The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode 483 · 1 year ago

Liza Borches: How Dealership Culture Drives Bottom-Line Sales


Liza Borches is the CEO of the Carter Myers Auto Group and is a shining light in the retail auto industry when it comes to culture, leadership, and thought-leadership. With several rooftops (and expanding) and hundreds of employees, Liza has proven that a healthy work environment can, in fact, drive more bottom line sales.

What we discuss in this episode:

  • The backstory: How Liza got into the car business and what drove her motivation to build a healthy culture.
  • Carter Myers tagline says it all — while most car dealers say things like "Your #1 Choice for new and use car sales," Theirs reads, "Moving Lives Forward."
  • As a Honda rep years ago, Liza observed that the most successful dealerships almost always did things differently. It wasn't just about driving sales, it was more about employee well-being and creating and environment whereby they could grow.
  • Leaders must show genuine interest in their people if they ever want a hope at the long-game success.
  • Liza meets with her entire leadership team across all of her stores every single week to discuss where they can improve their culture, employee happiness, and customer experience. 
  • It is possible to track bottom line sales to a healthy dealership culture. It's something customers can feel when they encounter the dealership online and in person.
  • Liza explains that the money will follow when you show genuine care and concern for the people responsible for generating the revenue.
  • Listen to the full episode for even more insights! 

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Thanks, Liza Borches!

If you enjoyed this conversation with Liza Borches, please let her know by clicking on the links below and sending him a message.

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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. Why is aborious? Is the CEO of the cartermyers auto group and is a shining light in the retail auto industry when it comes to culture, leadership and thought leadership. With several rooftops and counting and hundreds of employees, wis that has proven that a healthy work environment can in fact drive more bottom line sales, and so, of course I am so delighted that you are here. We give so delighted that we could finally get to have this conversation and that I could dig into your brain a little bit to learn about your philosophy and methodology, which we are all seeing is, of course, driving bottom line sales, but, most importantly, I love your spin on it. Now, before we get all to that, though, I would love to just dig in and learn a little bit more about how you got your start in the retail car business. Yeah, you know, I obviously grew up in the business. I'm the fourth generation of my family to have the opportunity to run CMA and but that was not always my vision of my future. I grew up in this business. I watched my dad work seven growing the company, taking steps backwards in the company, you know, watching the journey that he had, and I made the decision in college that as I finished that I loved the business. I had always known the car business, but I took a different avenue and I went to work for the manufacture straight out of college and I went to work for American Honda, moved out to southern California. I lived in Virginia my whole life. I was twenty one years old, moved out southern California took a job with Honda. Yeah, and I was with Honda for about a little over six years and I wouldn't trade that six years for anything because I got to see our business from a whole different perspective. That I think has really helped me understand the relationships with our manufacturers now that I'm on the retail side. But my intention was not necessarily to come back to the family business. I wanted to go explore the world. I want to do the first female CEO of American Honda. They've never even had an American, much less a female and and so that that was my direction. But I'll tell you what changed it all, and it was one of the biggest Aha moments of my life. I was working with the dealer group as their salesman, sales up Afar Honda, and I was up in Maryland and they invited me to come to a threeday leadership development training for all of the leaders in their company. And they are a very large dealer group. And I spent three days watching this leadership team dive deeply into their personal life, their professional life, creating goals for their dealerships and how they wanted to develop their teams. And I was so pumped up and I had been journaling with them and I'd Crick and I left to drive back to my Home Office by myself to go call on other dealerships and help them learn how to run their business house, like, Huh, this this done feel real good. Like I wasn't. I wasn't getting a sense of reward and I didn't feel like I had a team, that was some people that I was attaining goals with and being able to appreciate and be able to celebrate with. And and then the other piece of it was with the manufacturer you had to move every two years, so I wasn't being a part of a community and I really missed that idea of putting down roots and being able to give back. So it would like hit me so fast. I was like this is not what I want to be doing and thankfully I was...

