Feb. 8, 2021

JAY SMITHWECK! Jeff and Jay jam about the car business, reminisce about arguing with Grant Cardone at a conference, Jay's serial entrepreneurship and well....cars!

Jay- 35 year automotive veteran, dealerships, AutoExact, 360Booth, Porsche GT3!


 JEFF STERNS CONNECTED THROUGH CARS Jeff and Jay jam about the car business, reminisce about arguing with Grant Cardone at a conference, Jay's serial entrepreneurship and well....cars!

 

00:11 This is how Jay smithwick arrives to the Jeff Sterns podcast.

 

 

 

Jeff Sterns  01:22And when you said to me, would you pay $500 a month for you to have all of your inventory on the internet so they can see it instantly. So if Jay can put all my cars on the website, I still have to FedEx some because not everyone has internet yet

 

 

Jeff Sterns  05:02 So I was one that I remember one time, I don't remember the struggle that you and I were having. I don't remember what it was, but I remember that it was the first time I ever thought of calling somebody's wife.

 

 

Jay  08:39 I was trying to get out of the car business because it was just beating me up and I still was having issues personally with myself. answered an ad went to a company that had the big brick cell phone wired cars RVs and that if you push the button, it called rural Metro … It was the OnStar before OnStar  

 

 

 

Jay  11:22  you forgot surf bike. I don't even remember surf, though. There was an ad in a newspaper about a marketing representative. And because I've served, I gravitated to this 12 foot long PVC board with a bike seat and bike pedal. And I marketed it for I think I took the job of $500 a week and I drove around Florida and inevitably realized that to put a bike that rode in on the water you don't do it in Florida, why 10 months of outdoor activity, alligators and freshwater with lily pads to get tangled  

 

Jeff Sterns  12:20We we bought the Rolls-Royce franchise… it was the strangest thing. It was a Buy Here Pay it was Bennett auto sales

 

Jay  14:34 now understand for the audience. For Carlisle Lincoln mercury in 1994 we attend a Grant Cardone motivational car knowledge  conference with 200 salespeople in the Tampa Bay area. Yeah, and I actually forgot that I actually go with Jeff Sterns, we're gonna go see Grant Cardone, you know, salesman, we're bored. He comes another rah rah blah, blah, blah. In the front row, we have to sit. …

 

Jeff Sterns  15:47only one topic that we argued about, obviously, I'm not the one with the private jets and the 10,000 square foot condo.  

 

 

 

 

Jeff Sterns  17:11 And in the end, we ended up being number one in certified Pre Owned rolls and Bentley in the nation. We ended up being number one in Rolls Royce east of the Mississippi. So I'm sure people in California or Vegas or Arizona or someone beat us. We were number one are tied for number one customer satisfaction for a number of years with a Houston dealer. awesome guy there. And then when the Bentley Continental GT came out, we had the second largest waiting list on the car after Palm Springs, and people converting from a reservation to a real 20 grand deposit or really ordering the car. We had the highest conversion to really getting a car. So for an area that nobody drove these cars

 

 

 

Jay  18:29

Now let's fast forward. I start AutoExact data photo collection back then 98

 

 

 

Jay  18:55   I said, Jeff, you need to embrace this internet. He goes, No, no, we take photos. And he pulls out stacks of Polaroids. He goes, No, I don't need photos. We just send 2030 Polaroids in an envelope.

 

Jeff Sterns  19:16 Every time a car came in, right? I take it under the tree so there wasn't glare on the grass, take a few pictures, run it to the drugstore at the corner and get five developed. So when I get phone calls about them, we could FedEx and when you said to me, would you pay $500 a month

 

 

 

Jeff Sterns  19:39 I'm thinking well Geez, we're only a few years from having a website and barely anyone even knows.  

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Sterns  21:30 And you're shooting pictures for six or 700 stores now. Yeah.

 

 

 

Jay  22:01 dealer mouth.

 

Jeff Sterns  22:03Okay. Do we have to talk about the failed business?

 

Jay  22:07Hey, if you ain't throwing shit up against the wall, you ain't trying. That's right.

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Sterns  23:08 So 11 years ago. 360 booth well, so this is an environment.

 

 

 

 

 

Or you would want to own? Even though it was you've never really owned the supercar right.

 

 

 

Jeff Sterns  27:15 But my favorite car at the time, was, Well, you know what? I didn't I didn't have it. So I mean, the car I really wanted at the time was a Ferrari F 40.

 

 

Jay  28:33

FF which looks like you know the golf or stationwagon Ferrari. Right? Because of the long wheelbase and the touring in. It's a 12 cylinder. But once again, that's a car that you would love to own. But I wouldn't feel comfortable driving the perception of the Ferrari and the half million dollar car even though it's not but it's not my DNA.

