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Kyle Mountsier: 0:00This is in the dirt with a soda. Alright, we're here at MRC modern retailing conference, Brian Pasch event and hanging out with our new friend, Virginia Clark. And Virginia has been a part of a lot of the creative course here that we've been doing. And you are in Tyler, Texas, and is your title marketing director. We didn't really ask that. Or have a lot of different titles. You said, you said the first time you were like, I wear this hat one minute and then another.Virginia Clark: 0:31
Another hat. Exactly. Exactly. You know, social media content, website management, special events, community involvement. I call it like a Yes, sir. Yes, ma'am. Job. Whatever they asked me to do. I'm gonna roll with it. I'm a graphic designer as well. So that's kind of how it all started out. Okay, working for them. I was doing graphics and falling over the internet customers forum and saw this whole two very
Paul Daly: 0:55
different things. I know. It's great. I was just working on graphics and following up with all the internet customers. Yeah.
Virginia Clark: 1:01
Well, I saw a hole because nobody was managing the website or the social media. So I got in with this internet job. And went to my boss was like, you have enough people on your team to like manage these leads and follow up with them. Why don't I do this instead? And so it just kind of evolved from that.
Kyle Mountsier: 1:18
So you came in as like an internet sales or BDC type rep or
Virginia Clark: 1:22
more of like a BDC? Like I just really just called customers all day long. That's all I did, and hope they answered.
Kyle Mountsier: 1:28
And then you've evolved by kind of making a role for yourself. And then that's expanded, and people are like, Ah, this is the thing you could do. And you could probably you could also involve, you know, yeah, a lot like how Nate did it too. Yeah. You know, that's really cool. So how long have you been with the group at this? We
Paul Daly: 1:41
talked about Nate Greklek Mohawk.
Virginia Clark: 1:43
Yes. Let's see in April to be 11 years.
Paul Daly: 1:47
Wow. I didn't know what that was a first job out of college. What did you study?
Virginia Clark: 1:53
Art History and graphic design?
Paul Daly: 1:54
There you go.
Virginia Clark: 1:57
To be a teacher, I was gonna make some money or work at car dealer.
Paul Daly: 2:01
If we had a nickel for every time. So how did you start in the auto industry? Well, I went to art school.
Kyle Mountsier: 2:07
I was a music major in college.
Virginia Clark: 2:08
Yeah. Creativity. I mean, it works in the auto dealership. Really? Yeah, absolutely. So
Paul Daly: 2:12
tell us about your your day to day like what type of stuff are you doing? Like I know you said this yesterday. Yes, ma'am. Job. But like, in your ideal world, where you're focusing on the things where you think you can make the biggest impact? What are you doing,
Virginia Clark: 2:23
man are so good to me. They make my schedule, just really flexible. But day to day in the mornings, you know, I answer all my emails, follow up with my website providers have any ongoing projects or any graphics projects that I have going on? COVID Actually, I kind of stopped with the graphic design stuff, because there was nothing to market, you know, but it's picking back up. So I'll probably do all that from home. And then around 10 3011 I go to the store, I check in with the managers check in with my manager, my senior manager. Talk to our delivery team. They're pretty good content creators for me because they know all of the ins and outs of the vehicles and they know our customers and our customer base. So
Paul Daly: 3:05
little squad going
Kyle Mountsier: 3:06
got little squat. So yeah, so what are you kind of like a one on one type in the marketing persona? Are there other people? Yeah,
Virginia Clark: 3:12
it's only me, man. Tell us
Paul Daly: 3:14
about tell us about your store. Like what do you sell? What's the volume like,
Virginia Clark: 3:18
Oh, we're a machine. We are super well manage. Our General Sales Manager has been there for over 25 years. Our fixed ops manager has been there for over 10 years. We sell probably about 400 500 cars a month. That's
Kyle Mountsier: 3:34
just a couple few. That's one of the biggest store is
Virginia Clark: 3:37
really really well managed. I mean, our team is just incredible. We have great sales managers we have great, you know, service writers and great management over the fixed areas. So it's all about personnel. We're what you would say like in a more rural market, about 100,000 people within the city about 300,000 people within the county or you know surrounding area. And we're the biggest store we're probably the well not probably we are the biggest Toyota store sales wise between Dallas and Shreveport.
Paul Daly: 4:11
So what is your what is your blast radius? Like how far out do you sell from from the center of where the store is from the
Virginia Clark: 4:18
center that like the one offs
Paul Daly: 4:20
and two offs but like if I live 50 miles away? Am I still gonna buy a car from you? For sure how about 100 miles away?
