The Most Effective Sales Tactic with Will McGinnis

November 6, 2023
Want to unlock the secret of sales? It's Not About the Product, It's About the Relationship! 🚗 💼
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Today, we get into it with Will McGinnis, Director of Sales for, as he unravels the intricacies of building genuine relationships in the automotive industry. From the evolution of digital marketing to the importance of understanding your customer's unique needs, Will emphasizes that the key to successful sales isn't about pushing a product, but about truly understanding and helping your customer.

In this episode, the hosts and Will share a few laughs, reminisce about the early days of automotive websites, and discuss the challenges of the current market economy. Will's journey from selling flashy websites in 2008 to leading a sales team in 2023 offers valuable insights for anyone in sales or in automotive. Plus, don't miss out on the hilarious debate about "Black Shirt Tuesday" and the importance of wardrobe choices in sales!


  • 0:00 - A light-hearted start and the importance of podcast intros.
  • 1:20 - Delving into Will's history in the automotive industry.
  • 2:09 - The essence of a sales professional: Presence vs. Arrogance.
  • 4:32 - A trip down memory lane: The wild west of automotive websites in 2008.
  • 6:37 - Will's journey outside and back into the automotive industry.
  • 10:23 - The challenge of attribution in marketing and the importance of first-party data.
  • 15:20 - The evolution of the marketing funnel and the importance of post-sale relationships.
  • 18:59 - The Challenger sales model: Making it about the customer's business.
  • 24:58 - Wrapping up with key takeaways and the essence of relationship-building in sales.

Will McGinnis is the Director of Sales at

Paul J Daly: 0:00

I love the fact that we come to a podcast. Somebody's already laughing.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:04

Yeah, and someone's like off in their own world just trying to figure out why we're actually starting to podcast.

Speaker 3: 0:16

This is auto collapse.

Paul J Daly: 0:17

I just I caught the intro to the episode where we were going to. I just caught it on LinkedIn in the fee because we never go back and watch the podcast.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:26

So no, you don't watch your own.

Paul J Daly: 0:27

But I caught it.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:28

And I wait you don't. I feel, like I'm like I gather my family every evening.

Paul J Daly: 0:35

I'm like let's watch the father create. But I just watched it and I was like what a bunch of morons, we're about to.

Michael Cirillo: 0:45

I don't know if you caught this. So Paul and I were in person last week in San Antonio and they were having some mic issues. You were at the very back of the room. They, of course, handed to me. I don't know what it is about my face that screams.

Will McGinnis: 0:57

He can fix it.

Michael Cirillo: 1:00

And I get it and for some reason it turns on and I just go sue. Of course you do. Hey listen, I'm excited about this one today. I've known our guest, will McKinnis, for quite some time. Actually, really probably, I'm going to say at least a decade.

Paul J Daly: 1:20

Will. What's the history Tell us? The history there.

Michael Cirillo: 1:23

Well, so I mean well, what I will say is that as long as I've known him, I have always known him to be dare I use LinkedIn language a consummate sales professional.

Paul J Daly: 1:35

Is that a link Is?

Michael Cirillo: 1:36

that LinkedIn language. I always see it on people's reviews. They're, like, you know, so, and so is the consummate professional.

Paul J Daly: 1:43

It sounds too expensive for me.

Kyle Mountsier: 1:44

He's always, however. He's always in reviews.

Michael Cirillo: 1:46

He's always what I will say. Of what I've known about him, he's always had a presence about him that not every person, sadly, in the sales industry has. There's just something compelling about him. He has charisma and I think we're going to see that today. I think you'll, I think you guys will get what I'm, what I'm saying when we get to that.

Paul J Daly: 2:09

That's always the flip, like if you're a sales professional, like presence is the word you just used, which is actually a version of confidence. But in sales, confidence usually comes across as arrogant, right Right. So you're saying he's got the good side of it, he's got presence, yeah, he's got the genuine like when.

Michael Cirillo: 2:27

I don't know if you guys have experienced this, but when you I'm sure we all know somebody, when you talk to them and they're like, hey, tell me everything about you. And then they're, but they're kind of like always looking over your shoulder to see who else. More interesting, I've seen those people? He's not that you know what I mean, like you feel genuinely that you're there, you're the only person in his environment when he's talking to you. Which I mean in sales is just. I mean, how do you put a value on that? That's a lifetime.

