The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 3 months ago

Shaahin Cheyene: Create A Mindset To Overcome Anything


Shaahin Cheyene is considered one of the leading global minds on what's next in e-commerce, Amazon and the internet. He is described as the "Willy Wonka of Generation X" by the London Observer and Newsweek and is one of the most forward thinkingers in business. Shaahin joins the show to share how car dealers can overcome the various obstacles in their path, from direct-to-consumer car sales to electrification and competiting against big tech.

What we discuss with Shaahin Cheyene: 

  • Shaahin explains the mindset required to take your book of business to the next level. He left home at the age of 15 and took his business to a billion dollars pre-internet.
  • The thing that led Shaahin to success was overcoming adversity after adversity and creating a mindset where you can overcome anything. If you can overcome the most challenging things in your life, you can do anything you want in business.
  • The difference between electric vehicles and petrol-powered vehicles. Shaahin submits that EVs are an appliance rather than being an actual vehicle. Shaahin built one of the first electric Porsche's out there.
  • When you are sleeping, your enemies are planning your demise. We're facing an industry that is being disrupted by an appliance. The automotive industry needs to pick an identify and go all in.
  • Shaahin walks through the 3 steps to solving any probelm. Knowledge, courage and action.  

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Thanks, Shaahin Cheyene!

If you enjoyed this episode with Shaahin Cheyene please let him know by clicking on the links below and sending him a message.

Click here to thank Shaahin Cheyene on Instagram 

...the car business is rapidly changingand modern car dealers are meeting the demand. I'm Michael Cirillo andtogether we're going to explore what it takes to create a thriving dealershipand life in the retail automotive industry join me each week forinspiring conversations with subject matter experts that are designed tohelp you grow. This is the dealer playbook in this episode, I'm joined by an awardwinning business mogul, author, filmmaker and founder of the brainnutrition startup, accelerated intelligence. You might have heard ofhis invention, herbal ecstasy, It's 100% legal. If you're not familiar withit, you should probably go learn about it. Also, this is where I would say,are you living under Iraq? I don't know, I don't know, DPB gang, but maybethat's the case. He is a serial entrepreneur with more than 30 years ofexperience in over 350 million in sales. I'm very excited to introduce you toShaheen Shan Thanks so much for joining me on the dealer playbook podcast. Sogood to be on Michael, Thanks for having me on. Well, it goes withoutsaying, but you've had a tremendous career uh and it's still going and it'sstill skyrocketing and you're doing all these incredible things, but I can onlyimagine, um you know, as I've consumed your content that it can I use the term,No pun intended, but it's kind of come together organically like none of usare born Going, I have the mindset to be an entrepreneur and build a businessthat does 350 million in sales things happen over time. So I'm curious whathas your journey up to this point been like and are there pivotal moments orah ha moments where you're like that's gonna help me go to the next level?Yeah totally, so look I chuck a lot of this up to grit And being able toovercome adversity, so you know, I know that you might have heard about mystory before, but you know I left home when I was 15, I started my firstcompany and we went from zero to close to a billion dollars, maybe even brokea billion dollars in those days, pre internet and before that the journeythat led me to that was one that I write about in my upcoming book billion,how I became king of the throat pill called and we just got a movie deal forit to which I'm super excited about now um but you know the thing that led meto my success was overcoming adversity after adversity and creating a mindsetthat I could overcome anything because if you can live through some of thehardest moments in your life, there's always an upside, it's what Seth Godinthe brilliant marketer talks about in his book the dip in that you know whenyou start something new, it's always easy but then at a certain point youend up in this dip and you're looking up at this massive mountain now if youcan traverse this mountain, if you can climb this hill and do all that hardwork at a certain point you will plateau and then your journey will bedownhill. But until you get there there is a price to be paid for anybody inany industry. And that's really you know what happened to me? I was I lefthome from 15 15. Uh Iranian immigrants came here from Iran basically lefteverything behind, cut all contacts with everybody. And I was sleeping inabandoned buildings. I realized in those days that the realtors have thesethings called lock boxes where they had keys. This was pre internet era. So youcould get the codes to that and L. A.

