The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode 511 · 4 months ago

Josh Little: Putting The Unity Back In Community With Video

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Josh Little is the founder and CEO of a compelling startup called Volley, an app that aims to make communication more efficient across organizations and peers. His unique perspective about communication and the mission of Volley provides an interesting use case for how to improve communication with the retail automotive experience for employees and customers alike.

How Car Dealers Can Improve Community With Communication:

  • Josh introduces the concept of the volley app and how it aims to solve communication breakdowns. There are a lot of tools out there like Slack and Discord, but they each are fragile because they don't allow for face-to-face sharing. 70% of communication gets stripped away when we can't see or hear the other party.
  • There are many ways that dealers could incorporate asynchronous communication into their team and customer experiences. For example, a quick update from the sales manager highlighting initiatives vs. sharing that information in a long drawn-out meeting.
  • Asynchronous communication improves people's ability to listen closely since it can only happen one message at a time.
  • Dealers could embrace a platform like a Volley to engage their customers by a vehicle owned. For example, imagine TRX owners having their community inside Volley to engage with one another and the dealership.

Listen to the full episode for insights and context from Josh Little!

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Thanks, Josh Little!

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Get Your Google vehicle adds up and running fast with FLEX DEALER DOT COM. The car business is rapidly changing and modern car dealers are meeting the demand. I'm Michael Cirillo 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. Alright, gangs, sitting down now with Mapale. I feel like I can call him my pal. I've I've been chatting with him off and on for months and months and months, centered around a really cool company that he started. Yes, I'm talking to Josh little, the founder and CEO of volley, really come helling APP that aims to get rid of useless meetings and streamline communication. My man, thanks so much for joining me on the dealer playbook podcast. Oh It's my honor. Yeah, your team was one of the first really successful teams with volley. So it's been a couple of years now actually. So we we are friends. We've we've we've connected. We've never met in real life, but we've talked a lot on volley hey, but I've been in your R v virtually. Yeah, you're like, wait, what a virtual to Um. So one of the reasons I wanted to invite you on, aside from I mean, in my opinion, and and and I'm and I don't blow smoke, I'm not a smoke blower like you do such a tremendous job at building community and rallying people around Um, the same camp fire and and conveying a message in a way that you're like, oh, that just makes complete and total sense. Was One of the things that really intrigued us about Um, what you're working on with volley. Uh, and I'll let you tell us all about that in a minute. But I'm the reason I stumbled on volley to begin with was because I am constantly seeking for improved communication. I think effective communication makes all the difference in how an organization thrives and it can make poor communication adversely to that is a disaster. And and it kills me to think of how many businesses out there are falling apart, even relationships are falling apart because of ineffective communication. And I just felt like that's something you're trying to solve. So maybe give us a little background on volley, how you came up with the idea, uh, and what what the mission is. Yeah, I mean communication is the lifeblood of any organization, group or team and I've seen that, you know, over played out over and over and over again and Um. But the problem is we don't realize that there's a problem, because there are only two ways to communicate. You can either type or you can talk. And and people don't really think about this or distill it down or get nerdy like I do. But when you do something like chat or text or email, you're typing and when you choose to do something like that, you're doing something you're seven times slower at than talking. You have this gift as a human to talk really fast and convey a lot of information through tone of voice and body language. Only seven percent of the words, seven percent of your message, is actually carried by the words you choose to speak. Thirty percent is carried by what you sound like when you say those words and is carried by what I look like when I say those words. This is why we're doing this podcast on video, Um, and not just emailing back and forth questions, because it's so much more powerful. So, UM, technology has only brought US digital versions of typing and talking. Zoom is digital talking. Uh, you know, stream yard digital talking. Uh, slack is...