Kyle Mountsier: 2:55

Well, awesome. Well, we hope that you enjoy this conversation that we get to have with Will McInnis. Hey, welcome to Auto Collabs and thanks, will, for joining us here on the conversation today. Yeah, thanks for having me. Absolutely, man, all right. Well, we got to get into it. We want to. Really. The first thing that I got to ask you is is how did you miss the email letting you know that it's black shirt Tuesday today? Like, how did you go with the white shirt today?

Will McGinnis: 3:32

I consciously thought I was like all right, I got to be on this today. What should I wear?

Paul J Daly: 3:37

Nice white shirt I'm gonna go white Nice white shirt Like I have the black in my hand.

Will McGinnis: 3:40

Like my, I have a V-neck uniform these days it's white, navy black.

Paul J Daly: 3:47

Keep it simple, nice. Keep it simple. White's a good look.

Michael Cirillo: 3:51

To be fair, though, will has the physique that can pull off a white shirt. So, true man, when I put it on, people are like, hmm, he should open up a Greek deli.

Kyle Mountsier: 4:04

Throw yourself an apron on.

Paul J Daly: 4:05

To which Michael says too late.

Kyle Mountsier: 4:08

I already did. I already did. There you go. All right, so tell me this, because I look at your history and you and I have like we've like crossed paths a couple of times in auto. But I did a little scroll in the LinkedIn and you were working in the website game in auto back in 2008. Whoa, wow, that's real OG. Give us a little bit of like, remind us of where we've come from, wow.

Will McGinnis: 4:39

Wow, you went way back.

Kyle Mountsier: 4:43

I went way back. That's impressive.

Will McGinnis: 4:46

You know what's interesting about the website game in 08? It was also, as you recall, the crash the great recession, yeah, the great recession and also I chose an organization that was going up against dealercom, had just won the GM contract, so I was starting to sell websites to basically Volvo dealers and Mitsubishi dealers in 2008. The most fascinating thing that I guess to answer your question was that. So the company I worked for was XI Group, owned by Dominion, and they also owned an old website company called Dealer Skins, you may recall, and Flash was the thing.

Paul J Daly: 5:34

The very last thing. I remember that.

Will McGinnis: 5:38

Hunking and headlight flashing on the home page Like where you'd have to like if you went to a car dealers website. You might have to mute your computer really fast to try to work looking for a car. That was a.

Kyle Mountsier: 5:55

It was basically like dealers were like have you guys, have you ever seen HomeStar Runner? Can you?

Paul J Daly: 6:00

do that on our website. It's funny that you mentioned it. That's the very first thing that came to mind.

Will McGinnis: 6:05

And you know what else they did was on, like, say, a white background. They would have white text at the bottom of their website page.

Paul J Daly: 6:14

Hide it in there. Hide the SEO in there, yeah.

Will McGinnis: 6:19

It was wild, the wild west. I thought I made the biggest mistake going to the vendor side on automotive. I was like, what am I doing here? But that was the start of my journey on this side of the ball for sure. What were you doing before? Before I was working at a tech company, and when I say tech, not tech and how we think of it these days, it was a wireless distributor, so kind of a commercial B2B side, for everything from cell phone cases to the towers that hold those broadband antennas. I started there after selling cars so I broke my leg selling cars at 18 out of Mitsubishi's.

Paul J Daly: 7:09

Out of Mitsubishi. I see this guy.

Will McGinnis: 7:12

You broke your leg selling cars.

Kyle Mountsier: 7:14

How do you make it? He's like don't line up Mine, trip someone, the guy I don't know. I've got a story in my head, but give it to us.

Will McGinnis: 7:22

No, at 18, I just wanted to make money. I've been in sales all my life and I joined a group here in Maryland and as an 18-year-old they put me at the Mitsubishi point, I guess, is where they wanted to start on $150 a week draw, and it was it sucked. To be honest, I hated it, but I learned a lot of things and then Par laid that into a different job outside of automotive, but then, as all things automotive, it sucked you right back in and so a few years later, that's how I ended up at XI Group.

Paul J Daly: 8:00

Some websites OK, that was 2008.

Speaker 3: 8:05

Yeah, Right, so a lot of teenagers have gone by.

Paul J Daly: 8:09

You've stayed, you haven't gone anywhere else as the journey progressed. What are you doing now and why have you chosen to do it?

