The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 6 months ago

What We Got Wrong About Branding w/ Paul J. Daly


Branding is one of the best ways to scale your reputation, but we must decide what reputation we want. 

Are we the car salesperson who forces customers to hold up the "You should be here" sign because everyone else did it, or is our reputation built on something more authentic?

The best we can do is be the best version of ourselves, something that many get wrong when they try to follow the crowd. 

"I would be a really crappy version of Glenn Lundy, or Michael Cirillo, or Brian Benstock. I'm not wired in the ways they are. I need to be a version of myself - to be myself."

When we let go of what others do, and build a brand based on what we do well, the business opportunities grow.

For complete show notes and resources visit:  


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

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

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

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

Find your best opportunities to grow with FlexDealer's free, immediate website audit. Visit 

Hey, before we hop into this episode,let's talk about why your website and digital presence isn't working. Now Iknow what you're thinking, Michael. We talk all about the Web sites all thetime. You talk about the websites, the websites, a hammer yada, yada, yada. Weget it. But for real, though, it's shocking to me how much guesswork stilltakes place and how its having a detrimental effect on whatopportunities you are able to leverage now. Over the last decade, especiallyfor the O. G. D P beers, you know, I've poured my soul into assembling a teamthat cares deeply about the progress of the retail auto industry that believesin my mission to enrich and empower dealers to perpetually grow. Now I'mmaking my amazing marketing team accessible to the dealer playbookcommunity so that you can start to thrive rather than merely survive.Right now, we're providing a just for you free website diagnostic that willshow you exactly what you need to do in a priority sequence so that you canfinally get the answers you need. Claim yours by visiting triple W dot flexdealer dot com forward slash website audit That's triple W dot flex dealerdot com forward slash website dash audit. So we see a lot of emotions, right? We wecould go on Facebook right now and we would see car sales professional aftercar sales, professional, all mimicking one another because they, you know,it's a human nature. We always think that what somebody else is doing is theright thing for us to be doing. And so we need to get on the bandwagon. And sowhat do we see, Paul? We see pictures of customers being forced against theirwill to hold up a white white billboard that says you should be here, you know,sort of a thing. Um, and then we go...

...home and we're like, Yeah, we go homeand we're like, we're building our brand. But what does it actually meanto you? Like what? What are some actions you think professionals in ourin our beloved industry could be taking today to just provide them more clarityso that they're not feeling the pole to just do what everybody else is doing?Think of that's hilarious. That thought held against their will be a funnypiece of content. They're just smiling. Dude, they're like, uh, we hold thisright, and I just get out of here. Yeah, the salespersons way happier than thecustomer in the picture. Um, in our industry, specifically weren't speakingabout sales professionals. And, you know, it could be like managementpersonnel as well, because I think everyone can benefit when people leaninto this idea of personal brand. But in the way in this way, think of it asa way to scale your reputation. It's like scalable reputation. So do youwant the reputation of being someone forcing someone to hold the sign thatsays something? No, the answer is no. There are definitely unique traits andcharacteristics about each person. Each sales professional, each manager thatno one else has. And I always stay lean in to those characteristics. Becausewhen you try to be everyone else like, I'd be a really crappy version ofMichael Cirillo, I'd be a really crappy version of Glen Lindy. I'd be a reallycrappy version of Brian Bienstock because I'm not wired in any of thoseways. Exactly right. I need to be a version of myself. I need to be myself.And so when you're trying to build out that brand like, Hey, when guys leaninto the hip hop right and like like a like a like Gabe McNeil, like out inPittsburgh, you know, and, uh like, Hey, that's cool, because that's really him,right? He has the neck tattoos. He's really friendly fun. If you look at hisinstagram account, it all works...