...digital typing. What if technology actually made us better? What if it allow us to use our human gifts to uh, just speak as fast as I could speak but not interrupt you, and you could listen to me on two X and we could we could make we could have the flexibility of texting and talking. What if texting and talking had a baby? Wouldn't that be amazing? Hey, let's build something called Volley Um. That's like texting and talking. He had a baby. And the way we do that is we we share video messages back and forth. So and volly you, you take turns just like any other conversation, except you record your turn with a video Um. But it can also be a text or an audio message or screen record or a file or document, whatever you need to share your message, right, but video is the hero of this story. And then you can send me a video back and by doing that we have the best of both worlds. And so that's what we've been working on. The fastest way to human connection and trying to bring a lot more belonging into the world and and we have you, especially with teams like yours early on, in the early days, and and we've evolved now to helping creators better engaged with their audience and people run these really powerful masterminds, because it's it's flexible, face to face communication, and that's really not been delivered to the world in a meaningful way that we could use as a group, and that that's what kind of pioneering every day. So what do you think? Is that good enough? Is that enough content? Yeah, alright. So thanks so much for joining me on the show. I love it and and to your point, you had keyed in on something and I want those listening to really or watching to pay attention to to this. This is my takeaway. If communication can then become a synchronous and I don't have to set aside or be, you know, an hour for something that's not going to be productive anyway. And that's the huge gripe around meetings. It's like, do we have to again? It's not going to be productive and you're pulling me out of the zone, like, especially for me as a someone who's a little more creative, and my team members who are more creative. When you're in that zone, there's nothing worse than being pulled out of it. It's like waking a dog up who's so deeply dreaming that they're running in their sleep and then being woken up. You can only imagine that dog is like what, what, what? What you doing? Why did you do that to me? I was I was chasing a celery stock with peanut butter and you ruined Um. And so this idea of a synchronous and being with the understanding of you will get a response back at the right time for me, which then means you're getting the best version of me responding back, not the stressed version, not the passive, aggressive, annoyed. You pulled me out of the creative zone, interrupted, interrupted. You're not interrupting anything. And and so that thing, that that one piece, I think could be really tremendous, not just for card dealers but for any organization or any relationship. Um, I see my wife using asynchronous communication all the time. She prefers it over the phone, over text, over everything. And so what have you seen as far as adoption, like how are how are organizations adopting something like volley and implementing it into their workflow. Yeah, so, Um, you know, we started, like I said, trying to solve for team communication because we felt like that was the highest and best use of this technology, because the previous gold standard was we're all in a room together and we can tap each other on the shoulder like that. That was the best thing for giveing eyeball to eyeball. But it turns out, like you said, what if I'm in the middle of writing the last line of the manifesto? What if I'm writing the in the middle of solving this Harry Bug that I've been working on for weeks and you tapped me on the shoulder and like hey, look at this, and it's and I'm and I'm gone, I've lost whatever I add. Right. And...

...so deep work is a is a thing, especially in knowledge work and creative work, which most of us are doing these days. Right. Um. Uh. So. So that's where we saw the highest and best use of volley and we we had many teams like yours, Um, adopt volley. We we saw an interesting thing, though, and this is gonna sound like I'm selling against volley, is most teams weren't ready for it. They weren't ready to live this higher law. They were so used to meeting behavior and we're so used to just like a calendar just dictating what we do and like being proud of like I'm back to back all day and that that sort of Um, I'm back to back equals I'm pretty important. Right, I'm back to back. Right, that's shortcut, you know. Right. Um, they couldn't break through. and Um, and and so work. So work is still a high risk behavior. You, you, unfortunately, most cultures it is a high risk behavior to put yourself out there and you can hide behind the slack message, you can hide behind you can leave your cameraf on a zoom call and you can take your cheap shot in a meeting and sit in the back of the room. Right, but in volley you hit record and you're on. Like if you don't have something to say or it's not safe to say it, you're gonna freak out, you're gonna think it's evil. Um. And so we saw a team, team after team after team after team, adopt volley and have a kind of the same problem where there was this champion who was like hey, everybody, this is the future, like no more meetings, let's cancel our meetings, let's here's the Volley Link, jump on volley Um, and there would be a good core of the team that would be like, yes, this is it. Oh, we're sinking up, checking and unblocking at the speed of like this is amazing. But then they'd have these one or two people who would be like and they couldn't get there, this is done, this is this is evil, like I well, I shouldn't be able to have to you a record, a video, I feel I feel like I'm talking to myself, or whatever excuse they want to put out there. So they weren't willing to swallow the medicine that could make them better, right, that that could make them better. Another challenge we saw were teams that were so, oh, this is cool. Well, UH, yeah, we'll still use slack, but Um, we'll, we'll use volley. Is like this hobby car that we keep in our garage, you know, and but that's the problem. You this this hobby car you have, you get out once a month, you drive it, you wonder why you're driving it. In in for volley to solve the problems that you wanted to solve, like lack of communication, loneliness, meeting fatigue. It's got to be your daily driver. You have to use a video first format of communication so that you are communicating with all of the fidelity, all of the empathy because, because you're right, like Um, most meetings, it's not that they could have been a volley, like a single volley, but most meetings are really just I have an idea. I want to bounce this off of you. I need a couple of rounds of feedback. Let's refine it and give unblocked me to move forward. It's way too much to email. It's way too much right in a slack message. So what do we do? Let's schedule something. And this is why everyone's calendars, you know, look like they got the measles Um, and that's what we're trying to solve right this this calendar is rabbit ill. This thing is ill. The the use case I see, though, I mean great job on not selling it, but I think of how does the typical organization work? And there are so many use cases. Yes, it clears up the calendar. Yes, we get the best of communication from that individual, but also, yes, it forces everyone to listen. Yeah, because it's one it one at a time. You can't get seven volleys at the same time. They play in order of whenever they were submitted, and so I think...

