The “And” Mindset with Matt Jones

September 20, 2022
You might not understand where Matt Jones starts in a conversation.But you’ll definitely know when he lands his punchline. He is a thoughtful and deep communicator, with analogies and illustrations to help drive his points home. He’s all about looking elsewhere to learn and always expanding what is possible. He’s studied consumer behavior and what’s important to them, and the answers might surprise you.
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What we talk about in this episode:
0:00
Intro with Michael Cirillo, Paul J Daly and Kyle Mountsier.

4:10 Matt takes us into the deep end right from the start by talking about his football career and the importance of using every resource you can find. Of course, he relates it to back to cars.

11:58 Understanding what is possible is important to breaking your own barriers. Matt tells about the salesman in his store who sold 100 cars a month and how that was a barrier that he didn’t break until he got more perspective.

16:34 According to the data Matt sees, we need to meet customers where they are. That means adopting an “and” mindset. Letting digital retailing AND brick and mortar AND social media all work together rather than viewing them in competition with each other.

21:52 Is price the biggest thing that matters to consumers? Matt argues that it's important, but not as important as how the customer is treated in a store.

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Kyle Mountsier: 0:00You know, some people really, really have a desire to be on TVUnknown: 0:11

this is auto collabs.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:13

then some people actually are on TV a lot. And one of those people is Matt Jones. And you wouldn't know it from his countenance or his current position. But, but Matt Jones, who is currently with TrueCar, has actually been on a ton of TV spots, talking about industry insights that he's had from being at different companies across automotive. This cat has literally educated multiple, like 1000s and 1000s of people on news radio station on news stations, about economics and vehicle dynamics, and inventory and all that type of stuff. So the man knows how to throw down in like a real class interview,

Paul Daly: 0:59

oh, he's got a, he's got this way of like, coming around to like making a point, that he just kind of comes alongside you. And then he puts his arm around you. And he explains a few things tells a little story. And then he actually hits you with the point. But by the time he gets to the point, you're like nodding your head. Yes. And you're like, I really agree with whatever he's gonna say next. And I don't even know what it is. That's just the kind of person which is probably why he keeps getting asked to be like on the news and be the resident expert, because people are like, Oh, that's a that's a smart guy. I agree with everything he's saying. I don't know. I

Michael Cirillo: 1:32

just met him for the first time a few months ago at the Asotu family remix. It's right call it a remixes reunion. It

Kyle Mountsier: 1:39

felt like a reunion remix, there

Paul Daly: 1:41

was a reunion the year before this time was the remix of the previous reunion, but also a reunion.

Michael Cirillo: 1:47

Gotcha. And, and one of the things I loved about that events, the events like that, and the stuff you guys are putting on and just rallying people is I had never met him before and never heard of them never didn't know anything about and I'm like, Who is this cool cat. And he was he was just the coolest dude very, like, you know, passionate excited was was easy to like, just strike up a conversation with so to your point. I think that's why, you know, he obviously gets asked, he's just kind of a natural at conveying information. And of course, we're excited for you to listen in as we have this conversation with the man himself, right here on the Auto Collabs podcast.

Paul Daly: 2:28

So that the first time we met, we were at NAMAD, and you caught up with me, and you just you wanted to say hi. And then you sent me a picture. You know, several months later, and you were like, hey, the person that you don't recognize my wife and I were like, Hey, let's get a picture of me with my wife. And he sent me a picture you said the person you don't recognize in this photo is

Kyle Mountsier: 2:48

Matt Jones with TrueCar. And then it literally literally Paul Paul, we're on a I think you texted him while we're on a Google meet. And he he holds it up. He goes, Kyle. I know that everybody you know, the TrueCar thing, but like, this guy is going to change the game and he holds it up to them. So that's like our introduction level to Matt Jones. From True Car who's on Yeah, it's

Matt Jones: 3:15

a true thing, man. It's a true thing. You know, we are in this car business, but we are people. And if you've been in the car business for more than 10 minutes, at some point you have heard, you know, people buy from people they like and I think it goes beyond that, like people get down with people they like, but it's right. But people are not going to know you or get down with you or like you if they haven't had that first intro. So Paul, I am sorry for running up on you and your wife was awesome, crazy person. But I was like, I gotta be on with this dude, if I'm watching this dude, he's right there. He's like 16 yards away. My old 40 time was 4.4. I can get there to set bone had to yet.

