Hello From The Other Side with Brian Kramer

August 16, 2022
Brian Kramer is in a whole new ballgame. After spending years on the dealership side, he has joined Cars.com as their EVP and GM of Accu-Trade. Michael Cirillo, Paul J Daly and Kyle Mountsier talk to Brian about this transition, and the issues that he’s now experienced on both sides. They also touch on haircuts, lead fatigue and pitch slapping.
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What we talk about in this episode:
Intro with Michael, Paul and Kyle

10:05 The schedule of the industry partner and the dealer, and their priorities, don’t always line up. Brian realized this when he was on the other side of phone calls he had been receiving as a dealer.

13:57 Brian thinks that vendors need to stop “pitch slapping” dealers by piling new widgets and tools.

21:52 Brian also sees a need for dealers to stop “pitch slapping” consumers by trying to sell them something when they really aren’t interested.

25:40 Ultimately, Cars.com, like Automotive State of the Union, is for the dealer. Brian talks about how Alex Vetter has centered Cars around arming the rebels and pushing back.

“I'll tell you, there's a lot of people there that are working in the same direction, to really transform this industry, I mean, Alex Vetter has put this north star out there of really empowering dealers for all the disruption that's happening to be like a safe haven to be able to sit there and just be arming them with as many tools as possible to hang with any disrupter that comes into the space, and make it easier and simpler so that they don't have to do an insane amount of work to do it.”

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Kyle Mountsier, Paul Daly, Brian Kramer, Michael Cirillo

Paul Daly  00:00

As far as I know, there is only one person in the automotive industry


this is Auto Collabs

Paul Daly  00:12

that has a fake Google listing where his house is as a Seinfeld reference.

Michael Cirillo  00:17

Really? Should we all at the same time name who we think? Yeah, go

Paul Daly  00:21

ahead. Who do you think it is?

Michael Cirillo  00:22

123. Brian. I knew the answer to that.

Kyle Mountsier  00:29

I knew I did, too, but I was trying to be goofy. Like,

Paul Daly  00:33

Michael was gonna say, did you know the answer to that?

Michael Cirillo  00:35

Well, I knew who we were doing the episode on. So yes.

Paul Daly  00:39

I was gonna be talking about that. I didn't I could have just been a left field thing. Well,

Michael Cirillo  00:44

well on episode zero, since we don't start with the number one in the United States. We talked about how we were so inside of each other's brains that we finish each other's

Kyle Mountsier  00:55

sandwiches, right? Yeah, I see. I see. You haven't seen the movie in long enough

Paul Daly  01:00

man to see that movie. My kids have been in the play. They've sang the songs. I know.

Michael Cirillo  01:06

You were a tree in the background understudy?

Paul Daly  01:09

No, that gets you arrested when? Michael, who we're talking about today. Speaking of getting arrested. I don't know where to go with that segue. I don't know if he's ever been arrested. But Brian Kramer that was the weirdest intro ever. Brian Kramer is someone who loves a good laugh, right? He's probably laughing along with this right now without a doubt. But with without a doubt. Also, he is one of the sharpest people like I know, period, not in the automotive industry. It's every year whenever he starts talking, I think to myself, I hope I can keep up. Yeah.

Kyle Mountsier  01:43

And here's the thing. It's unassuming, as all get out, right? Because every makes sense. Everybody the way he said, Well, it's so matter of fact, like, well, if you if you read the Carvana report on their latest quarterly earnings call, and you're like, skirt ended and you already

Paul Daly  01:57

wrote 20,000 words on it? Yes,

Kyle Mountsier  01:59

exactly. Yeah, I think he's, he's unassuming about it. But he's dialed in on his thought processes. And he is he's someone that really understands how to marry tech to people really, really well, understanding how they dynamically work with each other. You know, when we when we got the first recording of him doing the Metaverse signing, he was not too proud to say like, people aren't ready for this. Even us we struggled. And yes, it's maybe on the horizon, but it's way far out over the horizon. And maybe the tech isn't ready, the 5g isn't there, even the customer, right, recognized that it wasn't right. So he did pretend this is going to fix everything. Exactly, exactly.

