The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 1 year 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.

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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 I know what you're thinking, Michael. We talk all about the Web sites all the time. You talk about the websites, the websites, a hammer yada, yada, yada. We get it. But for real, though, it's shocking to me how much guesswork still takes place and how its having a detrimental effect on what opportunities you are able to leverage now. Over the last decade, especially for the O. G. D P beers, you know, I've poured my soul into assembling a team that cares deeply about the progress of the retail auto industry that believes in my mission to enrich and empower dealers to perpetually grow. Now I'm making my amazing marketing team accessible to the dealer playbook community so that you can start to thrive rather than merely survive. Right now, we're providing a just for you free website diagnostic that will show you exactly what you need to do in a priority sequence so that you can finally get the answers you need. Claim yours by visiting triple W dot flex dealer dot com forward slash website audit That's triple W dot flex dealer dot com forward slash website dash audit. So we see a lot of emotions, right? We we could go on Facebook right now and we would see car sales professional after car 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 the right thing for us to be doing. And so we need to get on the bandwagon. And so what do we see, Paul? We see pictures of customers being forced against their will 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 home and we're like, we're building our brand. But what does it actually mean to you? Like what? What are some actions you think professionals in our in our beloved industry could be taking today to just provide them more clarity so 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 funny piece of content. They're just smiling. Dude, they're like, uh, we hold this right, and I just get out of here. Yeah, the salespersons way happier than the customer in the picture. Um, in our industry, specifically weren't speaking about sales professionals. And, you know, it could be like management personnel as well, because I think everyone can benefit when people lean into this idea of personal brand. But in the way in this way, think of it as a way to scale your reputation. It's like scalable reputation. So do you want the reputation of being someone forcing someone to hold the sign that says something? No, the answer is no. There are definitely unique traits and characteristics about each person. Each sales professional, each manager that no one else has. And I always stay lean in to those characteristics. Because when you try to be everyone else like, I'd be a really crappy version of Michael Cirillo, I'd be a really crappy version of Glen Lindy. I'd be a really crappy version of Brian Bienstock because I'm not wired in any of those ways. 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 lean into the hip hop right and like like a like a like Gabe McNeil, like out in Pittsburgh, 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 his instagram account, it all works...

...together, right? He really does. But when you try to be that guy and be a copycat, it doesn't come off well when the truth is, there's something unique about you that you should be leaning into and talking to. I don't know. Do you like ukulele like, Well, you should play the ukulele. Are you shy? Lean into being shy like That's okay. And when you do that, people really just want to understand that they're getting the real you because everyone can sniff out of fake better than ever before because we're dealt so many fakes on a regular basis. So the second, the second it becomes fake, um, people are going to migrate away from it like the bottom line. They just are, Yeah, I love that. Now, how do you translate that? We've seen some good examples of that for, for example, we see some car sales professionals in particular who lean into the fact that they actually do like the ukulele. And so what do they do? They incorporate that into the work. Do you think you need to have that level of perhaps, um, being unapologetic in who you are? Like I think people are so shy about showing who they really are because they don't think that they are likable or like they'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, in one breath, say that I'm a child of God? And then in the next breath say I am not good enough or I am not going to be worthy enough or likable. Who's who's wrong? Who's wrong? They're right. You're wrong, has gone wrong. Is one of you is wrong? You are so worthless that I died for you. Like I don't know how that 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 get comfortable? We have this thing in the in the business where everybody feels like they need to get permission. Oh, I...

...can't do that because my leader is not going to let me do that or it seems like it's off protocol. So when you're working with your clients as you're working with professionals in the industry, what do you recommend that they do? What's a good starting place? Um, so we're talking mostly. We're thinking like sales professionals. Yeah, I think so. But, I mean, this could be leadership as well, but I think I think it should be the ones that are most eager. But I am honestly seeing a lot of managers and general managers starting to creep out when they have the desire personality for it. Um, you know, they're doing as well. There's there's this like So when I talked to dealers, I'm saying you, for your store, need to cultivate and strategically develop 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 to happen is your salespeople are going to build their brand, and they're gonna hold all the equity. So they now have the loyalty. They now have 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 brokers vulnerable. So on that side, I said dealers, your brand has to mean something holistically. Now, your salespeople should have brands within that, but it should all be tethered to some core beliefs and some real brand development. 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 both sides, like you want the biggest brand, because when that you're going to get the best deal, you're gonna get the best com plan. Um, you know, they're gonna want to keep you happy. And I have I've seen scenarios where that just works. Really, really well, when both people function, there's one dealer group I can think if we work with, they have, Um uh huh. Um, if a Latin American woman who has an amazing brand. She has a radio show, and she like 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 really well together. So, um, I think they all... and everyone should be doing it because that really is part of the hustle of the game is like, Hey, but there are enough people in the world and in any community that different people are going to connect with the salesperson that will connect with the umbrella 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 pushing out content. Look at me. Look at me. Look at me. Look at me, start to contribute to other people in your community. If I'm a sales person, I want to be a Gary. Gary Vaynerchuk puts it this way is like, I want to be the mayor. I want to be the mayor of that town, meaning that I want to just be on social media celebrating the community, celebrating the teachers talking about where the worst potholes are, talking about the weather, right? I want to be the person that loves every aspect of my community and started to engage with people on that level. By nature of doing that, people will start to get a hold of my personality and my appreciation for the same things that they appreciate. So that's where I would definitely start. Yeah, I love this, too, because you you've had close contact and connection with Gary V. I do gotta say, Man, he's got to come up with new word tracks because these are the same things he was saying when he was on my show. He'll never he'll never switch. He'll never switch because that's the consensus. I say the same things because it's human behavior. He's never gonna change. It's never You can't get the dude, you know what I mean? Like you cannot get Gary. It's like he's so fast. He's got something, but But you're right, like I love what you're talking about here contributing to the community. Um, I think people look at a brand, um, like Gary V, who disregard all of the context of what he'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 knows you because right, the only reason is that they like his, is because they know the context, right? They know the...

