John Allen, General Manager, Allen Chevrolet Cadillac of Monroe

December 1, 2022
ASOTU was on the ground with John Allen during the 2022 800% Elite Automotive Club Retreat.
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ASOTU was on the ground with John Allen during the 2022 800% Elite Automotive Club Retreat.

John Allen is the General Manager of Allen Chevrolet Cadillac of Monroe.

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Kyle Mountsier: 0:00This is In the Dirt with ASOTU

Paul Daly: 0:05

All right, here we are. Michael Cirillo just had his first In the Dirt podcast episode and now he's hosting an episode of In The Dirt. We're here with John Allen, dealer, Principal,

John Allen: 0:15

General Manager, Vice President of Chevrolet Cadillac.

Paul Daly: 0:18

All right, and where's that?

John Allen: 0:19

That's in Monroe, Michigan, just south of Detroit.

Paul Daly: 0:21

And you are 40. Under 40?

John Allen: 0:24

Yeah, the automotive news. What do you under 40?

Paul Daly: 0:26

Oh, just a little one. Yeah, just a little, little one. No one's heard of

Michael Cirillo: 0:30

just that massive conglomerate.

Paul Daly: 0:32

Was that was that this year? Or? Yeah, that

John Allen: 0:34

was got presented with it in March. Okay. Yeah. And it was nice. And I was the only one they did a full spread on. Yeah. Oh, really? Yeah.

Paul Daly: 0:41

Okay, what good things that you tell us what good things they said about you.

John Allen: 0:46

It was just an interview. It's very humbling. So tell us about that. What

Michael Cirillo: 0:52

was weird, though, was that they gave his pants dimensions and that they did. They did. I thought they'd be bigger. I was like, that's weird. This is weird.

John Allen: 1:00

I thought they'd be bigger. I really did hung like an Allen.

Paul Daly: 1:05

Michaels so real Oh,

Unknown: 1:08

no, they kind of touched based on our story. And, you know, I've done there's been several news articles. And I've done a couple radio shows and everything on our story. And they kind of touch base on that. And Automotive News article. So it was nice. It was flattering. And it's very humbling and to see where we've come and to where we are, it's, yeah, it's nice. It's, you know, because sometimes, we're so far looking ahead and everything we forget to see how far we've came,

Paul Daly: 1:37

for sure. What so how did you get into the business? Have?

John Allen: 1:40

Yeah, yeah. So I'm third generation. And so

Paul Daly: 1:44

did did did the first two generations, or any of those ever went 40 Under 40? No, they did not even exist? Yeah. Well, people under 40 existed. Yeah.

Michael Cirillo: 1:55

I've known you now in this group for a while now. Walk us through some of the note the changes that you've noticed, like what have you implemented, that you could maybe pinpoint and say, Oh, that I know for a fact that when I implemented that these changes started to occur.

John Allen: 2:11

It's the people, it's making sure that you realize that the greatest asset is people, and then giving them the tools and supporting them and encouraging them and coaching them, and making sure that you put them in the right spot, which sounded really easy as it came out of my mouth. But that is super super. If you just do that.

Paul Daly: 2:28

You'll have a successful business dealership in life. Consider yourself coached.

John Allen: 2:31

Yes. So that's, that's it. So there's so many tools. And I think if you just implement as much of it as you can, and it's almost impossible to implement it all. And especially if you do it consistently, but don't give up. Just continue doing it. And but yeah, it's just it's people. It's people ask, What do I do all day, I make sure that my team is ready at the dealership ready to work. They're prepared, they have the tools they need, and I'm here to help them. What does that

Paul Daly: 3:02

look like for you? So give us give us a walk through your dealer, your daily routine. I know a lot of people like to hear what other successful dealers are doing. So what is your regular routine look like?

Unknown: 3:11

Yeah, so I have a 7am meeting with my fixed ops director. And then we go directly into a advisor training for 10 15 minutes. And then I go after that I go into, we have a tech meeting at 745. And where we address, talk to all the techs what's going on, fill them in, sometimes that's 5 10 minutes. And then I go directly over to my body shop for a day I'm meeting, get a chance to talk to them, fill them in what's going on. And then depending on the day, and everything, I'll have a 815 fixed ops meeting, or at 830 varial ops meeting. And then every day at 855. In the morning, we have sales training.

