Brian Kramer is the General Manager of Germain Toyota of Naples. He has over 26 years of experience in retail automotive dealerships and made the list as one of the Top 40 Under 40 by Automotive News.
Brian is on a mission to digitally transform the automotive retail world by championing 100% paperless transactions in dealerships and sharing his best practices for selling ethically and profitably. Before joining the Germain Toyota team, he was the General Manager of AutoNation and a General Manager at the Germain Motor Company.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- How Brian Kramer discovered the automotive space
- How Mr. Germain’s leadership style influenced Brian’s work
- Brian talks about his dealership’s digital transformation process and how their performance has been affected
- The training and showroom changes Brian implemented for Germain Toyota of Naples and the resistance he got from his team
- How Brian has been using the Clubhouse app and the way it benefits dealerships
- Brian talks about his efforts to go 100% paperless at his dealership and what he did to get started on this journey
- Ilana’s experience trying to buy a car through a paperless transaction
In this episode…
Digital advancements and the coronavirus pandemic have changed a lot, so many dealerships have had no option but to change, too. Although every dealership is unique and there is no cookie-cutter way of running a dealership, it’s critical that management adopts the right vision and effectively translates it into reality.
To successfully implement any transformations in a dealership, management has to have clarity on what they want to achieve and how they plan to get there. Part of this means recruiting the right people to apply all the changes they want. It’s also important to seek advice from peers and experts in the field. At least, according to 26-year virtual retailing trailblazer, Brian Kramer.
In this week’s episode of the Inside Auto Podcast, Ilana Shabtay is joined by Brian Kramer, the General Manager of Germain Toyota of Naples, to talk about executing digital transformations in dealerships. They also discuss the benefits of using the Clubhouse app and the benefits of conducting paperless transactions.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Ilana Shabtay on LinkedIn
- Germain Toyota of Naples
- Brian Kramer on LinkedIn
- Clubhouse App
- Quicken Loans
- Jim Ziegler on LinkedIn
- Michael Maroone on LinkedIn
- Grant Cardone on LinkedIn
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.
Visit their website at www.autoleadstar.com to learn more about their around-the-clock marketing service.
Welcome to Inside Auto Podcast where we feature everyone and anyone you’d want to talk to you in and out of the automotive industry.
Ilana Shabtay 0:14
Ilana Shabtay here, host of Inside Auto Podcast where we interview top dealers, GMs, marketers, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in and out of the automotive industry. And before we introduce today’s guest, this episode is sponsored by AutoLeadStar.com. The AutoLeadStar platform is built on a technology so powerful it allows you to market, sell and service cars as you would in the real world at scale and online, making one to one matches between shoppers and inventory. AutoLeadStar is the only platform that is powered by scale, speed and specificity to change the way dealers do marketing.
I’m so excited to welcome today’s guest, Brian Kramer. I’m sure most of you who are listening have listened to him. I’m excited to have such an industry expert and leader with us today. Brian, how are you doing today?
Brian Kramer 1:00
I’m doing wonderful down here in sunny Florida.
Ilana Shabtay 1:03
Yes, I can attest to that. Yes. I’m excited to have someone else from Florida on the podcast. For those of you who don’t know, Brian, he is the General Manager of Germain Toyota in Naples. He comes with over 26 years of automotive experience and is a recipient of many automotive awards, including automotive news 40, under 40. So congratulations on that. He’s basically a digital star. So when it comes to running his automotive business, we’re going to talk about how he’s going to share some of his secrets. And let’s start with just talking about how you got into automotive. We love talking about that on this podcast, because everyone has such a good story. So tell us how you enrolled into automotive.
Brian Kramer 1:41
So in high school, I was a lot Porter at an Oldsmobile dealership. I know not a lot of people are old enough to remember oldsmobiles cars like that. But I know I enrolled in Ohio State and realized very quickly that the people that were selling cars, were going to be making double or triple what I was making, what I’d be making with my degree. So I decided to take that summer off. And that summer led to 26 years later, I still, you know, haven’t gone back. That’s still on my bucket list.
