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Dashboard Dialogues Episode 5 – How to Retain Customers and Get a Truck for $1

Dashboard Dialogues Episode 5

2022 is finally here… and along with it, a new episode of the Dashboard Dialogues podcast!

For the first episode of the year, we’re joined by Taylor Hollingsworth, a seasoned veteran in the world of automotive sales.

Watch as Taylor discusses:
• The power of customer retention in automotive
• The effects of COVID-19 on the used car industry
• Getting his first truck at the age of 13….. for $1!

Dashboard Dialogues Episode 5

Transcript

00:00:18:09 – 00:00:31:06

Sam Flecker

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Dashboard Dialogues podcast. My name is Sam Flecker, and today I’m here with Taylor Hollingsworth, one of the biggest characters in the DealersLink office. Taylor, remind me of your official title one more time, please?

00:00:32:01 – 00:00:34:28

Taylor Hollingsworth

Yeah, I believe it is, National Marketplace Director.

00:00:34:28 – 00:01:00:22

Sam Flecker

National Marketplace director. All right. Has a nice ring to it. Sounds very fancy, very fashionable. But, you know, awesome. Well, cool. Today we’re going to be talking about the power of customer retention. More specifically, kind of how you how dealers are able to maintain customers, keep them happy, keep them active as customers. And that has a lot to do with, you know, used cars, used car sales, but before we get into that, do you mind telling us about your first car?

00:01:03:06 – 00:01:15:20

Taylor Hollingsworth

Yeah. So funny enough, I actually have two first car stories, basically. Yeah, first car I ever actually bought was 13 years old.

00:01:15:20 – 00:01:19:18

Sam Flecker

Wow. I don’t think that’s legal, if I’m not mistaken.

00:01:19:28 – 00:01:38:07

Taylor Hollingsworth

100%. But when you grow up in a small, you know, kind of pokey cow town in the mountains. Everything kind of goes right. So funny story. We’re actually at a holiday party with my mom and her work colleague. She was a nurse up there and her boss was actually out hanging out, drinking.

00:01:38:07 – 00:01:40:28

Taylor Hollingsworth

Drinks were flowing heavily and pretty sure.

00:01:40:28 – 00:01:41:25

Sam Flecker

Not for you. I hope?

00:01:41:25 – 00:02:05:19

Taylor Hollingsworth

Definitely not. I was just going to like, wander outside, board, kick and rocks. As a 13 year old, yeah, exactly happened upon, you know, a seventies Volkswagen truck. Full of garbage. Doors dented in. The thing is just a total junker. Yeah. She sees me walking around. She goes, Oh yeah, you like that car? So, yeah, sure, it’s cool. I guess you want to buy it?

00:02:07:03 – 00:02:14:22

Taylor Hollingsworth

No, I’m 13. I don’t have any money. That’s all right. Just give me what’s in your pocket. And I just so happen to have $1 in my pocket.

00:02:14:22 – 00:02:17:04

Sam Flecker

Oh, that’s not a bad deal.

00:02:17:04 – 00:02:48:03

Taylor Hollingsworth

No, told her I had a dollar. And she goes, Yeah, perfect, it’s yours. And so she did it as kind of like a joke. Yeah. And also to get it off of her property. Yeah, yeah. She probably would’ve just given it away. Yeah. But yeah, learned how to drive. Stick on that and, you know, clean it all up. Had a pretty bad backfire. Probably had like banana in the tailpipe or something like that? Who knows? But the real first car I bought was a 1996 Toyota Tacoma single cab four wheel drive, as you do up in the mountains.

00:02:48:03 – 00:02:57:19

Taylor Hollingsworth

Just kind of a small little truck that we took literally everywhere on road and off road. We could possibly get it. Love it. Yeah. Those are my first two cars.

00:02:57:19 – 00:03:02:00

Taylor Hollingsworth

Awesome. Well, that sounds like a fun experience as a kid.

00:03:02:06 – 00:03:03:25

Taylor Hollingsworth

Yeah, not too bad, you know?

