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How Automotive Leadership Has Shaped Alex Lind of Red McCombs Ford

  • September 29, 2020
35 min read
How Automotive Leadership Has Shaped Alex Lind of Red McCombs Ford

Aharon Horwitz
CEO, Fullpath

Ilana Shabtay
VP of Marketing, Fullpath

Alex Lind
eCommerce and Marketing Director, Red McCombs Ford

Alex Lind is the eCommerce and Marketing Director at Red McCombs Ford. He got his start in the automotive industry working as a porter at Ken Batchelor Cadillac before joining Red McCombs Ford in 2000. Alex’s extensive knowledge about all the different parts of a car dealership has helped shape his progressive ideas and insightful takes on the dealership world.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Alex Lind, the eCommerce and Marketing Director at Red McCombs Ford, shares the monumental event that happened on his third day of working as a porter
  • The importance of leadership within a dealership 
  • Alex talks about his day-to-day routine running the digital marketing at his dealership
  • What tools does Alex use to build reports?
  • The evolution of digital marketing in dealerships
  • What should dealerships invest in right now?

In this episode…

There’s no doubt about it: digital marketing is becoming more and more essential in the automotive industry. So, dealerships need to ensure that they’re investing their resources in the right places, so they continue to get quality leads. Alex Lind, the eCommerce and Marketing Director at Red McCombs Ford, knows the importance of staying up to date with current trends as the shift to digital marketing continues to transform the car buying process.

Tune in to this episode of Inside Auto Podcast as Aharon Horwitz and Ilana Shabtay are joined by Alex Lind, the eCommerce and Marketing Director at Red McCombs Ford. Alex talks about his experience in the automotive industry, from working as a porter at a Cadillac dealership to becoming a marketing mastermind. He discusses the transformation of digital marketing in dealerships, talks about what dealerships should focus on today, and shares a memorable story about his favorite hobby.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by AutoLeadStar, a company that helps car dealerships engage quality customers on the web and convert them into car buyers.

Co-founded by Aharon Horwitz, Yishai Goldstein, and Eliav Moshe, AutoLeadStar’s state-of-the-art software automates a dealership’s entire marketing funnel and provides around-the-clock service for dealers.

AutoLeadStar’s innovative technology helps dealerships automate ads, connect with customers, and discover ROI and performance metrics

Visit their website at to learn more about their around-the-clock marketing service.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:03

Welcome to Inside Auto Podcast where we feature everyone and anyone you’d want to talk to in and out of the automotive industry.

Ilana Shabtay 0:14

Hello, this is Ilana Shabtay, co-host of Inside Auto Podcast where we interview top leaders, entrepreneurs and GMs in and out of the automotive industry. With me his co-host Aharon Horwitz, who will introduce today’s guest. But before we make the introduction today’s podcast is sponsored by AutoLeadStar. AutoLeadStar is pioneering marketing automation in the automotive industry with sophisticated machine learning that future proofs a dealerships marketing operations and replaces traditional marketing methods.

Aharon Horwitz 0:46

Hey guys, we’re so happy to be here. Today, Ilana, thank you very much. We’re hosting Alex Lind. Alex is the marketing mastermind over at Red McCombs Ford down in Texas. And Alex is someone who we really like to talk to because he has a lot of progressive ideas. He’s been around the block in almost every aspect of the dealership world, we always get great insights, which is what we like to do here at Inside Auto Podcast. So Alex, welcome.

Alex Lind 1:13

Hey, thanks for having me on, guys.

Aharon Horwitz 1:14

Our pleasure. We’re really excited to have you on So Alex is interesting. He actually started as a porter at a Cadillac dealership. Is that right? Alex? In the 90s? I did. Yeah.

Alex Lind 1:24

93. like years ago, when I look a lot younger than this.

Aharon Horwitz 1:30

You bet all of us all of us. You’ve been around since 2000. Right? Yes. Yeah. Because you’ve really seen pretty much a transformation of the industry, which is, I think, always interesting to talk to people who have kind of gone through that and seen it from the ground up. But I was in chatting a little bit before the show. We understood that you had a pretty momentous event, on the third day of your work at a dealership where you apparently totaled a brand new Cadillac. Is

Alex Lind 1:57

that correct? Oh, gosh. Yeah, I did. It’s it’s

Aharon Horwitz 2:00

all about that we want to hear we like we like the juicy stories from from the early days. And how did you use it? Do you continue to work at a dealership after totaling their brand new Cadillac?

