ASOTU CON Sessions Episode 3: Alex Flores

September 30, 2022
Glenn Lundy and Alex Flores sit down to chat at ASOTU CON 2022.
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Alex Flores is the Owner at Bravo Auto Group

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Paul Daly: 0:03You're listening to the show two concessions by effective recorded live in Philly.Glenn Lundy: 0:11

Okay, hey, this is Glenn. Let me with a Soto Kern sessions I've got the one and only Mr. Alex Flores. What's it like to be number one, Alex?

Alex Flores: 0:22

It's amazing. Just amazing. It's It's humbling.

Glenn Lundy: 0:28

Dude, you consistently keep doing this, you go into these dealerships you rally up these troops? You hold them accountable. I know you do that. Yep. But dude, there's dealers holding people accountable all over the nation. They're not getting results like you. What's the true magic sauce? Man? How are you growing these doors?

Alex Flores: 0:46

Well, Glen, you know, already there is no magic sauce. It's it's all about process. It's all about people. It's about being consistent with training, being consistent with, you know, making sure that people are growing each and every day. And that's something that as leaders, it's our responsibility to have all these things in place, and have conversations with people about doing their job making sure they're doing follow up making sure they're taking care of the customer. You know, I know that we hear a lot about culture. Right now we hear about having all this nice things at the dealerships for people and all this accommodation. So that's great. I love it. Right? It makes me want to go do it myself. Right. But what good would it be if we had all those things clean, and our customers weren't taken care of? So I think just like having people wanting to take ownership, and having this extreme accountability, and just having everybody to take an Ownership mindset, I think,

Glenn Lundy: 1:42

but here's the thing, Alex, I hear people saying all the time, but my people don't want to grow, right? My people don't want to grow, they've been in the business. They know what they're doing. They're happy where they're at, they're comfortable. So it's one thing for us to want them to grow. But how do we create that environment? Even for those that aren't interested in that? They're like, I'm comfortable? I'm good. What do you do with those people?

Alex Flores: 2:03

Well, I think that's, that's a myth. Man. I think everybody wants to grow. I think everybody wants to add value to their lives. And it's just, you have to make them believers, that your mission and your vision means something, and it's gonna make a difference. And I think, you know, we all know this claim that leading by example, I mean, you were at a dealership for many years. You did some amazing things yourself. You know, it was we did okay. No, you did amazing. And you know, that it takes someone leading from the front doing it every single day, and showing them that it can be done. And not only that, but not being what I always talk about, you heard me say this before, not being a travel agent, more of a tourist guy where I'm going to take you with me, and I'm going to show you how to do it. I'm not going to tell you to do it. I'm going to show you how to do it. Yeah.

Glenn Lundy: 2:53

I love that man. Yeah, it's been fun watching your journey watching you when watching you transform lives. I'm curious though. You went from working for someone else. And having a lot of success. You and I both worked for someone else. Yes. Now you're now you're the guy like your success is dependent on you. You're the top guy. What has been the biggest challenge with that transition from being successful working for someone else? Versus laying it all on the line?

Alex Flores: 3:19

Well, I think we all been there Glen, where we don't know, first of all, be careful what you wish for.

Unknown: 3:25

I was just talking to Prime Minister.

Alex Flores: 3:27

Second of all, you don't realize how much people are doing sometimes until you're in the shoes. And I think you know, I heard a sermon not too long ago, it said, when God gives you a favor, he also he also put you in a next level of faith. So I think you know, as we as we as God gives us favor, and we're brought up to the next level more is expected. Right? There's a Bible verse that I like it says, for those who are much is given much expected. And I think as leaders, going from a GM to an owner or going from a GM dealer partner to being an owner of a Bravo out of a group, with my partner, it's definitely humbled me is definitely shown me, hey, I need to grow. I haven't arrived. There's so many things. And trust me at the beginning, it was so challenging, man, I was like, What did I get myself into? I had it so good. But look, that's what we talk about all the time. I was comfortable. I was comfortable. I was winning. Winning was easy for me. I would come in and boom 600 700 800 cars, number one in Texas over and over and over just winning winning. Yeah, exactly. I come in with my shorts on and my, you know, my Yeezys and just have fun and get paid for doing it. But at some point, I had to say, You know what, I'm ready to be challenged again. And I took on dealerships that were very challenging in markets that I've never dealt with before with brands that I've never had before with brands and in places where nobody would want to buy that brand. And they were failing and underperforming and didn't have the right culture. didn't have the right inventory didn't have the right personnel and on purpose. I said, I'll take it, I'll take it. Because I know that it's going to be hard. But I always say when you do the things that are hard, your life will be easy. We do the things that are easy. Our life will be hard. Can I get an amen? I can get

