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Dashboard Dialogues Episode 8 – The Life of an Internet Director

by | Apr 29, 2022 | Dashboard Dialogues, Dealerslink News | 0 comments

Spring has sprung, and with it comes a new episode of the Dashboard Dialogues podcast!

We were excited to welcome Olivia Nicholls, Internet Director of Schicker Ford St. Louis onto our podcast last week. Listen as Sam and Olivia discuss:
–      A day in the life of an internet director
–      How Dealerslink helps make Olivia’s job easier
–      “Ronda the Honda”

Transcript

00:00:18:09 – 00:00:42:07

Sam Flecker

Welcome back to another episode of the Dashboard Dialogues Podcast. Today I have a very special guest, Olivia Nicholls, Internet director of Schicker Ford in St. Louis. As Internet director. Olivia is somewhat of a jack of all trades, handling, business development, marketing, operational processes and system integrations for both the sales and the service departments. I had great conversation today with Olivia, and I think you all will like it.

00:00:42:17 – 00:00:51:04

Sam Flecker

Enjoy. All right. Today we are here with Olivia Nicholls the Internet director of Shhhh

00:00:51:14 – 00:00:54:09

Olivia Nicholls

Schicker Yeah, a little bit of a tongue twister

00:00:54:22 – 00:01:05:29

Sam Flecker

So you’re kind of a jack of all trades, if I’m not mistaken. And you handle, like, the business development, the marketing operational system stuff. So a lot of different stuff. Yeah.

00:01:07:07 – 00:01:32:23

Olivia Nicholls

Yeah. Yeah, a little bit of everything. I would say, especially in the role I’m in now, I kind of pulled in my experience in the automotive industry and into what I do on a daily basis. So a lot of it’s time to mainly business development, marketing working with the sales department, the service department, kind of the overall approach to dealership processes.

00:01:32:23 – 00:01:35:00

Olivia Nicholls

So yeah, yeah.

00:01:35:17 – 00:01:39:07

Sam Flecker

So yeah, I could probably stay pretty busy down these days, I imagine then. Yeah.

00:01:40:06 – 00:01:57:20

Olivia Nicholls

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s kind of why I love my position because there’s no downtime and I like to stay busy. So, you know, there’s always something to do to get back to my opinion and just kind of being able to prioritize it all is, is the biggest challenge.

00:01:57:26 – 00:02:08:20

Sam Flecker

Yeah, I agree with you that. So cool. Before I get started, you know, here on Dashboard Dialogues, we like to ask each one of our guests about their first car. So would you mind telling us about your first car?

00:02:09:27 – 00:02:17:18

Olivia Nicholls

Yeah. So I had a Honda Accord her name was Ronda, the Honda.

00:02:18:08 – 00:02:19:13

Sam Flecker

She’s got a name, like that.

00:02:20:03 – 00:02:42:16

Olivia Nicholls

Yes, absolutely. So, yeah, it was an ’02, the front bumper was put together with some chicken wire. So. Wow, she she was great, though. And yeah, my dad had to kind of bring that up after I kind of pulled that off going into a ditch. But she ran right then. Yeah. So that’s.

00:02:42:16 – 00:02:44:12

Sam Flecker

Cool. Still running or. No?

00:02:45:17 – 00:02:52:22

Olivia Nicholls

You know, you sold it. Yeah. We put it out in the front lawn and sold it.

00:02:53:02 – 00:02:53:14

Sam Flecker

That’s a good. way to do it.

00:02:53:14 – 00:03:02:14

Olivia Nicholls

I’m sure she’s still running. Sold it at 245,000 miles, so who knows? It’s a Honda, though, so, you know, you’ve been up with it.

00:03:03:10 – 00:03:12:22

Sam Flecker

Cool. Well, would you mind just telling us a bit about the dealership, Schicker Ford, that you work at in kind of just a little bit about the dealership Yeah.

00:03:12:22 – 00:04:05:04

Olivia Nicholls

So we’re located we are like the exclusive Ford dealer in the Saint Louis metropolitan area. Granted, there’s a lot of competition around us with the sales area, but we’re in the heart. We’re in South City and just kind of some background of Shicker – used to be McMann Ford, which is it was around for a long time. And Bill Schicker himself started out here and worked in the detail department as a porter mowing the lawn sales and then got into management and then worked his way up to the general manager and then obviously the ownership and the dealerships so that, you know, ran its course of time and he got ownership and built this amazing dealership.