Ilana Shabtay 2:11
That’s what we love about the automotive industry, right, though you don’t need it I mean, it brings in people for who they are, I absolutely love that you don’t need a degree. Oftentimes, it gives people who don’t have the opportunity to get a degree to really make money and learn and grow. And I just, I’m so proud to be part of the automotive industry when I hear stories like that. So I don’t know if you have. Oh, go ahead. Go ahead, Brian.
Brian Kramer 2:35
No, I was gonna say I got into the nightclub business around that time. And I was in a nightclub business with a Major League Baseball player back then. And it didn’t go the way that it was supposed to. So I had to pay back the debt. You know, it was very exciting for a point. And then it was very, it was a lot of adversity. And the only way quickly that I could figure out how to pay back those debts was through the car business. So it stretched me out to a point that I didn’t even know existed. But that’s the nice thing about the card business is the harder you work the more you know, the more you get paid. It’s not, you know, just a salary. And if you want to throw yourself into it, you can.
Ilana Shabtay 3:12
Yeah, I think that’s beautiful. I was actually and we’ll talk about clubhouse. I’ve been talking about clubhouse and all these podcasts just because it’s really blowing up our industry right now. But I was in a podcast, I was in a clubhouse room called the automotive industry that saved my life. I don’t know if you got a ping about it. I went in for a little while and it was really nice. The energy was awesome. People were telling amazing stories, that I mean, that you totally can identify with that which I absolutely love.
Brian Kramer 3:39
And it literally did save my life. Yeah, you know, Mr. Germain, who I still work for, you know, I’d left for a while to go to auto nation, but he’s the one who carved out a roadmap for me and exactly what it needed. You know, that was a bad situation. And it was Delta bell for, I don’t know, two and a half years, every single day non stop. And then at the end, I wanted to take a breather, and wanted to just chill because I was about to collapse. And then the guy just turned 21 or 22. And I said that, you know, I’m taking it easy. And he said, Well, I want to, you know, be promoted into management. And had I not been pushed like that it wouldn’t happen that quick. And then I became a general manager at 24. And I had a couple stores at 26. And wow, you know, for franchises. And, you know, by the time I was 30, and then I left them with auto nation.
Ilana Shabtay 4:28
And then you came back. Yep. And so how has Well, maybe he has, maybe he hasn’t but how has Mr. domaines management, leadership style? How does that influence how you manage today, if at all? I know that I’ve read a bit about your management style and clarity being one of the things that’s most important to you. So I’d love to open that up if you want to talk about that.
Brian Kramer 4:51
Yeah, and he’s a mentor. There’s also a lot of, you know, a lot of other mentors when I was at auto nation and I’ve just been very fortunate to be around a bunch of amazing people throughout the whole auto industry. But I would say that my relationship with Mr. Germain lately is different. Before he was more hands on, and he was more, you know, keeping me within the bumpers and trying to, you know, keep me on a pretty tight leash, which was a pretty good call back then my 20s because I needed it. But now it’s more of one of empowerment. I use an analogy like Eddie debartolo, Jr, with the 40, Niners he really let bill Walsh do some crazy stuff. And even when Bill Walsh was going in 14, he didn’t try to micromanage him, he trusted Bill and he trusted the process. And I wouldn’t have been able to do you know, we the team wouldn’t be able to do most of what we’ve done down here without Mr. Germain trust. And without him having that trust that I keep them, you know, I communicate with them and write and so that he’s in the loop. That’s the one thing that he asked for is that he would just keep me in the loop and tell me what the plan is. Give him clarity. So not only give the team clarity, but I give him clarity, since it says money as to what we’re doing, what the plan is three months, six months, 12 months out. That way, he’s always in the loop. And he’s never blindsided, and there’s no daylight between him and I.
Ilana Shabtay 6:09
Yeah, empowerment is so important. Because you got to make the right decisions. And you also have to make mistakes and learn from your mistakes. So I totally appreciate that. That type of management style, and you’ve actually been killing it. So you could just turn right to him, we’re killing it.
Brian Kramer 6:28
Well, it’s nice, it’s easy to look back in retrospect, like that. But I will say in 2017, and 2018, we weren’t. And it’s kind of like the analogy I use is it’s like a bone that was broken, that needed to be reset. And if it’s not set correctly, the doctor has to re break it. And the read break is always significantly more painful. Because it’s intentional, you know, it’s coming. And then to heal again, nobody wants to go through the rebrand, which I think is the biggest problem with digital transformation is that the bone is not broken, but it’s not maybe set perfectly. And nobody wants to go through and just re break it to make the necessary changes in order to have it heal back stronger, to be ready for the next 10 years.