Was in a building boom. So you could gocrash or you, I don't think anyone else did, but I did, you could go crashinside these luxury apartments that were under construction as long as Icleaned up and was out by the time the brokers got in I was good and so I wasdoing that. I was sleeping in abandoned cars. You know, I had the pages ofthink and grow rich pasted to the to the top of the trunk, reading them witha flashlight, thinking to myself, man, I gotta figure out a way to make money.And I got into the electronic music scene, the rave scene at that time andI managed to somehow invent this pill and I tell the story about it. You know,I know we've got a limited amount of time, so I won't go fully into it, butI managed to get a girlfriend, I managed to figure out how to create analternative to the biggest drug in that time, which was called ecstasy. Imanaged to convince her that when her dad was out to let me cook it up in thekitchen. Now this was all herbs, natural ingredients, we weren't doinganything to list it. And I got the courage to walk up to one of thebiggest drug dealers at the time and the electronic music scene and convincehim sell him influence him on selling my product instead of real drugs. Andhe reluctantly did and the pivot point was when I when I did that, I had thosepills in my bag, I had no money, I spent every last cent in the world Ididn't even have enough to eat on making these pills and I was convincedthat I was going to make my mark and I walked up, wouldn't take no for ananswer from this like legit drug dealer the moment I was doing that, trying toget him to sell my pills instead of real drugs and him saying no, I methinking I'm going to get killed by this guy, A couple people walked up, hewas out of supply, I was at the right time at the right place, he said fuckit, let me let me you know, let me let me try this. He sold it came back Acouple hours later the entire club was bouncing up and down. They had alltaken my pills and he looked at me and I was like, this was the stupidest ideaof where I am an idiot, I am so sorry. And he said kid, when can you get memore, wow! And that was it. It went from 11 guy, 200 guys to 1000 guys to10,000 guys. A lot of these drug dealers became legitimate, theylegitimized themselves and they became big distributors for my product. Westarted selling an urban outfitters, warehouse and Tower Records. Sex storeslarry flynt started buying tons and pumping it through this thing,Penthouse magazine, Playboy magazine, we were selling everywhere and then wewere a festivals and I walked into my office one day and now remember sixmonths before sleeping in abandoned buildings And I had 200 employees and at thistime I had a lot of hustle Michael. So I wasn't sleeping too much, you know,maybe a couple hours, I would sleep on the factory floor, I would sleep in theoffice floor, you know, wherever I could lay my head and then I would getup and I would go to work and I was exhausted and my hair was long andscraggly and I walked into the office and the news broke that we had broken abillion dollars in revenue, pre internet, pre covid pre cell phones,pre facebook, pre all that stuff and I thought to myself, holy shit, I don'tknow how much a billion dollars is and I had this huge panic moment where likethis huge Sam Donaldson was in a limo on his way to my office, the greatreporter Sam Donaldson on Nightline was there, Montel Williams had sent metickets to fly out to new york. I was doing a big photo shoot for detailsmagazine with David LaChapelle. You know, it was, it was, it was a huge,insane time for me and my level of sophistication was, you know, people,the guy, one of the top guys at bear stearns want to take my company publicand my level of sophistication was such that I didn't even know how much moneythe money that I had was right and from there it became an insane wild ride andwe write, I write about it in my book, I'll get you a copy for sure. But youknow, we had run ins with mob runners...

