July 18, 2021

Dan Mondello - Trans Ams, Dealer marketing, police stops, cannabis

7:48 Dan's first word was vehicle 8:30 First car Firebird 14:42 Should you have cred if you've never sold a car? 15:56 build sales rapport the typical way...through Trans Ams 19:26 Jeff drove Chevelle, Camaro Z28 and Trans Ams to school for his buddy...

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7:48 Dan's first word was vehicle
8:30 First car Firebird
14:42 Should you have cred if you've never sold a car?
15:56 build sales rapport the typical way...through Trans Ams
19:26 Jeff drove Chevelle, Camaro Z28 and Trans Ams to school for his buddy George Manian's father...a dealer. To put up for sale. It didn't end well.
25:45 "...people who do not have an opportunity to work in the automotive industry are doing themselves an amazing disservice..."
27:50 Car and cannibas business.
29:31 a similarity between the car business and the cannabis...both salespeople want you to smell it.
31:30 The E30 BMW Convertible ex wife and stripper story
33:28 "Write the check"
35:30 Dan vs Nissan on a website
39:03 Dealer ad co-op explained
42:22 2am Trans Am speed tests, the campus police and a borrowed tag
46:39 Jeff, underage driving, a Jeep through the ditch and waiting cops
50:43 The fatal dating mistake


Unknown Speaker  0:02  
Jeff Sterns connected through cars, if they're bigwigs, we'll have him on the show and yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else. Here he is now, Jeff Sterns,

Unknown Speaker  0:19  
Jeff Sterns connected through cars with my good friend, Dan Mondello. Now, don't worry, I mean, it's always been car people car people car people, Dan is not in the car business. Although when he entered this zoom type meeting he did put his name in is Dan nightrider Mondello. And it's funny, I always try to wear a different t shirt. On each one. It's getting a little expensive. We're doing one a week, and I am hitting an average of 13 $14 a shirt. So it starts adding up in a year, especially those of you at the northeastern thrift. So I thought about it too late to try to order it in a day or two. But I didn't know if I should get a Nicolas Cage or a trans-am screaming chicken. That would have been so awesome if you would have logged on. And I had that on. You know, it's really funny because I came like this close to wearing the Nicolas Cage sweatshirt. But I also came this close to wearing like a full fledged lobster costume as well. Because yes, yes, I do have one. But I chose to come on here wearing a T shirt. It's really good as the right attire. You're wearing a T shirt or a nicer t shirt than mine but a T shirt nonetheless. Nonetheless, I mean, this is I mean, this is heavy duty apparel down here in Clearwater, Florida. What can I tell you? So my son, the one we were just talking about Jackson 18 does have a trans-am I'm pretty sure the one I wore when the car was out mid late 70s. But the black and white with the chicken or whatever with the trans-am written underneath and the blue, a white t shirt with the dark blue piping around the sleeve and around the neck. I mean, like how they were if I would have thought of that except my son. He has a deal anytime I buy him a new t shirt or new light colored shorts. That's what he wears to take the heads off of his 71 Ford truck with That's exactly right. He's doing it right though. That's exactly how you're supposed to do it. You know, new color shirt wrench. That's just it just goes so well together. Right and the first wearing I remember I bought him a new dark colored some kind of sweatshirt. And at the time he had a 22 foot Catalina anchored off behind the house. And he comes in and the shirt looks like I don't know, like,

Unknown Speaker  2:40  
like salt from an up North Road was splattered all over him. But it turned out that he took the lawn spritzer. You know the thing that you pump up to get rid of the weeds or whatever, filled it with bleach to get rid of mold inside of the ceiling of the sailboat. Wearing the brand new, dark, whatever color sweatshirt like hoodie. Oh no, you're only young once, man, you got to destroy some clothes during your lifetime. But I gotta I gotta tell you, man. Unlike in his outfit, I'm like it is a tire and I'm liking his lack of like consideration for you know what they look like after the first wearing as you said, No, that's good stuff. He's definitely doing it right. And it's good to it's good to hear your boy wrenches, man, because a lot of kids these days, they stare at phones all day long. They're like us, but smaller and younger. I'm glad to hear his wrench. I'm glad to hear he's repping the heads off of that for 64 or whatever. Wherever you said earlier. I mean, I'm glad to hear that. That's great stuff. It's a 360. But he always makes sure that everyone knows it's the same block is the three na Yeah, he's 100% correct. So yeah, the Effie, you know, so I'm sure that he'll do everything that it takes to push it out. The good news is there's plenty of metal in the motor so he can board out and do whatever and you know, he could take it up. You could take it out to three, you know, three night or more, I'm sure no problem. So it's funny what you say about kids on their phone and, and wrenching on car. I mean, the thing I really appreciate it I love both my sons, of course. But I just like one better. I mean, what can I do? But the thing that I really do appreciate about Jackson in the way he lives his life intentionally. He finally did get an iPhone. But for the longest time he had not quite an analog phone but a phone with no screen. And it's I mean until like a year and a half ago. And it was with all the rivets. I mean, we found it use like a museum piece on eBay and he wanted to have it had like the screws all around the rubber gasket it would bounce off of stuff, had his Moroso sticker on the back and when his fun friends would make fun of them because he had this like really weird phone. He's like, it's a phone, you're supposed to make calls with it. That's what it is. It's uh, you know, like, he's 62 I loved it, you know? So, but he really is an analog kind of guy. So

