The NADA Convergences Begins, and Getting Back To Basics w/ Guest Todd Caputo

January 25, 2023
Today it begins as the NADA Show in Dallas draws in tens of thousands from across the industry and across the country. ASOTU coverage of the show means that no one has to feel like they missed out.
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We have 2nd generation Dealer and special guest Todd Caputo on the show to give us all the tips from his 25 years going to the show. We also talk about why getting 'back to basics' is going to separate the winners from the losers in 2023.

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Kyle Mountsier, Paul Daly, Todd Caputo

Paul Daly  00:31

Okay. The great convergence has absolutely been gone. You know what day it is Wednesday, January 25. And from all over people converge on Dallas, Texas I couldn't afford you.

Kyle Mountsier  00:48

There you go. The difference between Dallas Texas and Vegas is I was getting textless last week. It was like, Where are you staying? Where are you staying? I'm like, I can't find the Airbnb. I don't know. I

Paul Daly  00:59

don't even know. Right. I don't even get our talent Fort Worth and they don't have a great point. Vegas is just easy to understand. Right? Everything's right there and you just say the name of the place and everyone knows basically how to get to you. Exactly. I know well, Dallas is gonna be first It's a first for nada in Dallas. You know, I've we've been to Dallas a couple of times. I've never really


say this like, we haven't mentioned this since we announced this way back in whenever August when they first sent the email. But there has not been enough talk about Armadillo racing.

Paul Daly  01:35

We were probably the first ones to talk about it. Literally at the NADA party Thursday night. They say they're going to feature Armadillo racing. So I don't know You know us we'll probably try to put a microphone in and armadillos face and see if we can get to talk. We will be there we will be covering the show. We'll be covering the entirety of the NH nada show. Starting tomorrow, Thursday morning, we have a whole live stream schedule. We're covering all the pre show events. So the ATA event audit team America JD Power, auto news retail forum, we're going to bring it all to you if you're not going which is most likely, only 30,000 People can go out of like 2 million. So our goal is that even though you can't go you don't feel like you missed out. So go to a so two and a So two and a You're gonna see our whole production schedule. We have lots of live streams planned lots of content planned or just follow on our socials as well. Because a lot of the stories and the impromptu content is going to be like what it really looks like sounds like feels like being there on the floor. We have we have an nada, like I would say longtime alum on the show today. The one and only Todd Caputo, let's bring Todd in. Lord knows he's just he's she's probably driving to Dallas right now, because I'll just do whatever it takes

Todd Caputo  02:49

to drive I'm definitely gonna fly. So Todd would drive if I had to

Paul Daly  02:54

longtime dealer second generation dealer ended up being acquired by Sonic few years ago. And now you are on your own doing some consulting and just you know playing in the space because once you're once a car guy always a car guy how many NAD A's have you been to? Do? You know the count gonna be like number 2425? I think they're forever. Do you remember your first nada?

Todd Caputo  03:19

I went with my dad, but there was a long, long, long time ago. Do you remember like so? Long ago i The foursome and

Paul Daly  03:27

Alright, so. So for people that go to nada or for the dealers listening, they always want to know kind of like how the other dealers do nada. Because it's kind of like sensory overload. It's packed of with every, you know, industry partner, you can imagine trying to kind of sell you enclose you on everything that they're doing. There are super sessions, there's, you know, after parties, there's all this stuff. How do you How did you like what are your tips and kind of approach to nada to pull the most value out of if you're speaking to a dealer?

Todd Caputo  03:55

It depends, like if you're going with a team of people, which a lot of dealers do. They'll bring senior management bring leadership, you want to have a specific schedule laid out for your people, what educational classes you want them to go to what vendors you want them to see what social events you want them to do. Also what OEM meetings because the OEM meetings are typically every year at na na da as well. I guess the best piece of advice is have a set plan whether it's you're going alone, or you're bringing your people with you where you're going to go, what you're going to see who you're going to talk to and what you really want to accomplish at the end of the day, because it's very easy to get distracted at nada you can be distracted in two seconds you could walk down the floor and I'm talking to four different vendors and you look in the days have gone so go with a plan if you want to see a specific vendor that you do business with for particular reason, have a set time set up we can go see him in the booth most of the vendors have different private areas set up or they'll go see their their clients privately made a review some things and you know, I guess the most important thing for me and probably for most dealers especially this year is your litmus test should be does it sell cars? Right? That's one of my mantras, does it sell cars di SC is what I'm looking at is what I'm spending time with is what I'm sending my people to have anything to do with me selling cars. Nada goes by really, really fast, right? And if it doesn't sell cars, personally, for me as a dealer, I didn't want anything to do with it at all. So doesn't sell cars.