Will McGinnis: 8:22

Well, it was interesting. I did leave automotive back in 2019. I went and joined Facebook Facebook Cannabis specifically Worked in Michael's home country for a couple years and I actually it was a great learning experience kind of chaotic but especially as COVID hit, but my verticals were CPG and restaurants, which is just an interesting learning landscape for me to kind of understand a little bit more about marketing as a whole. And then back in 2021, I left Facebook and moved back to the States and worked for a startup and that was really awesome. It was a great experience, but it wasn't what I wanted to do and what I'd love doing, and what I did before leaving for Facebook was manage salespeople. So I currently manage the sales team for Full Throttle, a marketing tech platform.

Paul J Daly: 9:27

What. You know, Michael's like he's trembling, he's like he's like.

Kyle Mountsier: 9:32

now we're talking about Canada. It's my turn, guys, poo-tee-poo-tee.

Michael Cirillo: 9:36

No, I was going to ask you. I mean during that time period, right Starting websites where it was just flash and, like I'm sure, the buzz phrase back then was oh you need his website, you'll get more traffic leads than sales. You got to have our website, it's going to get more traffic leads than sales. To then progress to today with what you're seeing full throttle do in an arena where we go through these seasons of you just need the thing to make your marketing more effective, or you just need a website to this, or you just need what are you seeing now? Contrasting that to the level of first party data attribution, data that full throttle can capture, Because I'm sure a lot of people still out there are thinking, oh, you just got to run Google ads, It'll be fine.

Will McGinnis: 10:24

That they are. You know what I'm seeing successful organizations do and, mind you, the team that I manage is across the spectrum, not just automotive. So I thankfully have a lot of conversations in home services and senior living and higher education and finance, and I used to think the car business was like five years behind in marketing. But I have news for you, gentlemen Basically every industry is behind this. So who is who's set in the pace then If every industry is back like who's in the front, I think it's the top 10, 20%, I think it's those like those top, like organizations that actually focus on trying to be ahead of the game.

Kyle Mountsier: 11:13

So, like whatever vertical it is, there's a percentage of that vertical that is pushing the envelope.

Michael Cirillo: 11:18

I would have died if you were like senior living is leading the charge.

Will McGinnis: 11:24

No, I wish they were, but they're not. And like, but I would say that the number one thing that that organizations can do is like actually pay attention to. The sky is falling type conversation, and what I mean by that is like pay attention to it. So cookies have been deprecating for the last couple of years, but it actually is happening. It's not happening as fast as we thought it would. Google has kicked that can down the road, understandably, for quite some time and to you bring it up, first party data, michael, it's that that organizations are so used to. They just want to handle, like, the good stuff, the leads, you know, the form fills, the Collins. They want to handle the stuff that attributes directly to the sale, but what they need to pay attention to is all the stuff that's not converting and really focus on those, because those are your opportunities. The leads are going to come, the sales are going to come. It is, it is what's behind it that's not converting, and how, how to bring them to the front, but also just pay attention to what is happening and in causing that not to convert, yeah, I think about it.

Kyle Mountsier: 12:45

It's nuts that in our industry best in class, like the top, is maybe a website will get two and a half to 3% net conversion, meaning 97 out of 100 people that come and say hi on the website are like nah, or they find another avenue to interact with the organization or get brought back in a different way. And we're so focused as an industry on 3% of the interactivity At best Right.

Will McGinnis: 13:27


Kyle Mountsier: 13:28

So what do we do with the other 97%? How do we go figure out what's happening there?

Will McGinnis: 13:34

Well, I think a key component and I think some organizations are doing a decent job of trying to identify that 97% right, and there's a lot of mechanisms out there to do it. You have for what's left of cookies. You have the ability to cookie your website and cookie those users and try and get it. You have the ability to utilize different tools that allow you to identify their IP address or identify their maids, their mobile user ad IDs, and the thing about all of those things is that they break and so, and the other thing that I've noticed, even with bigger organizations, is that they go and they seek out all this data but they don't do anything with it, right, because they don't know what to do with it. They're trying to merge it, they're trying to append it with different invoices.

Paul J Daly: 14:23

I know they're supposed to have it right.

Will McGinnis: 14:25

Right, yeah, and so, selfishly, for our organization at Fulthrottle, our focus is just talking to that 97% right, and so it's really just it's kind of wedged in there to just talk to them, to help bring them back and really immerse them with the brand, and so that's where we found our success. It's not like a data dump and trying to layer it in on their on in live ramp to try and layer in with other components of their data to build like this huge data pool, if you will, but not that that's not important. I think it's very important, but you got to be able to use it and pay attention to what that is versus just building a customer profile, the thing about it. Kyle, to your point, 97 of those people are coming to your website. They're interested. We're just not necessarily talking to them when they're interested, and that's what we focus on.