Paul Daly: 3:51

Yeah, so yeah, you did play pretty high level football. If you're just listening to the podcast, if you're watching the show, that all make sense, but if you're listening like this, man, this man could put a hurtin on a quarterback. I bet.

Matt Jones: 4:05

Yeah, did I try but you know what I learned when I tried? I tried. I tried. But it's funny because I cannot believe I'm about to make this sports to automotive industry transition, because nobody's ever done that in a conversation before, but I'm about to do it right now. So when I played football, in high school and college or whatever, I thought I was really good. I really did. I was bigger and stronger. And I had a little bit of football acumen. Right. But when I look back on that football experience, I realized there were so many opportunities to be better, because I was relying upon me and my coaching strictly and solely for my success. I wasn't reading about what's the benefit of hydration? I wasn't reading about what's the benefit of proper stretching. Why should I be watching old 80s football What am I going to learn there, and all I took was what me, my teammates and my coaches had to offer, which was, which seemed fine at the time. And now when I look back, and I look at today's athletes, their team and their coaches, that's not enough, you want to be special, you want to be elite, you're getting a trainer, you're getting a nutritionist, you're getting maybe a mental health therapist, or you're taking a lot more. And so when I think about the times in automotive, I look back on and I'm making that parallel between the team sports, I was a salesperson, I was pretty good. It's pretty good. I was a manager, I was pretty good. But I was reliant strictly and solely on me, my team and my management for growth. And I see now that I'm somewhat, you know, just, you know, separated from football and a little bit separated from the retail sites. I don't sell anymore, that the opportunity for growth is exponential when people get around other cats such as yourself,

Paul Daly: 6:00

right. Wow, I know you're gonna go with that. But

Matt Jones: 6:03

it's, it's something. All right.

Kyle Mountsier: 6:06

Good podcast, everybody. Listen to that on repeat for a couple of times, and then you'll be good. You know.

Matt Jones: 6:16

I'm sorry, but I hold that very seriously. It's a part of who I am as a human now. Like it hasn't died. Yeah.

Paul Daly: 6:22

Well, it's one of the reasons I showed Kyle the picture. And I was like, This guy's going to change the

Matt Jones: 6:28

well, you know, you know, I love automotive. I fell into it like everybody else. By accident. You know, I was selling cell phones at Sprint PCS on Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills. And I remember I was killing it, selling my 30 cell phones and 50 accessories a month. It's killing. It's killing the game, y'all. And right across the street, there was a stealership, it's still there. And the salesperson came across the street. And he came to buy a cell phone from me. And we had a little negotiation back and forth over the $250 Sprint cell phone at the time. And my man said something to me, he's like, can you give me a deal? And I said, No, this is the price on this less than one that's less, right. Because you don't negotiate the price of the cell phone. You can't, right? the car guy. Well, no, no, I'm staying on my side. I had no control. We couldn't take off a cent. Like we literally could take it off. Right? And so the guy says, you know, hey, maybe you'd be good selling cars. I was like selling cars. Crazy man. You know, you know how much Sprint pays me I'm gonna make like 40 grand this year, you crazy. Here with that get. And then he showed me his check. Because you know, you know, in the car, business retail. You know, we get paper checks, right? Just happened to be and I was like, I was astounded. He told me to go across the street with him to his store just to check it out cause it was literally across the street. And

Paul Daly: 8:00

they showed you the check. You're like, you make that much a month. He's like, Oh, week.