Alex Lind 2:08

Yeah, I hope nobody from my old store is watching. But yes, it was a third day. So it’s a it’s a it’s a soul store. And they had like a pickup and delivery service that they had, you know, they would pick up customers and things like that. And I got hired as a porter. And they wouldn’t let me go out there like, Oh, hey, you got to kind of learn the ropes here. And then the third day, they’re like, Hey, you know what, why don’t you take this Cadillac, you’re gonna go drop off a phone battery, which back in the day, that was like the big phone battery. It wasn’t like a whole take a phone battery. Yeah, no, you don’t have this big piece of machinery to a customer. And so I jumped in the car head on down the road. I was in a 1991 Cadillac Brougham and I had to take a left turn across the street. And some Honda coming up the road Honda Accord. I mean, I just turned right in front of didn’t see him. And just I mean, they just drilled into the car knocked me right into the side of the I was turned into an apartment apartment complex, knocking right in the side of the apartment complex. And it was the funny part. This is where the funny part starts actually, is. I get out of the car to go check on the driver. She’s like six months pregnant. Oh, and I start freaking out because her car I mean, there’s a Cadillac Brougham things that take my car is a little bit dented on this side, her cars in like, almost in half. I mean, there’s just car smashed. I see that she’s pregnant. I start freaking out. I think I was 20 years old. And I start freaking out. You know, we you know, that some people call 911 and ambulance came, cops came and I go back jump back in the car and she said she’s okay. She’s like, Okay, I’m fine. airbags say very, she’s okay. I get back in the car. The cops get there. They’re checking on my car. And while I’m sitting in my car, calling my work, the compressor that can destroy compressor cracks. Okay, the whole inside of the car fills up with this like cool air from the air condition, which is all white looks like white steam. So like this white steam coming out over the cops laughing at me. And I’m just sitting there like trying not to cry. This young kid just told this Cadillac, I’m like, ah, and so he’s kind of laughing at me. The steam kind of goes blows away. And so I’m sitting there again and and I opened the door to get out and I’m stepping on like a bumper. And it was it was her bumper. So the cop picks it up and kind of throws it in the street. And as he shuts the door to the Cadillac, all the fender skirts fall off at the same time, like a cartoon like and I mean, he’s laughing and the people that are there watching are laughing and I’m this young kid that just like my third day at work, I just crashed this car. I’m scared that I may be paying for the rest of my life and they’re all just like cracking up laughing. And I’m saying are just, I have my head down like this and I’m just like, Oh, my life is over. I’m going to be paying for this. Forever I’m gonna get fired. And then to make it worse, the cops like Yeah, he goes, your car’s still drivable. So he takes all the fender skirts and literally just opens the back door and just throws him in the back door when you drive. Oh, yeah, he’s like he goes just because you’re good. We don’t need a tow truck for you just buy and drive back to the dealership. And the front fender on the Cadillac was just barely touching the wheel. And every time you turn, right, it would kind of make this grinding noise. Oh, and because it was it was like close to closing time and, and the dealership. I mean, it was just this good old boys type dealership, a bunch of people that have like a lot of tenure there. And they all leave at six. I mean, it was like it was almost like The Truman Show, right? Where everybody leaves their house at 8am and comes back at 6pm. I mean, same thing is they went when people leave everybody left around six. So it’s right around six when I’m pulling in, people are kind of lined up on the drive, because they’ve never had this big of an accident before to store. And it’s all right turns to get into dealerships. Like I just go park it in the back, and we’ll send you for a drug test in the morning. was miserable.

