General Manager of McKinney Volkswagen in Texas, Kaleb Garcia, shares his career path in the automotive industry with us. His number one piece of advice? “People buy from the people that they like.” Continue reading to find out how Covideo has helped him formulate higher quality relationships with his customers.
COVIDEO: What attracted you to the dealership business initially and why did you choose to make it your own career?
Before I got into the car business I was working three to four jobs at a time in the construction and service industries. I wanted to find a way that I could make money without having to remember so many schedules. It was a pretty tough time. I was 20 or 21 years old when I made that decision because I felt it was time for me to grow up and do something different. The reason why I stuck with it, and liked it, is because it gave me a lot of freedom. I had a natural talent for it and I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the guys that were in my initial dealership. Those were the guys I wanted to be like.
COVIDEO: If you had to choose one word or one phrase that best describes your experience in the dealership world, what would you choose?
“It’s easier to live with the pain of discipline than live with the pain of regret.” Learning this business and forcing yourself to succumb to a system and do the same thing the same way every day has been part of what’s helped me be consistent.
COVIDEO: How do you describe today’s customers? How much time do they spend researching online before coming to your dealership? What’s important to them?
The industry has changed so much. I started working in this industry on June 10th, 1998, and I started selling used cars on a used car lot. That was tremendous because back in that day you usually had to start out selling new cars and transition or prove yourself to go to used cars. The huge difference from when I started until now is the information that people have. People are informed, people know what’s going on. Our world has evolved so much that this phone in my hand can tell me anything I want to know about a car deal. That’s the biggest thing about today’s customers, they’re smart, they’re savvy and they want to get a deal. Somebody once told me that the customer is always going to buy from somebody that they like. Customer service is a key part. You’ve got to have that feeling with a customer, they’ve got to understand that you’re here for them.
COVIDEO: How much research do they spend online?
At some level, everybody researches online. There are hardly any customers who walk into my car dealership that haven’t pulled the car up on their phone or computer. Everybody looks online.
COVIDEO: What’s important to them?
COVIDEO: What would be the top three things and why you love working in the dealership?
Top three things are people, people, people. Money is something that is a big motivator for a lot of people that first get into the business. It was for me, but it’s not that anymore. Money is something that comes and goes. You make great money and you make not so great money. This business has always served me well in stretching me and teaching me things. It’s helped me become a better person. It’s really all about the people, I want to take some of my knowledge and just share it with them. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’d like to share that with my staff and help them get to a place quicker and faster than I did so they can achieve better things and bigger things than I have.
COVIDEO: Walk us through the sales process.
Let’s walk through the internet sales process. The first thing that happens is we get an internet lead that comes in and immediately a video is sent out that I produced. It’s a video of me just saying “Hey, thank you for sending your inquiry in, we’ve got somebody that’s going to contact you directly. One of my internet managers should be getting with you shortly. If not, my email address and phone number are…” That way they have some point of reference so that they can reach back and talk to me or get a hold of me if they weren’t handled correctly. The next step is for us to distribute the lead to our people who are qualified to handle our leads. They respond by call, text and email. This is how we try to find out what the customer’s preferred method of contact is. As a general rule, we try to set up an appointment and have them come in. Once they come in we call it a VIP appointment and we set the vehicle up at the front of the store and make it a big deal. One of the things that our managers do other than sending out a call, text or email, is that they send out a Covideo as well. That’s something we’ve been very adamant about. The biggest thing we do in the process of sending out the video is using the customer’s name and showing them who they are going to talk to when they come into the dealership. It makes a big difference. Also, showing them the specific stock number that they’re asking for shows the customer that we’re not going to pull a “bait and switch” on them and that we’re above the rest.
On the morning of the appointment, I have my salesperson shoot a Covideo to the client whether it’s an email or a text saying: “The vehicle you inquired about is still here. I expect you to be here at 2:15, if you’re going to be a little early or a little late, do me a favor and call me on this number so that I can adjust my schedule and make sure I have time for you.” It’s a huge deal and it’s increased our show ratios tremendously.
COVIDEO: We can say that customer retention is one of the biggest challenges for every dealership. What is McKinney’s attitude towards that?
Retention is everything. This isn’t just a front-end store, we’ve got an entire service department. We achieve better dollars per RO and our numbers are fantastic – the reason for that is because people feel comfortable with us. What I try to get my salespeople to do when they’re delivering a vehicle is to wait a couple of days and give the customer a call. The car buying process is a very long convoluted day. I encourage them to give the customer a call a couple of days later inviting them to come in and review their benefits or ask them if they have any questions. That’s a big deal that builds trust and keeps that relationship going with the customer.
COVIDEO: When talking about lead qualification, how do you nurture and close that process?
I believe that every lead has the ability to buy a car. Either they can buy it or they know somebody. The things that make car deals are credit and cash. If we have them on the right car, got the right cash down, the credit will take care of itself. If you have two of those things working for you, it all pulls together. Every lead is valid, we treat every lead the same way.
COVIDEO: About the industry: Suggestions that you can share with dealers to help them add more value to their business.
One of the things that have consistently made my teams that I’ve been a part of, and my dealerships successful, is the people and just transferring that knowledge. A lot of people want to hold it all in and say “I know this and it makes me valuable.” I say, let’s make everybody valuable! I think just sharing the knowledge that you’ve got and having a team that works well together is absolutely key.
COVIDEO: What do you see as a major technology issue facing dealers today?
People want to buy everything without coming in. Just look at what Amazon Prime has done to all of our retail industry. That’s the way this industry is going, so we’ve got to be able to do that effectively and still make money and still provide a product and a service for our customers. You’ve got to be able to be profitable and still be able to meet those customers’ needs.
COVIDEO: What would you recommend for other business professionals exploring video as a communication tool?
People buy from the people that they like. You know, your first opportunity for an impression is made on the other side of that internet link, so that’s part of why we send the video out initially. That first impression is key. You’ve got to remember that the only thing that differentiates you from the other dealers is you. The only thing that separates you from everybody else is the way you interact with them. If you use Covideo consistently, the same way every day, then that will show you the difference. This is the first store that I’ve been at that I’ve had this tool and it is absolutely tremendous.
COVIDEO: When did you start using Covideo and why?
I started using it at this store when I got here in March of 2018. This was here at the store and they weren’t using it. I was looking through my expenses and I thought “Why in the world are we paying for this if we’re not going to use it?” I saw the value in it and I immediately thought that we could use Covideo to differentiate ourselves. So, I told my team “Let’s gives this a good run and see if it works.”
COVIDEO: How do your leads and customers react to the videos?
The show ratios are higher when you send a Covideo to confirm an appointment. Plus, when you send it out there to a customer, the correspondence, in general, is much better. You are taking the extra step, you’re going the extra distance, and they just really respond to it well. Tons of people that I have talked to as I float around the showroom floor all say how much they love the videos.
COVIDEO: Would you recommend Covideo to other dealerships?
Absolutely, but here’s the deal, I recommend it to other dealerships but the simple fact is that if you don’t use it consistently, you’re going to fool yourself into thinking that it doesn’t work and you’ll cut the expense.
Thank you for the interview, thank you for the honor and thank you for your service. What an incredible platform to help me grow my business!