Ilana Shabtay 7:13
I love that. So Can Can you tell us a little bit about that process, how you got out of that, and what really made your dealership become successful?
Brian Kramer 7:23
Well, it was all about clarity, it was all about accountability, it was all about people, it was about recruiting the right people. And then some, we didn’t always make the right choices along the way. And a lot of the choices, including, especially the ones that I made weren’t always the right. But I want to if I’m no matter what we’re going to be going forward, we’re not going to slow down, we’re not going to be indecisive, we made some decisions, some of my decisions were the wrong ones, some of whom were the right ones, you know, thankfully, more right than wrong. But all along the way, we ‘ll give you a couple of examples, we tried to have a BDC, then not have a BDC, then we’re gonna do it cradle to grave. What’s the right combination? Do you have the right people in place? You know, because with every single situation, if you have the right quarterback, you can run passing a lot. But with the right running back, you’re going to run a rushing offense. And I think every dealership is unique. And there’s no template, you know, cookie cutter way that you can run every single dealership, there’s good and bad you can take from everything. And a lot of the stuff that we did, was me asking friends of mine and peers, you know, how do you do this? You know, in this situation, what would you do, and, and including the management here, and a lot of that buy in, because there it has to, they have to have buy in and it has to be their idea. But the one thing that I wasn’t willing to budge on was the culture and I wasn’t willing to budge on the standards. And even though, like when I got here, we were running, you know, below $1,000 per copy, finance, PBR. And we set the standard at 1700. Now that’s over double. And so from the outside looking at something a little out there, but everything was kind of like that, where we weren’t yet there, but the anchor was going to get set, and we weren’t going to budge on it. And that’s really the job of a GM or a leader is to sell the management team on the vision, even when, from their perspective, it’s absolutely crazy because they’ve never seen it. And it doesn’t make sense, is to be able to take that vision and translate it into reality. And if you think about Walt Disney, when he bought all that swamp land in Orlando, he’s painting a picture of a castle and what this is going to be and they’re going to come in on a ferry boat, and everybody’s looking at, you know, three feet of swamp water, you know, across 43,000 acres, it’s tough. You have to have a certain way to get everybody to visualize that and have them you know, join you on that journey.
Ilana Shabtay 9:47
Totally. So it’s just because I’m curious, so what’s your BTC situation now? Do you have one or do you not have one?
Brian Kramer 9:55
We do not have one. So we have a service BTC but the sales department is cradle to grave. Okay, which is a hell of a lot more difficult.
Ilana Shabtay 10:04
I actually agree with that, and there’s a lot more training and skill sets that you need to make sure that your people are, are, you know, undergoing at the dealership. So I’d love to hear a little bit more about that. Specifically how your how your numbers and show rates have been affected by that change.
Brian Kramer 10:25
Okay, so, you know, we used to run like four or five 6%. Close, we didn’t have a good way to quantify it. The stump went back to 16. We didn’t have accurate data, it was more, there’s many dealerships I’ve worked in that are like this, it was more about defending why the behaviors, okay, or being able to justify why everybody has a job. And this is okay, this is okay. But the end result wasn’t. So something has to be, you know, either we’re not quantifying the shows properly, we’re not confirming the appointments properly, our data is not, you know, we don’t have clarity as to what is a duplicate lead, what’s a bad lead? What’s a good lead? So everybody’s like, well, I figured this was bad. And this was good, which is really the job of the leader is to tell them this, these fall into this bucket, this bucket and this bucket. But going deeper than that, when we blew up the BDC after having a BDC for a while. What I didn’t think about is the fact that it had been so long that the salespeople forgot how to follow up, or they’d never been trained how to follow up. Because the BDC was, you know, agents were the ones that were getting all the training. So we transitioned some of them onto the sales floor. But some of them didn’t want to do that. And I didn’t, it’s almost like muscles being atrophied from not working out. You’re like Neo in the matrix when he tried to stand up. His leg muscles didn’t work. It was the same thing with their phone skills. They didn’t have any. And I didn’t, I’m like well, how hard can it be? Well, it’s really hard if you don’t train them. So that was that that was a huge setback that I didn’t anticipate, because I figured it’s just that they didn’t want to know that they didn’t know how to. So that was a miscalculation on my part.