Kyle Mountsier  05:27

Yeah. So what when, when you're looking at specifically this year, you know, if you and I, you know, I know that you're working with a lot of dealers through consulting right now. But as you're headed into nada and thinking about, you know, the changes the shifts in the market, the perceived shifts in the market that are coming in the next year, like, what are you looking at? What are you encouraging dealers looking at, you know, we had a kind of side conversation of getting back to the basics. And I think that's a lot of what the next year is going to look like. But from an engagement with content at nada, or from a vendor perspective, I know everybody's going to be unique. But what are some themes that you're encouraging dealers to kind of go in and get their hands around this year,

Todd Caputo  06:04

I would be talking to people at nada, that do mystery shops, professionally, online, over the phone and in person, I would be talking to people at na na da that do sales training for your people, not just your salespeople, but for your managers. I would be talking to people that do training for your service advisors. I'd be talking to people that do training for your BDC because this is the year about getting back to the basics. The groceries aren't going to come so fat, the deals are not going to come so easy. And there's a lot of people that probably work in people's car dealerships right now that just got into the business and the last year and a half. And they don't have a clue. Right They came in when they were basically learn how to take an order, right well, order taken over with reality's coming, it's already hitting now, it's going to continue as the year goes on. This is the year to get back to the basics. This is the year about training. It's not about fancy digital tools. It's not about fancy anything. This is a year about the basics, and you're getting your litmus test is does it sell cars because cars don't get sold, nothing happens in your stores.

Kyle Mountsier  07:09

There's that that's huge coming from you especially like if people don't know you in there, listen to this just like to level set. You've always been an innovator when it comes to technology and digital tools. You know, very early adopter of dealer inspire of roadster of online auctions of things that are digital ecosystems, which enable streamline and efficiency within, like both operations and customer experience. But for you to say, hey, look, you could go look at the hundreds of tools that are digital ecosystem type things this year, at at nada, go, Hey, look, that's that shouldn't be priority that there are that the opportunity lies in how you engage your people this year. That's like, I some people could say, oh, yeah, training, good need training, but specifically coming from your mouth. I think that that's extremely poignant. And such a level head heading into this year into a conference like this,

Todd Caputo  08:07

every dealer that I'm talking to, and every dealer that I work with, that's their concern this year, right? Like, I have to get my people's mindset back onto the basis of the business that that were there before COVID. And I gotta teach the people really teach them. Now, that just got into the business during COVID. What this business is truly all about, it's a business of grinding. It's a business of prospecting. It's a business of knowing how to talk to people, having relationships with your customers, that you that are new have been keeping relationships with customers from the past, knowing your product, knowing how to do a walk around knowing how to do a test drive, knowing how to answer the telephone, how to answer a lead properly. All the basics are extremely couple of

Paul Daly  08:49

things. Just a couple of things. Let's zoom the lens out for a second. So speak I was speaking specifically to dealers and their personnel a lot of the people in the audience also industry partners or some just frontline frontline workers that are not you know making management decisions yet but if they're listening to this and paying attention to they probably will be soon. You have a hat on and it's been a really a phrase that you've been championing fear mediocracy Yeah, hold it up to the camera,

Todd Caputo  09:15

or mediocrity. Oh, mediocrity yesterday,

Paul Daly  09:18

I said, see? What would you say to like that that kind of wraps around like even industry partners, or people that have maybe been on the front lines, and now things are changing a little bit? What does that mean? And why is it so important for the entirety of the industry?

Todd Caputo  09:34

We know what mediocre means, right? Mediocre means average. Everybody in this industry, dealers, some vendors, but really dealers. They've been able to be average for the last year and a half or two years and still be able to make above average profits. Those days. If you feel like there's any people or process to answer any part of your organization that is mediocre, you need to fear it. And you need to fear it completely because you're gonna have average or below average results by middle of the year I can pretty much guarantee it. You might already be seeing it now it's coming. It is definitely coming. So mediocrity is we feared and that's one morning I woke up, I was drinking some coffee. And the word mediocre popped into my head and I came up with this and Paula hired your ad agency to do a whole little T shirts, hats. It's part of what I do now. Right?

Paul Daly  10:29

It's part of you. It's part of it's a part of you. There's there's nothing nothing more Todd Caputo than that you don't do anything halfway. Not

Todd Caputo  10:39

so I'll be at nada. I can't wait. I'm excited. And you know, there's our there's going to be some great techy things that are right, great digital things. Get a brochure, get a brochure, focus on training, training training, I'm telling you see who's going to train your people how they're going to train your people, how much they're going to charge you for it. And it's not just a one shot deal with training. Training needs to be done for long periods of time. mystery shopping needs to be done immediately. Higher mystery shopping company today. Or this week when you go to nada, get a company to mystery shop your business immediately. Find out where you're weak. Figure out who can fix the problems, fix the processes, train your people, and I'll guarantee you're gonna be way better off. Well, I

Kyle Mountsier  11:25

don't know what else to end on.

Paul Daly  11:27

This getting ready for the floor and look if you see this man, Taka puto please say hi. I'm sure he'd love to talk with you. We have a lot of work to do a lot of mediocrity to push aside a lot to learn

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