...just about to get married. My husband kind of felt the same way. We wanted to put down roots in a community. So that was that was how I ended up on the retail side. was that kind of moment of wanting to be a part of a bigger team, something bigger than myself, and be a part of a community where we could give back at the same time. And so then you go hey, well, now I've had this experience, but my family's you know, I'm a I'm for generations into this family dealer group. was that also a part of your thought process where you're like, well, wait a second, like I'm doing I'm helping all these other dealerships, like why wouldn't I go back and help the family business? Yes, I think one other realization that hit me pretty hard in the couple years that I was out in the field with Honda was that every there were many, many successful dealerships and dealer groups and they were all run differently, that it didn't have to be the same way that my dad had run it and it didn't have to be the same way the guy in California that I saw be successful that I was. I could come back and do it my way as long as I had confidence that I had not only learned enough through my experience with Honda, but I thought like I had some common sense right and I just love the people side of our business. I knew that the one common denominator of all these successful dealer groups I had seen around the country was not how they ran their business, but it was the ones that had the best people and the best culture. Those were the ones that were successful. Their processes might have all been different, their brands were all different, but the people having the best people on the team was the common denominator. This is the the topic that drives me crazy with passion, like in a good way, because I think so many people right off what you've just said. This idea of culture is off than to pie in the sky. It seems too intent like want. Oh Great, here's another person talking to me about culture. But you've obviously, I mean just going in and out of all of these dealerships and making that realization. I mean, what did you see specifically in culture? Like what to you, I guess, was your observation of Hey, this is a good culture, or what was it? What were you observing? Was the impact of good culture? You can feel it when you walk in the store or a company, when you can tell that people their care, they're giving discretionary effort, they're not just following a process or a word track. You can tell when it's when it's sincere and meaningful to them, versus when what they're just doing a job. And and I realized that as I went in different dealerships around the country. You'd walk in one and yes, they might sell a lot of cars, but you could tell after probably three visits whether they were long term successful or they were going to have short term profits and either sell the store or end up going down the wrong track. If people are giving discretionary effort, if they're sincere and trying to think outside the box on how to take care of not just the customer but their fellow associated and if you can see people being celebrated, if you can see people having fun. It seems like you don't want to talk about fun at work, but that is so important to know whether it has a good you're not. If people enjoy being there, then they're going that extra mile for each other and for their customer. Right. It's well and it's the the difference. I mean, I know how I feel when I'm looking forward to my day versus one you know, maybe you're maybe you woke up on the wrong side of bead or something like that, and you're just like, I'm an I don't want to go. It's scary to me thatting in the world today. I heard this on the radio and yes, I know, for those listening, I still sometimes listen to the radio. Nobody, you know, lose your lose your temper. This digital guy listen to it, but they were. They had shared this study about how sixty eight percent of Americans are bored at work, and I'm telling you lies that that made me feel nauseous. I was like, Oh, I remember how... felt to, you know, work in a furniture store something to be so bored here, but the fact that there's that many people that don't enjoy being at work, that they're bored, that they don't like the environment that they're in. So it's I love what you're saying because there is a real not just a feeling, but but to your point, there's this real, tangible carry over to I know what a lot what is on a lot of business people's minds the books, like, how does this actually translate to that profit and law statement? And it absolutely doesn't. I'll tell you something. I was speaking at a conference once and I heard somebody after I got off the stage, because I was talking about our core values and and how we make decisions by them and how you tie those into the bottom line of your business. And I heard somebody make a comment of like whatever, she's just miss positivity or pie in the skies. You said, like that's all bs and you know what, that used to bother me and I used to think people looked at me and say whatever, she's just thinking all everything is all cheery and happy, but that's not the real world, right, and I said, there's a point that I came to I said, you know what, it is the real world and it's the real world that I want to live in and I so strongly believe that these that culture and values are critical to our business that if somebody doesn't believe in it and says ultimate comes down to the bottom line or they're going to that I don't truly act that way. A run our business that way, it rolls off my soap shoulders. Now doesn't bother me. I've seen the light. I see the truth. I see how it not only goes to the bottom line of our business, but how it goes back into our community, how it's affecting the seven hundred families who work in our company and how it's affecting the customers that we touch every day. This blows my mind, and I mean that was evident when I was speaking to Scott Right. I mean he you can't fake the sentiment. You can tell when people are not authentic. And and Scott, you know, just hearing him speak and hearing him innovate inside of you know the pandemic and everything going on and hey, you know what we're going to we're going to take these individuals who were paying anyway and we're going to have them start delivering groceries or we're going to have that, like that's mind blowing stuff that you cannot fake. Like people that don't believe what they preach don't think about how do I serve community? How do I serve my people? There they they're ever. You know, you're you turn in words, and so I love that. But I want to ask you this from an organizational perspective. Fifteen dealerships, seven hundred employees. What do you do to establish a culture like that, that is received by the team members in the right way, like that, that it's not just Oh, lies has just blown smoke? This is I've had. I've had jobs like this where they said it was like that and it never panned out. So what do you do? What can you say to those listening that are like, okay, I understand the importance of culture. What do I do to establish the right culture? So I it's not one thing and it has to be so many things and it has to be every day, it has to be every little thing. So it starts with our new higher orientation. We bring somebody on board, everybody goes through the new high orientation. Sometimes it's the first week there with us. Sometimes it's the first month, depending on how we time it. But we immediately talked to him about the history of our company. We talked him about our mission, vision values. We talked to them about our future vision for the company and and I do it personally every single month and I bring my dad in. He does the first hour and a half and shares with them the history the company. So immediately. I can't tell you how many people we've we've had say, Gosh, I worked in my last company for ten years and I never met the owners of the company. They meet us, we spend time with them. We asked them one unique fact about themselves so that when I go in the store I remember, Oh my Gosh, Michael told me he was born without a sense of smell and like that's like this way that I can immediately remember names faces. So when I go in the store it I already know them. I'm not just stranger owner WHO's...