Michael Cirillo: 15:21

It gets my mind moving on how oftentimes in our industry we talk about the marketing funnel and we're like oh yeah, you got to pay attention to the funnel and we really only discuss those top three steps, right, like awareness, consideration, decision, and then and then basically the funnel disappears. But it's like well, what about that? Post sale retention, loyalty, brand ambassadorships.

Paul J Daly: 15:42

I don't like a funnel as the illustration, because it really is like a circle.

Michael Cirillo: 15:47

Yeah, yeah, exactly, if you made it, if you, if, if you were to leverage the, the, the data that Will's talking about. I'm thinking about all sorts of things like why wouldn't I spend dollars then retargeting people who have actually already purchased? Like, say, you bought a Honda Odyssey and I know that, and I know for a fact, it's sitting in your driveway still and that the touch points have been minimal or lackluster at best. I'd totally run ads to people that own those Odyssey's being like hey, I hope you're still loving your Odyssey. By the way, here's three things that you should know about your Odyssey that you'd absolutely, because I just I think of the impact of to your point, paul, using that, that data and making a cycle happen versus the, the funnel happen, because I know if they're happy and they're excited and they see that I'm excited and that I'm educating them, they're going to be more likely to book service with me. That they're going to tell their friends about yeah, yeah.

Kyle Mountsier: 16:44

When we look at people that had the killer the way that you just said, it wasn't. Here's three, three other cars you could buy right now. It was here's three interesting things about your Odyssey, which is like that's a conversation. The other way is yelling. Nobody likes to be. I mean, I think this right and this.

Paul J Daly: 17:00

This kind of gets back and it touches on some of the Achilles heels of, you know, automotive marketing or the mindset and maybe it's not just automotive, Maybe it is, you know, will your point a lot of other industries is like there's no direct ROI that's attributable to that type of content. Right, I mean retention, you can kind of see, but maybe you have a, or at least it's not clear. Right, Sales content. It's a lot clearer. Here are three interesting things about the car that you already bought. That is clear. I don't know what's your perspective on that Will yeah.

Will McGinnis: 17:34

So you know, oftentimes I hear constantly well, attribution, right Like the Holy Grail. Is this last touch, attribution which is just, is just something you're going to be chasing for a long time?

Paul J Daly: 17:46

Yeah, yeah.

Will McGinnis: 17:48

The path is not linear and I think when and it's really hard to do, right Cause you hold vendors accountable, you hold your, like your own internal marketing team accountable. I spent this dollar, I want these $2 back period and like that's what I want, that's what I want you to prove out. And I think when you put those hard edges on your marketing efforts or on your efforts just in general, you are going to see failure and you're going to adjust. Where, where I think it's a little bit maybe chaotic, it is utilizing your marketing dollars and measuring the effects that it has on your business period in totality, not that individual lever. Did I pull this lever and did I get a sale out of it? Because when you don't, you sometimes discard that lever when it was effective for you because you're looking at it in a silo. And I think the important thing is to look at your marketing efforts in totality and measure lift in all areas, not just sales, not just leads but measure lift in I talk about this all the time.

Kyle Mountsier: 19:02

It's the entire media mix model squared against the KPIs of business outcomes that your business has so like. If your media mix model is targeting growth in like five key KPIs, then your levers need to understand whether or not they got the business outcomes. Not like a slight uptick in leads right, whereas, like a lot of people will go, well, I'm not getting enough leads from source X, turn it off, but that may be driving residual sales, offline sales, or potentially it's driving service visits or all of that type of stuff. And understanding your KPIs business outcomes as they relate to your entire media mix model will change the way that you look at attribution across the board, right, right, yeah, I have one more question here's. This is adjacent to like everything, because in auto a lot I think it's like vendors do this, dealers do this, but everybody's kind of in sales, right, and you said you love leading a team of salespeople Like that's why you moved to Full Throttle, because you get the opportunity now to care for, lead and guide a team of sales. In the market economy right now, the way that businesses are interacting with spending money, how are you training and guiding your salespeople to be the most effective in their conversations right now with dealers or people in other industries.

