50 Employees In A Book Club with Blanca Arias-Martinez

June 10, 2024
In this episode, Paul J Daly speaks with Blanca Arias-Martinez about the unexpected fusion of high-end hospitality and the fast-paced auto auction industry.
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In this episode, Paul J Daly speaks with Blanca Arias-Martinez about the unexpected fusion of high-end hospitality and the fast-paced auto auction industry. Blanca shares her unique approach to integrating high-end hospitality into the fast-paced environment of an auto auction, inspired by Will Guidara's concept of "unreasonable hospitality." They discuss the impact of this philosophy on employee engagement, community building, and overall business culture, highlighting innovative practices like book clubs and leadership development programs that have transformed their workplace.

Blanca reveals how her team, drawing on experiences from the restaurant industry, emphasizes adding value to people—both employees and customers—over merely selling cars. This conversation offers a fresh perspective on blending hospitality with the automotive sector, showcasing how intentional leadership and community-focused initiatives can create a thriving, positive work environment.

0:00 Intro

1:30 Emphasizing People Over Cars

2:00 The Unique Culture of Big Valley Auto Auction

2:30 Applying High-End Hospitality in an Auto Auction

3:00 The Impact of Book Clubs on Leadership

3:50 Engaging Employees Through Continuous Learning

4:20 Blanca's Visit to Eleven Madison Park

4:50 Anticipation for Will Guidara’s Keynote

Thanks to Effectv for making this episode of ASOTU CON Sessions possible! Learn more about Effect here: https://www.effectv.com/

Paul J Daly: 0:00

If you're listening to the ASOTU CON sessions by effective live from ASOTU CON 2024. Welcome to ASOTU CON Conversations in collaboration with our friends at effective. This is a surprise episode I have my LinkedIn friend Blanca here. And we actually connected on LinkedIn around the concept of unreasonable hospitality. totally correct. And so I believe I made a post about, Will Guidara, our keynote speaker tomorrow night, you're all gonna love him his book, and you commented on the book, and I sent a message back and I said, we're gonna have her Minnesota cotton, you should come. And, and this has actually happened, but you're not a dealer. You're not really an industry partner, but you kind of are. But you run an auto auction? That's correct. So tell us a little bit about the auction and where it's at. And, and why you found your way to will and like how you deploy that in auction? We don't really talk about the the auction much, right? A lot of times we talk about Honestly, how to avoid the auction as dealers right? And you know, that's why we're here to help. Right? So so why don't you tell us a little bit about your business and what you do there? Well, now we'll

Blanca Arias-Martinez: 1:13

have to say we we work at an action. The action has been there for the last 15 years, the name is Big Valley out of action, and we are down in south Texas. So we're like 15 minutes from Mexico, really on the border. But you know, you'll see the general manager, the assistant manager and in front of the whole group. But it goes back to the theme just, you know, believing on, you know, add value to the people. And that's what we're doing. And that's how I connect to you guys. I think I first started looking at your content, like probably a year ago, I love your slogan, you know, and you know, we have a saying, you know, the cars are cars, they're just metal the people is, as well, we need to you

Paul J Daly: 2:00

say at the auction cars, our cars, cars, our cars,

Blanca Arias-Martinez: 2:02

they will go through comeback and you know, we help our employees, first of all community because you know, we have a different culture different, you know, just different. And also our dealers are different. So, you know, just helping the community, the people, the dealers, and just creating the opportunities, you know, it's not about selling more cars or less cars is like, okay, yeah, we got to do these because we sell cars, but you just, you know, that's the idea. So

Paul J Daly: 2:29

what what really struck me about what you're doing is that you take high end hospitality and we'll get dere and 11 Madison Park, and being a dream weaver? And if you don't know what that means you will soon and then do you think auto auction, right, which is a lot of moving parts, a lot of personality, a lot of you know, energy, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, right? Like it's you're in the thick of things happening moving fast. Every single week, when you get attached to a principle like unreasonable hospitality. How do you think about deploying that in a space where I don't know if anyone's ever thought about it? Like, how can I apply unreasonable hospitality into an auto auction?

Blanca Arias-Martinez: 3:08

Well, I'm or GM, she used to have the restaurants. So she's into the hospitality Lisa Franks. And I think we all have worked in restaurants. So we kind of see that, you know, that hospitality bar. And, you know, we just, we actually, we invest a lot on our employees, like I say, leadership and just like adding value. And one of the things that we started like four years ago was doing book clubs. So right now we have, well, we just finished that book club without unreasonable hospitality. And we have 20 people, top leaders, but right now we're doing another one. It's called the 20. Last leadership. But we have 50 people, we have 80 employees. So we're trying to

Paul J Daly: 3:48

reach 50 of your 80 people already are in the book club. Yeah. That's impressive. Yeah, that's impressive. How many? How many people have some kind of in your, your dealership or your business have some kind of education opportunity like that, where people can just talk around a concept or Book One, two, I think this is 3456. We're gonna count all of you. I think this is a really big opportunity to just get around one topic, and just go through it together. Because even if it doesn't spur the conversation, that you know, is necessarily the output of the book. I think it just gets people to build some relationship and it does take extra time. I understand. It's tough to do. So you have 50 of your ad people are in this. Yeah. And you've just got through unreasonable hospitality. Yes. And here you are at a soda con.

Blanca Arias-Martinez: 4:36

Yeah, we were in New York last night.

Paul J Daly: 4:38

Did you go to 11? Madison party you went to goodness. Yeah. Was it

Blanca Arias-Martinez: 4:42

amazing? They actually took us into the kitchen and prep or something for us in there. Oh, what it felt like home.

Unknown: 4:50

Stories. Are you get to meet Well, tomorrow night. Yeah, no, please signs the book. Thank you so much for being a good sport. And thank you for volunteering here. Let's hear for rockin Everybody makes sure you meet her before you. Thank you for listening to this ASOTU CON session by effective if you want more content like this, you can check out our other podcasts we have a daily show called The automotive troublemaker Monday through Friday. Here on podcasts also live streamed on YouTube, and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto Collabs Auto Collabs. And if you just want to go a little deeper into this community, you should sign up for our regular email we put our heart and soul into it. You can get it for free by going to a sotu.com. We'll see you next time.

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