Virginia Clark: 4:27
No because then you'd be in Dallas competitive edge that we have over Dallas right now with the you know inflation and the markups and everything we're not charging 10 grand over MSRP so that
Paul Daly: 4:38
market adjustment not being there we have
Virginia Clark: 4:41
one but it's it includes with like a warranty that goes with it so it's you know, it's
Paul Daly: 4:45
not just because it's expensive,
Virginia Clark: 4:47
right like we we make sure to add features in there like you know, key replacements with within a year didn't you know, valueless didn't repair?
Paul Daly: 4:55
Yeah, more but there's a value prop on the other side. Exactly. Do you make any content That is that is just talking about the brand. That because you said we have a great store, we have great managers, we have great people, it's a great culture, you're obviously a machine pumping out for 500 a month. Do you talk about the culture of the store and your stuff
Virginia Clark: 5:14
we try to I try to, especially with community involvement. So, you know, we're used to having 300 cars on our front line, we're at the second busiest intersection in the entire county. I mean, everybody knows where we are. And they see our empty lot. So we're like, Well, what are we going to do with this empty lot? We just decided to invite food trucks out that so they get the visual? Yeah, you know, they get all the advertising there on the set, you know, we're the only car dealership where we are on that side of the highway, you know, you got to keep going down ways. So I just all the drive by traffic, all the drive by traffic. Yeah. And so like, even Halloween, we did a trunk or treat, and all the departments decorated a trunk and we opened it up to the public, you know, just like a safe place for kids to come and Trick or treat, get some free candy, and I can go trick or treat with their parents, you know, something easy like that. So we try to do little projects like that within the community that just show that we're good people, we're just like you, you know, we've got kids too. We have jobs, too. So that's really cool. That's kind of the approach I take to it.
Kyle Mountsier: 6:17
What is the biggest thing you're challenging yourself or the store is challenging itself with headed into this next year right now?
Virginia Clark: 6:25
Oh, my challenge is being more creative in this content and pushing myself because I'd love to hear that. Well, I mean, you know, you get a lot of feedback. And a lot of its negative, you know, you get a lot of push, push back. And I can be pretty timid about that right now. So,
Paul Daly: 6:42
no, I understand. So you're saying like, you make something and suggest it and maybe put it out into the world. And then all this unsolicited feedback starts to come in? Yeah.
Virginia Clark: 6:53
Or we have a manager meeting about it, and I have an idea. And then they're like, No, it's not gonna work. That'll never happen, you know, and we've tried different things. Within the dealership, we had a concert series for a couple of years, started out with a huge bang, and just kind of trickled down after that. So you know, you try and you fail. And that's okay, and you move on. And I think with me, video is going to be the biggest thing I need to work on this, you know, getting creative with it. Because we post a lot of like, you know, customer pictures, community involvement and things like that, but I'm not, I need to get better about the day to day aspect of the dealership and showing people like, who we are what we do. And you know how we really appreciate our customers.
Kyle Mountsier: 7:37
Well sounds like a target regulatory environment, because you were like, I got a great sales management team. I got great advisors have amazing delivery specialists. And so you just got a target rich environment I really excited to see like, I've we're gonna follow, we're gonna follow the account.
Virginia Clark: 7:52
I really do feel like the weak link at the stores.
Paul Daly: 7:56
That's a little something we all call impostor syndrome. And even in the car business, but let me just tell you, there are not a lot of people that get to do what you do. And there's certainly not a lot of people who can be articulate and passionate about it. So I want to throw that credibility your way.
Virginia Clark: 8:10
Thank you. I adore my job. I love where I work. I love my classic Mercedes family. It's there. It's an incredible place to work. And, you know, I have a two year old so having this job flexibility and schedule. It's like touching. It sounds like
Paul Daly: 8:26
you've already won.
Virginia Clark: 8:28
So it's good.
Well, Virginia, thank you so much for taking some time with us hanging out being a part of the creative track and sitting down In The Dirt with ASOTU and on your very first podcast first.
Virginia Clark: 8:38
I know at first you crushed it. Thank you for that guys. Talk to you soon. Okay, bye.
Kyle Mountsier: 8:45
Thank you for listening to In The Dirt with ASOTU. We love the automotive industry and the people who make it run day in and day out. We would love to connect with you more through our daily dose of fun, a free email that you can sign up for at asotu.com That's a s o t u.com. We put our heart and soul into it every day. Thanks again for listening. Join us next time for more Conversations In The Dirt with ASOTU