Will McGinnis: 20:35

Great question. So you know, back when I was at Cox, I ran sales teams for Vauto and one of the things that was introduced to us at Vauto I don't know 2013, maybe 10 years ago was this you know, sales training is sales training is sales training, but it was called the Challenger Sales Model and I just bring it up because I took that and I ran with it and I became a really successful salesperson. And then I became a facilitator. I went and got certified to teach Challenger Sales Training. I ended up teaching a lot of COPS Automotive Sales Team. I fell in love with it for one critical reason probably multiple, but one that was very, very important to me and it was making it about their business. And so the way I teach my team and just you know, talk in general is I don't care if you're selling full throttle, I don't care if you're selling XI group websites, slash websites, it doesn't matter, the product does not matter. And what I mean by that is I really spend the time as a salesperson and in training, understanding the business and the goals of my prospect and really spending the entire time focused on them and those gaps, and the art is to understand where my product fits in those gaps so that I can be there to service it when ready. And what I learned in understanding that mindset and training that way was that by being that expert and also utilizing data, which is a critical component of it utilizing industry data, not my data, but industry data I didn't even have to demo Vauto a lot after that I didn't, it was inventory management conversations, it wasn't. I think I got this software and it's better than my first look or my competitor. It was just about inventory management, holding costs and truly understanding the industry, understanding the holding costs of each vehicle and their lot and what it's costing them as it ages. That was the focus that I put on and that's kind of what I try and convey across teams that I manage.

Paul J Daly: 23:01

That is just the best advice for any relationship. When someone knows that you understand them, they immediately trust you. If they know you understand my situation, my challenges, my fears, the things that I have to deal with, the things that are on my plate, the second someone knows that you really understand it. That's amazing that you say like all of a sudden, don't have to do a lot of demos because people are like you understand the problem. I just assume that you understand the solution.

Will McGinnis: 23:32

And I left every conversation, whether I wanted or lost it. I don't care if you buy a Viotto. I said this many times when I was selling it but I don't care if you buy Viotto. What I want is to help you sell more cars, because that's what they wanna do, and so if you want to partner with me to do that, here's like everything that I've talked to you today about blah, blah, blah. That is what made it successful, wasn't like VAUTO is a very amazing product and like their whole process is great, but had nothing to do with that and everything to do with being that partner to them to understand their business, to help them, and I think that's a critical thing. I wasn't trying to sell. I was trying to help.

Michael Cirillo: 24:19

Yeah, I think what a what an amazing place to conclude the conversation with, with kind of just banging that drum, which is that conversations matter, relationships matter and the true essence of marketing is that, and especially what you're doing at Full Throttle is getting people, getting advertisers and marketers to a place of understanding so that they can better build those relationships and have those meaningful conversations with their audience. Will McGuinness, thank you so much for joining us here on Auto Collapse today. Thank you, gentlemen, I really appreciate you.

Kyle Mountsier: 25:03

Look, I'm just proud I nailed the final question.

Paul J Daly: 25:05

That was a good final question. We should have asked that.

Kyle Mountsier: 25:09

I didn't know what was coming after it, but I was like that was a good one.

Michael Cirillo: 25:12

You know there was a good sequence there, like I'm thinking back through the conversation, and there was. There was a clear lead up to being able to ask that question and get that type of an answer out of them.

Paul J Daly: 25:23

We should just spend the rest of the outro complimenting our interview skills. We could. We could do that. We could do that if we didn't just let the cat out of the bag that we had no idea.

Michael Cirillo: 25:41

You're trombone.

Kyle Mountsier: 25:42

No good. No, but I, we had no clue that was coming Legitimately. I barely knew Will before walking into that and for him to drop that just as to clearly state it. Because I think we would all say, like you said, srella, we, we know that relationship matters in sales, but the way that he positioned relationship in this, like exploratory care for the unique point of view of that person's business, and then you can just like replace business with whatever that person is, you know, if it's we're selling a car the unique point of view that matters to that person's livelihood or that person's life or that person's driving habits, that that's the lean in and that the product like, once that happens, it's just like yep, it doesn't matter what you're selling.

Paul J Daly: 26:27

I also love the fact that he's got so much experience outside automotive. I think people like that we should be listening to more frequently and more intently, because you know, they just their head is up. Just by the nature of his position. He's in all types of industries, and so I love meeting with people like that too. Well, thank you so much for spending some of your time with us today. We hope you got a little inspired, a little energized. Learn something. On behalf of Kyle Mount Sear, michael Cirillo and myself, thank you for listening to Auto Collapse.

Speaker 3: 26:58

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