00:03:03:25 – 00:03:25:26

Sam Flecker

Awesome. Well, so you’ve worked in several dealerships prior to working with Dealerslink. Yeah. So from a like kind of on the terms of car retention, oh, excuse me, customer retention, what we’re some of the most valuable things you learned at your previous role when a previous roles when it came to customer retention kind of used car sales.

00:03:25:26 – 00:03:36:23

Taylor Hollingsworth

Yeah. So, you know, I was really, really lucky and kind of blessed in the organizations that brought me up in the car business, selling cars and working my way up in those dealerships.

00:03:37:05 – 00:03:53:15

Taylor Hollingsworth

You know, here in Colorado and in Texas. And you know, a couple of things that really stood out with those organizations was really just overall customer experience and transparency. Right. So they really focused on what it is to actually sell cars.

00:03:53:15 – 00:04:30:15

Taylor Hollingsworth

But what that experience looks like for a customer when they’re when they’re buying a car, you know, it’s the second biggest purchase. People typically make their entire lives. Definitely. So that was really something that resonated with me and working in those organizations was seeing these guys, you know, really just dove into what that experience is for, for that customer. And I think that’s what really helped those organizations to this day still remain kind of some of the Premiere world class organizations for retaining their customers. They have stellar reputations in their community, with their customer base, with other dealers in the area like they’re they do a really, really good job.

00:04:30:15 – 00:04:36:04

Taylor Hollingsworth

So that really resonated was just offer that transparency. Sure. And overall customer experience.

00:04:36:04 – 00:04:45:27

Sam Flecker

Awesome. Cool. Well, if you want to, if you wouldn’t mind telling us a bit more about your current role here, DealersLink and kind of how customer retention fits into it.

00:04:46:08 – 00:05:05:01

Taylor Hollingsworth

Yeah. So being the National Marketplace Director. You know, really what my responsibilities are typically is kind of all encompassing, really, you know, we kind of take an all hands on deck approach. I work with our inside sales guys working on our marketplace product as well as working with some of our outside guys.

00:05:05:13 – 00:05:22:02

Taylor Hollingsworth

Travis, our VP of sales, worked closely with Devon, our VP of of Dealer Services. And you know, really the biggest thing with our customer approach is. How do we make life easier for car dealers, right? Yeah. How do we help them acquire cars easier?

00:05:22:09 – 00:05:33:17

Taylor Hollingsworth

How do we help them work with other vendors easier? Yeah. You know, I think that really helps resonate with our dealers because it’s hard enough being a dealer right now in this day and age. Yeah, certainly trying to find an easier way to do it.

00:05:33:17 – 00:05:40:14

Taylor Hollingsworth

And just being that that company, that’s they’re willing to help and really like partner up with those dealers, like, that’s really what we focus on a lot.

00:05:40:14 – 00:05:48:25

Sam Flecker

Yeah, cool. Yeah, definitely would say that customer support compared to a lot of other companies is a very big part of our company, on the forefront.

00:05:48:25 – 00:06:08:05

Sam Flecker

So, yeah, 100%. Yeah, so awesome to see. So now speaking of more of like an end, excuse me, industry-wide scale, you know, this year we’ve seen some crazy stuff. I think we all know that. Yeah. How would you say that the climate kind of is in terms of customer retention?

00:06:08:05 – 00:06:16:24

Sam Flecker

Is it it’s not. It’s kind of like favoring dealers, aredealers having a tough time retaining customers right now? Not so much? In the middle, would you say?

00:06:16:24 – 00:06:21:25

Taylor Hollingsworth

Yeah, I think with with everything that’s kind of gone on over like the last 18 months.

00:06:21:25 – 00:06:59:07

Taylor Hollingsworth

Yeah, with COVID and everything, especially this year, the last nine months, the inventory shortage that we’ve been seeing. Yeah, it’s really just been putting a ton of pressure with supply chain issues, new car shortages, driving the premium prices through the absolute roof and stuff that we’ve never no one’s ever seen before in the car business has been absolutely mind blowing, basically. But some of the trends we’re seeing, I think it it’s kind of like a two edged sword, right? We’re seeing rapid adoption of new, new ways of doing business, you know, online retail car deals, basically with people like Carvana and CarMax, people doing that, but also seeing some of those more of those like

00:06:59:07 – 00:07:17:26

Taylor Hollingsworth

home grown groups and single points really refocusing and taking the opportunity to show off some of their customer support skills. Yeah. Giving their customers a new way to buy from them, from your local Dodge Dealer like, hey, well, we’ll bring a vehicle to you will come appraise your trade at your work.

