Jordan! Thanks for talking with me today. I love to start pretty simple with just more about your background. How did you get into the industry?
When I was in high school, my best friend's dad was a sales manager at an independent import sales and service location in our small town. It was amazing how much fun he had selling cars, or really, how much fun he had just being a part of automotive. For him, it was not about the cars.
So, I'm 15, seeing all these amazing cars all the time and seeing him bring demo cars home, so of course, my mind goes to, "Oh man, you get to drive this kind of car ALL THE TIME!" This, of course, was not a great understanding of the whole industry, but that is where it started for me.
I finished college and wanted to work in finance. I asked my friend's dad for a job doing paperwork, and he asked the owner, but the owner said no.
Well, that was a short story...thanks for stopping by.
I realize now that it was like destiny. You need to fail so you can come back and be even better than you could have been initially. You need to be told no.
So a few weeks later, I went back and worked harder to sell myself to the owner. He finally said yes, and every day from that point on my mission was to prove him wrong for saying no that first time.
I sold vehicles for seven years with him, but I wanted to move on to something bigger. I started making youtube videos back in those days with a script I wrote, royalty-free music, and a clip-on mic. After I posted the first one, I ignored it for months. When I finally went to look, I was like, "How does this video have 19 thousand views?" So I decided to see what would happen if I gave it more focus and strategy.
A few projects later, I realized this isn't just about selling like we are used to. It's about selling yourself, your brand, your culture, and your community in the digital space to give someone an experience. When that switch flipped, I was all in.
This was back in the day, so I learned to code just by learning to do cool things on Myspace. Eventually, I moved on to building websites by bringing those two self-taught tools together to give people a better digital experience.
Wow! Sounds like way more than a job to you. I love hearing how you joined to get close to cool cars but found a different passion along the way.
So, bring us up to now. Tell me about how things are going.
Well, back on December 30, my friend and main mentor of over 3 years, Sam Sweeden, passed away. It has been a tough time and a central part of how things are going day-to-day.
Sam was an inspiring person to me and many others. It wasn't just about marketing for him. It was about life in general. Everything he did, he did because it worked. He knew how to connect to people and transfer his beliefs to other people.
The marketing team here is primarily three people: Me, Sam, and Clint, who was a 40-year friend of Sam's and another mentor of mine. And now Clint and I are trying to learn what we do, knowing we can never fill Sam's shoes, but how we honor Sam by taking things to a better place.
I often think now about how Sam would have done something at work and beyond. It is part of how I live my life, always trying to honor Sam. I know it sounds kinda silly, but it is true.
I don't hear ‘silly’ at all. Being lucky enough to have had somebody in your life you want to continue learning from is wonderful.
Coming back to the idea of "Making people believe what you believe," it sounds like he did just that, not with a product or method, but with seeing your work as something worth being invested in as a part of your life. Even just talking with you, I feel the respect and honor you are carrying on for Sam, and I'm grateful for it.
So, usually, I end these chats with a bit of personal wisdom. A message you'd like to share with our community that invites them to see something you see or focus on something you think is only becoming more important. Since we have welcomed Sam's memory into this chat, I would love to center the question there: What do you think Sam would leave in this interview to be a message to its readers?
A few weeks ago, Clint and I were talking and laughing and crying, and we decided to come up with as many Sam-isms as we could. Clint and Sam both grew up on farms, so they would pull out great little farm sayings from time to time, and one of my favorites was, "We ain't farming half as good as we already know how."
He would say that no matter what new technology or great new idea I showed him. And it means that we already know the answer to whatever problem we are trying to solve, and it is probably something super basic. Like, the problem itself is likely because of a neglected fundamental.
Lately, I've been thinking of that in terms of knowing how to treat people. We already know how to talk to people, how to help people, and how to help them move toward what they want. Now, we need to help them believe we are wholeheartedly on their side and mean it.