Unknown Speaker  5:00  
And finally, you know, I'll get off of him. And of course, I love my kids, I could talk about them all day. But Jackson applied at the marina to be a dock boy when he was 12 or 13. And it was the job that I wanted. When my dad kept his boat at that very same Marina, and I didn't apply and get turned down, I just never applied for whatever dishwashing job at the restaurant I got near to the house. But this was the job I always want. Because when we'd pull up on the boat, these are the kids that would be like, what tie with the line like from 10 feet away doing the doing the knot on the cleat on the dock. And of course talking to everyone's daughter's pulling up to get gas and all of that stuff. You're on a in a marina all day, like how bad can it sounds like haven't really I mean, right? So they call me from the Marina. And they said, Listen, we have your son here. He's applying and I'm like, why would they call me like do you need permission that he should apply? Or what's going to know he's younger than our rules to hire? And I'm like, Okay, great. Well, when should he apply again? He said, No, we're going to if it's alright with you, we're going to look up the child labor rules and hire them. Because when we told him that he was too young come back next year, he sat down and plopped down and started talking to one of our mechanics who's like 75. About what Flathead engine was, in what year Ford and mercury. I love it.

Unknown Speaker  6:25  
And bench racing with the guy. I love it. I love it. So, anyway, that is rare today. That is I think there's not a lot. No, it's totally rare today. I remember when I was in college, I got myself a job at a Corvette restoration place called Ron's auto restoration. And, you know, very quickly the mechanics and the shop owner Ron Brunel learned that I was not cut out to paint anything sandblast anything, put anything together take anything apart. So eventually, he just ended up letting me paint the shop. And for the next four years, I painted the shop different colors. And you know, here's a really great book. Perfect. No, I, I also I can only not paying a car I definitely can't paint. I can't paint a shop either. I actually, remember buying two gallons of paint and painting a room and there was thin spots all over the place. You could see through it. So then I had to hire a real painter because it was terrible. And he says, Okay, how big is the room? And I told him he's okay, so that'll take one gallon. So I took two gallons and still had all the fishes Yeah, so I'm looking at my notes here. So I know your car crazy at a young age. So I mean, we are a little bit about connections through cars, but we could talk about anything. So talk about that a little bit. Yeah, this so this is one that a lot of people who I tell know this about me. My first word was not actually mama or Dada or any kind of variation of those it was actually vehicle and I was saying I was saying vehicle cousin, you know, an infant, but uh, I was meaning to say vehicle, and my mother used to tell tell me stories all the time about how I would refuse to go to church or school or anything without my Matchbox cars in my hands. And I would really not go into this one Eastern particular where I refuse to go in there. But um, you know, I was all I was car crazy. At a very young age. Some of my first memories are of my dad, driving his at Firebird around the house. I was probably one years old, maybe, maybe younger during Hurricane Bob. He's driving this black fiber on the back of the house to park it. That's one of my earliest memories. And I ended up driving that car. It was my first car. My father helped me put that car back together. And I drove and that was a real bonding experience. For me. My dad's like, no, everyone has that really great story about how they got into auto. Mine was my dad teaching me how to work on cars. Well, I mean, and that's some of your best memories is with your dad doing that. No doubt to this day we joke because if you go on Google the address of my old house growing up, there's a there they have like that freeze frame of Google Earth or whatever it is. My my Firebird is still up on ramps, we're pulling the exhaust or the or pulling the transmission or something out of it. And like for the last 12 years, we've noticed every once in a while that that picture will update and it's always some other picture from our neighborhood with my car up on blocks. And it my dad, I just spent all the time in the world underneath that cart, ripping it apart, putting it back together. It was just awesome. There is a movie that another one of my guests, I had Emmy Award winning videographer Brett rancor who produced the full length feature film called in best in class, the making of a Concorde elegance, about the audrain Concorde elegance. The thing that I love about the movie that reminds me of what you're talking about, is everybody has a story about a car even if they didn't drive. Everybody has a story about a New Yorker that never got to live. But there's a story about a car there's a story about someone's car. There's so