00:07:18:12 – 00:07:34:29

Taylor Hollingsworth

We’ll do whatever we need to do to make the buying process easier for you, Mr. Mrs. Customer. So I think it’s on a national scale macroeconomic level. It’s it’s getting harder to compete on some of that stuff with, you know, market share being national at this point with, yeah.

00:07:35:10 – 00:07:53:05

Taylor Hollingsworth

Again, those Carvana, those Car Max’s, retail cars everywhere. But we’re seeing that with those, those mid-sized groups, man. Yeah, they’re refocusing on their customer base. They’re expanding as well. They’re trying to offer those new services, those new tools, those new innovative technologies to help them help their customer.

00:07:53:06 – 00:08:07:29

Sam Flecker

Yeah. Very cool. So for the average dealer, you know, midsize or more local dealer, what kind of advice would you have to kind of keep customers happy? Keep that. Or, you know, that’s pretty general question. You know, just keep customer retention strong.

00:08:08:10 – 00:08:24:13

Taylor Hollingsworth

Yeah, no. I think I think just being willing and open to adopt new strategies. Yeah, new new technology we’ve seen just, you know, you look at like the dot com boom and how slow some dealers were to pick up the internet age right in the automotive industry as a whole.

00:08:25:03 – 00:08:38:06

Taylor Hollingsworth

But I think you look at the last 18 months, how fast the automotive industry was to adopt these new online retail sales strategies. These new direct to consumer strategies with their service departments, with their sales departments, whatever it might be.

00:08:38:28 – 00:08:48:24

Taylor Hollingsworth

I think it’s really kind of helped them, you know, not get behind the eight ball with a lot of this COVID stuff. They’re being more proactive than reactive. Yeah, which has been a different change in the automotive space.

00:08:48:24 – 00:09:03:08

Taylor Hollingsworth

But I think for a lot of our dealers, specifically on the wholesale side in acquiring more inventory, especially as we keep facing inventory shortages on new cars, keeps getting delayed, inventory on the pre-owned side, you’re still seeing crazy high auction prices.

00:09:03:08 – 00:09:32:13

Taylor Hollingsworth

Inventory shortages, you know, it’s just kind of an analogy going back like fishing, right? So I saw this when I was out in North Carolina on a family vacation was, you know, we went out to the pier just to go fishing as a family is a great time. Everyone’s got their own pole. We’ve all got the same bait. We’re all cast in a relatively the same area, right? We’re all catching pretty much the same fish. Yeah. You see the guys that are out there that are really just like owning that they’re fishermen.

00:09:33:13 – 00:09:47:23

Taylor Hollingsworth

He’s got four different poles. They’re all cast it out at different lengths. There on different baits and he’s just taking whatever opportunity he can because he knows if I have four lines in the water and they’re all fishing for different kinds of fish, something’s going to bite and I would be able to bring that in.

00:09:47:23 – 00:09:54:28

Sam Flecker

Yeah, and it’s a great way to put it, you know, the more the merrier. You know, the more sources of opportunities you have, the more successful you’re going to be.

00:09:54:29 – 00:10:27:20

Taylor Hollingsworth

Yeah, 100%. And it’s you look at on the wholesale side as well as, you know, it’s not just brick and mortar auction or online auctions, it’s it’s online dealer-to-dealer there’s there’s all sorts of opportunities we’re seeing with, you know, consumer outreach reaching out to your consumer base, whether they were a customer of yours or not , the data is there to be able to have and and reaching out to these consumers to buy their cars, whether they buy a car from you or not, it’s an extra opportunity to gain that customer’s trust, respect and another opportunity for them to do business with you, basically.