 

 

 

Jeff Sterns  32:00 Well, I mean, I'm sober also about 25 years. I I'd have to look it look up the exact date.

 

Jay  32:05 Right. Me too.

 

Jeff Sterns  32:06

I agree that so the reason that we use those of us attics is we're not really looking for a feeling we're usually avoiding. Correct some feeling. And then we later learned that the best way to the other side of the problem is not around, not under it, but just you got to go right through it. Right. And the beautiful thing about getting everything is you get everything. So I love what you just said that about feeling the bad stuff? Because it really does it really well. First of all, when I went sober, and then there you know, one of the steps of sobriety is you got to find make your list of people that  you own amends to.

 

Jay  32:48

I never got that call, by the way!!

 

Jeff Sterns  32:53

I've been waiting myself, okay. So you can always you always know friendships on the rocks when they're scorekeeping. So, when you make your list of a men's people, you own a men's two and you go make your men's.  

 

 

 

Jeff Sterns  37:30

So you pulled up in a beautiful gt3. Correct. I do remember a Hummer H one.

 

37:37

Yes.

 

Jay  37:39 H2s came out. I was surfing pretty regularly at the time. And this is 2006 and I was driving from Tampa to Cocoa Beach and chasing tropical storms and hurricanes before they hit. And then after they left. And I convinced my wife that I needed a like surfing Safari vehicle. And I dreamt one up and I found that Reeves imports. Great people have had a h1, it had us and braid like Sedona, Arizona has landscape on it. But it was brown and had all the big. Everything you wanted in a convertible h1 it was a showcard had like 4000 miles it was more 2000 miles on it bought it for $37,000.

 

Jeff Sterns  38:25 What are those worth now?

 

Jay  38:26 over 100?  

Jeff Sterns  42:33 well, and cars have a great way of doing that. I mean, you see you get behind the wheel of that car. You're 16 every time reminds you Yeah. And yeah, most of the cars I've chased have been cars that I grew up in that my dad had

 

 

 

Jay  44:30

we're done with the RS. all four wheels turn. So I mean, you want to do a U turn. You just break everybody's neck and just pull it is crazy. is crazy.

 

Jeff Sterns  44:41

Now the car I heard you talk most about absolutely was the Infinity q45.

 

Jay  44:47

I thought because that thing had 345 horsepower. Now we're going back to 1993 92 white leather or so it had leather but it was the sedan that had horsepower. It was like, attainable. You talked about it so much. I really did. I really I didn't see it. I never owned

 

 

Jay  45:08

the 900 tops Saab turbos in the late

 

 .

 

 

 

 

Jeff Sterns  45:56

How about when you were selling cars? I mean, you've been in a lot of businesses since do you bring forward? I mean, was that any education for you? Now without doubt,

 

Jay  46:03

any salesperson needs to go sell cars first. Now back in the day, you didn't sell a car you didn't eat. I mean, there was a draw. But minimum wage, minimum wage, it was a couple 100 bucks. And I remember, and I probably could find it, I've literally got a two week check for like a buck and a half, right? Because

 

Jeff Sterns  46:21

they take the draw back. When you add more to that to your drug dealer.

 

Jay  46:26

You make like a $2,000, check and get $1 50 back because they have taken all the draw because you didn't sell anything because you were pretty occupied doing whatever the hell you're doing. Okay. But that truly made me who I was the desire was there. But now the car business gave me the hunger. So when you did work in the car business, you made money.

 

Jeff Sterns  46:45

You know, Jay, I always said that. Everybody, when they get out of school should go to Europe for one or two or three months see the military, right? And needs to sell cars for a year? Absolutely. I think you learn more about the human condition, telling people what their trading is worth, and having to nurse them through that thing. Correct.

 

Jay  47:06

You just got your head ripped off, you owe five grand more than it's worth. And now I get to bury that equity into your car and add to it just it's brutal.

 

Jeff Sterns  47:19

Right, but it's there's a lot of life skills in there. And it's funny the guys I've talked to already on these shows, or talked to about going on the show that are highly successful, interesting people. You know, we talked about Billy, I hear if they've sold cars I hear over and over again, everything that I ever I was able to pull everything forward for my car selling experience

 

Jay  47:40

in my industry in the same respect to though back when we were selling cars. 1% of the people lasted a year.

 

Jeff Sterns  47:47

Right? There's a little bit of turnover

 

Jay  47:49

was a lot of turnover, because you either had to sell or you starve. And then you had a lot that made me who I am. And every day even though I can probably pay my bills for a solid six months, I still get out and think I'm broke and it's time to go to work.