Unknown Speaker  10:00  
Memory bought a car. And I love this film. I mean, I really it's on Vimeo I write you can rent it, I really recommend. It's great called car culture. But the people on the show a lot of them talk about why they now have this car in the concore. And it's often because this is the one that my dad and I are reminds me of the one that my dad and I worked on, or it is the one that my dad and I worked on and they can't get rid of it. Because of that it means I mean, look, cars are really I mean the old cars that we like our memories, if you see a Ferrari at a gas station, or a Pontiac like that there's very good chance you'll be more interested in the Pontiac is not not all about the price. Right? Exactly. Yeah. No, it's funny. I was I was driving a friend's car one time he had this old 1923 t bucket Ford it was all done off at a you know, a five oh engine nothing spectacular. Got a nice setup, nice hot rod. probably spent about $15,000 for it, bought it off Facebook marketplace. And I wouldn't I was driving it to get I don't know what I was doing. I was running an errand. I took his car, I pulled up next to a like $200,000 Aston Martin. And more people came out of the of the store I was at to look at the 2340 bucket that he bought for $15,000. And the 200,000 or vanquish or whatever it was next to me, it was an unbelievable situation to say. So all of you will flock into a 15,000 car. It'd be like the equivalent of people flocking into ghostie, a 2008 Honda Civic or something like that just didn't make any sense. Well, from a from a price tag standpoint, but people attach that. I mean, if it's a little kid, they're very, very curious about it. Kids always love the hot rods. I mean, I've had plenty of them. Why don't I remember every if you want bikes to follow you around the neighborhood just go idling around and in some old IRA, if it's a car they had when they were young, or it reminds them of something we're talking about this dune buggy. I know what the dune buggy which I don't think hits 15 grand at the gas pump everybody comes around and has some story and I remember these Sleeping Bear dunes in upper Michigan or out in California, you from California and all that, you know, like I was really in the dune racing scene, right like in the hill climb scene. And speaking of that, it's really a shame I mean, you know, the, the inventor of the dune buggy, the original the Meyers Manx dune buggy, which my yellow one is not was a fellow named Bruce Meyers that was in the surfboard business. That's how he understood fiberglass and he we just lost him. He just passed away in the last few weeks. So that's that was sad in that in that culture world. So Dan, remember, the people watching this might be car people, but they are probably people not in the car business that are just enjoying meeting the interesting people that I've met through the car business in my travels that have interesting stories. So we don't have to cater this towards car business or specific car. I mean, of course, unless it's very interesting, but I'm looking at my notes. And you did end up in a dealership one time. Is that interesting enough for the people that aren't in the business? I hope so. No, I guess I got some stuff to talk about there for sure. It's actually funny. I was talking to a mutual friend of ours. Do you know Nick askew? Have you ever met that kid before? nice kid owns? No, you do know what does he own. He owns a digital marketing firm that does automotive digital marketing builds websites, that kind of thing. We were kind of talking last week about our origin stories or how we got in a car into the car business. And I was thinking I'm wondering if you feel this way as well. I don't think anyone woke up when they were like five years old or 10 years old and said, You know, I want to be I want to be a Spaceman. I want to be a firefighter I want to be in car sales, retail automotive. I don't think anyone has that story. It's it's still a series of trials and Miss trials and victories and failures that you end up anywhere in life. But certainly in the automotive industry. I found that that to be true. And you know, I was I was working for a newsletter company in automotive and I got these questions from from the car dealers. I just couldn't believe that no one answered these questions they didn't know, you know who was in charge of their inventory or why it was important to keep their customers emails and I knew I had to be working in a car dealership. So I left the vendor side and promptly applied for a job at cork auto dealers in beautiful Massachusetts and New Hampshire. And did you sell cars there? Did you go straight into their marketing department?

Unknown Speaker  14:42  
That's actually a pretty funny story. So you know, there's there's a couple different types of personalities at a car dealership and you know, I was the marketing kid. No, I know. The sales guys got one type of treatment and the marketing people got a separate type of treatment because you know, we're an expense

Unknown Speaker  15:00  
The sales people there. They're a revenue driver. They're generating income for the for the dealerships. I used to kind of come into these meetings and talk about my expertise in marketing. I go into the sales meetings on Monday mornings. And a lot of the general managers it didn't like when there's a couple of I'm sure, you know, they used to say, well, this kid's telling us how to sell cars, he's never sold cars. The reality is I have sold my own cars big deal everyone does that. I've also sold a couple Corvettes, or helped to sell a couple Corvettes in my lifetime through my previous jobs I spoke about my dealer principal said to me, Dan, I mean, if you want to talk to these guys go on selling cars and act like you have expertise you have to go and sell a car. So you know the crack of dawn 9am on Saturday morning, that's crack of dawn for us millennials. I put my boots soft strap my boots on and I went to our Subaru store and harangue customers in the parking lot until eventually one of them said okay, fine, I will take a test drive with you. And it was a great guy. And it's actually really fun when I come full circle are already in this conversation. we bonded over our mutual desire to drive transactions and, and live the free life. And he ended up buying a Subaru Forester from me, but he did like trans AM's or he at least humored me and pretended to like trans AM's but um, no, I I am wanting one when it comes to selling cars in a retail automotive environment, one on one. So I'm just trying to picture this because obviously, I sold cars for short 27 years, and you're building your rapport with your client, you're getting to know each other. I mean, that's normal, right? I mean, whether you're looking at a house or looking at furniture, or cars or a good waiter, I mean, if you get someone good, they're gonna find some common ground and get conversational with you unless you just want to be left alone. And you talk about the things that you have in common. So it might be a hobby, it might be family, it might be where you went to school, it might be a guy that you both know that he's neighbors with that you sold a card, whatever, somehow you got the conversation to you both, like trans AM's

Unknown Speaker  17:07  
How did it get there? How do you give me a really it really helps it makes it really easy to bring up transactions when that's pretty much all you talk about is transactions, especially back then No, I have a it's pretty clear on this interview at least I hope that I have a strange and unusual affinity for these vehicles. That's I'm just like trying to picture like, I don't know if he was just trying to humor me that he liked I like training let me let me put some context to it. So okay, I so the car so our Subaru shared a parking lot with our key and Chevrolet stores. And there was a there was this like 2002 trans-am As for me growing up that was that was the that was the car that was the car that everyone was cool was going to drive. And that was part it was it was a This car was a piece of crap the guy had beaten the hell out of a tree and was sitting there a lot waiting to go to the crusher or auction but but you know, I still found some beauty in that car was sitting next to this force of this guy was very excited about so here's what I was doing when I was totally I was walking around the car hood and trunk in them you know, showing them all the all the great tensile strength of the hood and how nice the door hinges were and all the stuff I was told to do by by assuming Subaru ultimately, but my view but the dealer principal and the general manager there at the time, and we were walking around I was like I was like, you know supposed to be showing this Subaru Forester off I'm like, you know, eyeballing this, this black trans-am next to it and so that that just that's how that's how that a package was opened, but I kind of obsessed over it throughout the entire transaction. So Dan, one of the cars I drove to school, I'm not a millennial graduated 83 one of the cars I drove 77 trans-am banded edition 455 stick t top. Damn, I was trying, you're testing me or is you're testing me on this one? Cuz I think I think you're trying to test me. It's fun to see if you appreciate Well, I want to meet the guy who put that 455 in that car that came with a 400 that guy's badass is that if that guy was you even more badass, but uh, that that was the car, you know what it was either built and had or not built and had the stickers on the little cowl, or my memory is not working and I'm crossing it with some like 70 superduty or something. But I thought you were trying to I thought you were throwing me a curveball. Now I wasn't no No, no, not at all. I know it but it was the big block stick and that went away. So how that worked is I was a year older than a friend of mine that I used to drive to school because he couldn't drive yet. And his father was a dealer and said listen, would you mind driving some of these cars to school putting a for sale sign and I'm because they're for kids. And you know, so just drive pickup George at school, park your car, drive the car the rest of the way, put a for sale sign car number 169 Chevelle 396

