...

...sports is that everyone has the samegoal, the same mission. You know you're there to win a game, right? In business.It's not like that at all. You know, people are there to make a paycheck,and a lot of times it's to do it in the easiest fashion possible, right? So,yeah, I mean, that was that was big. I had to find ways to keep peopleresponsible and also, uh, you'll motivate them. And that was hard. So Ihate being the guy. That's just, you know, the dick that's sitting therelike, hey, man, like you sucked and like doing performance reports and allthat stuff like that's just not what I wanted to do. Uh, So I found ways toput everyone's bonuses and put everyone together as a team. So at the end ofthe day, Hey, if you want to take off for a week or two or whatever you wantto do if you don't, if you don't want to work hard this month, whatever it is,that's fine. But you know, your bonuses dependent on it, and so is everyoneelse is on the team as well. So hey, if you don't want to show up, I'm not theone that's gonna be yelling at you.

It's going to be everyone else on theteam that you're screwing over. So, uh, once I put that structure in place, itwas like the greatest day of my life, and it really brought entrepreneurshipjust back in the light that I enjoyed because I just hate being that guy.That's just, you know, constantly yelling at people. Yeah, man, you know,my vain ambition was and asking that question B because, um, you know, we've had so manydifferent people. Business, Titans, celebrity You know, I've never had aprofessional athlete on my show yet. And everybody in the business world Imean, here's the go to even back when I remember as a teenager working atsomewhere like best buy or or something. What do they do to pump up the team?They show you that last scene in Rudy and everybody? Yeah, and businesseslike sports. And do you think of sports team with me? And now I've got a proathletes sitting in front of me being like, No, no, no, no, it's It's a lotdifferent running a business, playing on a sports team, completely differentculture. I mean, in the locker room,...

...you don't have to tell people thatyou're trying to win a game. I mean, everyone is there for that reason whereit's just so much harder in business to build that same culture. Yeah, andyou're playing an infinite game, right? Like you're your game doesn't end. Atthe end of the day, you're coming up back and picking up the same gametomorrow. Yeah, and you always wanted to get better to Yeah, championship.It's always it's always ongoing. it's the never ending championship. Thiswould be like, uh, the last dance on Netflix if it never ended. Yeah, that'sawesome. Is so a lot of people struggle because theyget into very competitive niches and they go and there's a lot of businessexperts. I go, Oh, man, that that market is already saturated. What? What? What led you to gettinginto developing ice shaker as a...

...business? And, you know, releasing theproducts that you're releasing and what we could argue is a very competitive,saturated market. Yeah, man, um, I was very ignorant. I think it's a goodthing for entrepreneurs to just not know what you're getting into, becauseif you knew how hard it would be you once started, you know, you would justsay, Hey, you know, if I know it's gonna take me five years to grow thisto a point where I'm finally making money or whatever it is, then they'reprobably not gonna do it. So, um, Man, I was young. Um you know, I had a lotof pride and I saw it as really just at that time, it really was something noone else was really doing um, I wanted it for myself. I created the productfor myself, and I was super passionate about being in the health and fitnessspace. So I was at the gym and my plastic bottle, the same plastic bottlethat had been around for 20 years. But just it was sweating everywhere. I tooka sip. It smelled awful. And really, the game plan at that time was just gohome and get an insulated bottle that I...

...could actually mix stuff with. And Ifigured I'd jump on Amazon to find one, and there was just nothing out there.It was like the simplest idea that no one had done yet. And I'm sitting therelike No, no way. And there was a ton of like the technology was there. There'sa ton of insulated bottles out there, but you know that all of these littletiny holes had to use a funnel to fill it. There's nothing to break up thepowders, and it was just something I wanted for myself that I can use allday, every day. Like I didn't want the bottle just for the gym. I wanted tobring it to work, bring it to the gym. Sit on the couch and use it. Bring iton the airplane. Bring it by the pool. I just wanted one bottle, man. Becausethat's how I am. Just simple. And I don't want five bottles in the sink. Idon't want to have to run the dishwasher all day. Just gonna be onebottle I could use all day. I'll put everything in it. I don't care, youknow. And that was the goal, man. It started just as a product. I wanted formyself. Dang that you see, Now you got me. This is how you sell. By the way,you sense the passion Dpb gang. It's like, man, I saw a need. That's not tosuggest there weren't problems that he had to solve along the way. But hefound a need and he went for it. And so...