...walking through the store that they're scared to talk to. Write. In addition, anybody who's hired on the sales side, I actually spend another about two and a half to three hour session with them and their first month and usually it's four or five new sales associates who joined our company that I get to spend the morning with and we talked about what would success look like in a year, for from now, if you're still with CMA? What? What? What? What would it look like to be successful? And so I try to understand what their goals are and I share with them what our goals and expectations are of them. So we start off on the same page. We then know that it's not it can't just be me, it can't just be my dad and our history. I can't even just be our general managers. So we do a weekly one hour leadership training session with every manager in our company and we talk every single week about different topics and leadership, about how do we take our mission, which is moving lives forward, moving lives forward for our customers, are associates in our community, and how do we get that deeper into our organization? How do we make sure that the actions that we take with our teams, the way that we communicate, motivate and courage, how do we make sure that everything we're doing is wrapped around this mission of moving lives forward? So it's not that they're just getting it once a year and an owner's meeting. We're doing it every single week with the leaders of our entire team and then we layer on top of that additional in person meetings. I come out once a month into financial reviews with the management team of each store and not only do we go to the numbers, but we go through personnel decisions and we go through okay, is that in line with our values of putting people first, creating when when, partnerships and for always progressing forward? And so it's just a constant discussion and it has to happen through every level of the organization. Yeah, and we're not there yet. I don't want to act like everything we do is perfect, because it's not sure, but we do at least try to have the building blocks in place so that it's not a once a year owners meeting, or we call it owners because everyone our company's an owner, but it's not a onesomonth meeting or once a year meeting where we talk about it. It's constantly. What's fascinating to me about this is you obviously our I mean you're a dealer group, so you sell cars and I want, I want to pay special attention to this. For those watching or listening, we have not yet once talked about selling cars, products or services. Not once has this come up yet in this conversation, and I hope you're paying special attention to that, because what we're hoping happens here is you understand how vital your most valuable asset is and it's your people, Liza. So you're sitting down obviously, in order for you to be able to devote this kind of attention, accountability, awareness, remembering like sense of smell and just details about people. There's obviously good delegation within your organization. Yes, is that something that carried over generational or is that something that you really had a hand in? Saying no, like you're running this business and I'm trust in you to do it. Or was that already in existing thing, or is that something you established? So we've grown a lot. When I joined in two thousand and three, my dad was just purchasing the fourth dealership, so we had three at that time. I came to join the company to buy the Ballbo dealership that is now part of our company. So when I came back and you'd asked out my journey, one of the things I didn't want to do was just come into the business and be the owner's daughter, right and and that was really important to me. And so the way that we did it, and my dad and I agreed on this, was that we would buy the small ballbow dealership. So I bought into the Volvo dealership personally and then our dealer group bought in to it as well, and it was very small at the time we bought it was like fifteen employees, and so I was able to get my arms fully around it and I did everything from me the general manager, the sales manager, of Finance manare used car manager, service manager. Had to do it all and it was an awesome learning experience. But by doing that I...