Unknown Speaker  20:00  
bench seat. No power steering, no power brakes for speed. Yep. Although Light Blue Metallic, I don't remember this. This was a job that you have is driving sweet cars to high school that was the that was part of the job. It turned into that but it it vaporize and I never sold any the. So the 396 Chevelle was the winner of what the most kids I would drive because of what these cars were, I probably drive six or eight kids home from school, and it would lay rubber with six kids in the backseat longer than any current history is wonderful. Next car was the we didn't sell that car. The dad sold it himself off the ladder wherever it gives me another one. The 77 man, trans-am stick Yeah, everyone's good car. Don't remember if we sold that one or you know how it went away. The next one is a 70 and a half z 28 split bumper split front bumper. This was you know, after the 60 789 Camaro body so it wasn't the 302 what would that be a 350 in a 350 they had a couple different Yeah, it was the second generation body style and it was definitely a few quirks there but yeah, that I think the 327 was definitely out by that point in time. I think 350 would probably have been the the starter or was it 283 still in that car. I forget now No, no, no, no, I don't know. No. Camaros already had three oh fives and 320 sevens. And so by 70 whatever it was small block Chevy. It was also a stimming it was black with silver hood stripes and black interior and another stick. But that's when it ended. I was before school started, I don't know 630 in the morning or something. I was out doing donuts or fishtailing this thing in the parking lot trying to get customer interests out in the school parking lot. The school dean called me into his office and called my father woke my father up I mean, this was before 7am and said that your boy is doing cat tales out in the parking lot. I said I was doing fishtails

Unknown Speaker  22:19  
Shut up. And by the time I got out of first period the car had been picked up with a transporter and that was the end of my career picking up those cars. Now my my own car wasn't terrible. I mean my first car that my dad gave me and I was 13 when he gave it to me all I could do is wax it and whatever but I had to have it because we saw it at the Detroit Auto Show and he couldn't buy it later you just got to put it aside was a 77 Golden a golden eagle CJ seven golden eagle Jeep 304 Levi's interior automatic sadly, but quadrate track and just give it a little bit of RPM power brake and a little bit and it would lay rubber all four tires, however long. You know, I'm also a very fun place in my heart for jeeps as well. That's a hell of a jeep. Yeah, I was doing I was gonna tell you I was so happy when Jeep announced late last year or whenever it was bought the 392 going into the ring or I just thought wow, that's just gonna be so fucking cool and park I swear on its own you know if I can swear? Probably not. I didn't mean to. That is so cool. FCC will be contacted. I owe them a call anyways. No, I was so excited when I saw that they were putting that that engine in there. And I also learned from some guys I still talked to an automotive that that Hellcat motor is also being positioned to to go into the Wrangler at some point in 2022 as well. And I'm very excited about that as well. Very exciting news. I love the jeeps

Unknown Speaker  23:54  
I know you love the Jeeps, you mentioned something about many people end up selling cars by accident, or in between real jobs. And it could sometimes be 2030 years while they're waiting for their real job to come along. And it used to really frustrate me because I thought that was a great career. I sold cars directly for Gosh, four or five years before I became manager but I was meeting customers on the floor and finishing up the sale or stopping people with their car and bringing them back in the building the entire time for the the whole 27 years. I loved every minute of it. But I actually went into it on purpose and bugged my dad my dad was an independent dealer in Detroit. So I love going to work with him and and he had a lot of antiques and hot rods and classics, which of course in the late 70s that wasn't an expensive trade at all but had the 38 Oakland's in the model A's and head the Bonnie and Clyde card had Superfly Eldorado and had the corvairs and everything in between had a real 289 kobus really cool that he that he wholesaled for four grand to the dealer.

Unknown Speaker  25:00  
up the street that I think still has it. But I went into it intentionally, my dad's sold his lot to ensure that my little brother and I would become real citizens and not go into the car business. And I loved going to work with them, and got, gosh, at least 10 car magazines and love people in thought of it as a real craft. And it aggravated them when I went into it. But I think when he saw that I took it serious. I think it's because he saw too many guys that went into it as a part time thing or as a smack off thing that didn't take it seriously. That he wouldn't, and I can in the hour. I mean, I think I could understand because I don't necessarily want my kids going into it, which is weird, because I loved every minute of it. So I don't you know, we all want I think everyone should at some point sell cars. I really do. I think that every I think the people who do not have an opportunity to work in the automotive industry are doing themselves an amazing disservice and writing off that career, that profession. It is amazing how much you learn about yourself, how much you want to build a business, how much you learn about running an operation training management, at a car dealership, people people, yeah, you get you get a crash course in how to run a business. In fact, I don't believe I could have started either of my two technology businesses or the other two I'm working on today. Without that experience in automotive, I firmly believe that that was a game changing event for me in my life. The I always said that when kids get out of school. I mean, what they need to do is travel the world for at least a month, if not longer, just see something and sell cars for a year. I agree. I mean, I think you'll learn more about people doing that for a year, then maybe some people learn in their whole life. I mean, just tell somebody what their trades worth if you want to see the different sides of the human condition.