Michael Cirillo  02:43

But he's not afraid to get his hands dirty and try something right. Like when I had him on my show, we talked a lot about that. And I really think the term for him is pioneer. He was a pioneer because he's willing to go where no one else has gone before, really, to your point, like first a paperless transaction for his stores. And he talks about the ups and downs of trying to figure that out. Now the Metaverse doing the first card transaction in the metaverse and, and when I tried to book him on my show the last time he's like, why don't we do it in the Metaverse? Where I think most people are like, That sounds expensive. Yeah. Well, you know, what, if you're playing the long game, and you're looking to your point to the to the tip of the horizon, that's the name of the game. And so, for me, he's a real pioneer, because he can see that horizon. And he's, he's constantly thinking about, to your point, how to connect the consumer experience to the tech. Well, and

Kyle Mountsier  03:39

I think, you know, what, a lot of people when they see that they just think, Oh, that's so over the horizon. That's not for me. That's and I think we just have to be realized that there are people in business that will always go before and that's okay, right, that, that you don't have to just be Brian Kramer and go before and do the newest and greatest and that type of thing. But being aware that he's doing that pushing the boundaries and seeking to understand it alongside of him, and knowing that he wants you to be there with him is important for every business operator all the way down to someone that's just entered a business.

Paul Daly  04:12

Absolutely. You know, aside from that horizon of the metaverse and, you know, thinking of where we might be going and, you know, putting some feelers out and seeing he was one of the best operators, especially in the used car side of the business, which is why if you didn't know he recently made a transition from being a general manager of a dealership to being the EVP at Cars.com and the GM of Accu trade so we hope you enjoy this interview with Brian Kramer.

Kyle Mountsier  04:47

So I'm reading a DISC profile that was sent to me from Brian Kramer it says most likely you want to have the freedom to set your own course. Ladies and gentlemen, we're hanging out and With if you didn't know Brian Kramer and there's not there's not a more aptly positioned the line and a DISC profile of which we just found out that that Brian Kramer is a DI he's not a high D he's a DI so we can we can talk about that. But Brian, thanks for joining us here on Auto Collabs.

Brian Kramer  05:21

Thanks for having me. All right, so this is gonna be a good crew.

Paul Daly  05:25

Every time on every time I'm on a zoom call with Brian Kramer, I'm reminded of how handsome I am not

Brian Kramer  05:34

I'm by far the oldest person on this whole call,

Michael Cirillo  05:37

which is even more discouraging to me. This might be the first time I've seen him with a real backdrop unless it's a green screen. Real. Move your hand quickly. You're not in the Metaverse. Impressed has come from the Metaverse into the real world, the

Kyle Mountsier  05:55

corporate world do you get your hair cut once a week? Is that a thing now? Is that like you've got to be trimmed up and ready to go with the with the

Brian Kramer  06:03

well so I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow but it's actually I've got a few different weird things. Okay, it is yeah, yeah. You know, no uh sideburns and all the standard issue but the day that actually yeah, I think the lat the second the last day of I was working to Germain I was going going over to get my hair cut running late because I was going out of town or something. I ended up buying my daughter's car in the barber chair. Now you bring it up and did it completely digitally my barber sitting because what are you doing? I said what's looking at doing a buying a car? He goes on your phone? You've been living under a rock. How do you buy your cars? I didn't know that was even a thing.

Kyle Mountsier  06:42

He's like I was on my phone.

Paul Daly  06:46

I don't know. if I'm giving Sass to the dude with scissors near my head.

Brian Kramer  06:51

Oh, he's only using

Paul Daly  06:53

the Clippers clippers. Okay. Okay, fair enough. Fair, fair,

Brian Kramer  06:58

actually was on the call of Spisak once I'm talking about the metaverse, and he was working with Brian, can I ask you a question? I go Yeah, what's up? And he said, in the back, are you getting your hair cut? I am. Because I thought so. He wasn't fazed by it. He wasn't trying to like connect.

Kyle Mountsier  07:16

I just wanted to make sure he wanted he wanted to lean in and make sure well, so if you don't know

Brian Kramer  07:21

that we get having weekends off. I almost don't know what to do with my life to answer your question.

Kyle Mountsier  07:25

So if you don't know Brian Kramer has recently left dealership world. This is what we're talking about. He was at Germain Toyota of Naples and before that, spent some time with Auto Nation and has been in dealership world for years and years, probably what 30 plus years at this point right? Close to it almost 30 years, and has transitioned to the EVP and General Manager of I hope I got that right of Accu-trade at Cars.com. And so is enjoying weekends to himself and going to Kentucky Derbies and things like that, that you do when you're an EVP at Cars.com No, they do a ton more. So, Brian, we kind of wanted to hear a little bit about I know, I know, across the interwebs a lot of people know a little bit of your story. But what what what was the what's the moves been like since moving out of the dealership into this vendor world?