...wasn't coming in just being the dealer's daughter. So that was our fifth dealership and that was in two thousand and four. I just learned how to run that store and then in about two thousand and nine, I felt ready, my dad felt ready, to say, okay, where are we taking this company now? I was committed to staying and wanting to growing it, to grow it. So that's when we started buying stores in Stanton and then bought a couple store more shorts and rich men and went on from there. So there was not really the need for delegation. Back at that point my dad had three general managers, he had a vice president of finance and an HR director and he would come in once a month for Financial Review and we ran our stores and we ran them all as individual silos. General Manager didn't talk to each other. Nobody even knew our stores were affiliated and and that's how we ran the company. So we've always had somewhat of a entrepreneurial spirit in our dealerships. We expected the GM's to run their business, but we've also recognized over the years that if we truly want to be a regional impact player in this industry, there are some things that we need to have consistent across the board and we have to take advantage of our volume, our size. We've got to make sure our purchasing power and our negotiating power is taking all fifteen dealerships new account. There are things that we can now offer our associates that we couldn't offer as a three store dealer group or so obviously all of our benefits are together, so we do have a larger support team. I don't like the word corporate. We are the dealership support team, those of us who don't work in just one dealership, but we do have human resources. We have someone in marketing, we have an IT person, we have a CFO and a coo and then we have somebody who handles our Esop, our furrowing k. So we try to say what are the key things that we can maximize by doing as a whole group and we pull those out and then anything that really falls into the day to day management of the dealership. We want, and I expect the general managers to fully run their business. I don't want to give any excuses as to oh, will corporate handles that. So corporate handles that, so I can't affect that number. Yeah, we have super smart jummer managers who know how to run a business and we need to leverage all their talents and skill sets and and and their spirit and their personalities and make sure that that's reflected in their dealerships. So we try to balance kind of corporate and an entrepreneurial spirit. We don't want to have a lot of bureaucracy and we want to make sure read the best general managers in the business. I guess is this part of how you were raised, because everything you're saying resonates so deeply with me. But I know it doesn't come naturally. This this inherent. Hey, I trust you to run your business. I'm not going to be an OEM inside of an OEM or, you know, or inside of a dealer group to be able to trust people, to believe in them that deeply. Like, is this something you feel like you've developed as time has gone on, or is this a byproduct of how you were raised? I mean, how does one get to this place where? I mean, like, I got to be honest. Listening, do you speak, I'm like she is arrived at a place of Zen, like there there is this like, but, but, but, I can feel it and and that's usually how I can tell the sincerity behind it. Like wow, you, you care about your people, you know, and in that care you trust them. So where does that where do you feel like that comes from? Well, I think that I certainly learned a ton from my father growing up as far as how to run a business, but I also learned a whole lot from my mom, who is simply a sink and an angel and trust everybody around her, maybe to a fault. At times, which is what people tell me, and I said, you know what, I would rather live in a world where I get burned occasionally because I've trusted someone too much then to look at the world through a lens of distrust. And I have found that when you trust somebody and you sincerely make sure that they know that that you have full faith in their abilities and you...