Ilana Shabtay 6:04


Alex Lind 6:06

Yeah, it and here’s the funny part is, so I get home. And they’re like, well, you’re actually before I left, they’re like, well, you have to talk with the owner in the morning. Like, alright, so I get there the next morning. And he, this is kind of the good part. I guess. He’s like, hey, he goes, because I don’t know what you did in these first three days of your job. He goes, but I’ve had several people come in here and tell me not to fire you. He’s like, so get back there. Go do whatever you do. And he goes, You can’t drive any of our cars for a year, but it goes get back there and just keep doing what you like. Okay. Oh, wow. Yeah, yeah.

Aharon Horwitz 6:41

What a story. I mean, first of all, thank God, everyone was okay. But like the Yeah, for sure.

Alex Lind 6:45

You know, lady had her baby. A couple months later, we kept up with them, we sent her flowers and everything. And that was kind of a good part of the story. And then the other kind of bonus to that. And I’m sorry, I’m kind of rambling on. But it was great, great story. But the other bonus to that was so because I got in a wreck. And because I’d only been there for a couple days, they kicked me off the insurance for the store. So I was like, Well, I’m a porter. Like my job is to move cars back in front and help people out. And they said, Well, you can you can move cars wherever you want. You just cannot leave the dealership. So, you know, most of the porters would go out and deliver cars and stuff like that. So I was always there. Now the good part about that was if any, do any department need anything? Like hey, send Alex, send Alex, send Alex. So I learned parts I learned body shop. I learned make ready. I mean, I learned every bit piece of that dealership that I could. And I mean, it was it was really, really helpful for me because I got to learn everything I know everybody. And you know, for a whole year I couldn’t leave. So I was stuck at the store. Everybody knew who it was. Everybody knew that they call on me that I was gonna be there cuz I couldn’t go anywhere else because you couldn’t go anywhere. You’re wrong. Yeah, that was really helpful.

Aharon Horwitz 7:54

That’s also an awesome story of leadership. I think from the owner’s perspective, just sort of Yeah, you know, not not reacting impulsively in the moment and trying to actually, you know, look at you and your potential and not you know, kicking you out for a mistake like that. I think that’s Oh, yeah.

Alex Lind 8:08

Yeah. Yeah, it was. It was nice. Yeah. That’s why I want to start my job. But

Aharon Horwitz 8:13

Wow, that that isn’t That’s unbelievable. And so since then, you’ve been in auto.

Alex Lind 8:19

Yep. I’ve been in auto since then. Yeah. I worked there for six years left, went to in 2000. Started at Red McCombs Ford. And I’ve been there ever since.

Aharon Horwitz 8:28

Got it. Wow. Unbelievable. Great, great story to kick that off. We’d like the good stories we get.

Ilana Shabtay 8:34

It was like, it reminds me of the first the first time I went on my on a business trip with AutoLeadStar. I was like, I was like under 25, too. So it was like the car rental car was so expensive. And my first car accident ever was when I was driving that car in Arizona. Oh no. Yeah,

Aharon Horwitz 8:55

yeah, I remember that. What dealership you were leaving some

Ilana Shabtay 8:58

leaving? Um, oh my god. I don’t remember which dealership but it was all those dealerships on Camelback I in an Arizona in Phoenix. And it was like the first time I had ever walked into a dealership we had just pivoted to automotive and I think I was very overwhelmed, overwhelmed. And

Aharon Horwitz 9:16

I also remember when we were at Jeff Kershner store, and I was

Ilana Shabtay 9:21

also thinking about that,

Aharon Horwitz 9:22

yeah. And in Hagerstown, and it was um, he had a new drive that Mercedes.

Ilana Shabtay 9:27

Yeah, he went

Ilana Shabtay 9:29

to visit Jeff Kershner, who’s the internet director at Mercedes Benz. Hagerstown, who also owns or owns and founded DealerRefresh, but he he was like, let’s go test drive a Mercedes Benz and me and Aharon, who, or I am not a car person, which is funny because we’re in the automotive industry, but I don’t know anything about cars. And I was like, Oh, my first time driving a Mercedes Benz. Yeah. And I’m like driving so slowly.

Ilana Shabtay 9:54

That is next week, and definitely like, you know, you could pick up the pace and I was like, No, I don’t want the car

Aharon Horwitz 9:58

like 15 months. An hour, literally like 15

Ilana Shabtay 10:01

miles an hour. And he’s like, you know, you might you’re gonna get a ticket for driving slowly.