Brian Kramer  08:20

Well, I got a taste I guess, like you did, Paul, probably when when you sold your business and you stopped working? And I've sat down thought to myself, I go. Right. But what the week before you started another business.

Paul Daly  08:33

I just had a rolling start from one end to the other.

Brian Kramer  08:37

So So I'm sitting there, I'm like, What am I going to do now? Like on Saturday, I'm pacing around my courtyard. I'm like trying to, like call Greece like do what he told me for I'm working. Yeah. And I'm like, what do you do on the weekends and my wife because you don't know what you're doing? You gotta get out of here. Right? She's like,

Paul Daly  08:52

sign up for you to be home, that's for sure. Right?

Brian Kramer  08:55

So she said, You gotta get an office. So I had to get an office space for this is just too disruptive your district office. So trying to figure that out, and then I'm like, man, you know, waking up in the morning. I gotta be there for the meeting. But no, I don't. I'm like, but then you you miss. It's like going to church, when you're when you're a dealer. Right. And that's like one of Luckily, I got to attend a morning meeting. Right? Right. So it's like everybody gets and that's that's probably what I missed the most is that camaraderie, whatever, or that kind of stuff. But the Saturday morning meetings, so I just go and try to hijack other people's Saturday morning meetings now. Yes. And attend there's, which is why it's like kind of like babysitting somebody else's kids.

Paul Daly  09:37

All right, answer this for the end of the day. So what is you'd like we all like to think we understand the other side, right? And we try to empathize. We're like I know. Right? And you make demands of other people on the other side and you have expectations. What is the biggest surprise about being on the other side that you realize now that you as a dealer did not have

Brian Kramer  09:59

Understand? I don't know that I didn't understand it, I would say more than just didn't care. But now I feel it on the other side of when I get on a call with, with somebody who's getting their call care for who are you? And what, and why are you calling me? I'm selling cars, I'm doing this and I'm like, that was I was on the other end of this call 10s of 1000s of times, whatever, bro, I'll call you back when I can call you back. I don't know, you know, I've got to, you know, on this side of schedule, it's really rigorous, a lot more structured than anything I've ever done. So there's everything's planned out to the minute. And that doesn't work. Right. So I never sat there and looked at it from that lens. Man, these guys, I've just figured they were like, you know, some of us on a slow day, they're just sitting around who am I gonna call you know what I'm gonna call I'm gonna call Germain Toyota. Just let's, let's see what they're doing. You know, like, like, some save a deal training or something. And it's not like that, you know? And then on the other end, I'm like, you know, it's the last day of the month. Do you even know anything about the car business last day of the month? It was like, you know, because most people outside of retail don't know that. You know, even my extended family didn't know that for a long time. I would get really offended when they would ask I'm coming over for around the holidays. Are you kidding me? It's December to Remember. That's half my income. Why would I come over to your house?

Paul Daly  11:30

To do all these? Knock?

Brian Kramer  11:31

Are you ding the dong bell the bell, baby, this is the this is the time I think I'm gonna sit there. I'll come to you in January. We

Michael Cirillo  11:38

can open the mail.

Paul Daly  11:40

They look at each other and they just shake their head.

Brian Kramer  11:42

Right? I told my wife Stephanie. She was yes. You probably already thought you were like a prick for so long. Yeah, that's what they that you're looking at it the right way, Brian? And I'm like, wow, I never knew any other way. Because it's since I was 16 17 years old. I'm working washing cars and stuff. So I've never really experienced anything else besides automotive retail and the rawness of it right? And then looked at it, you know, like, I call it like a civilian, I guess what I am now. So you know, the civilian life weekends off?

Paul Daly  12:15

Isn't that interesting way to talk civilian life? Right. I think that's what we're going to title this episode civilian life with Brian Kramer. But let me ask you this.

Michael Cirillo  12:24

Brian, let me ask you this. I mean, we were on. It was one of our other podcasts. I think, Kyle, you brought this up where you were like, you know, vendors need to stop with the kind of word tracks of like, oh, dealers just need to do this. Now that you've experienced both sides, now that you're on the other side, this is like this. This is like, I feel like we're interviewing Anakin as he's about to become.