...of a use case across an organization where I even know you know when I when I was working for people, and you get an email. The problem with text only communication is, in addition to the things that you've brought up, is it's also heavily dependent on their ability to write and convey a message through writing, which they can't, and the reader's reading comprehension level, which what's the standard? It's like fifth or sixth grade reading comprehension levels and average adult. So now you have this breakdown where the recipient always thinks the leader is upset or being passive, aggressive or what did they mean by that? Hey, you see what John Josh what do you think he means by the anxiety? All sorts of disaster clouds start to form when a simple like seeing them, hearing them and being like oh, everything's fine, they're they're good, like this is all good, alleviating a lot of that pressure. And in the back and forth of a dealership there's so much pattern interruption that I think this could solve. People lining up out of the manager's door, waiting to ask a simple question that perhaps isn't even urgent but that they've been trained to think is urgent because of the way they currently do things. If they just had that stop motion, that pause motion, to be like is this actually an urgent thing? No, okay, hey, hey, what's up? You know, like Hey, what's up? Quick question, get back to me when you can done. Yep, Yep, and you can convey a lot in twenty seconds. There right and and that's all you really need. And it and it doesn't need to be interruptive. Um and, and that's why I love it. It is sort of an all in form of of communication. When I'm listening to your message, I can be all in on what you're saying, and when I'm recording my message back, I'm all in on that message. I'm not trying to read Um, you know, your reaction or the room or whatever. It maybe just attracting me in the moment. So so I don't know enough of the dealership to speak in depth. I worked at a car dealership for two weeks Um when I was nineteen, so that's my only experience. It wasn't a good experience. So let me tell you there could. There could be a lot improved in this central Michigan car dealership, which I won't name, the the name of ABC Motors, the most famous dealership in the world. They're out of business now because they should be. But I don't know. Yeah, it makes a ton of sense to me that, Um, that this mission makes sense. We see it in the car industry. I believe that to today's standards, if someone, because of smartphones and how this upcoming generation thinks about things and how we the patterns we've adopted in our communication, I believe that, to today's standards, if one feels like they are over communicating, they probably are still not communicating effective. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We're leaving so much on the table with with our form of communication and and you know, like you said, those misinterpretations. A classic example there is we need to talk. Um, there's a hundred ways you could take that. UH, in a text message, right, we need to talk, Dot dot dot. Oh, yeah, right, but if if it's a volley, it's a you know, record. Hey, we need to talk like there's no mistaking you saw my eyes, you heard the tone of my voice. I have something cool and it's gonna be good when we get together, and we should get together soon because we need to talk right Um. And that's just a small example, but there's so much being being left on the table. But these patterns are hard to break, these it's hard to get out of slack, crack and zoom doom. I don't know. Our dealerships using something like slack to to communicate a saying text, text now probably emit like a ton of...