...whole context. Bottom line, you and then that's part of Brandon Lee, right? You're building the context. People are interested in other people, which is why social media works. And, you know, everyone thinks that 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 more exciting because they do this because they have this because they've been there. But the truth is like, you've been places and have perspectives and experiences that somebody else doesn't. And and when someone gives you that level 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 you don't, then no one will see anything and it can't just be pictures. You also have to, like, write good copy and contribute your thinking because pictures never make anyone do anything. They never make anyone taken action words or actually would tell people what action they should take which direction gives context. And like if I'm showing a picture of me sitting by myself 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 funeral right. All of a sudden, that picture has some context that is about to give you a little insight, right? And that that picture totally that those few words totally changed Now how you're thinking. So when you make content, you still gotta make stuff where people can't see it. But then also, you have to give context because that's really what builds Brand is the nuance of the context over time, right? Just pictures that look like everyone else's are never going to do it. It's the nuance of context over time. So it does all of that when you add it all up. It smells a lot like hard work it is, and caring more 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 that oh, 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 their brain or whatever. No, when I sit down at the keyboard or at my phone to write a social post, everything that you just said resonates deeply with me. But what I what I'm also thinking about Paul is am I going to be a conversation opener or like a conversation starter? Or am I also closing a conversation with a single post? So when I'm out there, like, if I'm out there doing what most of us do, we need to cross reference back to Am I starting a conversation here, or am I just making a statement that nobody knows how to respond to right and and you know, it ties back to something that Gary talks about, that I've heard you talk about that I talk about that you mentioned about contributing to the community that that whole dollar 80 or buck 80 strategy, I think a large part of building brand and, like you said, shaping context about who you are isn't so much about me posting 17 times a day. It's about thinking differently about what posting means. And for me, most of it actually means going out into that community. Commenting, leaving a thoughtful comment you know, not the thumbs up, the clapping emoji that the prayer emoji or the congrats. I just had the best day of my life. Congrats. It's like Congrats, you know, like get in there and be like, Wow, Paul, that is so amazing. I love like I'm picking up on what You're the vibe that you're putting out right now, and it's super exciting, like tell us more about what happened. Yes, right, that's social conversation. And someone told you something they were excited about and you went congrats and then you didn't say anything else. Do you think it's because everybody wants to be the celebrity? They think if I am posting more on other people's stuff for contributing more on other people's stuff that it makes me feel not be the person 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 talking about clarity, if that is tedious to you or that sounds terrible or that sounds slow or that sounds long and then you need to I think you just got a little perspective on your motivations. And if your if your personal brand building and you're you're kind of effort and desire to move in, that direction isn't oriented to. How can I give? Then you're always going to have a 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 would argue they take a lot longer. There are a lot more volatile, as in, they can disappear overnight. But when you build a brand or anything based on, what can I give? Um, that's that's a That's a foundation, right? Storms are going to come and the foundation will still be there, even if they do. And so, um, I think that what you said like the word used several times. Just that is contributing. 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 learned this is very difficult to tell from the surface because the baseline vanity metrics of, like likes followers right there. OK, like those metrics are okay and we should look at engagement and in the insights to to kind of understand how people are interacting. But I can tell you firsthand the depth of relationships and things that happen not in front of everybody. And you can probably vouch for this, too, are far more the valuable things than the ones that anybody can see in the comments or in the follow account or in the likes once people start jamming you and emailing and calling and relationships and inviting you, and it actually generates into real business, real opportunity, real relationship. None of that stuff is visible on the front side of my social media whatsoever. So...

I'm Michel Cirillo and you've been listening to the dealer playbook podcast. If you haven't yet, please click the subscribe button wherever you're listening right now, leave a rating or review and share it with a colleague. If you're ready to make big changes in your life and career and want to connect with positive, nurturing automotive professionals, join my exclusive dpb pro community on Facebook. That's where we share information, ideas and content that isn't shared anywhere else. I can't wait to meet you there. Thanks for listening.

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