Unknown Speaker  26:42  
That's funny. I had a guest on that he'll be released soon named Kevin Horrigan, who's been recognized as a digital marketer of the year and a keynote speaker at nationwide. I can't think of the venue now CEO of the year have been featured on business magazine here in Tampa Bay, good businessman. He's he just merged with another digital marketing company. And he doesn't know because it's not pulled. But I think he's number one, two or three largest digital marketing company in the United States. He's doing now like 33 million years of his career. his dad's an ex is a gentleman that an ex but growing up with his dad and his dad. So his dad's the general manager of a Ford store up in Pennsylvania, and he says that he's carried everything forward. From the little bit of time he spent selling cars, either helping his dad or when his dad kicked him out of the house one summer in college, when his dad asked him, What are you going to do for the summer? He's like, Oh, it was a tough semester. I think I'm gonna reflect He's like, yeah, you'll have a job by Friday or I'll get you one. And it was selling Hyundai's it's unbelievable, because you know, that other industry I mentioned, I'm looking at working in right now cannabis dispensaries, it is amazing. The similarities between these two businesses in terms of customer service. Explain, please. Okay. Yeah, there we go. The similarities between selling cars in particular countries, please take it as a couple of different really major ones. It is a transaction that can start online but needs to be finished in person. So they have digital retailing tools and automotive that gets you so far down the financing and all of that and then you have to come in and sign basically, it's done on a fully immersive online experience. Same thing with marijuana, you can buy the products through a menu, but you have to pick them up in person you have to get the checkout your card and make sure that you're who you say you are in person. So it's a partial transaction online. That's one similarity. Some other similarities are a lot of these first time business owners in dispensary land are heavily reliant on third party listing sites in automotive, we call those sites things like cars.com CarGurus auto trader and cannabis. We call it leafly.com. We call it weedmaps. We call it pot guide. And it's essentially the same business model where they offer services they their prices adjust based on proximity to whatever but they're basically both trying to commoditize I don't like this screw this one. I don't know.

Unknown Speaker  29:12  
I can't I can't do it without sounding super negative on one industry and I don't want to do that. So okay, no, thank god it's not a live stream. Thank God I know I figured a way to recover But no, I mean, it's let's let's uh, skip it. Sorry.

Unknown Speaker  29:30  
I can tell you a similarity between the car business and the cannabis. Okay, go for it. They both salespeople want you to smell it. That's funny. That's good. Yeah. That you know the depth of the only difference that really sucks about them is that one you can test drive before buying and the other you cannot that's the biggest that's the biggest disappointment to Canada. They don't have this this at the dispensary where they're like they got a bong in the corner and say go they have a bond for the quarter but as a price tag on it, if you're touching if you're tight

Unknown Speaker  30:00  
I'm pretty sure you bought it. So it actually me this kind of like the car business, you touch it, you bought it. You hope. So looking at my notes, your background is marketing. And I hope this is interesting or you know, we'll end up with like, 12 minutes. That's okay. So big differences, marketing, like 2010 to 2020 ish, like in a decade What happened? Is there anything that happened? You know, it's funny, not really. I had a little bit of a sabbatical from from automotive digital marketing. I know you and I have spoken about this before. I remember back in 2010, I used to be mesmerized by how you could Google, you know, Grand Cherokee lease and be mapped, met with ads that had nothing about leasing. No price is nothing. And it's amazing to me that even today, you can still do that and still not know what the car costs up front. It's miraculous. I'm located within earshot of a pretty significant sized Auto Group in Massachusetts. And I was showing a friend of mine an example of a Google search and I was showing him like, you know, what happens if you google Chevy dealer near me, and I was getting ads from the local dealership for used silverados during the celebration event, which made absolutely zero sense. I didn't understand what we're celebrating. I didn't understand why I use Silverado had much to do if a Chevy dealership near me, but it really hasn't changed that much. Which is why I'm definitely taking a good hard look at it and thinking to myself, maybe I need to come back in here and play some more save the car industry. Well, I have a good need to save. And I'm certainly not the one to do it. But I can I can try to help.

Unknown Speaker  31:30  
You know, I can't help. I don't know. Like I can't say speaking of that, where do you go. But I was thinking about a funny car business story that I actually told my wife on a walk the other day, we were walking the baby. I buy my ex wife when we're either engaged or just married an E 30 BMW convertible. So mid late 80s. To me, that was the poster car. I loved it. It came in on trade. I do all of the used car a lot recon stuff, I get the dent removal in the touch up in new tires and tune up and get the leather done. And I don't know if I put a new top on it or fix that. I mean, I recon the car made it new. I loved it. It was dark green, I probably would have went like the different color. But I just loved the car. I loved the car. So I surprise my axe and the firt and I bring it home and what do you think and first thing out of her mouth is isn't there a newer body should have been assigned. I really love my kids. I wouldn't trade them for anything. So I wouldn't want to undo that. But that should have been a hit. Oh my goodness.