Brian Kramer  12:54

Like, you still gotta grace. I got a few months of street cred left.

Kyle Mountsier  12:59

Right? So I'm telling you,

Paul Daly  13:02

parachutes really quickly, three months

Kyle Mountsier  13:05

and 23 days, and when you get to the 24th day, it rolls over your now event, you're done. Right? Yeah.

Brian Kramer  13:11

That might have worked back then. But that doesn't work here now.

Michael Cirillo  13:14

So let me ask you this as as a vendor now, how does your How do you think the narrative needs to shift? What kind of conversations should we be having? What what's your approach going to look like to dealer? Is it any different? Is it? Is it? I mean, is it more collaborative? Is it like, how do you approach that? Let's have a question. So

Kyle Mountsier  13:39

I can be with you, Michael. So yes, I'm known in 70 countries. Like, here's my,

Brian Kramer  13:45

here's your heart. I'm going to show it to you. So I think that everybody on both sides needs to get a lot more I was actually just talking to Peter Cooper about this earlier. These to get more sincere, genuine and authentic across the board, not trying to, as I call it, pitch slapping people. And just oh, hey, by the way, I got this other widget, and I got this other thing I want to sell you and you haven't resolved the exact same thing pitch slapping. And just right, and, oh, here's another pitch, but you haven't fixed my other issue. You haven't fixed. I thought you were gonna get the website fixed? Well, no, I've got this other product I haven't told you about yet. And we need to, you know, talk about that. So not that everybody's doing that. That's an extreme example, whatever, but no more pitch slapping. And then, which we were just talking about earlier. Really being sincere about you know, even though dealers might want more leads, I wanted more leads, more leads no differently than a doctor over prescribing medication to somebody. There's a responsibility that we have to not over prescribe leads and not over prescribe all this other stuff. You want more here? I'll give you some more reading. They're ODN. And they're fishing out and on leads. How do I get it up year over year? Right? And now, instead of that, how about we figure out what's the best use of your people's time is 68. Email only leads with no cell phone number. And trust me, I've been the guy standing back in the same video meeting, I don't care. You get on that phone, don't get weak on me. Don't get weak. If you can't handle it. No handed over here. Just take this, email them and say I got this number for your trade. What's the best number to text it to your for? Okay, right. Everybody's sitting back there. Like, I'm like to do you only got 28 more, come on, let's go. Come on, then we're going to make the calls.

Paul Daly  15:41

And Glengary Glenn Ross is going through my head. And they're like, No more.

Brian Kramer  15:45

No weak, no more email leads, I don't I don't want to I don't want to be in the internet department anymore. I don't want to you what you think it's just that easy. You can just leave you can leave. Like a mafia, you sit back down. This is going to be looked at on a movie, you know, you'll be dead to the family. If you do this. Don't give up on us. Just because you give up on yourself. I'm not giving up on you pick up the damn phone. And,

Michael Cirillo  16:09

and put your name on it.

Brian Kramer  16:14

So instead of trying to sell everybody on why those leads, you know, Hey, it's 2%. But guess what, it's still some extra deals you wouldn't have had it's incremental business. It's a waste of time is what it is for your people that they can't be contacting somebody else that they do at the contact information on. So it all gets diluted

Paul Daly  16:29

and emotionally burns them out. Yes. Lead fatigue

Michael Cirillo  16:34

problem. I mean, but like, here's the thing. We're talking about a huge culture shift here. This is like when you get married. And on your honeymoon. You and your spouse are are making breakfast together and you realize, why does she flip her eggs that way? Everything's weird. Sexy, married a weird egg flipper. They've been she's been flipping her eggs like this. That sounds weird. All this talk about B and eggs. And all right. How do we because it's one thing for three bearded dudes and clean cut guy with hair to be like, Yeah, well, you know, just get used to part time.