I want to ask you because my wife ishuge into fitness. I don't know if you've heard of this new craze. It'shigh fitness. It's like an aerobic type dancing to I can't even I don't Even Ican't do it justice. My wife was trying to get me to do it and I'm like it willhave to be weekend at Bernie's because I'll be the dead guy dancing the moviemusic before you see me doing any of these moves. But she's huge into thisand she's always looking for the best thing. So I know I definitely got toshow her the product, But you have this idea. You identify a need. A lot of people, I think, struggle withthat next step. I mean, we're hearing it on clubhouse. People are coming tothe stage to ask their questions, and it's so I just don't know what my nextstep should be. I don't know how. I don't know what I don't know who Idon't know. So you go, okay? Identify a need. What's the next step? How do youbreak through? How does how does Chris Gronkowski breakthrough to that nextstep in identifying how to get this thing made or patented or developed orprototype like What's your process?...

Yeah, man, that's the hardest step byfar, because you don't know what to do. And you most people don't have themoney to do it either. Uh, I was super lucky. My wife started a business whenI was still playing in the NFL, and, um, I went into that for my first fiveyears after I left. So, uh, she was sourcing product. It was apersonalization company, and she was already sourcing product. We built itout. The one thing that I didn't really learn from it was really how to build abrand. I mean this. This company exploded on its own. Um, I ended upmaking more money my first year out of the NFL, and I was playing with mywife's company, and it was all because we we found products that had reallyhigh margin. And then we did a really good job of just turning them fast. Soat that time, the personalization market was like, you know, a week ortwo weeks to get anything. So we came in and just said, Hey, let's let'ssource our own product cause everyone's using the same stuff. Let's make itours. Let's put our brand on it. And then let's turn it same day. If someoneorders a gift for Father's Day, let's...

...send it to them the same day they orderit. Let's see if we can do that and we started to and it just organicallyexploded because no one's ever seen anything like that. It's kind of theAmazon effect before Amazon really became the, you know, two day shippingmaster, Um, you know, this was 2012 and we were on Etsy, and it just justexploded. So I did have a decent amount of knowledge of sourcing product andgetting product made because of my wife's business. And then we used oursame suppliers, uh, to start making us prototypes for this bottle. Uh, so atthat point, but still you think it's simple. I pretty much took a bottle. Um,that was already made, and I put a second layer on it, and then we vacuuminsulated it, and then we put a shaker top on it, and it sounds pretty easy,but it was like 20 prototypes later. The hardest part was the fact that youknow you're trying to seal a metal cup, and when you try to steal a metal cup,it leaks a lot. And as I read online, there was other metal bottles out there,but they weren't insulated, and the biggest issue with them was you know,they won't keep your drink cold. That...

...actually, like, freeze your hand whenyou put ice in it. But the other biggest issue was, um, you know, thatthey would leak, so I just with a shaker bottle like this thing cannotleak. There's one thing that I hate about a shaker bottles my leak. So wetried every seal inside out. Seals like everything. You possibly test thehardness of the seal, the type of of rubber we're using. And it's like 20prototypes later, we finally thought we had this amazing product, and, uh, Iordered 10,000 of them. I ended up storing them in my house in this roomthat I'm in right now. I had to bring every box up, which weighed about £70and carry them up the stairs. And we got him up here, and I tested bottleslike crazy, right? Like I've been shaking bottles for throwing them downthe stairs. Yeah, I swear, like these massive four up seven shaking bottlesfor probably, like, three months, You know, they leak or not, and we're like,Yeah, we finally got it. So I bring them up here. I opened up like thefirst five bottles and I test them. They're perfect. And the six bottle Itake out and I feel water, I hold it upside down and the whole thing juststarts dripping on the floor. I'm like,...

...no freaking way. So, uh, ended uptesting like 100 that night, and I realized that every other bottle leaked.Uh, the pop tops were made in in in second, like two parts. So, like, theymade two at a time. And for whatever reason, that the one wasn't ceiling.And, uh out of all the prototypes we got, this was never a problem. So startthe business. Um, I had to then reorder or get them to pay for another 10,000leads the ship to me, and I had to go through each and every bottle andreplace the lids. Uh, man. And when you talk about passion, you know, if if Ididn't have the passion for the product and the idea, it was as simple as justselling them out and getting out of it, man, because it was a nightmare. And Ijust loved it, though, you know, I just love the fact that I can go to the gymand pretend I'm working, and it was the greatest thing ever to me. So I justkept pushing through it and just kept trying to find ways to get the productout there and make it better. Yeah,...

I'm Michel Cirillo, and you've beenlistening to the dealer playbook. Podcast. If you haven't yet, pleaseclick the subscribe button wherever you're listening. Right now, leave arating or review and share it with a colleague. If you're ready to make bigchanges in your life and career and want to connect with positive,nurturing automotive professionals, join my exclusive dpb pro community onFacebook. That's where we share information, ideas and content thatisn't shared anywhere else. I can't wait to meet you there. Thanks forlistening. Yeah.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (471)