Ilana Shabtay 12:01
And so now you’re investing in that for your people to make sure that the process is in place.
Brian Kramer 12:07
We do that training. So that’s, that’s another great question. So back then, like in, like many big toy stores, we had three sales managers on the sales power. Okay, now, even, even in 2016, there wasn’t much fresh traffic. So that’s sort of quantifying it back then there was like 200 dots. But I said, if you take a look at the total opportunities, there’s over 1000 internet leads, and there’s 200 customers walking in the door, why do we have 90% of our management leadership purchases? front door to come as the leader of the phone. So I said we only need to have one person at the sales tower. And so that’s crazy. But well, I can tell you, we have one person today. So things are taken out. And nobody wanted to do it. So it took me in terms of burning the bridge, I had to get rid of the chairs, and then they found other chairs. So then I lost my temper one day and I ripped the computer out from underneath the particle board and threw it across the showroom. And you know, do you have any other questions? Right, I said we’re burning the bridges, that’s no longer an option. Wow, there’s going to be one person on the desk. There’s going to be one person back in the bullpen helping coaching training develop. And then we had another manager in the conference room that was pulling up and it was a non stop, which still is to this day non stop saving that just churns and it never ends. And we saw the same amount of headcount, but we just realigned the resources and not many like I can tell you they all hated it. But now they love it now, but they hated that journey.
Ilana Shabtay 13:43
So change is so hard so the version change is just the natural reaction I think but that’s great I think is actionable here for people listening on how to just change things up in your dealership . We have dealers come in here all the time. Talk about certain things that they’ve changed at the dealership, it’s often digital so I really appreciate that that process people changed that you shared with us today. I think a lot of dealers can learn from that. I really do and and it’s been things that I’ve been hearing on Clubhouse and I’ll bring it up again. So we can talk a little bit about what club house but I’m, you know, I I came from outside of automotive. So I really appreciate these themes: modern day car sales, very automotive showroom focus rooms where I can just come in and listen, I learned so much about what happens at the dealership behind the scenes. So I really do appreciate those rooms, even though I can’t necessarily contribute so much. And I hear a lot of it that this is a big challenge, especially cross training, right? Someone who used to be in BDC. And now on the sales floor, they don’t want to get back on the phone, even if they might have the skill set for it. So it’s just stuff that you know, I’m hearing every single day. How have you been enjoying or not enjoying and this is an assumption but how have you been using Clubhouse?
Brian Kramer 14:56
I love Clubhouse. I love it on multiple levels. I’m using it as A student to learn from other people in the automotive sector. But I’ve also reconnected with a lot of old friends. I haven’t talked to Grant Cardone in years and then bumped into him on there and, and I’m jumping into like NFT and crypto and these other rooms that I was in a room the other night talking to Steve Aoki about NF T’s. And it was, I mean, I don’t even know how you can flatten out the world to where that’s happening. It’s absolutely insane. The knowledge flows in the people you can interact with in those rooms. It’s it. It’s beyond fascinating to me. And I’m asking, you know, some of the top leading minds and in crypto tokens and different Bitcoin blockchain technologies, what would they do with the automotive industry and I take like six pages of notes on things that I didn’t know brings me up to speed, you know, kind of like, again, in the matrix, when we learn Kung Fu, I’m on there just just absorbing all this data and this information on on knowledge change that I had no concept of, but when you talk about automotive, you know, I’m, I started out in the business early, but I’m an, you know, an old soul in this business. I started out before, really computers, that’s how I got