00:04:05:04 – 00:04:32:14

Olivia Nicholls

And I think the core of who the dealership is really is what I love about it. And, you know, I never had the opportunity to meet Bill, unfortunately, he passed one year before I got here. But I know his legacy lives on and, you know, the things that were important to him, it wasn’t just about customer service and selling cars.

00:04:33:09 – 00:04:48:14

Olivia Nicholls

He was he served his neighbor and he was really involved in the community. And that’s that was his big thing. And I, I see that in his family. And it’s still family owned and operated.

00:04:48:14 – 00:04:49:23

Sam Flecker

So it’s awesome.

00:04:50:00 – 00:04:50:28

Olivia Nicholls

Yeah. Yeah.

00:04:51:11 – 00:05:00:11

Sam Flecker

That’s so great about car dealerships. I think, you know, so many of them are kind of these people that kind of bring in the whole community aspect you know? So a lot of them.

00:05:00:14 – 00:05:00:21

Olivia Nicholls

Yeah.

00:05:01:09 – 00:05:04:00

Sam Flecker

You can’t say that about every industry.

00:05:04:00 – 00:05:27:28

Olivia Nicholls

So yeah, I think I think also, too, is just the genuine involvement and you know that they still are within the dealership because I know there’s a lot of family owned dealerships that, you know, it’s not ran and operated by the family. So they’re in it and they’ve really taken a vested interest in their employees.

00:05:27:28 – 00:05:40:27

Sam Flecker

So yeah, that’s great. So do you mind telling us a bit just about the automotive market in Saint Louis? You said it was kind of touched on that it was pretty competitive, a lot of a lot of dealerships out there.

00:05:40:27 – 00:06:07:14

Olivia Nicholls

So yeah, yeah. No, it’s it’s super competitive. You know, from my background, from a different dealership, it was competitive but not quite as competitive. Yeah. And I have you know, it’s brought up a lot of challenges. What do we have to do to see about what’s our strategy? What’s that big picture? So, yeah, I think that’s that’s the big thing to recognize in our market.

00:06:07:14 – 00:06:40:22

Olivia Nicholls

And you know, obviously with everything that’s happened in the past three years has completely changed things. I mean, you know, you hear they say the automotive industry is always like five years behind and obviously COVID and everything has accelerated that, you know, that made us to be on our toes and be able to really dig deep and find what we can do to to better ourselves and be dynamic and yeah, that’s something you would never see in a this market.

00:06:41:08 – 00:06:41:16

Olivia Nicholls

Yeah.

00:06:42:04 – 00:07:08:12

Sam Flecker

I could imagine. Well, yeah. I mean, the last few years, you know, it’s nobody really knew what to expect. But I think it’s great how the industry is kind of kind of coming out of it now somewhat. So, yeah. So could you could you tell us a bit about just your more your role, more day of the day as Internet director, kind of some of the biggest kind of challenges you face on a daily basis?

00:07:09:24 – 00:07:38:19

Olivia Nicholls

Yeah, I would say just kind of like I said before, just taking all of the elements of the dealership and kind of looking at the big picture. But as far as my role goes, a big challenge is recognizing that with 99% or 90% I would say is just staying organized and riding out steps of how to do things and delegating things.

00:07:38:19 – 00:08:06:25

Olivia Nicholls

And even if it’s simple, I’ve really learned that those simple steps, they’re off my mind and I can give it to someone else, you know, it’s gone, right? So that’s really helped. And, you know, building up a BDC has been my focus over the last two and a half years. So and it’s not just, you know, the sales BDC I’m starting to dabble into the service BDC

00:08:07:12 – 00:08:39:17

Olivia Nicholls

So I’m looking at that and really focusing on the customer experience and what we can do to drive sales, of course. But really I think you know, all the internal dealership operations and processes and customizing processes telling improve on who we are has been a lot of what I work on and the integrations across all the systems. Yeah, it’s never ending.

00:08:39:19 – 00:08:40:04

Sam Flecker

Yeah, I can imagine

00:08:40:05 – 00:08:49:01

Sam Flecker

Jack of all trades, you know, sounds like you just kind of got your foot and everything. So I imagine the organization is such a big part of that.

00:08:49:01 – 00:08:56:11

Olivia Nicholls

So yeah, yeah, no it is. And have a really good team that supports you and yeah.

00:08:57:13 – 00:08:57:28

Sam Flecker

Essential.

00:08:59:04 – 00:08:59:09

Olivia Nicholls

Yeah.

00:09:00:03 – 00:09:19:00

Sam Flecker

Cool. So do you mind just touching on how because you guys obviously use Dealerslink, so do you guys mind, do you mind just telling us a bit about the role of Dealerslink in you guys dealership and kind of how it has helped you helped make your job easier and helped make dealership run more smoothly?