...have competence in the direction to take the business, they want to fulfill that expectation. They want to live up to the trust that you're placing them. The opposite is also true. If you don't trust someone, and we've all worked for someone in the past who doesn't trust St us, you kind of fulfill that as well. But they don't trust me anyway, doesn't matter what I do. So I've always looked at as I'm going to give trust and I'm going to trust people beyond even maybe what I should at times, and it is it is worked for me for the most part. I care about people and I do trust them and I typically find that I get that back and they trust me, and that's how relationships work. You know, one of our core values is creating winwin partnerships and trust has to be the base of that, you've obviously been been burned or somebody's tried to take advantage of you. I mean all of us have had experiences like that. But do you feel like you're feeling of like but hey, I'm just going to keep trusting people because it's worked more than it hasn't worked. You feel like that helps you navigate? Yeah, I I certainly think that every time that you get burned, any of us get burned from trusting someone, we learn from it, right and and typically, yes, I can let it roll off my shoulders, but it does also tend to lead me to ask different questions as I'm maybe I'm interviewing the next person to fulfill that role. And so yeah, we wanted to roll off our shoulders, but we also need to learn from each one of those experience and says, what should I have seen ahead of time? was there leading indicators or other behaviors that maybe I should have noticed or recognized before putting my full trust in that person? So we'll keep learning. Yeah, you continue to evolve. It. It's funny, as I'm listening, do you speak as while I think about how you know, we're all in we're all kind of in different places and our journeys never map up directly. Like you've had so much different life experience than me. You know, maybe your business or your dealership is in a different life cycle than mine. And I think in the world today so many people, especially with social media, because we only get to see the best parts of people's fake lives at times, we automatically think like hey, I got to be where where lies as businesses, and if I'm not, then I'm failing. But what they don't realize is that you're in your business going hey, I need to get to where I want to be or I want to take the business, and I think we're always, perhaps perpetually at at a twenty percent capacity of where we know we want to get to. Right. I find that for you, yes, for sure. You know, when I think about kind of where we want to be going and what the what the capacity level is, how much more we as a company have, where our potential is, and then where my personal potential is. And Danille delgatto actually asked us the other day on one of our training she said, on a scale of one to ten, where do you see? How far are you living your potential? And a lot of people said seven, including me. At one point she said that is the biggest copout answer. She said that means you're not willing to admit that maybe you're a little bit higher than that and you're really crushing life. And or maybe you're not willing to admit that you're only average and you're trying to put yourself off es sabage like so that's a copouty and form and so. And then a couple of years ago we challenged our team after I think it was the David Goggan's book that said that we all have an extra sixty percent. Then we're usually only capping into forty percent of our potential. Right. And we had all the top sales associates in our company together for a year and celebration and the challenge was and Glen Lundy was was actually there with us and he said he challenged every person to say, how do you tap into that that other sixty percent this year? How do you raise the Bar? And I think every individual, every human, we all have that extra potential. It's figuring it out and recognizing it and then making a plan of action and then holding yourself accountable to it. That's the most important part. So our company. We've got a lot further to go. I can't wait to see US continuing to fulfill our potential, but it doesn't happen overnight. Only happens with a lot of hard work and with...

...the right people. Yeah, I love, you know, just listening to and kind of getting an inside track on where you choose to focus your attention, because I think that's that's a critical missing piece. In a lot of dealerships you either have a scenario where maybe you're a single rooftop or maybe you've got one or two stores and you have the the principle or the general manager who's overcompensating for what they believe somebody else lacks, and that person's over compensating for what they believe maybe their team lacks, and saw on and so forth, and you have this organization where the where everyone is at perceived maxed bandwidth and they're struggling to realize like, how do I get to that next level? And as I'm listening to you speak, it's I pay attention to my people, I care for my people, I have stewardship for them, I have a responsibility and obligation for them and therefore I'm going to take time, like you said on several occasions now on this on this on this podcast, at least once a month. I'm doing this, like you have your activities to ensure that your organization is continuing to thrive and grow, your tree, Yajing things that need to be Triaj but you're not sitting here in the box, at least I don't. From what it sounds like, you're not sitting in the box, you know, penciling a deal because you feel like your sales managers couldn't do that. You know already you you are. Wouldn't even want me to do that, Michael. But you are ensuring they are as empowered as possible to be the best at their job. That that's the approach that I think a lot of people are missing. Now, the elephant of the room, because I know a lot, I get a lot of questions to this regard, is, well, don't you ever just feel like going home and screaming into a pillow at a frustration? And if so, how do you deal with that? And we all have tough days, right, but I don't. I don't. I don't want this come up from but and scream into a pillow. Okay, I I feel incredibly fortunate in life. Even on the toughest days, I know that I am blessed beyond what the majority of people are right and I am incredibly grateful for that. Now the days that I typically want to scream into the pillow or usually when my fourteen year old is talking back and not listening to me. I'm like, I don't get it. It's usually that it's usually less less at work that at home. I love him dearly, but fourteen's a tough age. Goody, we're headed into that age, Girl. That's a tough age. I think that the Times where I get the most frustrated at work, where I see that we are not fulfilling our potential or that I'm like I want to ring someone's neck is when we hire a lot of people. Are Our industry has even we have turnover. Regardless of how good our company is, we simply have a lot of turn work. Sure, and what is the most frustrating thing to me about our business is the fact that we continue to rush through the hiring process. We still are not making sure that every higher is the right culture fit, that we have checked all the references, that they're going to have the right skill sets and capacity to Bild to do the job. And we so we rush through our hiring process and then we're too busy to on board properly. And we know. I mean we talked about all them. We know the key to this business is people and having the absolute best people period. Right. Yeah, we still don't take our higher are recruiting, our hiring in our own boarding process as seriously as we should. So that's where and I think our managers hear me talk about it way too much. And back next week we've got them all coming in and that's when one of our hot topics is, how do you how do you recruit for culture and and make sure that our processes are line we've talked out. So we're blue in the face and we still rush through it too much. Yeah, it's this feeling of a body is better than nobody and it causes what you just said. When we don't have the right bodies, then the managers...