 

Jeff Sterns  48:06

Now you've never acted comfortable. No,

 

Jay  48:08

I know. If you're comfortable. You're in trouble. So where have you been?

 

Jeff Sterns  48:13

What countries

 

Jay  48:14

you've been everywhere to Desert Storm Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, northern Iraq, Spain, Northern Africa. And then with 360 booths 3040 days and five trips to New Zealand greatest place ever put it on the bucket list. Australia is great, but it's very similar to Walt Disney World, Orlando. It's very condensed and beautiful in in a small area and then three miles out you're in pasture. In Australia, you're out in the outback. Very cool experience. Guam, Hawaii, Canada, Vancouver's beautiful Anchorage, Alaska. We have a studio that was amazing. you'd hold up your cell phone and you throw away the picture because you just couldn't get the scale. Right of Alaska. You just can't do it. God bless you when you shoot a photo that looks great in Alaska. So to date today, this year during COVID and since the January of last year, I've traveled 6.6 and a half times around the Earth in airline miles. I've got 900 cities, I'm from May I got 141 flights and love every minute of it.

 

Jeff Sterns  49:30

You are amazing, you know from an energy level from adapting. And what I mean from adapting is, I know that when you make a flight, you sometimes need to get up at two in the morning or 10 in the morning or time zones or going overseas to go or be okay

 

Jay  49:46

I leave San Jose adapting that was a great because I was like boy, I must have really done well. I would have jumped out of the plane. However late leaving Dallas closes the airport get to the tarmac. You're sitting there for an hour. 45 minutes, get out of the plane, go to the rental car agency, you're there another two hours, my plane was supposed to leave its land at 730. I left the airport and rental it 15 minutes after midnight. So with no hairy carry events, but you love it. I

 

Jeff Sterns  50:17

mean, you know, I mean, being on the road isn't as sexy. Now, it's cracked up to be for now for some people. But for you, it's amazing to me, and I don't want to put this wrong. Like, you don't necessarily need the next sale like, and I'm kind of the same. I come to work every day like my lights are gonna go out if I don't sell something, right. And I think you do the same thing. Absolutely. Yeah. And the way that you travel, but you put yourself into these situations that are uncomfortable and you adapt, adapt, adapt, and you're still socially posting for your business and personally, and it's upbeat messages and it's positive

 

Jay  50:53

and it's business now borderlines a little crazy. So I'll fly to New Zealand on a one way ticket. Okay, like, Who does that? My wife says where you stand, I'll find a place when I land. You can't book travel, and hope that that schedule goes, it's way too stressful. It's far less stressful, a little more costly to book as you travel through. So when I start my week, I'll make my appointments. And then I'll just book tickets an hour before the plane leaves. So you couldn't take an average person and ride shotgun with me because you would be into some type of panic shingles attack within about six hours.

 

Jeff Sterns  51:35

But is it more costly? Or is it cheaper to book an hour before?

 

Jay  51:40

And I would say 75% of the time, we have COVID extremely cheap, right? Because now they just need to fill a seat. Right? Like one of my guys are going to Vancouver Monday. It's $129. Right?

 

51:53

nuts.

 

Jay  51:53

The Vancouver from Tampa. It's not correct. It's one stop. But you know, I was just telling my wife, I got home, I was tired. And I said, Boy, if the traveling doesn't humble, humble you because right now they're in COVID, you go to California, the restaurants are angry. They literally made him take all the furniture out of the restaurant so you can sit down. Then you go to Florida, where you're wearing masks inside. But everything is open and we're going to town. I'll sit at a restaurant in Dallas and I don't want to wait for a seat. So I sit at the bar and I'm elbow to elbow with somebody else. And that experience of being able to do those things. Like I was in Dallas, it was 39 degrees of rain and took a picture of the dash on the highway. And then I took one here in Tampa Three hours later, and it's 84 and sunny. It's very humbling to do that. I call it time traveling, right? I'm not gonna have anybody beat me either, where the others are doing zoom calls and hoping for the best my asses in the seat making should happen. And it's not always a winner. There's not always a winner.

 

Jeff Sterns  53:00

So you travel the way you travel. You've been You've done enough airline miles to do three and a half times around the Earth already discounting. Excuse me six and a half this year. You and your wife ever want to take a vacation is that.