00:09:20:20 – 00:09:47:12

Olivia Nicholls

Yeah. So I feel like the solution Dealerslink brings to us would be, you know, obviously being able to analyze our inventory and understand where we’re at in the market, the health of our inventory. You know, our buyers are plugging into vehicles to make sure they’re a good buy analyzing where we need to be on pricing. And so that’s obviously a huge component that we value.

00:09:47:12 – 00:10:25:11

Olivia Nicholls

And then the reporting the analytics behind it is huge. So yeah, that would be one thing. The other part to it that I’ve incorporated is just building a used car reconditioning process and using the as simple as it is and it’s the streamline streamlines everything because the size of our dealership being three, three blocks to two pre-owned lots on, on each side of the new car building and you’ve got a quick lane service shop, used car service shop and then a main shop.

00:10:25:11 – 00:10:52:03

Olivia Nicholls

So inventory is flying around and I you had I, you know, there had to be some type of solution for us to get our hands wrapped around that. And I think the sales statuses within Dealerslink and the sale staus notes to be able to basically filter our inventory on where that and when and the flow of when a car gets stuck, then going to service is going to be tough to get.

00:10:52:03 – 00:11:15:09

Olivia Nicholls

It’s not that everyone’s on the same page. Yeah, you know, that’s crucial. So save a lot of people time, you know, not, not just managers. I think that the porters and the service department and the sales reps really and my department really, you know, we, we love that we’re able to see, you know, where our car is at, you know.

00:11:15:18 – 00:11:25:18

Sam Flecker

Yeah, yeah. Some guys kind of do it all your dealership, you know, so it sounds like kind of need to be all in one solution as we like to call it. So that’s, that’s good.

00:11:25:18 – 00:11:25:26

Olivia Nicholls

Yeah.

00:11:26:11 – 00:11:36:24

Sam Flecker

Good to hear yeah. Cool. I just got a couple more questions for you. So what advice would you have for dealers right now on dealing with the current market conditions?

00:11:36:24 – 00:12:11:29

Olivia Nicholls

Um, I would say making sure you have a dedicated person. It’s not one person, but many dedicated people in each department that are they’re good at looking at data, analyzing data and able to make decisions based on that. You know, whether it’s looking at your inventory, data pricing, CRM reporting. Yeah, Google Analytics all of those things kind of need to be analyzed.

00:12:11:29 – 00:12:44:05

Olivia Nicholls

And a lot of the inventory pricing, you know, that’s that’s a week to week thing. It’s not just the monthly thing. Set it and forget it, especially when the market we’re in. Yeah. So I would say, you know, knowing and understanding that and having a good team that can back , back you up on that and, and, you know, just continue to adapt and be dynamic and your, your approach because there’s, there’s always a new vendor throwing something your way and it’s hard to stay educated on what’s the best solution.

00:12:44:05 – 00:12:49:28

Olivia Nicholls

So yeah, you you have to look at the big picture when when making those types of decisions.

00:12:50:17 – 00:13:08:21

Sam Flecker

I couldn’t agree more and especially with, you know, just staying up to date with trends regardless of any industry, you know, right now is a change in technology is you know, we saw that color changing car not too long ago. I don’t know if you saw that from BMW but it’s like and who knows what’s going to be next.

00:13:08:22 – 00:13:26:20

Olivia Nicholls

And so I know it’s just a lot, but it’s exciting and know that’s what leads me to loving this industry is because there’s there’s always something new to learn. Every day is a challenge and there’s always something.

00:13:26:20 – 00:13:36:08

Sam Flecker

Well, my going off to that, my last question for you is why do you love working in the automotive industry? And you kind of just answered that, but is there anything else you wanted to mention.

00:13:36:12 – 00:14:04:06

Olivia Nicholls

Yeah. I mean, yeah, there’s just there’s a lot of opportunity in it to grow and yeah, you know, always something to do to improve. And, you know, I think customer retention is a big focus that I love that problem to solve because you know, there’s so many elements that go into it and it starts with the people and the process.

00:14:04:06 – 00:14:06:08

Olivia Nicholls

So yeah. So yeah.

00:14:06:25 – 00:14:27:10

Sam Flecker

Yeah. I think that’s a great answer. Yeah, I would agree. Thanks so much for tuning into this episode of Dashboard Dialogues. As usual, you can find our podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and YouTube. Also, be sure to follow dealers on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We’ll see you next episode.

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