...are overcompensating for not having the right team below them, or the GM's compensating because they don't have the right management team in place and we know that's where we break down, but we still don't slow down enough to make sure that we're getting that right best person or we're not doing a great enough job recruiting so that we're getting the best talent pool that that's coming into the store. Sure, in the context of, you know, obviously people as a people first organization, is really what I'm picking up on here. What do you do? I mean, how do you navigate, because you know, and I've struggled with this at times for context in the conversation, where maybe you hang on to somebody too long because you just care so much about them and you're like, man, I know they could change if they just so how do you how do you navigate that as an organization? I think it's one of our biggest weaknesses as a company at times. I think we've gotten better recently, but I recognized it. I know that it is our challenge. When you care about people a lot, you do tend to want to change them and keep working with them and give them that opportunity even beyond when you've probably know that it's not going to work right. So what I try to remind myself, and I have to really consciously remind myself that if one of our core values is putting people first, it doesn't mean putting every person first. There are sometimes tough decisions that you have to make about an individual person because it's putting the whole team first. It's putting a larger group of people first. If you have the wrong manager in there and they've got ten people reporting to them and it's the wrong manager, you're actually hurting ten other people and and it's hard. I I know that I hang on to sometimes people too long and I'm and it's to their detriment. oftentimes they're going to be happier going somewhere else if they're not a great fit for organization. That I have to remind myself of that, that that while it might be tough to say we need to part ways, I'm probably doing them a favor because if we're not happy, they're also not happy and that's probably leading to problems for them at home. So it's in everybody's best interest. When you say putting people first, it's not putting one person first. It's looking at the whole picture and saying what's the best for the entire group. Yeah, I love that. It reminds me of. So our philosophy and our business is that we don't we don't actually fire people, we release them and and maybe for some that's like, oh well, you're just sugarcoating what you're actually doing. But I think to your point there there is a certain amount of care and concern if you do it the right way. There is actually care and concern for releasing somebody from your organization because they were probably wanting it to happen to yeah, and so he's like a lose their job, but they knew they weren't happy and right. Yeah, and so you just know you're not going to mind what? Yeah, yeah, you know you're not going to be able to get them or help them get to a place where they're going to where they're going to thrive. Maybe they miss something. I mean, you know, and we see this to and organizations, where people just bring so much of their personal challenges into the mix. Like yeah, that's not just make us sound heartless. We care if they're having personal issues, but then they start to hide behind those issues as an excuse for why they, you know, are perpetually not doing something or, you know, like it just gets in the way. Yes, and for me, like as a Christian, that's always hard because I always think of like, you know, these passages in the Bible that talk about leaving the ninety and nine and going and finding the one, you know kind of a thing, and carrying that one on your shoulder and bringing them back to the fold. But in business it's also about like understanding, like in that scenario that's a helpless sheep that needs a shepherd, and we're talking about people that have potential and greatness and ability and capability and are making choices right. So that's really interesting. The level...