 

Jay  53:15

So early days? Well, we didn't do vacations for 10 years starting a business. And then I really love Laguna as you can tell, but we would rent a little house for 10 days prior to season. So like 10 days for three grand versus eight grand a week. In June, we'd go to Laguna and but now we have an elderly dog. We now have 360 booths. She'll do 14 hours a day, six, seven days a week. Just trying to keep up with the taxes the influx employees out of three auto exact AI team in 360 booths phenomenal I get to pick from auto exact for the guys. vacation. No we have no desire to go to Mexico or to the beaches. I think we're all in the Clearwater Tampa Bay area at the poor man's Bahamas. So why go to the Bahamas. I would like to take her to Laguna and go back to her house again. I would love to take her up to Lake Tahoe. I was there during COVID I mean go to like Tao. It's gorgeous. We haven't 19 year old dog death. It's her baby. Our baby but she so right now you can't fly. So it's been two years since she's flown.

 

Jeff Sterns  54:27

Now. How about your own bucket list? I mean, God forbid you mentioned this aneurism. Right and you're diagnosed with this aneurysm. There's nothing you can do nothing.

 

Jay  54:37

You hope it does and six months to a year. You hope it doesn't grow. You try to eat right stay away from sugars. You basically and I bet a bet. After diagnose I just start to play with your head sure that you're a ticking time bomb. So I went up to Cleveland Clinic, schedule appointment. Linux great. I felt like a VIP guests there. But it cost me dearly for going out of going out of

 

55:08

pocket of your engineers who I know. But

 

Jay  55:13

yes, you do not stay healthy and don't hold your breath and lift something heavy is basically what they say.

 

Jeff Sterns  55:19

But changing your diet impacts the possibility of this thing. No,

 

Jay  55:23

nothing's gonna grow. It'll only make it worse. So you can't like shrink it. Okay. Yeah, you know, it's there. Like, COVID I'm gonna live my life. I'm gonna wash my hands, put my mask on and do everything possible not to get sick. Not because of the aneurysm because I don't be sick, right? Um, so live your life and you go on. I can't live in a closet.

 

Jeff Sterns  55:46

But it seems like you're doing everything you want to do. Is it possible that you could have a bucket list? Is there anything you want to do? You haven't done?

 

Jay  55:53

You know, it's crazy. I never really I tried to see as much as I can. When I travel. My last time to Australia, I decided, well, I'm going to do something. So I hit Great White, and I actually found one of two places in the world, South Australia. Lincoln, Port Lincoln, you bought a boat at 6am. It's a little fishing village, surf village in South Australia. You bought a boat and you go out through a past where you get two hours of 10 foot waves. But when you get out to the grounds, there's seals clean for dear life and great whites, they drop a cage off the back of the boat. And on a ventilator you jump into like 47 degree water. And you see great whites. And that was not necessarily buckless I never even thought that was humanly possible. It was a National Geographics thing, right? And when you first see it, and you're in the cage, right, isn't there wasn't there for me it was like I'm seeing Bigfoot, because you only see that on TV. But boy, incredible. Wasn't a bucket list. I don't really have a bucket list. I really, you know, I saw my first wife die of melanoma cancer. So you can't live with regrets. So I tried to live now bucket lists or bucket lists for me it was not 100 foot yacht or private plane or things like that. But it's definitely to, you know, do what you can to have this experience called life.

 

Jeff Sterns  57:23

Well, Jay, I think we might be at an hour. Oh, we're waiting. And I know you're at your limit and an hour. The reason I wanted to have you first of all appreciate the friendship, I appreciate you. You're in town just a few days and you came out to the Jeff Sterns Studio solely took your time New Year, I

 

Jay  57:38

thought it was a Saturday, it's a Friday. So New Year's Day, by the way, right.

 

Jeff Sterns  57:43

And the reason I wanted to have you on here, the value I wanted to give to the listener, whether they're in the car business or not in the car business, is you weren't a particularly phenomenal student and you went into the military, trying to give yourself a little discipline, right? You've got your demons, like a lot of us do with

 

Jay  58:01

if you don't

 

Jeff Sterns  58:02

have one, you're kidding yourself that whatever. You're a lowly car salesman, lonely, you tried a few entrepreneurial,

 

58:11

had two things add to

 

Jeff Sterns  58:14

and you know, you've done you deserve all of your success with your 607 whatever. You have car dealers that you're taking upon the hour of the day. Yeah, do they come and go? I understand.

 

58:25

How many staff do you have?

 

Jay  58:27

I think there's just over 50 or 60. Right now. I actually Marcus runs it. So unless there's issues, I've watched everybody's emails, it runs pretty smooth. And Marcus, he's phenomenal.