Aharon Horwitz 10:07

That’s my

Alex Lind 10:08

favorite. No, she’s actually like 20

Aharon Horwitz 10:13

faster I was once I was at a construction construction dealership, a construction heavy equipment store, and they let me go out back and drive like those big rock trucks and like maruka like track the load. That was pretty awesome. That was really that was really cool experience. That’s cool. Yeah, those are those were,

Alex Lind 10:32

those were those were unbelievable different experience wondering like big, massive tires and look like they’re like eight feet or like,

Aharon Horwitz 10:37

yeah, you’re like, 20 feet up above the ground. It’s insane. And they can go over and these things can go over anything. So it actually is like driving a tank. I think it’s probably the same chassis, you know, it’s like the real deal. Um, oh, very cool.

Aharon Horwitz 10:51

Wait, what was that?

Alex Lind 10:52

I said, That’s empowering. Right?

Aharon Horwitz 10:54

Oh, it was fun. I had a great time. Yeah. Um, so Alex, when you were in, by the way, so I just just because we’re having so much fun with non auto non actual on marketing related things, when you were in? Um, I saw you also mentioned you like the free dive, which I find very cool. Where do you do that?

Alex Lind 11:13

So I do that a lot of lakes and rivers, all around Texas. And

Aharon Horwitz 11:19

it’s Are you like, are you into that like air packing thing where you like, breathe in a huge amount of air before you go down and like get a very long. I’ve just seen it like, you know, I’ve read about on the web, like, people can stay underwater for obscene amounts of time, right? Because

Alex Lind 11:33

I’m not I’m not that guy. I mean, I’m probably a little over a minute, you know, and good days. I mean, I’m a little old. But back when I was younger, I probably go closer to two minutes. But that now feels a minute. Do you know what I’m talking about, though? Oh, yeah. I’ve seen some of those videos where those guys just do that. And they go down just these insane depths.

Aharon Horwitz 11:54

Yeah, it’s just it’s insane. Yeah, it’s absolutely insane.

Alex Lind 11:58

Um, but now what do I do like local areas, you know, lakes, rivers and stuff. Most of it’s just kind of, you know, just treasure diving, stuff like that. Just go check it out.

Aharon Horwitz 12:07

Cool. hobby people, people that we’ve interviewed a lot of have great hobbies. Yeah. Oh, you want to go have

Ilana Shabtay 12:13

mountain biking?

Aharon Horwitz 12:15

Yeah, yeah. Whoever would have thought David Kain is doing extreme mountain biking.

Alex Lind 12:20

You know, I could talk to you guys for hours on freediving. My funnest thing was, I had a quick side story, I’ll tell you this. But I don’t want to spend all day talking about stuff as I thought oh, but I show up to this river one time to go diving. And I do a lot of rapids, you know, I do a lot diving in the rapids to just to see what people lose and stuff in there. And there’s this big crowd on the side of the river. And I’m like, What are they doing? And they’re all gathered around this area, that’s probably around 20 feet. And so we’re just, you know, obviously, mask and snorkel and I go with a buddy of mine. And, you know, this guy was kind of following us as we go down the river and he stops us. He’s like, hey, he goes, some guy went tubing, and lost his prosthetic leg. He’s got a titanium leg, he lost it. And like, okay, he lost his leg like so, you know, if you find it, there’s a big reward. And we so we’re going down, going down. And you know, since I do a lot of freediving, I would dive to the bottom of the end of the rapids and then kind of crawl up the rocks underwater. And they kind of come up and then float back and kind of just keep doing that over and over again, just to you know, check things out. And sure enough, we get in there. The leg never made it to the deep part where they were looking. It was still in the rapids. We found it around. And it was it was insane. I brought it up. It scared the heck out of me. Because I know van, you know, like the prosthetic legs. It’s just like a titanium piece. But at the bottom, it has that like fake looking foot. And that’s what I saw first underwater. Oh,

Ilana Shabtay 13:53

my gosh,

Alex Lind 13:54

yeah. Grabbing throw it up on shore. And, you know, I’m married. I have three kids. So it’s not like I have a lot of time when I want to do these things. Because I don’t take my kids with me for obvious reasons. But you know, so I don’t have a lot of time to like, let me wait on shore for this guy to come in and give me more. I didn’t care about that. And like, Hey, you know, here you go. So I threw it up on shore. And the guy’s like, Oh, he’s gonna come back for a reward. I was like, book. Tell him if I you know, if I lose my leg, then he owes me one and I just kept on swimming.