...with the Yakuza, the government, whichwas worse than all of them. And it led to quite an interesting journey. All Ican think about is because I can only imagine what these run ins, we're likeyou've just now disrupted you are the disruptor potentially. I mean for thosethat don't want to change their ways, you're the disrupter to the drug scenewhere there's gazillions of dollars being being distributed. Um, and you don't, you know, I'manticipating, you don't know what, you don't know as, as you said, yoursophistication level as such, you're kind of in, you know, you're on thepeak of what is it, the dunning Kruger effect, the peak amount stupid. Um, andthen I think about what we're facing in the automotive industry today. Thereare big tech incumbents that are coming in that are going to potentially,there's been some disruptive innovation there shifting the way people arebuying cars and they're trying to bring things online And that's disrupting theway that a local car dealer might do things. But I've always tended to think,hey, there's an opportunity here. There's an opportunity because you canmeet the demand where it is and you don't have to just lay down and die.And I'm just picturing you in these moments, there's, there must have beensome lay down and die. Give up. This is going to get too hard moments eventhough you had the hustle in the grid. But what was it about your mindset?Like what, where did your mind have to be in order to continued as you've said,traverse the mountain. So that's interesting. I think it's allabout mindset and coming to the United States is an immigrant from Iran, mymindset was one that, you know, in Iran five years old, I would leave the house,I'd have a little gang, we'd be running with, we'd hang out. You know, I wastop of the heat came to this country and I was third class citizen. It wasduring the Iran contra, I was getting my ass kicked every day and I veryquickly learned my quote unquote place and that lead to me going, man, youknow, like God, things got to get better than this. And then my familyended up buying a house in a up and coming area that wasn't affluent whenthey bought, but right after they bought it shot up like crazy andreaganomics and trickle down economics, all that stuff, the values ofproperties went up and very wealthy people started moving in. Why am Itelling you this? Well, the reason why I'm telling you this is because as achild, as a 13 year old, my, you know, my, my folks, their highest expectationof me, their highest hope was that I would become a doctor. It would be likeShannon will become a doctor. It will be the greatest thing in the world.That was the pinnacle of success for my dad as far as he could see for me, Iwould look out the window and I see the dude that's a doctor and I'd be likeman that that fool is selling his hours for money and the bank owns his house,the bank owns the car, the bank might own his wife, I don't want that life. Iwant a different life. I want the life of the guy down the street who justbuilt that huge mansion who's got five Portia's and seven beautiful girls andyou know he's he's living the life. I want that, I want the yacht life. But there was no path to it. In factthe path that the chips were stacked well against me. So I had to find apath and what that makes you do. It's what walter. IsaAcson in his book aboutsteve jobs, he writes about it and steve jobs also you know coming from animmigrant family was adopted. I believe Lebanese but is this is and and thereason I'm saying this is because there is something to coming from a thirdworld country. Something not that steve jobs did but something from having thatin your D. N. A. That I think can really shift the way you think aboutthings. And I thought man I want all that stuff. And so it was what walterIsaAcson calls the reality distortion field. I think that's the point I wasgetting at was that steve jobs created...