 

Jeff Sterns  58:40

Now, Marcus, you're not here to defend yourself. So

 

58:41

I'll just say it,

 

Jeff Sterns  58:42

I showed you how to take a picture of a car under the tree without the glare on it. There's nothing you can do. I'll make that a promo clip. I'll just pull that out for 30 seconds, that'll be Marcus's clip, but I appreciate it. I hope that the listener or the viewer, got a little inspiration about what can be done by anybody. I mean, I think statistically, I mean, I don't take anything away from you. Right, but I think if you look back on yourself, statistically,

Transcript

 

Jay Smithwick - AUDIO (1)

Sun, 2/7 5:27PM • 59:40

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

car, bentley, drive, gt, people, thought, business, months, sell, lincoln mercury, store, cadillac, years, jay, ferrari, jeff, photos, carlisle, rolls, booth

SPEAKERS

Jeff Sterns, Jay

 

00:11

This is how Jay smithwick arrives to the Jeff Sterns podcast.

 

Jay  00:16

your desk such as your laptop out of the way,

 

00:19

I want to not see the

 

Jay  00:21

yellow paper. Yeah, so just nudge it up. And nudge is right there. Stop. Now come down a little. No, come down a little more. Little more because it bounced back up too much. All right, just a hair go up perfect. You got to bang on doors, and you got to have your teeth kicked in. And you got to do it 10 times in the day, and it was a Buy Here Pay Here a lot. Everybody rides and rolls and battling. I actually go Jeff Sterns, we're going to go see Grant Cardone, you know, salesman, we're bored. He comes another rah rah, blah, blah, blah. In the front row, we have to sit. And there's a little fold card p piece of paper and they say, put your first and last name on

 

Jeff Sterns  01:11

  1. I just wrote it down. And this is upside down, righ

 

Jay  01:13

So I got to sit next to Jeff. He's in the front row. I write my name, I look over to him. And he writes, and I'm not kidding.

 

Jeff Sterns  01:22

And when you said to me, would you pay $500 a month, and it shoot your foot and for you to have all of your inventory on the internet so they can see it instantly. So if Jay can put all my cars on the website, I still have to FedEx some because not everyone has internet yet. Now we're shooting 600 stores, the whole room rides on the track, and you're able to push the room like a sliding glass door to control all the lighting and reflection on your car. I remember one time somebody traded in a Rolls Royce cornice convertible with a little damage around the headlight probe into a garage door or something. And I remember they had to get the guy out of retirement that made the headlamp

 

Jay  02:03

bezel I thought because that thing had 345 horsepower. You talked about it so much. I really did.

 

02:09

I really I didn't see it. I never owned

 

Jeff Sterns  02:11

one. I've never been in that case and I love

 

Jay  02:13

the 900 Saab turbos. I think cars are the shit. I think it's the greatest industry to work in this year during COVID. And since the January of last year, I've traveled 6.6 and a half times around the earth and love every minute of it. Great Whites, they drop a cage off the back of the boat.

 

02:35

Jeff Sterns connected through Guys, if they're big wigs, we'll have him on the show. And yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else. Here he is now, Jeff Sterns

 

Jeff Sterns  02:54

so I'm sitting here with Jay Smith with my good friend since 1993. He comes in Jay you're gonna have to get me a photo. He comes in this bolt straight, good looking bastard. with built in genetic black eyeliner, pure air force, like a pure soldier of a movie star

 

Jay  03:13

had to look that way because I was totally corrupt. So I had to have that suit of armor left the Air Force and a very good friend of mine in Dallas GM at a car store who Bankston Dallas he said come to work for me you get a car. So I went to work fell in love the car business always like building value to build the high gross, the story sells price doesn't sell story sells fell in love with it in engaging with people and really just having fun and just being authentic. When I got a divorce and I moved to Florida and walked into Carlisle Lincoln mercury. Just a great bunch of guys. Do you ever think about like how many people really just moved on to be like, crazy people into the auto industry.

 

Jeff Sterns  03:58

Some big talent came out of there really David long that you car chat? Me 360 booth. So I remember you coming into the store one day into work and telling me that you had a customer get in the trunk of a car?

 

Jay  04:11

Yes. We had bet sound on the point on who could do the best walk around. And I said I'll bet you I can get somebody in the trunk of a Lincoln Town Car so you know

 

Jeff Sterns  04:22

if you've ever sold cars right so out and the point is we're the salesman hanging out waiting for customers to come in made a bet that during a walk around presentation this is showing a car

 

Jay  04:32

that Jake when you add features and benefits and you have Lincoln Town cars like 91 or 9394 so you could literally put six bodies in that thing. I had a customer literally they ended inside that trunk

 

Jeff Sterns  04:47

and you were saying look at this cubic feet or whatever. Absolutely get on in there and all your other buddies are

 

Jay  04:52

watching and because I played basketball, I would always bet 100 bucks. I can jump wheel to wheel without touching anything. lacks in nine steps.