...email. Still a ton of email really, like between team members. I guess because of proximity there's less of a need to have like a central repository for communication like that. There's there's a lot verbal, a lot of but, but, but that's the point. That's why I wanted to have you on. They need to know that this is an option. They need to know that there is a more efficient way. I there are some dealers who use slack and they swear by it. There are some dealers who use like that. Slack is a huge improvement over email for a lot of them because it allows them to just, Hey, create channels, have a service department, channel of Parts Department, Whatever. This, though, to to the point of what we're talking about here. Being able to see somebody here, somebody pick up on all of those other signals to your point of we need to talk or oh man, we need to talk. You know that so much gets lost in translation that I just think we're sitting here with unnecessary nervous diarrhea when it doesn't need to be the case. You know right. So I'm thinking of like even the because I was in sales in those two weeks in a dealership. was in sales, and I can even think of like a sales manager who just uses it for the sales thing. Hey, we've got new inventory, this is what's going on. Hey, this week we're running this this offer. Just just so you know here, the details of this, like all of those things that have to happen synchronously, uh, could totally happen asynchronous. Lane actually might be better, because we're gonna do a tour of each new like high high line vehicle that we get in and we're gonna do like two minute video tour. You can actually just forward this to one of our potential customers, like if someone calls in, we've already got this two minute video. This is actually why I created volley, which is ironic. I bought a motor home cross country Um, and I was talking to like twenty different dealers trying to find this very specific motor home. Um, and it was like an act of Congress to get a video. So I'M gonna take a video of what was almost a quarter million dollar purchase, like really, well, I don't know, we'll see a box can upload it lighter today and what? Just you know, you should just be able to do this. It should just be so easy to hit record on your phone. It sends to a customer. But Um, I'm not sure that the use case between sales rep and and buyer Um makes sense just because of stranger danger issues. That's that's a feedback we got earlier. That's why we kind of pivoted to meetings. But we just want to create a better way to communicate. So I think car dealerships can use it too. Well, here, as you're saying that, the thought process that comes to my mind is, okay, so you have somebody buying, uh, the Ram trx. That's the hot topic right now, right. Why would I not create? You mentioned this earlier, right, like you've got you've got Tim Schmoyer using it for masterminds, keeping connected with his customer based course, recipients, all that kind of stuff. Why wouldn't we deploy a similar concept at the dealership, where it's like I'm to create a channel in Volli for trx customers, to create this kind of v I p. Hey, so you bought it. Hey, let me borrow your phone real quick. We're downloading this volley APP and I'm sending you this invite or whatever, and make it this thing that I can keep in touch with my customers in a format that is honestly something they would love. The customer would absolutely love being like, all right, guys, this week we're talking about the quick tip that's going to help you improve your whatever, x, Y, Z or. Hey, did you know about this hidden feature in your trx? Hey, did you know about I would love that. So you're saying, like get all your trx customers into a space together where they could even share like, Oh, you know what, I just bought this new bumper. Don't get. Don't get the the Illumina light bumper because you know, the bracts don't line up or whatever. Oh really, where did you get that? We can share tips all, like, build a little community out of your customers. I hear that community is like the future of sales. I've heard that in...