Glenn Lundy: 5:16

an amen. One of the things that you do that's hard, also that makes other people's lives all better. Do you have a car church on Wednesday mornings, you're pulling together dealers, giving them a time to worship, which is a big deal, because a lot of dealerships around the country are closed, or they're open on Sunday. Yeah, right. And so even that day, that we could maybe go to church, a lot of them aren't going to church. But that's a hard thing to do, especially in 2022, where it's like, canceled culture. And you can't say this, and you can't do that. So tell me why that's so important to you to continue to integrate the spiritual piece to everything that you're doing. And for the people that follow you. Yeah, absolutely.

Alex Flores: 5:53

You know, the, the idea came behind what I've seen and experienced for so many years, the culture in a dealership, right where you least expected to have prayer time where you least expected to, to pray for one another, or to talk about God and all these things. And I felt like, Man, if I can, if I'm able to able, if I was ever in a position where I could talk about God, and I could bring these things up. I'm going to do it. And then what I did, I started doing within my dealership. And then I said, Well, what if we could do it with other dealerships. And that was right around the pandemic, where the zoom thing was starting. And I was like, let's just do a zoom and see how it goes. And we're going on two years now, with dealers all over the nation. We have dealer principals, we have GMs, we have managers, and even salespeople. And it's amazing man, just to see the growth that I've seen, and we're equipping ourselves as leaders, through through spiritual, you know, sharing with each other and learning. How can we be more of a servant? Leader?

Glenn Lundy: 6:57

Do you think that that? Do you think that that is an integral part of your success? Like, do you think I don't think you could have grown these dealerships this way without that?

Alex Flores: 7:08

No, sir. I don't think I know, I know. It's a fact. You know, it's, it's always been my rock. It's always been something that I hold on to dearly, because I've been through so much. I've been through so many challenges, so many, you know, where people left me and I had to learn about me and where things were challenging man and I and I'm an open book, like, you know, everything that I've been through, you know, because we're not, there's no such thing as a born leader. You know, I know, we've heard that before. You learn through trials and errors, right? And you learn through your wins and your losses. So definitely has been a fundamental platform for me to be able to rely on God and be able to do this. That's, that's why I'm here, man that I owe it all to

Glenn Lundy: 7:49

him. I love that man. I love that you keep that in front all the time. I think that's incredibly important. Here we are. 2022 Things are a little bit crazy. There's a lot of different conversations, what's going on with manufacturers? What's going on with franchised dealers? So talk to me, I see you growing and expanding. You're getting calls, you're picking up new stores. Is there any fears worries, concerns trepidations? Going so wide? With all of these different brands? are what are the OEMs really telling you when you're signing on these doors to expect in the future?

Alex Flores: 8:22

No, absolutely. I mean, the future is somewhat scary. I think, you know, nobody really knows what's going to happen but with people like you with 800 club with people like you a lot of my mentors Lysa Borgess and Scott Simon's and Brian benstock Our little circle, I think we encourage one another to just not be afraid and to keep going. And we think different right? We I was just talking to Patrick from Beaver Toyota, and I was telling them you know, there's some coaches out there who are just wanting to get a first down and they do a great job right they run the ball they don't do anything risky. And they they sometimes they can out coach you because they're just getting first in first out. Me and you and Patrick or you Patrick and I Excuse me. We're trying to get Hail Marys you know, throw it out there. See what happens and sometimes Yeah, exactly. You know what, we've made mistakes. Oh, yeah, we've thrown interceptions and we realized hey, that's probably not the right way to do it. But we also had some amazing touchdowns we've also had some amazing things happen. I mean, you know, I always say if you if you don't risk it you don't get the biscuit

Glenn Lundy: 9:37

it's it's an interesting season. Right. And we are having to have some hard conversations. And I think it's important that we have those circles the right circles of people right because we could jump into some circles that are like gloom and doom, lean back, pull back on your advertising reduce on your cars, you know, we can't win the all of those mentalities or you can be around Eliza have been stopped uh Patrick assignments, all all the all these dealers that I let go pedal to the pedal to the metal. I love it, man, those conversations are getting a little bit harder, I think between us on the dealer side and the OEMs. I know that they're starting to create. Yeah, there's some friction there, right? Yeah. So Jim Farley comes out and says some things for the Eevee conversation. How important is it in your dealerships to have those hard conversations with your people in order to keep them in line and pursuing excellence, even though they got all this going on around him?