 

Jeff Sterns  05:02

So I was one that I remember one time, I don't remember the struggle that you and I were having. I don't remember what it was, but I remember that it was the first time I ever thought of calling somebody's wife.

 

Jay  05:13

Yes, to help me manage, right, manage. Do you remember this great word?

 

Jeff Sterns  05:18

I do remember. And you know, your wife is still

 

Jay  05:22

27 years still, you're

 

Jeff Sterns  05:25

still your kryptonite. So I thought, Okay, I know how this guy loves his wife. I didn't know what I couldn't get you to do. I don't know if it was show up on time. I don't know if it was it's probably nicer last summer. And I don't know what it was show

 

Jay  05:37

  1. I would go dark and ratted me out.

 

Jeff Sterns  05:40

So managers out there if you are having a problem with your staff call and tell us.

 

Jay  05:48

But we got through it. And then what auto nation moves in?

 

Jeff Sterns  05:55

on everything, auto nation moved in, and Carlisle Lincoln mercury was one of the first auto nation acquisitions. I left a few months before that happened. I didn't know it was gonna happen. I got an offer for a couple of positions higher to general sales manager at the local Cadillac Landrover store. And went to our owner, Dan Carlisle, who as you know is like everyone's favorite uncle, right, right sweetheart of a guy and asked him, I wasn't trying to get more money out of them or get a promotion out of them. I told him, I got the offer. Ask them if I should take it. If he said, Listen, we're buying a store in three months, and I'm going to want to put you in it, then that would have been the end of it, right? But if he said no, we don't really I knew he'd be straight with me. Please, why don't you take that job. And then I didn't know anything. And a few months later, they sold on a job. And that buy sell took probably a year and a half. So a lot of people he knew of course. So a lot of people said to me, man, you're tiny. How did you know and I didn't know anything, of course. So you were there when auto nation took off?

 

Jay  06:57

It was a it was a foggy stage of the of your life life period. But I did jump around, I went to a couple other stores, and then finally woke up out of the ether.

 

Jeff Sterns  07:07

Here's why I wanted to have you on here's why. Jay smithwick is on the Jeff Sterns podcast. I mean, of course, you're a car guy, we saw what you pulled up. And I know there's a lot of people that would love to have the success that you have and know how you got there. So let's go back I'm assuming that you weren't necessarily in a student always craved

 

Jay  07:27

was watching these crazy commercials. I cannot remember the guy when you had invited me on here is trying to remember his name. Guy white here, he was on TV in 79 8081 selling real estate with no money down and I would watch his infomercials over and over and over again. And not to learn that but just just business and how the creativity work and my 80s bled into my 90s which didn't help but be successful. You gotta undo that suit of armor, and you got to be real with yourself. And you got to make sure that your ship is together before you do anything else.

 

Jeff Sterns  08:11

So I don't remember who left the dealership that we were together at I don't know who left first right. I don't remember if you left before I did. But I do remember running this Cadillac Landrover store.

 

08:22

Yes, I know what you did. 1898

 

Jeff Sterns  08:27

No, that would have been okay. So I think you left first because I was still at our store together Carlisle Lincoln mercury when you hit me with Bart. I could picture being in that bill. brochure

 

Jay  08:39

partisan. Yeah, I was trying to get out of the car business because it was just beating me up and I still was having issues personally with myself. answered an ad went to a company that had the big brick cell phone wired cars RVs and that if you push the button, it called rural Metro and had all your medical history and I thought it was really cool. It was the OnStar before OnStar I did that for about a year. brought it into LaserDisc brought it into the RV industry traveling and RV went to these shows I was like 2829 Okay, so

 

Jeff Sterns  09:14

you one of your first customers or only customers or the largest RV dealer in the nation at the time or

 

Jay  09:19

Yeah, close to no in the world. Okay,

 

Jeff Sterns  09:21

Lazydays RV is the beast. How did you get in there? Like for those of us who are trying to learn a success point, you're a young guy, you're out pushing this thing you get into this largest RV dealer in the world, like what did you do? Knock or know somebody?

 

Jay  09:34

So do you ever have those people knock on your door and you go this guy's amazing. buddy's peddling some liquid that cleans grease. You know those guys. You got to bang on doors and you got to have your teeth kicked in. And you got to do it 10 times in the day, not twice and quit. You got to do it for months on end. I went into LASIK not afraid to anything Don't be afraid anything. overcome your fears.