an F and I cuz everybody was terrified of the computer and asked me if I knew how to use one. So that’s really, that’s why I became an f&i manager at 19, because nobody wanted to touch it. Cuz you still were pulling credit on a quad machine, which in Google that I’m sure nobody even knows what that is. Right? That means, quite a bit. That’s a different meaning with quantum computing. But yeah, that’s an old, you know, I’m dating myself with that. But now I feel like I got an obligation to make it so that crack, you know, and I don’t, I’ve done it all good and bad in the car business. So it comes from, you know, patron saint, but I don’t want, you know, I’ve been this has been my life career, and a lot of the people knows, in those rooms, I want to change that so that the people coming behind us don’t have to be subjected to what I was subjected to, I had thick skin and I can handle it. But the amount of women in the industry, the amount of young millennials that are really, really intelligent, they don’t stay in this business, because you get so many close minded, old school ways of thinking. And I’ve been in the business, as long as anybody you think about Jim Ziegler, Mike Maroone, or Grant Cardone, he turned 63, this week, and, and those guys are on the bleeding edge of technology. So saying that they’ve been in the business too long. It’s just an excuse. And it’s, it’s not real, it’s not valid, that’s a choice of decision that they make, because I’ve got 20 year olds that are just as changed. So that’s just something that allows them to justify it a little bit better. Yeah, and all they have to do is make a choice that they’re going to be part of the solution. But I also know all the adversity that I went through, and then subjected myself to to go paperless. And by doing that, I wish that there was somebody else that I could have called to ask for advice throughout that whole thing. So I’m trying to share some of that, I know that, you know, a lot of people won’t take me up on it. But if I can make it easier for some people to not have to go through all that pain that I went through, then that’s my way of paying it forward. Well, I
Ilana Shabtay 18:14
think that’s also the beauty of clubhouse because we now have access to people like you, you know, like Grant Cardone, all these all these amazing leaders in the industry that are opening up their their minds and other minds, I think, because once they start talking about what they see as like effective change and innovation, I think more people will be open to it. So that’s why I love Clubhouse. Besides the fact that I also get inside dealers’ heads and understand a little bit more what happened in the automotive industry. It’s really a
Brian Kramer 18:44
find out what people are about when they start getting challenges.
Ilana Shabtay 18:47
Yeah, I absolutely love it. And I have to say the I was pleasantly surprised by like the the the positive energy that these automotive rooms have because it could go anyway, these rooms that they are, you know, someone comes up and pitches for their first time, for example, there’s a lot of positive feedback, they make everyone feel good, you know, constructs very constructive oriented feedback. So I do appreciate that. So I’ve been a big user of Clubhouse, and I appreciate you sharing with us how you’ve been using it, and I know we could talk to you for hours on all this stuff. before we sign off. I want to hear about your efforts to go 100% paperless. And you brought this up briefly. And you’re pioneering if I would boldly say 100% paperless transactions in automotive and I mean this is just something that I think really should have already happened. So I’m excited that you’re so you’re spending so much resources so much time on this, share it, share it with us. I’d also specifically like to know what it’s been like to work through some of the regulations that might restrict you from doing something like this. So share it with us.
Brian Kramer 19:56
Okay, that’s there’s there’s a lot there’s a lot of share. It’s, it’s obviously it was something that was on the back burner. And ever since checking out an apple store in the late 2000s. And having my receipt emailed to me, and I was wild, I’m like, Well, that’s it. That’s it. I don’t think the cash register. No,
Ilana Shabtay 20:19
sir, that’s basically right. It’s crazy. Yeah.