Alex Flores: 10:36

Yeah, man, we talk about blocking the noise every day. Just block the noise. Because, you know, I think I heard David Spees at one time. In fact, I think it was at your event, he said, you have the outside, you know, culture. And then you have your own culture in your dealership where your belief system and what you believe in and we believe that we're going to win, we believe that we're going to overcome and and if you think about all the things that this car business This industry has overcome throughout the years, 911 recession, the all the things that we've seen that tsunami in Japan couldn't get Toyota to save your life. All these things, the the resume, yes, so many things not and not the pandemic and, and the strike with GM and getting the cars to the dealerships and all these things that we've been through now. And every time we seem to overcome every time we seemed well, the ones that really want to they can just write and that's how we believe we feel like no matter what, we're going to create a formula, according to the, I guess circumstances, the environment. And we're going to make sure that we come up with something that will sustain and right now that's that's a big focus for us. We're really focused on customer service, focus on variable, excuse me, fix offs, making sure that when our customers come to serve as they have the best experience, and making sure that we're profitable in fix offs, to our best of our abilities, and maximize every single opportunity, because I feel like right now dealers are letting variable be the number one source of income. And that's a big mistake.

Glenn Lundy: 12:08

I agree. Yes, I agree. 100% 800, per

Alex Flores: 12:12

se, but to put to answer your question is we do have the hard conversations of hey, that's that's the outside world. We think different. We have a growth mindset, not a fixated mindset. Those people may say this, but hey, we're gonna this is how we're going to move forward. And I think communication and being able to tell your team what they like make sure that there's clarity in the mission and the vision that makes all the difference.

Glenn Lundy: 12:36

I was at Patrick a beds dealership, and we we took the whole team in the conference room. And we said okay, is anybody what's what's the word? What's the buzzword starts with our everybody's talking about right now. And they were like recession, recession recession. I said, Alright, let's grab that recession. Everybody hold it in their hands. I told him we ended up by saying you you're crumple it up real quick and right, crumpled it up. I said now throw it throw it out as you can and I say that hopefully it'll land on your competitors doorstep. There's no recession going on in this building right here. Right? It's really important that we do that Alex on top of running stores, your bid you're making podcasts, you're on social like crazy, you're always posting you're showing all those things. Why is it so important to you that you do all of these outside things? Why not just bury your head and grow your stores make your money and move on?

Alex Flores: 13:21

Because I believe we're all put in this world to for a purpose. And I feel like my purpose with with my story where I came from and you and I have really you know similar stories different but very similar in many ways. I think we can be an inspiration to others and I've met so many people just here at this conference that are like a flow I just wanted to let you know man you're you're an inspiration and and sometimes my wife's like why do you have to post everything? Why do you have to let it go? And they say man You inspire me to be a better father You inspire me to spend more time with my family. You inspire me to motivate my team you inspire me to be more positive and sometimes in somebody told me yesterday I think when I wake up in the morning and I'm I start even thinking about being negative as soon as I watch your video I'm like no no I feel sad don't do it. Wake up on the wake up on the right side of the bed right cuz we have to do this so I think all of us can use what our great God given gift and use it to show people that it can be done.

Glenn Lundy: 14:22

That's right, brother. Our time's up. 15 minutes goes fast. Oh, yes. So do concessions. The one and only Mr. Alex Flores. Brother. I love you. Continued success. I'm wishing it to you I'm just for you.

Alex Flores: 14:36

Thank you sir. Appreciate you. Thank you.

Paul Daly: 14:41

Thank you for listening to this as So to concession 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 and podcasts also live streamed on YouTube and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto collabs off Don't collapse. And if you just want to go a little different in 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.