...of communication needed in order to operate what you have going on and to facilitate growth. I'd imagine that your communication is not what is typical. In other words, you guys probably go over above on the communication side of things. We tried. I don't know that you can ever overcommunicate, but I will say the one thing that I have learned through Covid is the fact that we need to overcommunicate. I've been trying to use every avenue possible during this time because for the first couple months I was not out in our dealerships. I was working every day up and in the office in Charlottesville. But with some of the guidelines we had in place. We were trying to limit the number of people in our dealerships, like just enough people to get the job done. We write no act for a lot of people working from home, home deliveries etc. So I said, well, Gosh, if I can't be out there talking to people facetoface, how do we need to do this? And so I think I'll keep the same level of communication up now, beyond covid but lots of video communication, sending it out via email, on our private facebook page, on our company intranet. I do anniversary cards to every associate in the company and I made sure during this time that I was actually addressing what was going on right now during the anniversary card, not just a normal one, and I was doing a lot of personal facebook posts and messages back to individuals in our company, trying to figure out a way to still connect with people even though I couldn't be there as well in person. But yes, I try to overcommunicate, but again, it can't just come from me. You know, I can start the message, but then I need the general managers and the departmental managers and everybody to continue to carry that message out into their dealerships. It has to be a team effort. The company won't run if it's just me communicating. So it needs to be and needs to be across the entire team. Well, I just thought of something that you brought up earlier about how so many people are bottom line driven and they're trying to say how does this pie in the sky culture values, you know, doesn't really translate to the bottom line right and and certainly we can probably point to a lot of things in the company that I think are tied back to culture, to the and to the bottom line. But I want to share this one piece with you that I think could be a really important point that someone say wow, that's how it works. So we're about to welcome in another new store into our company. We've got a new dealership that we were actually scheduled to purchase and close on a March thirty one, but we covid hit the timeline, had to be without a little bit of do lots of reasons, but be closing sometime and hopefully late August. And the dealership itself is a single point store, a great brand and a location that's within our kind of to our radius. And the dealer was a I've gotten to know him through our Dealer Association, the Virginia Dealer Association, and he called me about eight months ago, actually, probably nine months or so now, and he said, Liza, he said he's young, he's in his early s. He said, I still want to work, but I need an exit strategy from our dealership. I can't continue to provide the right benefits and and support that my dealership needs as a single point store. I know that within the next five years that's not going to be a reasonable way to run a dealership. And so he called me and he said, he said, would you be open to talking to me about a bicell and allowing me to stay on and work as the dealer principle? I said absolutely. It was. I'll tell you it's a superu store, which is number one on our list as far as acquisition. It is within the geographic radius that we had already targeted and in he said, he said you're the only dealer group that I would consider being an owner right now and coming back as an employee, because, he said, I think our culture and our values aligned so well. Wow, we're going to bring in this dealer group that is a nicely profitable, well run dealership and a market that we wanted with a brand that...

...we had targeted. And the only reason that we're getting that opportunity over any other dealer of and it would have been snatched up in a heartbeat sure, from at many other deal groups in Virginia, was because he felt that the culture and the values of our company aligned with what he wanted for associates. So when people talk about the squishy stuff and say and does it really pencil, it absolutely pencils, and it gives you an opportunity for acquisition, for growth, it creates relationships and ultimately are going to grow our dealer group. And I just thought I'd throw that out there so that people are listening saying, I don't know, how is this effect profits, I can give them a concrete example. What you just said, I think, is the crowning just the perfect way to sum up everything that we've been talking about. People do business with people they both like and trust, and they also gravitate towards people they both like and trust, and so if you want to kill two birds with one stone and build relationships of trust that are going to have a positive impact on your life in your career. You got to be paying attention to what lies it just said. Thank you, lies the so much for joining me on the dealer playbook podcast this conversation. I mean honestly, I could go on forever about this because I love listening to you and and your wisdom and and I think you know it's just a tremendous value. You are a gem and an asset to this industry and, of course, to your organization. Just hearing what people have to say about you, it's always so positive and always so genuine and I just love that. How can those listening get in touch with you? They can find me on facebook, for sure it's under lies a Myers fortious. They can find me on instagram under I think it's just lies aborious, linkedin lies aborious, cardmier's automotive. They can find me on any of those avenues and I love them to message me, friend me and I just enjoy connecting with so many in our industry. You started off this podcast about, you know, the negative stigma of our industry, and in the last couple years in particular, I have met so many people like yourself and many that we've talked about this podcast that had truly reenergized me, maybe more excited about the future of the industry in the positive impact that we can make than I've ever been, and I think that word negative stigmas going to be gone, has to be gone soon, and we're going to be the ones to change it. 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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