Unknown Speaker  32:31  
But she didn't like it. So you don't like you don't like it you know I'm into old cool cars, you might be an old cool cars. And sometimes the women like they don't care about that. Like it could be the reliability factor. So I put it back on the lot. I'm working at a dealership and they let us once or twice a year sell our own car through the dealership or whatever, put it on the property to sell to run it through the store. And absolute. someone tells me there's a someone looking at the car. And there's an absolute gorgeous, gorgeous girl looking at the car, it turns out that she's a stripper at the doll house in Tampa. And I can still almost picture not quite as a little fuzzy. But I mean just a notable good looking girl. So she says I'll take it and gives me a deposit. And that's a cash deposit. It was lots of cash. I mean, this was like $1,000 and it was like this tall.

Unknown Speaker  33:26  
But this is the funny This is very funny. So she's gonna pick it up. Whatever day after tomorrow, we get our loan approved all of that stuff. Sure. So she shows up with a with a well dressed slightly older than her guy, good looking guy, sharp looking guy and introduces me as she's here to pick up the car to the guy is her friend who's more savvy in business. Since she's doing alone. She wants him just to look at everything to somebody look at everything. I don't know what I'm doing. advisor it sounds like she brought her advisor friend and she brought her advisor. So I give them to our finance manager. I of course don't go in there doing their thing. I'm waiting to hear the printer going at their loans done and signing everything. The sound that all of us salespeople wait for and they're in there for a while. Finally they're done. She comes out I give her the key. There's not like a big, big handover. There's not like a survey. It's just running a car through the store. It's not the stores deal. Give her the key, put a tag on it. She leaves I asked the finance guy. What took so long did she like buy a warranty or you know, asking about all the products or the rights? She goes No, she asked me how much it took to get her payment to x. Let's just say 300. And I told her $11,000 and she looked at the guy and said write the check. The guy was completely blindsided had no idea he was in on any of it and wrote the check. They had a little bit of a spat during his Like what? But I found that so interesting, guys

Unknown Speaker  35:00  
comes into check the paperwork, leaves writing $11,000 check to get her to her payment. What do I get one of these advisors who comes to help me buy cars? Well, I'd say you're good looking enough. Thank you. That's very kind of you. Let's talk about what's an N o e m website. Oh, yeah. So when I was at the car dealership, we used to have a lot of fun, we had some pretty nifty things we're trying. So a sudden an OEM stands for not OEM.

Unknown Speaker  35:30  
So an OEM By the way, if you're not in the car business, or original equipment manufacturer, we call the factories, the OEM, okay. So there's a very popular website that's out to this day called choose nissan.com. They've sponsored the NBA, they're the major advertiser on everything, and they're always trying to send there. And you can explain this one as well, your audience, tier two traffic is going through, choose nissan.com. That's where they do all their regional offers for all their regional leasing programs come through, choose Nissan. Wait a minute, what is tier two mean, if you're not in the business, teeing that up for you, man? Thank you. So tier one is the manufacturer running a national ad. tier two is when they run it in your area, and they say brought to you by your Southern truck dealers, and they tag it with a half a dozen dealerships or whatever that would be tier two. tier three is in the dealership that corresponds with what's going on nationally or regionally from the manufacturer. Please continue to just those those great definitions you put there. Yeah, so they had this choose me son.com website was all over all the NBA games, and they were spending a ton of money promoting it. And you know, we went on GoDaddy one day and the team and I found that chose me, son.com was available. And so we felt obligated to purchase said domain. And then we took on this project, we weren't really sure where it was gonna go. But we decided we were going to replicate Nissan's websites. And we built a website that looked almost identical to it. The only difference for that all of the offers were offers native to my dealership, and all the leads went to my dealership or not round robin are distributed evenly based on the closest proximity dealer. So we basically cloned choose Nissan calm, and then ran aggressive advertising strategies to make it outperform choose nice and calm. And we got away with this for I don't know, it had done months, three, four months before Nissan corporate came into the dealership and was not too pleased with it. They were saying things like violation of dealer agreement, you can't do this. And I got I got brought into the deal into this meeting. And I was asked all these questions like, you know, why are you doing this? How can this be legal? And I'm like, Well, I read the dealer bylaws and the in your dealer agreement with us. And there's nothing that says we can't take a trademark that you agree we represent and can can use nadvi ties with it. There's nothing that says we have to advertise exclusively on our website. In fact, there's actually some laws and I'd say you can you can build other websites as long as they meet Nissan compliance. I think a website that's the exact same as Nissan will probably meet Nissan compliant. So long story short, they the sun came back, this is right around the time that the new rogue bodystyle was coming out, I think it's like 20, end of 2013, we're having this conversation. Nissan made my own or an offer to buy the website. And he was able to work into that negotiation, an improved allocation of these new rogues that no one could get. So I think he ended up getting like, Don't quote me, like 200 more robes. And he was originally promised in a very short window of time. And I'm pretty sure there was some cash available to us as well in the form of Co Op, which is the money the factory spits you back as a car dealership to invest in different advertising methods. That was for your your viewers. Well, thank you, Dan, let's go a little deeper into Co Op. So how Co Op works is every time a dealer buys a new car from the factory on the invoice is some amount that's being withheld. And it could either be a percentage or $1 amount of 300 a car 1% you know, whatever it is for advertising. And in order for the dealer to get that money, they need to prove that they spent it in an approved or suggested manner. So it could be website marketing, it could be an event, it could be a Magazine Ad it could be whatever, excuse me, and then the manufacturer often splits it with them or or gives them all of it depending. So they say like for instance, I was in one situation where there's about $160,000 at stake, but I had to spend double that, you know, so they're giving me half back. So it's the manufacturer giving you money that's bounced off of the

Unknown Speaker  40:00  
per car that goes against the receipts for your advertising or marketing spend. That was a much more elegant way of describing it, instead of money that the factory spits at you for this.