 

Jeff Sterns  09:56

What are they gonna say? No, but I went in there. They got The concept they actually gave us retail space to put a desk they're all branded up and sell it RV customers inside LaserDisc. Okay, so I know Jay is a very humble guy. And that's one of the things I love about him. But for most success seminars standpoint of this podcast Jays quite successful. You've got how many houses

 

Jay  10:22

are not important, okay? But I do believe that as long as you're not bankrupting or hurting your family, we put our money into real estate for you, we live our lives. So if one of us were to become ill, we could be sucking our last breath with zero regrets in life.

 

Jeff Sterns  10:44

Got it. So we don't need to talk about how many houses but from for those that don't know, like, if you're a 360 booth customer, you don't want to hear how many houses

 

Jay  10:55

they have a photo business I've had for 23 years. So save, save, save only spend 30% of your income, you know, with classic car house from people we just love a good looking home, you know, visit so Newport, Rhode Island, Dallas, Texas and Tampa. That's it.

 

Jeff Sterns  11:10

That's not that big a deal and spends a little bit of time in Laguna. Any chance you get to go to let go that go. So you start with this Bart? And you've got this booth?

 

Jay  11:22

Oh no, you forgot surf bike. I don't even remember surf, though. There was an ad in a newspaper about a marketing representative. And because I've served, I gravitated to this 12 foot long PVC board with a bike seat and bike pedal. And I marketed it for I think I took the job of $500 a week and I drove around Florida and inevitably realized that to put a bike that rode in on the water you don't do it in Florida, why 10 months of outdoor activity, alligators and freshwater with lily pads to get tangled in the problem just didn't. So I moved on from that. They were talking about the internet 97 when I was in the Air Force, they had a green IBM screen I was like this internet thing is never going to work. And then I saw JavaScript and I was like blown away. So I started a lot photo service. Now we're 1998 and I walk into your dealership and you turn the nothing Bentley store rolls into number five.

 

Jeff Sterns  12:20

We we bought the franchise it was the strangest thing. It was a Buy Here Pay it was Bennett auto sales. Garrett Lincoln mercury was the rolls and Bentley dealer a million years ago, an ex employee there's the one of the show that he made it bought the rolls and back from them. I don't didn't remember his first name. I do know it was Bennett. And it was a Buy Here Pay Here a lot everybody rides and rolls and Bentley. So when my dealer went to buy that, and by the way I was against it. I was completely against it because I'd only been in the store a few years. And I was working on a piece at a time. So I at first took Cadillac that was doing somewhere between 25 and 50 new a month, up to 80 a month consistently and then took us that was doing 50 or 60 up to about 80 a month and then Land Rover that was doing like nine, right up to the mid 30s. And when they wanted to buy rolls and Bentley and what did I know from etched glass or flower vases on the B pillar or whatever I wasn't interested in learning. I was just interested in getting this volume going. But nonetheless my owner button there

 

Jay  13:27

was no volume back then in the late 90s for Bentley or rolls, but no through volume. No, no, that gt

 

Jeff Sterns  13:36

correct. So when we bought it from Bennett, they'd sold one car in three years according to the factory. I don't know if that's factual, but maybe it was two. Then when we took it over, I had very, very good Cadillac and Landrover salespeople. So when they would bump into a customer interested in one of these cars, they were good enough, even though they didn't know the product very well, right to serve the customer and sell them on. We were selling about 15 cars a year at that point. My wife becomes pregnant with my first son or just had him I don't remember. And I went to my owner and I said, You know, I always said that when I kids. I didn't want to live at the dealership. So let's hire another manager. And as the general sales manager, let's pull me out of the rotation. Right? I don't need to schedule myself, right? This is great. You could take this rolls and Bentley thing. And I said okay, let's try that. So we ended up taking it to 100 cars the first year. Crazy and it wasn't just me. I ended up getting a great team but by the end we were doing about 300 cars a year

 

Jay  14:34

now understand for the audience. For a while Lincoln mercury in 1994 we attend a Grant Cardone motivational car knowledge overcome conference with 200 salespeople in the Tampa Bay area. Yeah, and I actually forgot that I actually go with Jeff Sterns, we're gonna go see Grant Cardone, you know, salesman, we're bored. He comes another rah rah blah, blah, blah. In the front row, we have to sit. And there's a little fold card p piece of paper and they say, put your first and last name on it. I just wrote it down. And this is upside down, right? So I got to sit next to Jeff. He's in the front row, I write my name, I look over to him. And he writes, and I'm not kidding. Sales, God, sales guy, that wasn't even rehearsed and we just sit and listen to this, I don't want to be the center of activity. And grant hits the stage. And you know, come on, anybody hits the stage and somebody's cocky enough to sit front row and put sales God, you know, what a story. It was tit for tat tit for tat. And unfortunately, sorry, Grant, Jeff b drass. agency,

