Happy days today. We’re sitting here at Lake Powell Ford, and I’m sitting here with my main man, Cole. Say hi, sir.
Hi. How you guys doing?
Good, man. So I love this store, man. It’s kind of got like a little hometown feel to it. Coming from California, it’s obviously hard to get that feeling in California, anywhere in California for that matter, right?
So talk to me a little bit about– before we go into kind of really what I want to talk about on topic, talk to me a little bit about your background, man. How long you been doing this? I know everyone’s got a crazy car business story like how I got in the auto industry. All of us can write a book about that, right? So kind of talk to me about that. How’d you get in the car business?
Well, first off, I came here from Pittsburgh. Graduated college.
Okay. So stop right there. So I guess the very first question we’re going to ask is, is everyone that comes from Pittsburgh a Steelers fan?
That’s the first question.
All right. So you’re a Terrible Towel guy. So you’re waving that all over the place, and you’ve got the yellow towel, and the whole bit, right?
Yep. I got it on the front of my truck too, so.
Oh, the front of the truck. All right. Fair enough, right? Just needed to ask that.
Yeah. So came here from Pittsburgh right after college. Wasn’t sure really what I wanted to get into. My brother was living out here in Page, so just wanted to change the whole scenery and stuff, so I moved out here to Page, and started looking for jobs, and seen a Ford dealership. So I stopped in and sales was something I always got into, so started out, asked them, had an interview, and started the next week, sales on the floor, and that was my first sales job. And been here for three years now. About a year and a half into it, they moved me up to the marketing director, and been in this position for the last year and a half. And really love the feel here in the town and definitely going to the lake and wakeboarding and doing things like that, so that’s [crosstalk] kind of stuff.
Sure. I mean, unless you’re from here, you don’t understand, right? You think of Page, Arizona like way out in the boondocks, but it really is beautiful, man. I mean, it is gorgeous around here.
Yeah, it is.
A little nippy right now, by the way. Little cold. Little cold.
Yeah. Yeah, it’s cooling down quicker than usual.
It’s cooling down quicker. Yeah, it’s pretty cold, man. So all right. So let’s talk a little bit about– no, we’re not going to talk about the Steelers because I’m a Charger fan, and us Charger fans hate the fact that you always win, man. I ain’t going to lie. You guys always win, okay? You guys always find a way to win, right? Even when Bettis fumbles the ball right at the line, you guys still find a way to win, man. So what I want to talk about is holidays coming up, obviously. We’re in November. Thanksgiving’s coming up. Christmas is coming up. The end of year. Black Friday, man. That is something people go crazy for. You hear news stories, man. People trample each other to try and get a $99 32-inch TV, you know what I mean? That we don’t condone, obviously, but Black Friday’s also something big in the auto industry, right?
You’ve gone through it twice already. This is going to be your third year on Black Friday, right?
So talk to me a little bit about Black Friday. I mean, really, does it get any bigger than Black Friday in the automotive industry?
I personally don’t see it as a bigger holiday than Black Friday, and the reason is because I mean, this year looking at the ’18 models, the ’19s are coming right around the corner, so.
Yeah. And then you got end of year too. Yeah, for sure.
Yeah. So I mean, the incentives right now on the ’18s are through the roof rebate-wise, interest rate-wise. So Ford’s pushing a lot of good offers for this year, including especially on their SUVs, like the Escapes and Explores and stuff. The rebates are high.
And what people need to understand about rebates is realistically, at the end of the day, that’s free money, right? Because the factory gives that, right?
So it’s free money. So if you’re looking to buy whatever, F-150, Expedition, whatever, whatever it is you’re looking to buy, when you see a 4 or 5 thousand dollar rebate, that’s $5,000 extra dollars that you didn’t have to reach into your pocket.
Yep. Yep, and that’s [crosstalk] from Ford.
Right? I mean, yeah.
It’s [crosstalk] right down from their price.
Yeah. Yeah, no doubt. All right. So excellent. All right. So Black Friday’s pretty big, right? So what makes this the biggest event of the year for the dealership, right? Besides the fact that it already has national recognition, right? There’s no way you can say Black Friday and people don’t know what you’re talking about. People already know what Black Friday is, right? So what do you guys start to notice, right? Do you start to notice that the phone rings a lot more often and you get more internet leads? Kind of talk to me a little bit about that.
Yeah. I mean, you definitely have people shopping, I mean, either it could be for themselves or it could be for a family member or a husband shopping for his wife to get her a new vehicle, coming up on Christmastime, knowing that the sales are so high. So I mean, definitely internet-wise is a big thing. People definitely internet shop, and just like Cyber Monday and stuff. So people up to Christmastime from Black Friday on, it seems, till the year ends, it’s really [crosstalk].
So would you suggest– and this is just 10-foot view kind of talking more as a consumer, right? Do you suggest for a consumer to say, “Hey, I’m going to at least come test drive early before the Black Friday hoopla happens, right, so at least this way I knock that out of the way,” before you come during Black Friday and you got a bunch of people on a lot and you don’t have enough salespeople because the thing with smaller town dealerships like this is salesforce is limited, right?