...together, right? He really does. Butwhen you try to be that guy and be a copycat, it doesn't come off well whenthe truth is, there's something unique about you that you should be leaninginto and talking to. I don't know. Do you like ukulele like, Well, you shouldplay the ukulele. Are you shy? Lean into being shy like That's okay. Andwhen you do that, people really just want to understand that they're gettingthe real you because everyone can sniff out of fake better than ever beforebecause we're dealt so many fakes on a regular basis. So the second, thesecond it becomes fake, um, people are going to migrate away from it like thebottom line. They just are, Yeah, I love that. Now, how do you translatethat? We've seen some good examples of that for, for example, we see some carsales professionals in particular who lean into the fact that they actuallydo like the ukulele. And so what do they do? They incorporate that into thework. Do you think you need to have that level of perhaps, um, beingunapologetic in who you are? Like I think people are so shy about showingwho they really are because they don't think that they are likable or likethey're worth much. I love that you brought in your belief system, right?As a Christian myself, I also believe what you said, Um, that how can I, inone breath, say that I'm a child of God? And then in the next breath say I amnot good enough or I am not going to be worthy enough or likable. Who's who'swrong? Who's wrong? They're right. You're wrong, has gone wrong. Is one ofyou is wrong? You are so worthless that I died for you. Like I don't know howthat I can't I can't reconcile that in my brain. I guess I wasted my time.Yeah, I guess I wasted my time, man. I could have lived a lot longer than 33.Or however all Jesus was. But But how do you I guess, how do you getcomfortable? We have this thing in the in the business where everybody feelslike they need to get permission. Oh, I...

...can't do that because my leader is notgoing to let me do that or it seems like it's off protocol. So when you'reworking with your clients as you're working with professionals in theindustry, what do you recommend that they do? What's a good starting place? Um, so we're talking mostly. We'rethinking like sales professionals. Yeah, I think so. But, I mean, this could beleadership as well, but I think I think it should be the ones that are mosteager. But I am honestly seeing a lot of managers and general managersstarting to creep out when they have the desire personality for it. Um, youknow, they're doing as well. There's there's this like So when I talked todealers, I'm saying you, for your store, need to cultivate and strategicallydevelop a brand for your self, not just for personal member for your store,because you need to have some kind of strength there because what's going tohappen is your salespeople are going to build their brand, and they're gonnahold all the equity. So they now have the loyalty. They nowhave the following, right? Just just like the way like a rock star realtor,would you know? Then they go from one broker to another, and now the brokersvulnerable. So on that side, I said dealers, your brand has to meansomething holistically. Now, your salespeople should have brands withinthat, but it should all be tethered to some core beliefs and some real branddevelopment. Now, on the flip side of that, when I talked to the sales people,I'm like, you want to own all the equity, right? You know, it's bothsides, like you want the biggest brand, because when that you're going to getthe best deal, you're gonna get the best com plan. Um, you know, they'regonna want to keep you happy. And I have I've seen scenarios where thatjust works. Really, really well, when both people function, there's onedealer group I can think if we work with, they have, Um uh huh. Um, if aLatin American woman who has an amazing brand. She has a radio show, and shelike as this article and in the, you know, the local paper. And it's great,but the dealer also knows what they're about, and those things work reallywell together. So, um, I think they all... and everyone should be doing itbecause that really is part of the hustle of the game is like, Hey, butthere are enough people in the world and in any community that differentpeople are going to connect with the salesperson that will connect with theumbrella brand. So if your salesperson and you want to start building a brand,it starts with listening. It really does. You need to not just be pushingout content. Look at me. Look at me. Look at me. Look at me, start tocontribute to other people in your community. If I'm a sales person, Iwant to be a Gary. Gary Vaynerchuk puts it this way is like, I want to be themayor. I want to be the mayor of that town, meaning that I want to just be onsocial media celebrating the community, celebrating the teachers talking aboutwhere the worst potholes are, talking about the weather, right? I want to bethe person that loves every aspect of my community and started to engage withpeople on that level. By nature of doing that, people will start to get ahold of my personality and my appreciation for the same things thatthey appreciate. So that's where I would definitely start. Yeah, I lovethis, too, because you you've had close contact and connection with Gary V. Ido gotta say, Man, he's got to come up with new word tracks because these arethe same things he was saying when he was on my show. He'll never he'll neverswitch. He'll never switch because that's the consensus. I say the samethings because it's human behavior. He's never gonna change. It's never Youcan't get the dude, you know what I mean? Like you cannot get Gary. It'slike he's so fast. He's got something, but But you're right, like I love whatyou're talking about here contributing to the community. Um, I think peoplelook at a brand, um, like Gary V, who disregard all of the context of whathe's had to do to build the stature that he has, and they go direct to that.Uh, I gotta post my meme of me looking out the window, gritty catch phrase.And then they're like, Why isn't it ticking? And it's because nobody knowsyou because right, the only reason is that they like his, is because theyknow the context, right? They know the...