...a few places, but that could be cool right. It not occurred to me till now, but I like that seriously. That that's that's the really cool customer experience way that I think we could be deploying something like volley and that dealers should really be paying attention to. You know, it kills me all this talk. We latch onto buzz right, like that's just human nature. We latch on a buzz and it's like web three. What am I gonna do? I'm a dealership. Web Three. I gotta Wrap My head around web three or or metaverse. What am I gonna do? Man, metal verse the way of the future. Dude. You want to you want an intro to the metaverse. Download yet your team to use it, because once you're in there, you're in the metaverse. You're just not hiding behind a cartoon Avatar. You know what I mean? Like we're for all intents and purposes, we're in the metaverse right now. You're somewhere. You're in your version of dissenter land. It just happens to be a real place. I'm in mine and we're conversing one with another. Why even go to the extreme that you can't wrap your head around if, at this level, you're you're unwilling to adopt a way, and I mean like, what better way than having the device in your customers pocket that buzzes every time you upload a piece of relevant information that they would want to know? They're gonna love you for it. You're gonna stay top of mind, they're gonna come and buy all of those bumper accessories and wheels and everything. WHO THEY'RE gonna come buy from? They're gonna come and buy it from the central point of the community that's been built. I would love it. Yeah, I mean if, if, if anyone's listening and wants to build that, let's let's. I'm happy to lean in and help them and on board them and, you know, give them a you know, v I p experience, because I'd be curious, I'd be curious to see if that, if a use case like that could work for because I could see as a as a raptor owner. I haven't gone the trx yet, but Um, you know the same thing. And I've even thought I've had my raptor for five years, which is a world record for me. By the way, I'm hoping someone gives me an award, because usually I'm a like a six month car person. Okay, but yeah, car dealers love me. Um, but uh, but there. There's still stuff I don't know how to use on my raptor and and I don't know that I'm going to search it out. But if if my dealer sent me like a two minute video, Hey, that trailer backup thing that you know, you know, that Knob that you've never touched. Um, this is how you do it. It's so, so simple and it's going to change your world, man, like I would watch it, like yeah, of course, uh. And and and I would love Doug Smith, you know, or you know who, who the raptor from? I can't remember. I'd hope, but I'd love the dealership for me, right, but you would remember him if he did this. Yeah, right, yeah, that's that's a good point. Hey, that's what hey, raptor owner, I hope you guys are doing well. We're having a meet up next Thursday at the parking lot. Burgers hot dogs. We're gonna show you some cool things about your truck. I hope you can make it. It's at this time, this place, boom, done like real time. I'm quick in my pocket. Customer Experience, Um, and you know, people are gonna be buying swag and parts and accessories because they're they're feeling the energy. So I really do think there is a use case to not just to improve communication but to use that communication then to build a community. And so which leads me, in no connected way, to my last question for you. How how old were you like? When did you realize that you enjoyed brining? UH, probably when I was old enough to like stick my finger in the brine and taste it and and say, oh, that's good. Can You Brian? I see, I see jars of pickles on your linkedin. Yeah, yeah, Oh, there's a skit on Portlandia. That's just like you, even, Brian. Anything, man, you shoe an egg, you can pickle that like a bird pickle it. Um. No that I come from a family of picklers, Um, my great great grandfather,...

...you know, I finally didn't have money, but they had amazing pickle recipes and wrote them down in a letter bound book and that's what I keep in my safe today. And I think pickles Um. It's a total hipster side hustle. My kids are involved. It's what keeps them off of setting up setting lemonade streets. Lemonade stands up on the streets. Um It's they're kind of summer business. And we we grow and we only jar as much as we can grow here on our property and and jarred up and usually sell up in a day, usually in the morning. Josh's classic deal, the crunchiest pickles known. Demand. Um It is actually my mouth, my mouth is watering. I'M NOT gonna lie. But I had to ask you that because I know you play Guitar, I know you R V, I now know you drive a raptor and this one was I was like, this is interesting, but also speaks. Can I just say to the brilliance of your marketing mind, because, uh, you go through Linkedin, it gets pretty stale. It's starting to become kind of like a doctor's office. And there, there you are, tech entrepreneur with a hero image of pickles, and I think it's just so such a pattern interrupt and I love it. Man Um, how can those listening get in touch with you and learn more about volley? Hey, Lincoln is a great way. If you're on linkedin slash little Josh, or just download volley and it's it's pretty hard not to find me on volley in one of the communities or in Hello Volley. So if you download volley, you probably run into me. I love it. Yeah, you're part of the startup sequence, aren't you? I was once upon a time. Now we have a team that Mitch would soon to be grace, who's awesome. They're they're amazing. Yeah, I love me. Man, thanks so much for joining me on the dealer playbook podcast. Oh, it's my pleasure. Thank you. Yeah, I'm Michael 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. Thanks for listening. m.

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