Unknown Speaker  40:11  
You know, I'm not sure how scientific we're trying to get here. Yeah. In addition to what Jeff has said to you just smart, smart and myself as well as the OEM, the factory also gives you a recommendation, a list of different vendors and different different marketing programs that you can enroll in. To help you navigate the very murky waters that is advertising your car dealership, the factory knows that there's a lot of value to having a unique face and a unique brand. But they also want to provide guidance and some some rails up. So you can make informed decisions with technologies and marketing companies that they know work because they've tried them and they've vetted them out themselves. Beautiful. So what Dan did is he had a look alike site. So your dealer, I'm sure said Dan, we got the couple 100 extra rogues, we got a big price for that site. Here's your 10% of all that. I'm sure he was very generous with me. Excellent. Well, it was very, it was a great experience. It was a great book. It was a great owner. He's a great dealer principal, he treated me very, very well. And you know, that's really that's really how it went there. Yeah, Dan that the way you're putting that sounds very much like a guy that might consider getting back in the automotive space. No, I Yeah. Like I said, I'm looking at it with very hungry eyes. You know, it's my first love and I definitely am thinking about it very, very, very, very cautiously. Very optimistically, though, so Well, I can tell you that the car space misses you. Well, that's very kind Yeah, I'm and I miss you. And I miss I guess I miss hanging out with all you great guys at the conferences and it's a love when you came to town, Jeff, we were just at the best meals with the best conversation. I always wondered why I was the only one drinking but you've cleared that up for me as well tonight and I and I appreciate

Unknown Speaker  42:04  
if you thought it was this Schindler's List thing where I was just letting you get drunk while I was taking shots. I was curious to figure out what alley I'd wake up in in the morning or not wake up in the morning. Right. Missing a kid. zactly Yeah, exactly. Oh, my God. That's funny. So Dan, I mean, come on dish. I mean, when we've had our dinners, and we've had our conversations, I've heard a little bit about your I don't want to say misguided but your mischievious childhood as it relates to cars or young manhood. So now's the time unless you're worried about a statute of limitations isn't run out. The cops will come after you or some relative being mad at Yeah. Oh man. I can do all of the above and like one story I bet this is my AB salute. favorite one. This was in my second trans-am. I was in college I was working at the Corvette shop and I had a friend who's a real delinquent just like me named Ricky he was the mechanics there and we had like just finished putting my car back together we had done like a cam and some bolt on mods to the car didn't never didn't have a play it was the car was not insured but I was in a repair shop so I borrowed my my boss Ron's played it was around probably two or three o'clock in the morning. And I'm I'm right outside of the college campus and the college police there I was already on a first name basis with them by this point. So I had no reservation but this driving right down Main Street in the cart at three o'clock in the morning, no exhaust on it just shooting flames out the sides of that. And we went for a high speed test which I'm sure you know all about those. It's when you go on the straightest roads you can find just hit So see how fast you can go. So I got up to about 110 before I saw blue and red lights behind me and like an idiot I don't mean like an idiot like like a responsible human person. Although I pulled over I pulled over I was gonna get away with that. I have been making a lot of mistakes that night. So you know, I figure I should pay for my pay the piper. I got pulled over. And you know they're they're throwing the book at me. They're pissed. They pull me out of the car. I pull my friend out of the car to never seen that before. They pulled us both out of the car. They're interrogating us separately. And then finally, one of the officers comes up to me just says Alright, so where's this plate come from? We're looking at this play. We're running this plate and it comes back to an auto restoration. You guys steal his car from a dealership? I go No, no, we're employees of that dealership and the guy just goes bullshit. Bullshit. You know, just pissed off spitting in my face is furious. And I go No, this is my boss's This is my boss's plate goes there's no there's no way you're that stupid Mondello to have to pull the plate off of one of your your boss's cars and then driven it. Fast down the middle of the of the college campus. There's no way that that happens. So he calls my boss and he goes, Mr. Brunel Yeah, this is an agent Murphy from Fitchburg state police unit or whatever it was. Do you know a damn Mondello

Unknown Speaker  45:00  
And I can hear my Boston background go. No.

Unknown Speaker  45:07  
So that was, um, that was one of the nights that I spent in solitary confinement, thinking about my mistakes. But, uh, ultimately, I didn't go to jail. So I would call it a win. How did you reconcile that in the long term? Like, as you're obviously your boss had to say he was your boss. So you know, I wake up, you know, you don't you don't sleep when you're in when you're in. Not I wasn't in cars, right? I think I was in protective custody, then actually a wristband on the I was just in protective, but you don't sleep well in these kinds of environments. So I remember they, when they finally gave me back my possessions, my phone, I texted my boss and I said the only thing I could think to say, which is, Do I still have a job? And a couple hours later, he said, that depends how soon you're going to be in here. And I said, I'll be on there. As soon as clock classes were over, he already knew I wasn't going to classes on Friday. So I show up around two o'clock. And he has like the entire like company just just like sitting there ready to make fun of me, like ready to laugh in my face. And you know, they've made fun of me ever since for pulling over. I was I was the guy who pulled over gone 110 not the guy just kept going and then hit or like crashed or something, which again, I think was the responsible thing to do. Dan, I want to give you kudos now. So it never has to be question that it was a very responsible thing for you to do. And I'm very proud of you. Yes, thank you.