...this thing where he would walk into aroom and go, hey guys um I know it's just 1995 but I want a phone, I don'twant any buttons. I wanted to work on our operating system and the engineerswill be like okay this is cool, we're talking 10 years, 15 years maybe likevery funny Wednesday afternoon, let's go. And These guys who were planning ondoing this 10 years down the line would just be floored. But somehow by hook orby Crook they would figure it out and we all know, you know what happenedduring, you know the Big Steve jobs, early release for the, for the iPhonewhere the thing bombed on TV but it didn't matter. It's the realitydistortion field. It's the same thing that Elon musk has when he's got hisbulletproof truck and he's showing it when he throws a rock and it breaks thewindow. It doesn't fucking matter. Now, as far as the automotive industry goes,I'm a huge fan of cars and now I am a petrol guy through and through gasoline.I like a clutch. I like, I like to feel part of my car. I feel when, when I buya car, I feel I am transported into the world of the designer, the engineers.I'm into the diamond stitching and I like the Porsche, supple leathercompared to the other leathers and the way the car sounds and the exhaust andit's, it's a visceral experience for me now I was an early adopter to anelectric cars. I built one of the first electric Portia's interestingly enoughbecause I like electric cars. I like that concept and you were talking aboutdisruption in the market and it's really interesting because one of myfavorite quotes, I'll tell you this is when you are sleeping, your enemies areplanning your demise and I, I used that quote my book several times. I thinkit's a very effective one and I feel like that's happening now. Not to say,I don't think the big four are sleeping at all. Not anymore. I think they were,I don't think electric cars should be categorized in the same category ascars. I think there are an appliance when you drive a Tesla, that thing isso scary, fast and so perfect and so smooth. You go into the compartment butwhat it lacks in my opinion, I'm probably gonna get hate mail. A lot ofpeople hate me for this but it lacks soul, it lacks the soul of having thatclutch, it lacks that imperfection that comes from years of like fucked upengineering from like italian guys and Germany to do that are like, you know,they're, they're, they're greasing the things, these are appliances made bytech companies that are perfect at doing what they do, They are surgical.Their speed is, you know, uncomfortable. So what you're facing now is anindustry that is facing a crisis and being disrupted, buy an appliance and Ithink that separation has to be made. They have to pick a fucking identityand go with it now they can go both ways like GM is doing, you know, makingoutstanding electric cars. Some people might argue too late. I don't think so.I think they're making spectacular cars. You know, I was one of the first guysto get, I got one of the first bolts off the production line and that thingis, it's amazing. But to me it is not a car, it is an appliance. So if theywere to separate that with their cars, I think that they're crisis would bemuch more defined and then they could, they could, they could act on it. Wealways talk about these three steps that can solve any problem that myfriend Wayne boss always credit him with this is knowledge, courage andaction. When you're faced with any kind of aproblem or situation, the first thing you need to do is have knowledge, howdo you get knowledge? You can buy it, you can rent it, you can borrow it, youcan steal it, that may be better not to steal it, butyou can get it right, you can rent it, you can hire it, get knowledge anywhere.Once you have that knowledge, that knowledge gives you courage because nowwe have the information, we know what we need to do. If I told you, hey man,go start a business, you'd be like,...