Matt Jones: 8:04

So I'm telling you, I didn't believe it. Because until that stage of my life, that money was like, it wasn't real. You know what I'm saying? Like, we walked around, and we're doing our thing. And we understand that Elon Musk is worth $257 billion. But that's not real money. Absolutely. You can't get your head around that. Right. Yeah. And so the man's check that he had in front of me, and this cat was, I don't know, five years older than me, you know, working, breathing the same air as me, right? I was like, I have to go check it out and introduce me into the car business. Otherwise, I might well, I don't know if Sprint still has retail stores. But you know what I'm saying if that person hadn't saw somebody and grabbed me, my whole trajectory would have been different. And so again, it's like, how do we impact each individual person and maybe show them something that they didn't see? Or they hadn't been exposed to? Or they hadn't considered to make it a little bit better? And so I am trying to help change but like, you know, the game a little bit, but from a position of what have you not thought of? Yeah, what do you have been doing in your store for the past 15 years or 20 years that has worked? That absolutely works? But what else is there that maybe you know, that you can add on to that? You know, so I'm trying, I'm trying,

Kyle Mountsier: 9:15

you know, it's interesting, because I do think a lot of people when they get in business, or when they get in careers, and Paul and I say this a lot even about content creators or marketers, we say like, you get into whatever thing you're doing, and you stop learning, right? Yeah, our whole our whole lives up until we're 21 or 22. If you go to college are dedicated to finding new things like you are, your your whole existence is learning because whether you're learning from just the hard knocks or school, you're learning something your to your parents, and then all of a sudden you go into whatever career that you've learned everything to do for and it's like, everything happens in a little silo and yeah, you're learning either comes from Your direct mentor or the people that are right across from you, and you stop going, like, oh, there's other things that I can acquire knowledge from, and go, I can I can bring that to where I'm at whether it be inside my industry or outside of my industry. And that's valuable to what I'm doing right now. So are you, you know, and I know that your role, obviously with TrueCar, and from a marketing perspective and your understanding that but from an industry perspective, what what are you seeing are things that we can be looking at as an industry that are maybe outside of our industry, whether it's a salesperson or a manager or anything like, what are you seeing that, that we should be looking at, or looking toward from outside our industries, try and draw back to understand whether it be employee experience or consumer experience or the way that we, you know, engage in sales? What are you seeing that we should be looking to, as an industry to understand better,

Matt Jones: 10:54

I think what I see the most of and probably the first and foremost biggest opportunity, in my opinion, that I see other industries doing, just like us learning is actually learning in like, you know, training opportunities that may come from outside of your immediate org. So I'll give an example. For a very short time, very short time, I was a firefighter here in Long Beach, and some of my best friends are firefighters, you know, what you have to do in order to be a firefighter, you must have continuing education, you must, it's part of the deal. Because the way that a person would treat a heart attack changes, the way that CPR as we learn more about anatomy changes, right? So it's not your captain. It's not your deputy Captain, it's not your battalion chief. It's the American Heart Association, and you must go there, right. And you can take that across other other industries, but a lot of folks that I've seen, we just train internally, or we train with video, so just opening up, you know, our space for for learning. The other the other thing, though, I think that's probably just as important, if not more is like, is exposure to what's possible. So, you know, the way you know, when I sold cars, I worked for a big group, actually one of the biggest groups in the country. And then I worked for another group, which was a big group and other one of the biggest groups in the country, Southern California. It's a significant car market, right? We had this one dude at our store, or one in our group who sold 100 cars a month. And then we had another dude another store who sold like 75 cars a month. But there was like, 400 salespeople, and there was nobody else who sold 100 cars a month, right? So the rest of us were like, that dude drinks special water. That That dude over there? He's just beautiful. Like there's no duplicate data. Give it a reason. Right? Yeah, right, right. There is something intrinsically their digestive system works different. There's something different about these people that I can't emulate, right? I get out of the car business. I learned about this all you read a cat never I didn't even I didn't know about my store wasn't I wasn't, you know, introduced to that guy. Hear about this Frank Canady guy, I hear about this. Tonight, I'm hearing about all these people that are selling 50 50 70 90 100 cars, right? If somebody had exposed me to that as a salesperson, May that have changed my perspective of what's possible, as opposed to this dude has been sitting in that corner for like, 35 years, right? That's why he sells 100 cars. Right. But you know what I'm saying? So that's what I'm talking about the exposure, get me out of the San Fernando Valley. That's where I'm at. Right, you know, get me out of that space. And let me see what's happening in Indiana. What's going on in Florida? Who is this Brian Kramer cat? What is what's that's what I mean is like getting us exposure. So outside training, and then the exposure, I think, are the opportunities that sometimes don't present themselves because we're, you know, successful.