Brian Kramer  17:17

And all that other stuff. That's kind of what's happening. After you know everybody my mentor has done because Brian, just remember that everybody on an interview, like, it's very much like your honeymoon. Everybody looks sexy in the honeymoon. But then when you after the honeymoon, you know, three days later, you're like, Okay, we gotta live together. Now they move my stuff. And now this and whoa, why are you picking up that much of the sink and all these things

Kyle Mountsier  17:41

back to the you got to take care of the leads the same way back to the leads. Okay, so listen, it's employee fatigue, lead fatigue, we get into this place where maybe we look at a lead source, I don't care if it's Cars.com or Gurus or Auto Trader or Facebook or your website or anything like that. If there's lead fatigue, you know, they're not getting cared for. So what happens is, you start to see it go from 8% to 6% to 4%, net delivery ratio. And then what happens is, is you go get cancelled as as a as an as a vendor, right? Because the BDC can't handle it? Well, it's not that it's not that there's not good people on the other side of it. It's that there's lead fatigue, because of the volume of stuff that's not working. Here's what's crazy, is I think, you know, Paul and I have been talking about this, that we're really trying to solve for the customer experience. And, you know, one of the things that I did a while back, and I'm just gonna give you this, I'm gonna just like toss this in your hand now that your Cars.com employee, and I've told everyone there is I went and I saw I wanted to figure out how many leads I could submit on Cars.com, Autotrader and CarGurus. In one minute, in one minute. Every single site, I could submit 13 leads in one minute. So you better believe that customers are doing that, which means now they're getting, let's see, if all 13 dealerships are doing it close to correct. They're getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 39 communications in the next hour.

Brian Kramer  19:01

auto responders.

Kyle Mountsier  19:03

Right, email, text, call, call. There it is. So and then you also lose customer experience, right?

Brian Kramer  19:12

And you're treating customers that are buyers, like ones that might just be some nameless, faceless entity. I'll tell you another thing that was just remembered that was earth shattering. So they're giving this presentation to the Cars.com team at the Leadership Conference, which was amazing. But as they're going up, I'm watching I'm like, wow, I didn't realize they do all this. And all this SEO and SEM I'm like, wow, this stuff so far over my head. You know, these people are literally brilliant. I'm, I was the least educated person in that room. Period. That's the opinion Just the fact. And as I'm looking around, they call on me I'm like, how am I gonna follow all the stuff that talking all these acronyms? I don't even really know half the stuff they're talking about. And I get up there and I said, Here's all I can really when I went completely off track and off script and I said I don't know if you realize this or not, but you, you have your drive you're doing. I didn't know you're doing all this to drive all that traffic and to optimize all these things. Do you know what happens when you send you do all that work and you optimize everything, and then that email only lead comes in, in a group of other, you know, Mickey Mouse Donald Duck leads. And there could be somebody who really does want to buy something, but it's just, you know, and but also on the other parts of the website, we make it optional. You don't have to do this don't have to do that. Because obviously, that's gonna affect lead count, right? So, so when they see that you know what they do? Everybody just debates, all the different reasons why that person's not going to buy a car, because it wasn't better. Now, conversely, when you tighten up the radius, and you do all the things you were just talking about, Kyle, now all of a sudden, they're like, these leads close at 20%. They believe it's the deal. There is no differently than pre qualifying customers, your pre qualifying leads, it's the same epidemic that we used to have at the curb. But now it's happening online. So to answer your question, like that's the one of the things that needs to change as an industry and they because they said Well, hold on a second that people see the lead count go down. I agree. But this that's why nobody's done it yet. Right? Because that's why with digital retail when I drove over the printers of my FJ Cruiser and crushed him with the, you know, like getting the office.

Kyle Mountsier  21:19

He actually did oh, yeah, it's amazing.

Paul Daly  21:23

That's amazing.

Brian Kramer  21:24

And, and then texted it to the finance team and said, Hey, by the way, we're going

Paul Daly  21:28

for you printers,

Brian Kramer  21:30

you better go digital, because they're not there. I traded I traded Pena. But that's what has to happen with this. And it's gonna hurt for a minute, because it always does, right with any type of transformation. But this is a self correction, I think that that's long over, do and, and on both sides, right? The dealers also have to when they would get them in the will buy your car, we can't like, you know, 90% of people that I mystery shop, it comes back and they're trying to sell me a car when I didn't ask to buy one. But that's the way the CRM process works. And it's all mapped out. And there's no rule by your current workflow. So they keep on just pitch slap and race. Right? Hey, wouldn't you be interested in replacing it with something not really, oh, right away and then earn equipped the salespeople to or BDC to be able to handle that objection. So I'll just goes off the rails, you know, that was, you know, stroke, not real, it's not real buyer probably couldn't even get them approved, market loss, or market bad, right? It wouldn't didn't have all the applicable data and all that stuff. And then all of a sudden, somebody puts the heat from the dealership, hey, when we're selling the cars, I can tell you why we're not looking at that right there at 6% closing ratio. And if anybody is my gift to everybody on this call, if anybody wants to know when somebody's going to cancel a vendor, here's when they're going to cancel it, when it affects their pay plan. So if you know what the purpose of the internet sales managers pay plan is based on 12% 14, whatever it is, when your your closing ratio gets below that that's a we're early warning radar to pump the brakes and be proactive, which is what we're going to do. And we're doing already going out there and saying, Hey, by the way, this is you know, notice that your close ratio is going down, should we tighten up this so we change this, you know, the what we do, right? Wow, just went off the rails on that question. No, I'm