Brian Kramer 20:23
And I thought to myself, and I was actually talking to Richard, Maine’s brother, Steve and I, and I remember coming back and I said, Could you imagine if we could do that? Do it like that in the car in the car dealership? And he said, Yeah, that’d be great. You know, I forget what year that was, Oh, 809, or whatever. And ever since then, it’s been something but everybody always says, Well, how many more cars you’re gonna sell. If you can do that, maybe that’s a nice, shiny object. But is it really gonna drive sales, we just got to worry about this month, we’ll deal with that later, somebody else will figure that out. So it’s always been in the back of my mind. And even at auto nation, they were trying to figure it out. And then when COVID hit, you know, we had already been trying to work on and luckily, we had the culture in place, because I think the culture is the foundational principle, even though it doesn’t seem like it would have any correlation with paperless. But if you don’t have everybody aligned towards a common goal, they don’t know what the vision is. And they don’t know what the end book needs to look like. And why we’re doing this. Because really the wide of the sales view, and there’s a different way to the customer than there is the salesperson brings to the enterprise. And to my controller, it’s the $3,000 that we’re gonna save in paper, and the $3,000, that we’re going to save a month in Iron Mountain shredding, that $6,000 a month, not counting the storage or having it up in the parks department, or outsourcing or whatever it is. And that’s just the pure monetary value that is valuable to the CFO to the comptroller. But it’s not valuable to me, that’s a C priority. And even though there’s some savings involved, I mean, it’s nice, but I could care less about that. It’s more about the speed, the production, the throughput for the salespeople, they can go from 10 to 17, which they have sales per sales associate, it’s going to save the sales person’s career, whichever he said, Oh, that’s a dying breed. You know, at some point computers, I’ve been hearing that since 1998, by the way, when autobytel came out, and they said that was the end of the salesperson. And that’s going to be the end position. And that, you know, you hear it every single year in nada, but I believe nothing could be further from the truth. But we do have to strip away all their redundancy, the repetition and all the things that they don’t need to be doing that you can have done with AI and, and different, you know, job tools, and by just using a blockchain type approach to streamline in there. So that they do this, and they can’t jump around for their own good. And when you standardize everything like that, first, you know, you go through all the forums, most dealers, we did it, I said, Okay, it’s a, let’s look at the stack this thick of all the forms. What do we need this for? What do we need this for to cover up the whole conference room table? Where does this go? And what do we do with it? and ended up getting rid of like 80% of the forms? Because they go, I don’t know, there’s like 10 years ago, we’ve just always, that’s the way we’ve always done it, which are the most expensive words in business. Yeah. So streamlining that first getting into a paper workflow to where you could do that when COVID started, like I couldn’t, I couldn’t do what we did in the first quarter last year, right now, because we’re too busy. So there was that small window, you know, to not waste a good crisis, to go back through and say, Okay, this is the only time we’re going to have the amount of time to be able to, you know, take a process map and say, What should it look like, if they were going an apple store and model that, that journey here? And what does our journey look like today, when you look at the two and you put them both on a whiteboard, it’s terrifying, when you look at the contrast of where we should be versus where we are. So then we just had to start identifying where the biggest gaps are, let’s shrink them. And we just, you know, compartmentalize that down. And one goes to selection, we found out that if you really want to go fast, you get into select the right vehicle The first time you spend a lot more time on the needs analysis, because when they don’t, the biggest impact we have on closing ratio I now know is when we don’t select the right vehicle. And that’s the pay plans aren’t aligned towards that. The KPIs aren’t what we’re focused on: closing ratio demo drives, menu presentations, but the real selection is the most impactful thing and the data doesn’t. I still believe it does intuitively but there’s no data to support. And we’ve got, I don’t know, 15,000 transactions through prodigy are our digital retail tool. There’s no data to support that, that test drives have any impact on results. There’s no just scattered data. But selecting the right vehicle we don’t select the right vehicle the first time or close ratios like 65%. If we don’t select the right vehicle the first time that drops down into the 30s that big of a drop mostly because then they have to they want to leave so but that’s the one of the things we don’t spend a lot of time doing is really trying to figure out what it is They’re trying to accomplish that we don’t have to switch cars. Whereas I was always proud to have a backup switch car.
Ilana Shabtay 25:05
Yeah, yeah, you have to have the patience and the energy to break down the process and find the fault points. Like, I think that’s unbelievable that you found that. And so now you are 100% paperless. If I wanted to buy a car right now, from Naples, I would just do the transaction online, I would not have to sign anything.
Brian Kramer 25:26
I mean, we could do, we could do, you could do, I could text you everything. And you could do right now from Miami. And we just ship the car to
Ilana Shabtay 25:36
I got to share one story. Because three years ago, when I first moved to Miami, I went through this Buick Encore phase. Don’t judge me and they want to go for that. But I do have a friend that works for Porsche in North America. And he was like, every time I told him, I wanted to get a Buick Encore. He’s like, Don’t talk to me ever again. Anyway, I almost got it from Lima. And I think we win for you. It’s a group out here in Miami. And I remember like just, I really, really needed to get it done. I just want to have a car already. I didn’t want to go into a dealership. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t actually go to a client. But anyway, I’m talking to this guy. And we’re doing the transaction. And it’s all on text. Like I’m calling him. This is again, mind you 333 and a half years ago. I’m about to get this car, which would have been like the biggest mistake of my life. And he’s like, okay, now you just need to come here and just sign and sign something. And I’m just like,
Ilana Shabtay 26:29
what, like, I’m
Ilana Shabtay 26:30
working for a software company. I’m like, I was shut. He’s like, yeah, we need a wet signature from you. Like, we need wet ink. And I was just, I remember just being like, I can’t do this, like, Can I print it? Can I like him to sign on a PDF and send it to you? Like I was just like, can you come here? It was crazy. It was like 8pm I’ll never forget that. And then I never end up getting the car. And in the end, it saved me that they didn’t have the technology in place. But really for the dealership, it was totally detrimental for them.