Aharon Horwitz 14:23

That’s a great story. Yeah, I never I’ve never heard of free diving in rapids. That seems insane. But yeah, but yeah, that’s pretty cool. Very, very cool. Wait, so do you when it comes to like finding time for this stuff? Um, tell me about what life is like at the dealership like, what is life like at Red McCombs Ford, if you’re running the digital marketing meaning just that the basics. It’s just interesting to people. What’s your schedule? Like? What’s your rhythm? How do you how do you kind of interface with the store? Give us kind of that experience of like a day a light a day in the life of have you there in that store?

Alex Lind 14:59

Yeah, sure. So I get to the store probably around anywhere between 7:45 and eight o’clock store opens up at 8:30. And typical sales staff, you know, everybody gets there, our internet team will kind of start wheeling in about eight o’clock because we open up leads at eight. But most everybody gets around 8:30 or 9 o’clock that’s internet seems like a bit of a formal BDC or it’s internet, actually sales internet team. So we are BDC is just kind of backup to the sales team. But But yeah, I get around a start going through my emails going through I had kind of like you said, my rhythm of you know, check leads, check. You know, check what happened yesterday, start running some reports real quick. And then go through them. And I’m on there till probably 6:30 to 7 o’clock at night.

Ilana Shabtay 15:47

What are your What are your top of the morning reports? What are those look like?

Alex Lind 15:51

Oh, top of the more important for me are, you know, what leads came in overnight, looking at appointments for the store, obviously sales volume for the store. And just kind of diving into diving into the leads that have not been answered yet the ones in the morning and just going through all of them. And then of course my emails and everything else. But

Aharon Horwitz 16:13

an Alex, do you use report you mainly drawing reports from CRM? Or do you use like a tool that you’ve built out or custom infrastructure? What’s your what’s your approach to that?

Alex Lind 16:23

Yeah, I wish I had some awesome deal to tell you But no, it’s just CRM reports. Yeah, pull CRM. Yeah, I just pull straight from the CRM, I have my own kind of reports that I’ve built over the years, or the internet team for the store. And so we use we take some reports from the CRM, and then just kind of modify those reports we have. Because you know, the CRM is good, but they don’t have like, what do you call it like a sales tracking that you can do? So we have a tracking report that we drop into an Excel spreadsheet and everything kind of formulates and we spread it out? Very nice.

Aharon Horwitz 16:57

Yeah. So interesting. Like, how many dealers I mean, almost feels like every dealer I speak with that’s become successful in digital has over the years built out their own internal technologies, even if it’s just a spreadsheet with macros and formulas, because it just, it just feels like there’s something there’s a gap between what they need, what they can get, and, you know, they everyone’s kind of filled in, in their own way. And yeah, we’ve interviewed of like, it doesn’t really interesting things when it comes to how they build out the reports. But there’s clearly some sort of gap there that’s not yet been been resolved.

Alex Lind 17:34

Yeah, that’s good. I I agree with you. I think every time we go to these, like digital deals and other places, it’s like you have these roundtable discussions. You know, that’s kind of one of the good ones to talk about is what type of reports you use what type of reports have you built. Because you’re right, I mean, we all kind of use our own thing, though.

Aharon Horwitz 17:52

Do you know the Autobahn Group in Dallas Fort Worth? Have you ever heard of them? I think, right, Ilana?

Ilana Shabtay 18:00

Yeah. And they’re in Fort Worth.