Paul Daly: 3:56

Wow. So by 855, you've already made the rounds.

John Allen: 4:00

I've already made the rounds I've already had is this every day, just about every day. Yeah. Wow. And then obviously, you know, I'm a human being things happen. I have two toddlers, right? So there's certain days that I can't do it. But they know that if I'm not there, there's a reason. And so because it's so consistent, that if you miss a day or two, obviously I'm not at the meeting today or tomorrow, right? So it's not the end of the world. So it's just it just keeps going. And you get a good sense. And they see that I care that I'm here to help. And it's worked really, really well. So

Michael Cirillo: 4:36

how do you regulate as an entrepreneur as a business owner? How do you regulate the emotional responses that you get? Because I know not every meeting is gonna go the way that you want it to go? Maybe there's going to be disagreements along the way you're gonna have things thrown at you from different angles that maybe maybe it's family, maybe it's something in the business that you really want to be working on. But you got to do this meeting. How do you regulate your emotional responses so that you're present in all Hold those meetings so that that your team gets the sense that you're giving them the best of your time, because and I'm kind of asking selfishly, because I think that's something that a lot of, you know, leaders struggle with is knowing like, how do I remain present for the task at hand, even though in the back of my mind, I'd rather a be somewhere else or working on that other problem that I think is a bigger deal,

John Allen: 5:21

because it has to be meaningful. And for me, those meetings are very meaningful. I mean, it's 510 minutes, sometimes 15. So they're short. And I'm not just going over blah, stuff that isn't important. If, if I finished all the important discussions, and everything is done, and the meeting is over, and five minutes, and it's over and five minutes, but everybody knows everybody's there. Everybody's their present. And that's, I think that's why it's not like, hey, we have a 15 minute meeting, and we got done in seven minutes. And then we're like, Hey, how was fantasy football? So it's just, it's done, and it's over? Right? Boom, five minutes. We're good. Yeah. Good to go.

Paul Daly: 5:58

I don't I don't know. You really liked that.

Michael Cirillo: 6:01

When you delivered fantasy football. I was like that, that just tickles me.

Paul Daly: 6:07

So we're rounding out a pretty crazy year. Right? Actually, the last three years have been pretty crazy years. 2023 is about to start, right. We're in the last last leg of the race. What is your focus going to be like from an organizational management? Like the battle plan for 2023? How are you orienting your team to head into the next year?

John Allen: 6:29

Well, this is gonna be a dogfight. And a lot of us that's been in this for a while. I mean, we were familiar with us. So a lot of lessons that we've learned

Paul Daly: 6:38

what do you mean, explain what you mean, when you say dogfight,

John Allen: 6:40

it's gonna be brutal, it's gonna be ruthless. And I'm looking forward to it. We're training we're prepared. We built an entire dealership based upon this dogfight, I think it's just gonna be straight up massacre. On our end, we're just gonna, we're gonna donkey stomp people.

Michael Cirillo: 6:56

The analogy just keeps

Paul Daly: 6:58

saying, We're gonna murder people. We're gonna make them bite the curb.

John Allen: 7:03

Because in 2008 2009, I was on the receiving end of it. Ah, it's payback time. 2011 I got fired from the dealership with my name on it. And I left with no car and $100 to my name. Wow. Wow, do I have cars? And now I have commas.

Paul Daly: 7:19

You know, cars and commas. Right.

John Allen: 7:21

So that's so that's the difference. So

Michael Cirillo: 7:24

the new podcasts, I'm just like,

John Allen: 7:27

I have cars and commerce. Welcome to the cars and cars. But I guess I have neither. But here's someone who does. So that's we built it based upon people use cars and service and still working really hard on that service part. And but we keep growing, we keep getting better. And basically just trying to make our our dealership bulletproof.

Paul Daly: 7:52

So you're walking, you're running into this dog fight of the year, you're ready, you're prepared, your team's ready. What is it that you feel like you offer? Your your consumer base? That is better than everyone else in your market? What is the one area if you had to pick one area? Right? So would you say you're just great at

John Allen: 8:12

and providing great value?