Paul Daly: 13:51

You know, we just had a very similar conversation in another podcast interview with a gentleman who's also going to be at ASOTU CON named Darren Doane. And he was talking about the recycled metal recycling industry and just people who are used to dealing with big scale, right, like acres and acres and we're gonna level these five blocks of buildings and he said, when you're around people like that, it kind of like, teaches you to think like about you're worried. He's like, he joked, he said, You're worried about, you know, getting a permit for the little like 10 by 10 deck, you're building in your back yard, and you're worried that like the railings going to be an inch or two too low and you're gonna get right and these guys are like rerouting community and rivers and electrical, high power electrical service. And it really the common thread here is the broadening the horizons, right, like pulling the drone up so you can see the broader view, and all of a sudden, normalizing things that you thought were impossible or didn't even think of, right? It's the story of the four minute mile. Everyone's like, you can't do it. It's impossible, right? Actually, people are like, you're gonna die. If you can't afford And while your heart would explode, and then one person did it, and then that next year, a bunch of other people did it. Right. Right. So, so take that like a step further. So you have a unique perspective. And I think TrueCar has a unique perspective because of so much data and so much like scale. Right? What what do you see in the industry? What are some of the things and opportunities you're seeing? Because you have a little bit of perspective, like getting some information from consumers directly? In a time when dealers are like, how can we improve the customer experience?

Matt Jones: 15:30

So it's really good that you said that, because when you're in the middle of a fight, all you see is the fight. So I'm gonna say things right now that I may not have believed when I was actually running an internet sales department, that and I did that for several years in Southern California. The data tells us that the story is true, the group of people who actually contact a consumer and create a real human to human connection, first, tend to win. And that's not Besides, the auto responder is when I really call Paul or I really text Kyle and have a real conversation. We've been hearing that before, but it's never been proven, the data actually proves it. The conversation about the lowest price is what's going to get people's attention. I think this market has proven that's not necessarily the case. It's the relationship and the value that has been proven to move consumers. But I think what's what's really interesting about today's time is that the data is also proven that we need to meet people where where they are, and some people take that as a conversation about, you know, digital retailing, some people take that as a conversation around in store behaviors, or apart from appointment meetings. Where a consumer is is where a consumer is, doesn't matter where it is, you meet them where they are. So if we're going to have like, I don't think anybody who has a brick and mortar would say, hey, you know what, I don't have that much showroom traffic anymore. I'm only going to have one table to do business on. No, you're still going to have a beautiful brick and mortar for the people who come in, right? The people come on social and nobody comes on Social, I'm only going to have one person make a post. Every eight weeks. No people go on social, you have to be prepared to meet people, wherever they are. And what we see sometimes is there's a bit of reluctance. So we've all seen this in the conferences and with people that like it's a, it's an in store experience, or it's a digital retailing experience, you know, but when I think of is like, I I'm from LA, right? If you're from from LA, every third person, you know, or fourth person, you know, is either in the industry or wants to be in the industry, right. 10 12 years ago, there was a big writer strike. I don't know if anybody remembers that. But a lot of the television writers went on strike. And so we didn't get a lot of television shows. Something sprang from that reality TV that didn't need writers, right. Reality TV had been around for a long time. If you think of even the back in like the 70s the eye candid camera, right. That's technically reality TV. Okay. Yeah. Great. Yeah. Been there. It had been there. But autumn are but but the the Hollywood had a crisis, right. And the crisis was the writer strike. And something came out of the writers there the writer strike, which is this reality TV, which is now a part of our entertainment landscape, right? Like it didn't take away structured or regular TV. It's, and it's an and, right. And when I think about digital retailing, when I think about people wanting to go front to back, and then some people's reluctance, it's like, oh, it's not an either or it's an end. Right. You know, when McDonald's introduced chicken, it didn't get rid of the burger to get rid of the big. Mac is still there.