Aharon Horwitz 18:02

Fort Worth, right. So there’s a cool, there’s a guy there named Derek, who also has been kind of similar like he was, like he like showed up as the internet was emerging. And basically just like, stumbled into being an internet guy. But he’s done some cool things with this new tool called Air Table, which is like a it’s like an Excel spreadsheet on steroids. It gives you like, databasing abilities. Just Right. Well see what he’s built out with that. And it just seems like everyone has their tools. Yeah, I can imagine actually, that reminds me that we met you at Digital Dealer. Zach from FMC introduced us to you and Brittany, at the white party, which was a was a was a was it was was a very important event for us. Because one of our first early auto events

Ilana Shabtay 18:42

are coming out party.

Aharon Horwitz 18:43

Yeah, those are coming away from like, just general market, SMB and fully into auto and like, somehow stumbled into this white party thing. I don’t know who was Ceren working for?

Ilana Shabtay 18:55

Yeah, we can thank Ceren Isildak. Who used Yeah,

Aharon Horwitz 18:57

so we were in digital. That’ll be like God somehow. Like we’re sponsoring like the the floor of the white party. So it was like this crazy, fun event. But a lot of people we met at that event we’re still friends with. I was wonder why

Alex Lind 19:09

you guys kept referring it’s like every time you say it, it’s like the white party.

Ilana Shabtay 19:12

Yeah, it was a

Aharon Horwitz 19:14

deal. We were all

Ilana Shabtay 19:17

it’s like another day. It’s another another day in Vegas.

Aharon Horwitz 19:21

And we’re not like the most stylish company when it comes to like fashion. So we were all like, wait, so we have to go buy white clothes. Like what does that even? How do you do that? Like what do you wear? You know,

Alex Lind 19:29

jacket? Nobody planned for that. Everybody comes and does yo

Aharon Horwitz 19:32

Yeah, I got a white outfit. Sure. Yeah, of course. Of course. Yeah. No. So that was that. That was uh, that was that was good memory. But uh, um, and then it’s interesting, like looking at where you’re at now, if you go back to when you started at Red McCombs Ford in the year 2000. And even kind of in your prior dealership experiences in the late 90s. When did when did the ownership or leadership realize that digital is like a real thing and it was a real thing that they have to put have resources behind like when did what what kind of when did the, you know? When did the realization really materialize and become concrete? Would you say?

Alex Lind 20:10

Yeah, concrete for us? We had an internet team, man, I think it was.

Alex Lind 20:17

’03 maybe

Aharon Horwitz 20:18

it was that? How did that come about? Like, how did that vision happen? Was that before others was that after others we following? Like, what happened there?

Alex Lind 20:26

Yeah. I mean, we were, you know, we had, you know, we had two guys on our staff that, you know, we’re just kind of rock stars at it Rad Weaver and Tony Remus, and Tony Remus

Aharon Horwitz 20:37

was at the dealership, I didn’t know that

Alex Lind 20:40

he was that well, he wasn’t at the dealership, ladies at the corporate level, but they were kind of spearheading the internet department. And, yeah, we thought that we were just kind of on the same level with every other store. And, you know, I mean, when I say we, I mean, we as internet sales, internet directors, until we got to the first digital dealer and we set out the roundtables and we start talking about what we’re doing, and everybody else. And I’m not everybody else. But there was, there were a couple of new people there, that, you know, they were a little behind, you know, where we were, and I’m not, I sound so conceited saying that. But still, it was, it was interesting to see how far those guys pushed us because they really pushed us. And it was, it was really helpful for me, because it gave me all the kind of, like you said, it gave me a good basis for how am I supposed to be as a manager moving forward? So

Aharon Horwitz 21:36

got it. And the

Aharon Horwitz 21:40

I guess, if you had to, like describe the major shift between the way you think about digital marketing now and digital marketing in its earlier phases, what would you describe that as?

Alex Lind 21:51

Oh, man, I don’t know.

Aharon Horwitz 21:54

Because you’ve kind of seen its evolution, which I think is pretty cool.