...okay, there's some risk. I don't knowwhatever I'd be like, hey, start a business and you've got 80% chance ofmaking 50 million bucks a year, you'd be all over it because you had thatknowledge, it gives you courage and the third step is action, you got to takeaction so and it's in, in those, in that specific order knowledge, courage,Action is what we talk about in your experience, because I know youcollect vehicles, um, I'm guessing you've had a lot of experience insidedealerships over the years based on, based on what you've experienced andbased on what you've just said, which I think is you are, you are the only person, I feel like weneed a live studio audience to just give us a round of applause. Here youare the first person who has ever suggested a distinction betweenelectric vehicles and petrol powered vehicles. And I've never even thoughtof it to the like just how you were explaining this as an appliance? I'venever thought of it that way. I've, I've admittedly only ever thought ofEVs as this is the next thing, this is where people are going, you better goinvest in a motorcycle dealership because I know one thing for sure as amotorcycle rider, I always want to crank the throttle, I don't want toself righting motorcycle, I don't want, you know, but in your experience over the yearsnow collecting purchasing vehicles, the dealership experience all those sortsof things in accordance to what you just said,the three steps to solving any problem, would a dealerships need to change orshift in your opinion, salesmanship is dead. I know carsalesmen are gonna hate me, but every time and I love walking onto lots andlooking at cars and I like to negotiate. So I enjoy walking onto lots and justhearing dude sales pitch. This is one thing I will tell you the guys who sellthe most cars and this is gonna be a shocking statistic for some of you guysdon't know shit about cars, selling cars has nothing to do with cars,selling cars has to do with people. What are the two biggest purchases thatpeople make in their entire lives, their home and their car? Both thingsthat are heavily charged with emotion. When a guy walks onto a lot, he's notthinking I'd like to get in a hunk of metal that's gonna take me from point Ato point B. He is thinking of all things but that he is feeling anemotion. He wants an emotional connection to the car. Now the dealercomes up, can I help you out sir? You've already lost the fucking game.We've and we've gotten further and further from that now with the internetand zoom and and all the people, salesmen are just too used to the ordercoming in, you know, online, the sales order coming in and then sending it totheir internet sales guy and you know, like talking to the guy about thefeatures and details of the car. No one gives a shit about that. The guys thatsell cars. And I remember reading this article, that's NPR article about thisdealership in New Jersey and they did this, it was uh, they also had a radiopodcast to go along with, it was fantastic and they actually followedthis dealership and the dude, I think his name was Vinny, his name wasactually Vinnie, the guy that sold the most cars like, and they asked him like,do you know if this is like a V eight hemi or a v A this or he didn't knowshit, he didn't know any of that and he was crushing the other salespeople, why?Because he knew people, he couldn't get that information, All those details andstuff you could get right and it's good if you are in an industry, if you'reselling Corvettes that you know everything about them are as much aboutthem as possible. But at the end of the..., the core elements of influencedon't change. If you're doing what I do, I train people how to make money onamazon every day. I've got an amazon course. So I teach them how to createinfluence on amazon and I coach people all the time, People who have coachingprograms. Uh, young start up entrepreneurs, VCS bring me companiesto help coach them sales is one of the most critical, one of the most essential skills that you could haveand to master sales, you have to become an influencer of people first andforemost, you gotta put yourself beneath that person. If you're comingat somebody with that shiny suit greased up hair kind of like, hey buddy,I'm gonna make you a great deal. You've already lost the sale, the sale is madein the pre suasion, the sale is made by you being an authentic, genuine personand getting to know other people most of the time people will buy from youjust because they like you, if somebody is on a lot already looking at a car,you know, unless they're kicking tires, they've probably somewhere in theirdecision making process, They've already been persuaded that they'regoing to buy the car and what I see happening over and over and over againis car dealers talking people out of the sail their, their sales processgoes backwards. So sales starts with pre suasion as, as Calderoni talksabout Professor Calvin in his book influence and his follow up book, presuasion both fantastic. If you're a salesperson, if you're dealing in cars,selling cars, anything in business, you need to read Kalderans books, I've gotno affiliation with Professor Cardini, but his books really are ourrevolutionary. Um, and he talks about the fact that most sales happen beforethe guy even walks onto your lot before the person even visits your website,that sale is done. So let's focus on that we can have so much more impactthen and then instead you can just focus on being less of an asshole whensomebody walks onto the lobby, a real person, like just fucking talk to thatperson and just be a human being and stop trying to think of like meetingyour quota or making the sale. That's all bullshit and they know and peoplecan smell it. Yeah, oh, it's the last day of the month, we're in the lastweek of the month. We gotta, you know, we got to get those deals going, we'vegot to get those deals on this resonates with me um Shaheen becauseit's something that we believe so deeply in, not just in my business, butalso here on the podcast. It's one of the reasons why we produce this showbecause we want to reach as many professionals in the auto industry aspossible to get what you just said across and I go, you know, how manymore people do we need to say? Something similar to what you just said,putting yourself below the person service senior to selling um the powerof pre suasion. The fact that customers today are more educated, walking ontothe lot than they've ever been in the history of our planet, because you canget all the information you need already and I love specifically whatyou're saying about being an authentic, genuine person. This is like the thingthat there's no tactic on, like I can't belike here are three steps to becoming more authentic. It's like, you know,it's it's that thing, do you have a desire to serve and be a good personand to do what's right? Even if that doing that right thing is not thepopular opinion. Like there's just so many elements into it. I've experiencedwhat you've just said in my own career so I can, I can add my, my testimony ifyou will to what you're saying for those listening. My team has witnessed quote unquote sales callswhere we didn't even talk about what we were going to do and the deal closesand they go, wait, did you just close a deal by saying I want your kids to feelcomfortable enough calling you uncle mike. Like what, how does that? And Ithink it's, you know, it's what you're...