Unknown: 18:59

Right? Right. Right. Yeah.

Matt Jones: 19:01

Now, people who wouldn't have gone to McDonald's because they don't eat beef. Now they have the chicken Patty, right. Same thing with the drive thru. So there's just examples all across our regular collective existence of that, of that. And, and I think that's one of the things that I that, that I don't know that we do so well, in automotive is think about the end, as opposed to like the zero sum game, you know what I mean? Well, that makes sense at

Kyle Mountsier: 19:26

all. Yeah. And as an industry, we're well equipped to handle that. I think we've we've constantly been flexible in this meeting the customer where they're at. And I do think that that's important to not just say like, you know, because all the research studies, I was actually joking with someone I was like, Well, of course the person is going to answer that they want to buy cars online, because the question is, if you had an opportunity to buy a car online, would you? I mean, who's not going to answer yes to that and then the storyline comes out and it's like 73% of customers only want to buy a car online, right? And you're like, Yo, that's probably not right. Because I'm telling you 97% of them are sitting in the showroom down the street, right? Yeah, well, and so I think that, like having the mental capacity to understand that people have different ways of wanting to do business and, and the the intentionality around, hey, there may be different people wanting to do different things in order to interact with my business. And knowing that, hey, you might not be able to do all of it, but you shouldn't be able to do some of it well, and and that way of interacting with customers, I think is going to be really important. You know, when it comes to, you know, is interesting, you say this, like that price isn't the driving factor, and a lot of people associate, I think TrueCar with just price price price. And that's the driving factor to even the you know, having any intentionality around being on a TrueCar website or a partner website. Are you seeing that trend transition, and even the way that people are interacting with shopping behaviors on like, like relational selling, being desired from the consumer side, not just price? Are you seeing that in the way they're interacting with their shopping behaviors?

Matt Jones: 21:16

Yeah. And so, you know, if you think about our origin a million years ago, you know, TrueCar was very, very price oriented, right? And we still are, that's, you know, people you know care about price. But it is a part of the conversation. Now, it is not the conversation. And it's not, it's not just us, like a part of the conversation is okay, here's the price, but we have to be, let's be realistic here. Average cart price is like $48,000. Right now, how many people are walking in stroking a check for $48,000? Very few. It's like 85 87% of people use some sort of financing via loan or lease, right? So is price, all that matters, now know, help me understand what I'm doing, right. And so true car has tools that helps people understand what they're doing, you know, who else has tools that help people understand what they're doing? A human who forms a connection? Right? And so it's like, we are seeing that yeah, behaviors are changing price is still you know, one of the, you know, one of the pillars that draws people in, but it's not everything. Actually we did. We did a survey or a study about a year ago, around used car shopper behaviors, what motivated a used car buyer to choose us over new choose a particular car and choose a particular dealership, right? We want to understand their thought process. Of course, price matter. But it was not. It was nowhere near the only thing that these consumers have already purchased. That was important. How was my How was my experience? How are they talking about the car? How are they treating me? What information are they giving me? Are they making you feel like they're hiding anything? Are they making me feel like I'm included? Right? So price was there. But it's not the only thing. When you're in the middle of a when you're working selling cars, speaking from experience, and you have five customers in a week tell you that Johnny down the street is less, it's very, very easy to internalize that less is all that matters, because you hear that from the people who that you're directly talking with. Right? So that's what I'm saying. I would not have believed that when I was selling cars, because that's the world that I was in, right? When you step back a little bit and you look at people's buyers behavior, we see that it's not always the price, it's how are they being taken care of is the dealership meeting them where they need to be or where the customer is, whether that's with a digital retailing application or in store over phone or over text, so the data actually bears it out. Now I have to say there is going to be that contingent of 20% No matter what you do, every time all they care is about saving every quarter every penny, right? But we're not trying to live for that. 20% We're trying to live for the other 80% they want a good deal. And they want to feel like they're getting it in the in the right way. It's really a nice thing to see. Because this is what this is. This is how other businesses get down. Right. Yeah. So like it's nice that we're getting there.