00:10:27:21 – 00:10:44:04

Sam Flecker

So you know, we’re only a couple of weeks away from 2022. 2021 – pretty crazy year. Went by pretty fast. So what are some of the biggest kind of challenges or your predictions for 2022 when it comes to customer retention? What are dealers going to have to do to be successful?

00:10:44:04 – 00:11:10:04

Taylor Hollingsworth

You know, I think it’s it’s going to be a pretty wild frontier. You know, going through with like, you know, no one really knowing where all this inventory shortage is going and circling back around it, you know, like electric cars and the service aspect of all this , you know, I think there’s a couple examples I can think of. I’ve seen recently of, you know, here in Denver it’s the seasonal time right. People are doing like their their winter changeover for their cars. Yeah.

00:11:10:04 – 00:11:48:13

Taylor Hollingsworth

You know, I’ve seen at least ten or 15 ads for, you know, mobile, you know, tire changeover and winter prep for vehicles, for consumers. And you know, I think that’s spaces and examples of that like dealers can start taking advantage of is, Hey, let’s not wait for our customer to come to us. Let’s listen to them. Let’s see if we can get those tires, windshield wipers and maybe do a quick walk-around vehicle inspection on the service level. Bring them back in for more service because, you know, as we talked about where it’s going, we’re going to go in 2022. I think we kind of wrap it back around a lot of those dealers being more proactive.

00:11:48:20 – 00:12:13:10

Taylor Hollingsworth

Yeah, the changing environment with with COVID and inventory shortages and not really knowing what’s going to happen next, but being ready to adopt the new technology or implement a new process and go execute it right. So I think that’s something in 2022 that will be really exciting to see the market and how dealers adapt because it really is going to be pretty wild, I think.

00:12:13:10 – 00:12:23:28

Sam Flecker

Yeah, I like that. The Wild West kind of aspect of America fits fits with our kind of a company kind of story with Wyoming and everything. So I like that.

00:12:24:20 – 00:12:33:01

Sam Flecker

Cool. Well, I don’t want to take up too much of your time here today. What are you like personally looking forward to most in 2020, the New Year.

00:12:33:01 – 00:12:53:05

Taylor Hollingsworth

Yeah. So, you know, funny being in sales, right? It’s we’re wrapping everything up just like most of our our dealers are right. So rushing to the finish line, trying to finish everything out. But, you know, really just kind of taking some time back to reflect on the year, you know, spend some time with my family. I got two little girls at home, my awesome, beautiful wife.

00:12:53:06 – 00:12:56:08

Taylor Hollingsworth

I don’t know how she married me, but thankfully she did.

00:12:56:08 – 00:12:59:10

Sam Flecker

I don’t either, to be honest, really.

00:12:59:10 – 00:13:09:10

Taylor Hollingsworth

So, you know, just getting to kind of unwind a little bit reset and and as funny as it is being in sales, the great thing is that January 1st, we all go back to zero.

00:13:09:12 – 00:13:34:11

Taylor Hollingsworth

You get to start over fresh start. It’s a beautiful thing. As you know, last year in the books, let’s focus on 2022 to how we can grow and help our dealers win more deals and retain customers better. Whatever it is, that’s was really kind of gets me excited about looking forward into the future is getting to look back on all the awesome stuff that we did and all the people that we helped but get ready for next year. And, you know, lead by example and be proactive.

00:13:34:11 – 00:13:39:22

Sam Flecker

Yeah, it’s awesome. I think that’s a great way to start off the New Year and I look at the outlook as well.

00:13:39:22 – 00:13:48:19

Sam Flecker

So absolutely, I’m going to I’m going to try and do that myself. Perfect. Oh, well, thanks so much for joining us, Taylor. Happy New Year and see you around the office.

00:13:48:19 – 00:13:50:08

Taylor Hollingsworth

Happy New Year to you as well. Thanks for having me.

00:13:50:09 – 00:14:04:27

Sam Flecker

Yeah, thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Dashboard Dialogues We will see you next episode. If you want to catch up on all the other episodes, check us out on YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple Music.

00:14:05:23 – 00:14:13:08

Sam Flecker

Also, be sure to follow Dealerslink on social media on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. We’ll see you soon.

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