...saying. It's it's that you know, it'sbeing an alignment with that individual. Understanding them showing empathy,being authentic, doing what's right for them. The sales already happened.People aren't dumb. People know what they want. So how did where did you make thatconnection? And you've mentioned some books here by Professor Cardini. Um,along the way, how did you make these connections orwhat did you do to, to master this art of sales or pre suasion or being a goodperson as I like to say, I think everything is sales. I had amentor when I first started off and he took me out and he showed me, he's like,look, yeah, I know you don't have any money now kid, but look around you andI looked and I was like what? I don't see anything actually benches, cars,houses like what are you talking about? And he's like everything you see aroundyou has been sold from one person to the next. I said okay, he's like masterthat, master how a human influences another human to do something andyou've mastered life, you'll never be hungry again, you'll never be brokeagain. And that's what I did. I started learning about the great salespeople do,how how do you become a salesperson? You american culture is something thatstigmatized. So when we think about sales people immediately resistancegoes up right and a lot of people come at it with a different perspective.Eastern perspective is very different. I'm a big fan of Alan Watts. I don'tknow if you've if you've heard of Alan Watson, great philosopher and he talksa lot about the difference between east and west and just like you were sayinga lot of the times, especially in the situation that you just demonstratedthe sale was made before you even got on the phone. That was just a formality.The fact that you were on the phone talking to these folks is just aformality. They had already decided to buy from you and that's exactly whatwe're talking about here. You know, for me that was the big shift was having amentor who had succeeded and me trying to emulate him and learned from him andunderstand the importance of influence and all influences of sales. I teachthat on amazon now, what we learned from Jeff Bezos and from creatingproducts on the amazon platform, is that now we can compete with these bigcompanies. I've got students all the time in this course that I teach tomake 50 100 150 grand a month Selling on Amazon when they started from zeroand they do it because they're competing with these mega companies,these massive brands and they can do it successfully on amazon why? Becausethey know how to tell a better story, they know how to tell that story in away that convert on that platform. If you're doing face to face sales, it's adifferent form of influence. But the pillars are the same. The foundation ofthat influence is the same. An influence is everything. You're blowing my mind. I love thisconversation. I wish I went back to my long find, I think I need to do anotherone with you back but we're gonna go like joe Rogan length somehow or fourhours. Tell me a little bit, just in closing here about the book, I see infront of you billion, how I became king of the thrill kill cult. You said it'scoming out, you've certainly talked about some of the concepts from thebook, but I'd love to, love to hear more. Yeah. So guys don't wait for thefilm to come out. That's going to be a couple years. I'm told it takes acouple years for that kind of stuff to happen. But the book will be out as wespeak. It's being released. So in the next few days, by the time you'reprobably listening to this podcast, the book will be released. It's calledbillion How he became king of the thrill kill cult. And you can get thefirst chapter for free on Spotify, google podcast, apple podcast whereveryou listen to podcasts. Also, we have a podcast called Hack and grow rich. Makesure to like and subscribe to our podcast as well. And if anybody'sinterested in selling on amazon for people of your podcast um I would liketo offer my one hour amazon mastery...

...course, Normally 200 bucks. Absolutelyfor free. Just reach out to me on FB a seller course dot com. Or go to ShaheenShan dot com. I'm sure we'll include it in the show notes and click on course.Reach out to me, email me if I can help inspire you on your journey and impactyour life in any way I remain at your service. Amazing. Shaheen Thanks somuch for joining me on the dealer Playbook podcast. Yeah, honor to be on.Thank you so much. Yeah. Mm 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. Thanks for listening. Yeah. Mhm. Mhm.

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