Michael Cirillo  23:18

created. We're trying to keep up. I'm enraged by this conversation. You know, you got me thinking, Brian, you got me thinking about if I could loop this all together. Kyle, Paul having conversations about mapping to the customer experience, you just said something to me, that makes me want to punch the air like that dude who came out with Tae-Bo, you remember that guy,

Paul Daly  23:40

Billy Boy, I want to remember to get to get to get that.

Michael Cirillo  23:48

You said the CRM process is mapped to this like push them to a sale thing, right? Largely has come from just getting a ton of customer feedback. So we look at this like compounding ripple effect over the years that if we're only so vendors, you know, listening and if we're only okay, I don't even know how to phrase. What I'm saying. Always. raged.

Paul Daly  24:18

Same thing I

Michael Cirillo  24:19

have like caught passion. We'll call it Curb Your Enthusiasm rage. If you only listen to your customer, but your customer is approaching from a biased position, you might end up developing a product that leads the whole industry astray.

Paul Daly  24:39

That's a keen observation and cut tape, which is kind of where

Michael Cirillo  24:44

we're at. Like we could well This to me is why we want to have these types of conversations on Auto Collabs. Why I think this is so powerful is because somebody somebody's got to start talking about that. Yeah. because we need to realize that it's neither them or us or us or them against one another, we both created the situation that we're in, we need to start looking at it from a different angle. Like, I feel like in my business, I need to look at certain activities. To your point, Brian, I need to say these activities map to opening doors, that's the KPI, how many doors did that open, there are activities that are walked through the door. And then there are activities that say, Take money that's on the other side of the door. But we've attributed everything to take the money, not realizing that we're skewing our own perspective of how to pursue the business.

Brian Kramer  25:39

And we made a decision to Cars.com similar to like JM family, Se Toyota, similar to Automotive State of the Union, to be for the dealer, which then you got to make some decisions, right? When it comes down to some tough decisions, can we get some no different than in a dealership or any other business? Right? Well, then we can generate this much more revenue if we did this. But is it the best thing for the dealer? Right? Is this going? Is this true to our core values? Are we are we arming the rebels? And then the decision is clear, I will say that about Cars.com? It's not even a question, right? When you say that, it's clear what the vision is. And it's clear what they're all aligned to. And maybe people's minds might go there. But when you when you go there, they're like, it's, it's clear that they know that that's, you know, out of bounds, whatever. And then everybody comes back on track and then moves forward. And I will say they execute. And they, you know, I'm experiencing it work a lot harder than I thought. Because it's a good deal. That's a lot faster pace. But I mean, I'll tell you, there's a lot of people there that are working in the same direction, to really transform this industry, I mean, Vetter is, has put this north star out there of really empowering dealers for all the disruption that's happening to be like a safe haven to be able to sit there and just be arming them with a with as many tools as possible to hang with any disrupter that comes into the space, and make it easier and simpler so that they don't have to do an insane amount of work to do it. But with the sourcing and all the all the things at scale that have always been just a thorn in my side, right? If somebody gets on the accucheck website, and they want to know what their car is worth, but they got on the VDP versus the main page, the hero page, is it sourced that way in your CRM? Are you able to segment that to be able to dissect that, and the 80% of the dealers in middle America have the resources to be able to deep dive that the way that you guys do? Probably not. So the more that we can simplify that. So the people can translate the reporting and simplify the reporting in a common language, if you will, so that everybody's saying the same things, instead of being like I was, for a long time being embarrassed to say I didn't fully understand Google Analytics. So I just was like, I don't need that. You know, I'm not worried about that. Buy more, buy more TV.