Unknown Speaker  46:39  
I that reminds me that Jeep. So my dad used to let me go to the 711 for a gallon of milk or something or to fill the car up, which was I could always drive around or subdivision when I was like 1314.

Unknown Speaker  46:55  
And I think at 14 he let me go to the 711. But that is just the entrance of the sub and then a couple 100 feet across a two lane to the entrance to the parking lot of the 711. It's pretty nice. Let me do that's pretty cool.

Unknown Speaker  47:12  
He let me do that. And I'm needing to turn left into the driveway. So cross the road of the 711. And I overshoot it I just get nervous. I overshoot the driveway, I try to make a little bit of a U turn ish move to get back into the driveway. I can't make it back. I end up in driving through a ditch. And I was just thinking, yeah, it's a jeep. And I when I'm down through the ditch, I gun it and I leave. I like either the front tires are all for to I jump out of the ditch into the parking lot, scare myself to death. drive to the parking spot at the front of the 711 throw it in park and go in for the whatever milk.

Unknown Speaker  47:56  
Now when I'm going to the checkout, there's two police cars parked behind the Jeep in my parking spot. I'm 14 there's no cell phones. I mean, this

Unknown Speaker  48:09  

Unknown Speaker  48:11  
This is early 80s 80 ish, whatever. I waited in there. About an hour and a half. Smart. Don't come out. Finally I come out. But of course they're not going to know who the drivers and I go to the payphone. I'm inside of the building on the outside of the building. And I call my house and I'm going to have someone come pick me up and just leave the Jeep like no one drove and do the cops were behind the Jeep like 22 seconds after I parked I mean they witnessed it or something one of them did. So I call the house and my dad had a girlfriend and a son that lived with us. So sort of a step mom, Michelle lover. She answers the phone and I'm like she was Where are you? She says I'm at the 711 she goes for what I said to get the milk she was that was like an hour and a half ago. She said are you driving the Jeep? I says yeah, she goes the cops already My dad was General Manager at a golf club in our subdivision. The cops already called your dad they already know it's your Jeep.

Unknown Speaker  49:18  
So everybody's waiting you might as well come out when they do when you came out so I explained told him I overshot it told him I didn't know what I was doing. And they let me What a different era they let me drive at home. No they go just go home this your dad knows you're already in enough trouble oh you at least are they just like said okay, they followed me for me to cross the two lane into the sub and then that was just like okay little boy who should not be driving the jeep and is jumped in go home. See ya. Kinda I mean, I was in major shit with my dad. I mean, I think I think they just kind of knew I was in major trouble like, what else were they gonna do? I mean, like,

Unknown Speaker  49:57  
I don't I don't want to say Oh God.

Unknown Speaker  50:00  
You know, my dad was wrath. Come on, if he once he, once he started yelling war, I wish my dad would hit us my dad never touched us. But when he would yell for three hours, and the language would come in the screaming in the spirit flying in a going horse and

Unknown Speaker  50:20  
I mean he would do it easily in our past when you're already pissed down your leg. Anyway, one of those deals and I'm sure that I lost privileges to drive the thing for a couple of weeks and but I remember he had a 73 vet with like, no miles, like 60,000 miles on the thing, just a nice original car read read, because that was like the Ferris Bueller Ferrari. This was like the car. Nobody touched the blanket. You couldn't eat in the garage. You know, one of these things. Just wipes off a diaper. That's all he does. It all Yes, yes. Matter of fact, my dad and like I never felt like my dad loved the cars more than us. My dad was a phenomenal, phenomenal father, no question about it. But he loved these car. But I will say that he left on it to go on a date in that 73 vet. And my brother and I who were probably the girls living with us is gone, you know. So we're like 16 and 13. We're playing frisbee out front are playing with the dog. And he's like, Okay, I'm going on a date. We're like, have fun. And he was back and a half hour in that car. And we are alone. And we asked them what happened. Now if you could picture a 73 vet like that Stingray body, they had the the door handle, you push down on the top, that little thing, okay. And the keyhole on the side of the little GM keyhole.

Unknown Speaker  51:40  
He said, You know how you're supposed to shut the door with the keyhole, not the window, not the paint. He goes as soon as I met the girl, I told her how to shut the door.

Unknown Speaker  51:53  
So Dan, I want to thank you for making the time I know you're a serial entrepreneur, I know you're working on number of things. I know you're in between projects, and you can't disclose what's next. But you still took your time to support and participate in this show this project. So I'm really honored to have you if you know you're one of my favorites. We go way, way, way, way back and I was delighted when I got the invitation to be on your show. So thank you so much for having me today. You're welcome. And by the way, as a sidebar if you want to see that when you were a dealer that car chat 24 was the best vendor you ever dealt with feel when I was a dealer twice car chat 24 was was our number one choice and also I've spoken to many dealers since and told him just how great the product is of car chat. 24 so if you haven't checked it out, check it out. So if the podcast is no good, at least they got an endorsement.

Unknown Speaker  52:39  
Absolutely which is happening.

Unknown Speaker  52:44  
This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars

Transcribed by https://otter.ai