Brian Kramer 26:58
What month was this?
Ilana Shabtay 26:59
This was 2000. Round to Miami. So it was 2017.
Brian Kramer 27:05
What month? So proceed on 17. Yeah, they didn’t know. Because I didn’t know. So I talked to automotive news about this. And then they said, “ Well, how did you figure out the regulations and all that other stuff. And what happened was, I just had more time. So they said we couldn’t do it there locally at the DMV. My office said they couldn’t do it. Everybody said we couldn’t do it. cDk said we could do it. And I go well, how does it go? What’s the real way you can buy a home? mortgage online, it’s Quicken Loans. And as high as Quicken Loans do it. They do business in Florida people here have done business with Quicken Loans. So I started researching Quicken Loans. I’m like, why is that regulated? So then I tried calling FA da the Florida Automobile Dealers Association. And they said, You know, I think that there is something going on with that. You don’t have to go to call Tallahassee. So I called Tallahassee and told them at the DMV and they gave me they said, Well, you need an E Fs. And I said, What’s that, and it’s something that you exchange data with healthcare. And I said, You mean to tell me that there’s a technology that doesn’t exist? I’m thinking it’s gonna be like, some cute breakthrough needs to be patented or something that nobody’s aware of that is like this much of an emerging market. So I looked it up and dealertrack had the patent for it. So I called cDk. And I said, Well, how do we get this to connect to this? And they said, that’s the, that’s the I did. They said that? That’s it? And I go, yeah, they said, if they have an EF s, you can transmit it directly. Oh, so then next thing, you know, it was like a week later, that came out. So that wrong across the whole country was never actually it wasn’t the regulation, it was the manner in which the personal information had to be transferred securely, and nobody was focused on that.
Ilana Shabtay 29:02
See, Bitcoin can help. crypto can help us with that.
Brian Kramer 29:06
You’re right. That’s exactly right. Yeah. And kind of the same philosophy to all that is the same thing that allowed us. I’m an artist is still like a MacGyver duct tape process behind the scenes but to the customer. It looks like a seamless experience. So it’s not blockchain yet. But it’s the same philosophy where you can’t go to the next step until this step. And that’s the key and not many dealers are willing to do that. Right. Because the salespeople go this is too hard. You know, this is such a pain in the ass.
Ilana Shabtay 29:36
Because of it, they’re totally losing. At that point. I was like literally seconds away from buying. I can’t imagine that there are no similar stories. And even if it’s a little messy on the dealer side, it’s worth it. Once we get crypto in here in automotive, that’s just going to be a no brainer. I don’t know much about it sounds like you know a lot more but I can understand the concept and how much it can actually help especially when we talk about these transactions.
Brian Kramer 29:58
I just learned this week on Clubhouse So I’m just learning it every day.
Ilana Shabtay 30:03
Yeah, I got to get into some of those rooms in Clubhouse. I have gone into some of the stock market rooms and clubhouse but then I’m like, taking stock advice from these people like Who are these? You want to know?
Brian Kramer 30:13
And they always have a disclaimer on it too.
Ilana Shabtay 30:15
Yeah, yeah, of course. Of course I gotta find more rooms with a little bit more participants than the ones that I’ve been going into. Um, but anyway, it’s been such a pleasure speaking to you and getting to know you. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. It was so much fun to talk to you. And for our listeners, I know you enjoyed this episode. Please tune in to Inside Auto Podcast. We will catch you next time. Thank you, Brian.
Brian Kramer 30:38
Thanks for having me on.
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