Kyle Mountsier: 24:12

Yeah. Well, Matt, I really appreciate you giving us this perspective of like there's there was a kind of common thread of hey, zoom out a little bit. Look, look across not just the whole of the automotive industry, but look at cross industry and retail as a whole. And that's that's something that as ASOTU we can definitely get down with and we know that you are you are one of those troublemakers that is that is pushing back with us against against the norm. So Matt can't wait to see you shortly. And yeah, glad that we got to introduce you to the community and thanks for coming on with us today.

Matt Jones: 24:49

Oh, you guys rock and roll. Thank you for everything that you do. And please, as a personal note, if you do see me double fisted with cheese steaks, not one of them out of My hand.

Paul Daly: 25:00

I needed to talk to you later.

Michael Cirillo: 25:08

So you'll learn the guy's a firefighter. And I'm just disappointed that neither of you got his spin on the movie backdrop, he that's why

Paul Daly: 25:15

that's why we need you, you ask all the hard hitting questions that people want to know, the answers to No, no Backdraft questions, the element of, you know, first of all, like, all of a sudden, you start thinking of like LA firefighter West Coast mentality, like his whole personality starts to come into view a little bit more like, that's why he seems so laid back, right, he just grew up on a different in a different place in a different zone. But his talk about his talk his his point about being exposed to things outside the box that you live in every day, so that you can see and understand what is actually possible. That is applicable across the board, in every area. And it's really, we see so many dealerships and industry partners that have their head down, hands in the dirt, so much so that they don't look up and look out and the way they do things becomes the only way to do things. And in this landscape like that just won't cut it anymore.

Kyle Mountsier: 26:10

Well, it's interesting to me, because I hear a lot, it's like this, this conversation of that can't be done, or even, it's not even being done, that it doesn't exist. And that happens from dealers and industry partners. I'll talk to industry partners that are like, Oh, no, nobody does technology that way. And it's like, there's actually over here, except for actually right now. And then for dealers, it's like, you know, whether you maybe you got a single rooftop, and you know, you, you can't see that, that going from 100 to 700 cars is a possibility or you've got multiple rooftops, and you don't understand how you can execute to economies of scale, because you haven't seen or looked outside. And just, I think, you know, there's there's just so much across the auto industry, that just recognizing that someone may be doing what you're headed toward or wanting to head toward. And and that going and find and looking at those learnings, whether you are a salesperson and service advisor, a dealership owner doesn't matter that that there are those perspectives out there. And, you know, people like Matt Jones, people like us, we'd love to help you find those perspectives. It's also

Michael Cirillo: 27:19

like, hey, drop the ego, you don't need to be the only person or the one that figured this out, like reach beyond yourself and get inspired. You know, like, I think about that even in a in a small context. Like, you know, I've watched the two of you how you navigate content creation and business conversations and things of that nature. And I'm like, Man, I'm inspired by this, it gives you ideas that it's like it's a true testament to why you need to be paying attention. And, and being willing to learn so that you can take those things back and apply them to the context of your circumstances. And just think about like, what, what a single rooftop dealer would look like if that was their mode of operation. Yeah,

Paul Daly: 28:04

a lot different is the answer to that question. A lot different. Well, we hope that your life is at least a little bit different for the better for spending some time with us today. On behalf of Kyle Mountsier, Michael Cirillo, and myself. Thanks for listening to auto collabs. We'll see you next time.

Unknown: 28:18

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