Alex Lind 21:58

Yeah. And

Aharon Horwitz 21:59

like, do you? Or have you seen this evolution meeting? I think even like, I don’t know, eight years ago, compared to now. I was six, seven years ago, like, Where was your mind? What were your concerns? And what was sort of the ecosystem you’re operating in? versus now I mean, some things dealers talk about a lot is like, you know, first they had their identity on the web. And then there’s sort of the emergence of the the kind of aggregate, the classified listing sites, things went that direction. Now, things are going back to direct and there’s a lot of seems like there’s this sense that dealers have that there’s, um, you know, there’s been different phases, I guess, in the evolution of internet.

Alex Lind 22:31

Yeah. And I think when, when it first came out, you know, you got a lot of the managers, you got a lot of what you would consider like old car dogs, or like, Oh, it’s just no the phone up, like, let’s get that customer in. And now it’s definitely evolved into, you know, we’re all in with internet, like we, you know, we actually talk about our store, when we have our meetings, we talk about our stores, and we’re an internet and appointment store, we don’t talk about, you know, hey, we’re an AppStore, we’re this, like, We’re an internet and abundant store, that’s pretty much how we have, you know, labeled ourselves. And that’s, you know, that’s where we get probably 99% of our business now, internet appointments, you know, you have a few walk ins here and there, but everything else is, you know, it’s all internet. Yeah, no, I

Aharon Horwitz 23:15

mean, I think in general, the way things have changed, you had this, like, major shift from even recently, and this is, I think, like, what, what we think about a lot is that if you look at what the say, you know, the ad networks, or what the web makes available for you now, compared to even three, four years ago, there’s just so much opportunity to get focused on a specific offer. In some ways, what’s happening is finally digital. If you do it right now, with automation, why not you kind of remove the friction of digital, and you could just get down to like, figuring out what someone wants and showing them the thing that they want. And that’s like what you could always do back in the old days, right? When people would visit seven stores before buying a Ford, you had a crack at them. And if you’re a good salesperson, they walked in the door, you knew how to build that experience, and get them to the car that they wanted now that people are starting to shopping online, kind of almost not quite terminating it online, but almost terminating online only going to one or two stores in with COVID either, you know, it’s one, let’s say, you really just need to get the digital to the place where it’s seamless, and specific. Otherwise, you’re you’re doing billboards on the internet, which isn’t which isn’t helpful anymore, you know. So I think that’s like something that that we’re seeing now is like, just the specificity that is required is pretty, pretty exciting, powerful. It’s good for the shopper good for the stores. But if I was gonna ask you, like, you know, pound for pound right now or dollar for dollar, like when you’re thinking about your budgets and stuff like that. Where do you think you’re seeing the most ROI in terms of investment right now and let’s even say the last three months, because the world’s really changed but like last three months, you know, it was your last thousand dollars, or let’s say your last $10,000 Where would you put it right now, if you had to generate some sales

Alex Lind 25:00

Put it. I mean, definitely in search, sir.

Aharon Horwitz 25:04

Yeah, sem, we’ve seen a lot of people going towards social is that is that been like, have you seen differently?

Alex Lind 25:11

No, we’ve we’ve done some shows as well. But you know, yeah, I mean, you’ve got everybody shopping online.

Alex Lind 25:19

And, you know, you want to be kind of at the top of that when it comes to that. So

Aharon Horwitz 25:24

it is demand, are you seeing demand holding up even as like, initial, there’s a kind of initial pent up demand was satisfied. Are you still seeing demand?

Alex Lind 25:32

Yeah, I mean, you’ve got demand because of inventory as well. You know, that’s, that’s obviously pushes demand for sure. You know, when when everything started, you know, everybody’s worried that okay, what’s the first thing that we looked at a store was okay, how long can we go with current inventory right now?

Aharon Horwitz 25:49

So, you know, we put a plan in place and where were you guys were you overspent. Like, how are you? How were you? What was your theory?

Alex Lind 25:55

I mean, we were probably sitting on maybe almost two and a half months worth of cars, you know, two and a half months by and so, yeah, we were in

Aharon Horwitz 26:05

on some models, I assume. Right now you’re taking there’s a waiting list.