Yeah. Oh, yeah.
It’s not like you’re walking into some of these other dealerships where you have thirty salespeople, right? So you have five at a time, six at a time, four at a time, right?
So four salespeople, the minute you get a fifth customer–
Then you’re scrambling around. Definitely, definitely help the salesperson as well if the customer came in– and our salespeople here, I mean, they’re definitely friendly and they understand if somebody is just in the market to look right now and want to test drive something and not in a dire need to buy that day. They’re totally fine with still treating them great and taking them out on a test drive and finding a vehicle that they might want two weeks from now, a month from now, so.
I will tell you, man, biggest difference between small dealerships like this in small towns like this is just the level of friendliness, man, from your salesforce. It just is insane. I mean, what a big difference. Not that some of these other dealerships aren’t friendly, but they get so many more customers walking in and out, right? You know what I mean? So it’s kind of a different feel. At least that’s what I notice anyways.
And we try to make all of our customers feel like they’re a part of our family because us here, we’re so tight-knit that we feel like we’re part of a family, and we like making our customers feel that way as well.
Right. So Black Friday deals specific to particular models. I know that the factory typically doesn’t offer any special warranties or anything like that, but a lot of times, they will offer special incentives. Is that a model-type thing? Does that depend on the factory? How does that happen? How do they pick where those bigger rebates come into play?
I think, I mean, me personally, I don’t 100% know exactly where they’re coming from, but it seems like they’re more so picking the ’18s specifically, the ones before the ’19s are launched. And the ’18s are definitely going to have the higher incentives throughout the whole board from the small cars, the Fiestas, all the way up to the F-150s, F-250s. They’ll have higher rebates. Technically, I think right now as well, they’re pushing the SUVs and pickup trucks because they know winter’s coming. People are going to have rougher road conditions, you know what I mean? There’s going to be snow, and it’s going to be raining more. It’s going to be cold. So the four-wheel drives as well. It’s a nice thing that they’re putting the high rebates this time of year for the [four-wheel drives?].
And a lot of times too, the difference between an ’18 and a ’19 is like nothing. A lot of times, it’s color variance. Maybe you’ll see a difference in a grill. Maybe. But a lot of times, it’s the exact same car or truck, right?
Yeah. Yeah, definitely from, I mean, the last few years as well. The F-150 has been the same. Minor changes. The grill, they change out the grill, and the tailgate. They put the F-150 logo a little bit larger on the tailgate. But I mean, it’s been pretty much the same truck. It’s the aluminum alloy body. Everything’s pretty much the same. Same motor. Same trim levels. Like you said, every year, they might bring in a new color or something, but that’s basically [crosstalk].
Yeah. Yeah, that’s what I figured. And hey, listen. If there’s a rebate out there that’s 3, or 4, 5 thousand dollars large, I might be willing to overlook a Ford badge or a color at that point, right? I got five thousand reasons to overlook a difference in a badge, right, at that point, right?
Yes. Yeah, that’s totally it.
All right. So if a consumer wanted to beat a crowd, right, how much of the process can be handled digitally at this point, right? Because the reality is digital’s taking over, right? We know it, right?
So it’s up to us, the dealers, to– or you guys, really, the dealers, to come up with tools that make the process easier, right? So what part of the process can a consumer take care of online on your website?
To be honest with you, they could almost take care of everything other than test driving that vehicle and seeing it physically in person because I mean, online, we have a lot of great photos of the vehicles. We have a thing called SpinCar as well, which shows them virtually inside the whole vehicle. They can do a 360 degree on it, see all the features from the touchscreens to the backup cameras to how many miles are exactly on that vehicle at that moment. They can do a credit application right online and knock that portion off, so we could already have the approval set in stone before they even walk into the dealership to test drive that vehicle, so. Pretty much everything other than seeing that vehicle in person and signing the paperwork.
So other than really the touch and the feel, everything else pretty much can be done digitally at this point, right?
Which I’m assuming would make the process easier once a customer comes in, right?
Right. Got it. All right. So listen, I appreciate your time. I know it’s difficult to step away from your desk sometimes, especially in your position, so I appreciate the fact that you did take the time to at least–
Yeah. No problem.
–to talk to us and kind of let us know kind of how Black Friday works around here. I do believe it’s one of the biggest weekends and the biggest back halves of a month in the auto industry, period. Even though the industry has changed dramatically, at the end of the day, people still want a good deal, period. I don’t care what digital sector has opened up or what applications are out there. The reality is people still want deals, and they still want to be treated like human beings, right?
So I have to give you a hand on both those things, right? I think that you have a good shot of selling a lot of cars during Black Friday weekend, right, ultimately.
Well, listen, Cole. I appreciate your time, man. Thanks for the conversation. It’s been great, and we’re definitely looking forward to having you on another podcast, man.
Yeah. Thanks for having me, and go Steelers.
Oh my God. There we go. Guys, don’t go Steelers. Go Chargers. Thanks, guys. Appreciate your time.