Paul Daly: 8:14

What do you mean by that? Bring? Pack that a little bit.

John Allen: 8:16

Right. So so value so even, I mean, everything that we bring into from the sales process to our environment. I mean, you walk into our dealership, you can just feel it in the air. I mean, we've been in the businesses, you walk in, you're like, Oh, my is this place open? Right, right. I mean, we've been there. Yeah. No matter what it is. So

Michael Cirillo: 8:34

elevator music at Boston Market in Dallas.

John Allen: 8:38

Yeah. It was like, Is this food expired? So you know, from that environment, we bring it and not only that, just from the basic things like, you know, if you buy a vehicle from us, comes with half off oil changes for life. General Motors wouldn't let us do free oil changes. Because the market that we're in, is employee based. So yeah, so like, loves that answer. Yeah. And then, you know, just a lot of little customer retention rules. We do the follow up, we do. The charity events and everything that we do. Our reputation in the community is outstanding for a car dealership. The community has voted us. We just got it. We're fishing a lot. For time Dealer of the year for best new car Best Used Car best service, while the best body shop for years in the community. When we took over the dealership back because we lost it and we just got back in 2019 we were the fourth largest dealership. We're now by far the number one what do you mean? Oh, you lost the title. Well,

Paul Daly: 9:41

we lost the dealership. We

John Allen: 9:42

did. Yeah, you lost we lost it. We lost it. So we got we got the FedEx letter saying that we are no longer a dealership.

Michael Cirillo: 9:47

Wow, FedEx. Hey, at least they sprung for FedEx. Yeah, they

Paul Daly: 9:51

did. Well, they wanted to make sure they could prove that you got it. That's the only reason that was it wasn't magnanimous received.

John Allen: 9:57

Yeah. So ours was great. So they said it show Been a Tuesday. And if you didn't get on Tuesday, you're good to go. And then so ours came on Wednesday.

Paul Daly: 10:04

Oh my gosh, that is brutal. Yeah, that's fine. That is brutal. Everyone's like, oh, we just had that expensive dinner to celebrate last night,

Michael Cirillo: 10:12

someone sitting at head office watching the delivery route being like out for delivery. Okay, they're about to get it in 10 minutes. And then 10 minutes goes by, and it's like, nobody available, sent back to package. We told them Tuesday. So you lost the

Paul Daly: 10:28

dealership. And you got it back? Yeah, we've now the community voted number one.

John Allen: 10:32

Yeah. So we got it back. And then we had to take on some partners. And then the partners fired all of us and embezzled all the money for eight years. And then we're able to find the, we had to start all over. And I worked really, really hard and did well and had the opportunity to get the dealership back in 2019. And here we are, and 40 under 40. And we've increased everything 250% and net profit through the roof. So I mean, by all metrics and everything they said, our dealership is, you know, it's a ton of 15 15,000 trailer parks everywhere. I mean, if you want here when I can get it for you. I mean, Ram I believe

Paul Daly: 11:08

we've never heard that on the show before.

John Allen: 11:12

I mean, that's, that's that's our town. Yeah. And I think it's a great community and everything. And it's a big reason why we went back to it. It is poppy fields, every poppy fields everywhere. That we have the finished product. Yeah, this isn't Afghanistan. Yeah.

Paul Daly: 11:27

Well, listen, nothing breeds success. Like, you know, adversity. Grit, like the you're prepared for next year is big, because you went through everything that you went through, and it's obviously apparent in your, your level of confidence going through your like, they can throw anything at us that we're not going to crush.

John Allen: 11:45

Yeah, this is. I mean, I've already been through this. I mean, this is why we practice, you know, practice makes permanent, right? And we've been practicing the correct way. And I mean, we're ready. This is gonna be a fight, and we're 100% ready for it. And it's gonna be a championship fight. And yeah, it's we're 100% setup for this.

Paul Daly: 12:04

Well, John Allen, I'm excited that we get to introduce you to our audience. And I hope a lot of people look you up and they probably will see a familiar face when because of that 40 under 40 article that they had the full page, right? Yes. All right. Well, thank you so much for spending a few minutes with a pleasure to talk to you.

Kyle Mountsier: 12:21

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 That's a s o t 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

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