The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 1 year 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 I know what you're thinking, Michael. We talk all about the Web sites all the time. You talk about the websites, the websites, a hammer yada, yada, yada. We get it. But for real, though, it's shocking to me how much guesswork still takes place and how its having a detrimental effect on what opportunities you are able to leverage now. Over the last decade, especially for the O. G. D P beers, you know, I've poured my soul into assembling a team that cares deeply about the progress of the retail auto industry that believes in my mission to enrich and empower dealers to perpetually grow. Now I'm making my amazing marketing team accessible to the dealer playbook community so that you can start to thrive rather than merely survive. Right now, we're providing a just for you free website diagnostic that will show you exactly what you need to do in a priority sequence so that you can finally get the answers you need. Claim...

...yours by visiting triple W dot flex dealer dot com forward slash website audit That's triple w dot flex dealer dot com forward slash website dash audit. Uh huh. Okay. He was basically outlining what every day 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 teeth like you're talking about eating, you know, eating twigs and protein and exercising 74 times a day. And I just...

...thought, Whoa, this is the part of it that nobody ever sees. Do you think you know, to your point about I would go back and do it every day? Is that did that set you up for starting your business 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 running my 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. You have success and, man the number one thing that you really learn and in that I did a terrible job with was just really building that culture and team atmosphere. Um, I think I just was so competitive. And when you start your own business, it's kind of like your baby, right? And you don't want to give up any of it. So you try to do everything from marketing the sourcing product as your emails. Uh, and I did it all, uh, setting out product. I was engraving 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 else could do it as good as me. And once my kids came along, um, things slowed down really quick. I couldn't work 8200 hours anymore a week, and I had to figure 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 at a football team It's the head coach, and then you've got your assistance and you have the players and everyone's got to play and everyone's got to do their job and do their part. And I finally saw that that vision and started doing that with the business, and I was I was ashamed that it took me so long. But that's really what took us to that next level, Yeah, I think in my journey as an entrepreneur, everything you're saying resonates. I'm thinking it brought me right back to starting my business. We've been going about 20 years now, just shy of But I think about those moments where I was the designer, 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 knew I had to bring people on the team to alleviate some of this and how bad I was. Like I went through this phase of I'm the boss, the trans our relationship as you do the job. I sign your paycheck, end of transaction, and I realized how awful like I turned through. I went through. People turn over like crazy because and I would sit here I go. Like I said to my wife, like What is going on? How come these you can't find good help anymore? So I want to ask you this in correspondence to You Obviously made it to the NFL because you already had proved yourself to a degree. Right In business, people are coming with so many different varying levels of experience. Skill set, aptitude. Do you find there's a difference between how you have to coach in a business setting versus, say, a professional athletic situation? Yeah, for sure, because I mean, the thing I see with...

...sports is that everyone has the same goal, 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 people responsible and also, uh, you'll motivate them. And that was hard. So I hate being the guy. That's just, you know, the dick that's sitting there like, hey, man, like you sucked and like doing performance reports and all that stuff like that's just not what I wanted to do. Uh, So I found ways to put everyone's bonuses and put everyone together as a team. So at the end of the day, Hey, if you want to take off for a week or two or whatever you want to 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 everyone else is on the team as well. So hey, if you don't want to show up, I'm not the one that's gonna be yelling at you.

It's going to be everyone else on the team that you're screwing over. So, uh, once I put that structure in place, it was like the greatest day of my life, and it really brought entrepreneurship just 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 many different people. Business, Titans, celebrity You know, I've never had a professional athlete on my show yet. And everybody in the business world I mean, here's the go to even back when I remember as a teenager working at somewhere 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 businesses like sports. And do you think of sports team with me? And now I've got a pro athletes sitting in front of me being like, No, no, no, no, it's It's a lot different running a business, playing on a sports team, completely different culture. I mean, in the locker room,...

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

...business? And, you know, releasing the products 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 good thing for entrepreneurs to just not know what you're getting into, because if you knew how hard it would be you once started, you know, you would just say, Hey, you know, if I know it's gonna take me five years to grow this to a point where I'm finally making money or whatever it is, then they're probably not gonna do it. So, um, Man, I was young. Um you know, I had a lot of pride and I saw it as really just at that time, it really was something no one else was really doing um, I wanted it for myself. I created the product for myself, and I was super passionate about being in the health and fitness space. So I was at the gym and my plastic bottle, the same plastic bottle that had been around for 20 years. But just it was sweating everywhere. I took a sip. It smelled awful. And really, the game plan at that time was just go home and get an insulated bottle that I...

...could actually mix stuff with. And I figured 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 there like No, no way. And there was a ton of like the technology was there. There's a ton of insulated bottles out there, but you know that all of these little tiny holes had to use a funnel to fill it. There's nothing to break up the powders, and it was just something I wanted for myself that I can use all day, every day. Like I didn't want the bottle just for the gym. I wanted to bring it to work, bring it to the gym. Sit on the couch and use it. Bring it on the airplane. Bring it by the pool. I just wanted one bottle, man. Because that's how I am. Just simple. And I don't want five bottles in the sink. I don't want to have to run the dishwasher all day. Just gonna be one bottle I could use all day. I'll put everything in it. I don't care, you know. And that was the goal, man. It started just as a product. I wanted for myself. 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 to suggest there weren't problems that he had to solve along the way. But he found a need and he went for it. And so...

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

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

...send it to them the same day they order it. Let's see if we can do that and we started to and it just organically exploded because no one's ever seen anything like that. It's kind of the Amazon effect before Amazon really became the, you know, two day shipping master, Um, you know, this was 2012 and we were on Etsy, and it just just exploded. So I did have a decent amount of knowledge of sourcing product and getting product made because of my wife's business. And then we used our same suppliers, uh, to start making us prototypes for this bottle. Uh, so at that 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 vacuum insulated 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 you know 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 when you put ice in it. But the other biggest issue was, um, you know, that they would leak, so I just with a shaker bottle like this thing cannot leak. There's one thing that I hate about a shaker bottles my leak. So we tried every seal inside out. Seals like everything. You possibly test the hardness of the seal, the type of of rubber we're using. And it's like 20 prototypes later, we finally thought we had this amazing product, and, uh, I ordered 10,000 of them. I ended up storing them in my house in this room that I'm in right now. I had to bring every box up, which weighed about £70 and carry them up the stairs. And we got him up here, and I tested bottles like crazy, right? Like I've been shaking bottles for throwing them down the stairs. Yeah, I swear, like these massive four up seven shaking bottles for 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 the first five bottles and I test them. They're perfect. And the six bottle I take out and I feel water, I hold it upside down and the whole thing just starts dripping on the floor. I'm like,...

...no freaking way. So, uh, ended up testing 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, they made 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 start the business. Um, I had to then reorder or get them to pay for another 10,000 leads the ship to me, and I had to go through each and every bottle and replace the lids. Uh, man. And when you talk about passion, you know, if if I didn't have the passion for the product and the idea, it was as simple as just selling them out and getting out of it, man, because it was a nightmare. And I just loved it, though, you know, I just love the fact that I can go to the gym and pretend I'm working, and it was the greatest thing ever to me. So I just kept pushing through it and just kept trying to find ways to get the product out there and make it better. Yeah,...

I'm Michel Cirillo, 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. If you're ready to make big changes in your life and career and want to connect with positive, nurturing automotive professionals, join my exclusive dpb pro community on Facebook. That's where we share information, ideas and content that isn't shared anywhere else. I can't wait to meet you there. Thanks for listening. Yeah.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (498)