...whole context. Bottom line, you and then that's partof Brandon Lee, right? You're building the context. People are interested inother people, which is why social media works. And, you know, everyone thinksthat their life is boring, right? There are parts of your life that are boring,and it's easy to look at. The other person say, well, their lives moreexciting because they do this because they have this because they've beenthere. But the truth is like, you've been places and have perspectives andexperiences that somebody else doesn't. And and when someone gives you thatlevel of attention, or when even but you have to produce stuff to like,let's not talk about that. You can't just listen. You have to make stuff.You have to contribute and make stuff put stuff out there because if youdon't, then no one will see anything and it can't just be pictures. You alsohave to, like, write good copy and contribute your thinking becausepictures never make anyone do anything. They never make anyone taken actionwords or actually would tell people what action they should take whichdirection gives context. And like if I'm showing a picture of me sitting bymyself like okay, it's a picture sitting by myself. But if I, you know,for instance, put put in the first few lines of my copy, I just left a funeralright. All of a sudden, that picture has some context that is about to giveyou a little insight, right? And that that picture totally that those fewwords totally changed Now how you're thinking. So when you make content, youstill gotta make stuff where people can't see it. But then also, you haveto give context because that's really what builds Brand is the nuance of thecontext over time, right? Just pictures that look like everyone else's arenever going to do it. It's the nuance of context over time. So it does all ofthat when you add it all up. It smells a lot like hard work it is, and caringmore about somebody else than what you have to say like I often think about,Especially when I sit down because, you know, I think people get the idea thatoh, man, like somebody like Paul. He's... an agency. Michael's got an agency.Other people are managing their social for them or putting thoughts into theirbrain or whatever. No, when I sit down at the keyboard or at my phone to writea social post, everything that you just said resonates deeply with me. But whatI what I'm also thinking about Paul is am I going to be a conversation openeror like a conversation starter? Or am I also closing a conversation with asingle post? So when I'm out there, like, if I'm out there doing what mostof us do, we need to cross reference back to Am I starting a conversationhere, or am I just making a statement that nobody knows how to respond toright and and you know, it ties back to something that Gary talks about, thatI've heard you talk about that I talk about that you mentioned aboutcontributing to the community that that whole dollar 80 or buck 80 strategy, Ithink a large part of building brand and, like you said, shaping contextabout who you are isn't so much about me posting 17 times a day. It's aboutthinking differently about what posting means. And for me, most of it actuallymeans going out into that community. Commenting, leaving a thoughtfulcomment you know, not the thumbs up, the clapping emoji that the prayeremoji or the congrats. I just had the best day of my life. Congrats. It'slike Congrats, you know, like get in there and be like, Wow, Paul, that isso amazing. I love like I'm picking up on what You're the vibe that you'reputting out right now, and it's super exciting, like tell us more about whathappened. Yes, right, that's social conversation. And someone told yousomething they were excited about and you went congrats and then you didn'tsay anything else. Do you think it's because everybody wants to be thecelebrity? They think if I am posting more on other people's stuff forcontributing more on other people's stuff that it makes me feel not be theperson anymore. And I want to be the...

...person. Yeah, so that that does. I mean,it gets to the very core of your motivations, right? Actually talkingabout clarity, if that is tedious to you or that sounds terrible or thatsounds slow or that sounds long and then you need to I think you just got alittle perspective on your motivations. And if your if your personal brandbuilding and you're you're kind of effort and desire to move in, thatdirection isn't oriented to. How can I give? Then you're always going to havea harder time. If you're always starting with, what can I get? A look?There are ways to just build something to get. There are ways, but I wouldargue they take a lot longer. There are a lot more volatile, as in, they candisappear overnight. But when you build a brand or anything based on, what canI give? Um, that's that's a That's a foundation, right? Storms are going tocome and the foundation will still be there, even if they do. And so, um, Ithink that what you said like the word used several times. Just that iscontributing. Contribute like how can you contribute? Cause it's easy to look,you know, the depth of a personal brand is very difficult to tell. I've learnedthis is very difficult to tell from the surface because the baseline vanitymetrics of, like likes followers right there. OK, like those metrics are okayand we should look at engagement and in the insights to to kind of understandhow people are interacting. But I can tell you firsthand the depth ofrelationships and things that happen not in front of everybody. And you canprobably vouch for this, too, are far more the valuable things than the onesthat anybody can see in the comments or in the follow account or in the likesonce people start jamming you and emailing and calling and relationshipsand inviting you, and it actually generates into real business, realopportunity, real relationship. None of that stuff is visible on the front sideof my social media whatsoever. So...

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

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