Paul Daly  27:58

We can fix that. Fix that. Well, Brian, we can't be more excited to do this in person at ASOTU CON in September, we're going to try not to get in too much trouble. We appreciate the heart behind cars.com and Alex's position to be a dealer advocate bringing you on board was just I mean when we when we heard it was like Oh, that makes a whole lot of sense. Fire. Yep. Really, really, really excited

Brian Kramer  28:23

and the colors are all logo that's why we have the purple integration. That's

Paul Daly  28:27

exactly why we have the purple. Thank you so much for spending a few minutes with us here on Auto collabs. We can't wait to see you in Philly, and I can't wait to see what trouble you make next. You know, it really did remind me of what happens when someone comes out of combat and they go home and you know, they don't know they have to calibrate for a minute and right here and Brian and that in that mode was was in my mind like a real clear indicator that we should never ever assume what it's like to be on the other side whether it's dealer or industry partner because the pace and the intentionality is so different and even though a lot of us a lot of us in this audience in this a so two audience probably think we know right but it's probably been a while since we've been on the other side even if we live the life on both sides. So for me it was just a very stark reminder talking to Brian, like so. So like soon after this transition, that empathy takes a lot of work and the more of it we can have on the dealer industry partner side like the better off we're going

Kyle Mountsier  29:36

to be Yeah, you know, I was struck by his kind of like, what what are you seeing around the the Cars.com world and it was it was really cool to hear him like Man, these people, these people put in the work. These people go hard at making sure that the customer and dealer experience is matching and they are asking questions of the way the web sight works. And they're digging into SEO, and they're digging into all this type of stuff. And he was just what was really cool was he was like, man, they're putting in all this work. But then like, the very tip of the spear, is where there's a, there's a miss calibration, right? And he talked about how the quantity of leads has led the conversation over the quality of those interactions that and that that tip of the spear, if that can get shifted for cars.com. And for the dealers, whether it be the way that you interact with those or the way the customer interacts with the experience is that and I think that's the tip of the spear that we're all talking about, which is how do we actually get to not just like, we need more leads, or we need more this or change this process or flip out this technology, it's like the tip of the spear is the customer experience. And if we're if we do a disservice at that level, then then we've then we've missed serve the whole other part of the spectrum. And doesn't matter how much SEO how much marketing how much process how much technology how much people if we miss judge the tip of the spear, then then we miss everything.

Michael Cirillo  31:04

It reminds me of a conversation I was having with one of our client partners in Canada. He's not only is he a dealer, this is Aaron Lange, shout out to Aaron, phenomenal, phenomenal individual. He's also a farmer. And he brought me out to his farm like active farmer, there have been times where I text him and he's like, I'm in the tractor right now.

Paul Daly  31:27

Like a real farm not like I have two chickens live

Michael Cirillo  31:31

known as livestock. In fact, he's got another company kind of like a not a HelloFresh. But like, I don't want to say Omaha Steaks either. That's probably an insult, but like you can order like butcher boxes and stuff from him. But But when he brought me out to the farm, what I thought was so interesting. And I promise I'll tie this back somehow. speaking to me about the important elements of the ecosystem, he's like, we don't use certain pesticides and whatnot, because there's a ripple effect that if we do that, then the soil eventually gets, like torched or burned up and it's no good. It doesn't produce the same fruit. Kyle and talking about your tip of the the spear here. I think so often we've we've gone through years and years and years of oversimplification of both sides of the fence that we talked about in this episode with Brian, that now it's like, oh, just run better marketing. Oh, no, you want better leads don't run that or don't do that. And it's like, no, that's like explaining. That's like, that's like saying, You know what, just get rid of clouds. You don't understand the impact of clouds on your day to day life until they disappear and never come back. Or you don't understand the ripple effect of like, you know, oversimplifying something as like routine as pesticides on the on the, you know, soil until the crop doesn't grow the same way. And for us in the industry, in our pursuit to like find attribution and understand how things are working. We've we've gotten to the point where we're like, Oh, that's easy. You want you want higher quality leads, just don't do that anymore. But and now all of a sudden, we're seeing Brian from a very different vantage point who's getting his fingers in the soil from a different on a different field. And he's like, oh, okay, and I think that vantage point really speaks to this whole, you know, the importance of this Auto Collabs collaboration, I think it was really very, very insightful.

Kyle Mountsier  33:32

Well, thanks so much for hanging out with us. That was our conversation with Brian Kramer. We appreciate you for listening to this episode of auto collabs for myself Kyle Mountsier, Paul J. Daly and Michael Cirillo. We will see you next time.


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