Alex Lind 26:10

Now we’re back. We’re back up. Yeah, we’re close. When we were we got really close to that for sure. You know, super duties got limited for sure. Oh,

Aharon Horwitz 26:17

so you got in your so you guys got inventory now. You got new vehicles? Yeah,

Alex Lind 26:21

we have cars, and we have trucks coming back in so we’re, we’re okay, for right now. That’s good. Whatever. Okay. Is these days? Yeah,

Aharon Horwitz 26:29

absolutely. Yeah. Got it. All right. Very good. And

Alex Lind 26:34

so we’re not allowed to say, okay, we’re never satisfied. No, no,

Aharon Horwitz 26:36

it’s not 22nd of the month, you’re not satisfied at all? Yeah, for sure. Everything’s horrible right now. That’s terrible. That’s terrible. Yeah, I’m great. And then in terms of like, you know, again, these are like, obviously, there’s no right answer to this stuff. But like, if you’re like peeking around the corner as to where things are going, like, do you have any, any kind of ideas or kind of opinions you’ve developed about what’s like, the next big thing? Or what’s the most important thing to be focusing on? When you think about, you know, the next couple years?

Alex Lind 27:06

Or? And it’s, yeah, we’ve actually had that conversation. And, you know, it’s the big thing that we keep telling our staff is that this is, you know, kind of use those those tag phrases, right, this is the new norm, you know, I hear a lot of people saying, Oh, well, you know, January is going to change or March things and, you know, we, you know, we’ve kind of you start developing these processes and going I think, and this is my personal opinion, you know, customers like this, I talked to a guy on the phone just this morning, and you know, talking about like, Hey, we’re going to take card your house and, you know, these normally is what what high end stores were doing, you know, I you know, hey, we’re gonna take the car out to you, we’re gonna deliver everything out to you and and now you know, we’re a Ford store. That’s what we do. That’s our life. Yeah. And to me, you know, talking about moving forward that’s just the way it is now, you know, that’s that’s the way we’re going to be that’s the type of store we’re going to be. Oh, that’s cool. I mean, foreign for us. That’s number one in how do we just you know, continue to perfect that and then grow off of that.

Aharon Horwitz 28:09

Wait, so are in Do you consider yourself like, like, are you super Are you really into cars? like is that your

Alex Lind 28:15

no? Yeah, no,

Aharon Horwitz 28:19

I love it. I just it’s just interesting to know like, you know, somebody I mean, definitely when you get to the tech side, like people are more into tech or into I don’t know other things but like when you talk to folks at dealerships it’s it’s amazing to find how many people are not actually like no car guys like there’s a lot there’s a there’s a whole subculture of people who are just like you know, they’re they like the challenge of trying to figure out how to make it work.

Alex Lind 28:41

Yeah, yeah. And and I would probably put myself in that category. I like you know, my thing I guess coming from a you know, when I transferred from a Cadillac store, my biggest deal was how do I wow everybody you know, and that’s that’s kind of still the same thing for my team is like, I want my team to Wow, everybody. That’s awesome. If they can do that, and that’s kind of our store culture is like Hey, take us how can we how can we get the customer the next step? Whatever the next step is, and move on down line so we can do everything whether it’s digitally or when they want to come in the store.

Aharon Horwitz 29:13

Fantastic. So

Alex Lind 29:14

yeah, I’m not one of my parts guy. We got we got a couple couple of guys here that Yeah, they’ll they’ll tell you what the engine was on this, you know, blah, blah, blah, back then whether or not that guy

Aharon Horwitz 29:23

yeah, are great. Hey, listen, it’s good. Those are good words and on just wowing people and having that satisfaction at the end of the day, that you know, you did all you could to deliver on what you’re doing. So we very much appreciate it. This this is a really fun conversation. We covered titanium legs lost in that had to be recovered by free divers. We covered the insides of what air conditioner systems do when you’re in a crash in the 1990s. I mean, yeah, we’re all over the place into like what digital marketing is doing, or whatnot. So that is a that is really fun for us at Alex, thank you very much. We really enjoyed it and we hope to have you on again. All right, we got a great, great end of September and October.

Alex Lind 30:10

All right.

Aharon Horwitz 30:10

Thanks, Alex.

Alex Lind 30:11

Y’all be safe.

Outro 30:17

Thanks for listening to Inside Auto Podcast. Check out our other episodes with top entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

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