 

Jeff Sterns  15:47

not only one topic that we argued about, obviously, I'm not the one with the private jets in the 10,000 square foot condo. Great, got it done. Prisma could only bring a Bentley store to 100 cars in a year from zero. Well, we weren't the largest in the nation, but I was really proud. And we had the cars out back in the service drive just to keep them in the shade. So we're in the storeroom and the upstairs of those ships. Yeah, like building selling roses. We were working on a wallpaper plastic table. This is the I mean, this is like walking uphill both ways to school like your dad talking. So for your salespeople out there, not necessarily car salespeople. I want to let you know that there really doesn't need to be an excuse.

 

Jay  16:31

You don't need a $20 million dealership. You don't need $1,000 desk you don't need a ballpoint pen in a suit even though they were in suits. It was a table in a storage facility selling Bentleys and rolls.

 

Jeff Sterns  16:45

It was all telephone because we're in an area Clearwater, Florida, where nobody drove them. Right. So now we're trying to compete with the areas in Florida where people do drive them like Miami. Yeah, Miami, Palm Beach, Lauderdale. Right? But we're competing with other territories like New York, Connecticut, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Beverly Hills, real cities. Yeah, right

 

Jay  17:07

real money in Palm Springs.

 

Jeff Sterns  17:11

And in the end, we ended up being number one in certified Pre Owned rolls and Bentley in the nation. We ended up being number one in Rolls Royce east of the Mississippi. So I'm sure people in California or Vegas or Arizona or someone beat us. We were number one are tied for number one customer satisfaction for a number of years with a Houston dealer. awesome guy there. And then when the Bentley Continental GT came out, we had the second largest waiting list on the car after Palm Springs, and people converting from a reservation to a real 20 grand deposit or really ordering the car. We had the highest conversion to really getting a car. So for an area that nobody drove drove these cars modesty

 

Jay  17:55

once again, you couldn't pull that off without the culture of Carlisle and all that skills, bringing it to fruition there that store in a store.

 

Jeff Sterns  18:07

Well, I mean, it was just like, coming from this dealer named Carlisle Lincoln mercury that was always one two or three largest volume in the nation for Lincoln mercury. He was really just working at a super high volume pizza place correct. And coming in and being able to show the next place how to correct make a whole bunch of pizza, make a custom pizza. But we were able to do it with exotic cars too.

 

Jay  18:29

Now let's fast forward. I start auto exact data photo collection back then 98 there was no database. So you Henry Ford, f150 XL t we took photos of it. There was really nowhere to put it. It was I was a third customer autobytel 9899. I walk in and see Jeff, he's now got a decent office. I think there's a Bentley or two on the showroom.

 

Jeff Sterns  18:52

There was definitely exotic cars, there was talk of private planes. So

 

Jay  18:55

things have taken off for him. I'm sure it's and just grinding, taking photos of cars and I walk into his office. And I said, Jeff, you need to embrace this internet. He goes, No, no, we take photos. And he pulls out stacks of Polaroids. He goes, No, I don't need photos. We just send 2030 Polaroids an envelope.

 

Jeff Sterns  19:16

Every time a car came in, right? I take it under the tree so there wasn't glare on the grass, take a few pictures, run it to the drugstore at the corner and get five developed. So when I get phone calls about them, we could FedEx and when you said to me, would you pay $500 a month

 

19:33

and that shoot your

 

Jeff Sterns  19:34

foot and for you to have all of your inventory on the internet so

 

Jay  19:37

they can see it instantly.

 

Jeff Sterns  19:39

I'm thinking well Geez, we're only a few years from having a website and barely anyone even knows. We have a guy we're like two old people I remember before telephone, and I thought okay, I'm spending a few 100 a month at the drugstore, developing pictures and I'm spending a couple 100 a month on FedEx sending them to pizza time. So if Jay can put all my cars on the website awesome. They'll have to FedEx some because not everyone has internet yet and I gave

 

Jay  20:03

you a link with REM or you just email the link to it let him

 

Jeff Sterns  20:06

look at the quotes right he showed me you can actually send a picture of a car through email if they have email right. And I thought to myself Well, the only cars were taking pictures of our the exotic you know us rolls Bentley, Ferrari Lambo, whatever. But we put the entire Cadillac inventory on which we wish we weren't taking pictures, right? Because people weren't calling us from out of the area to use Cadillac. I thought all right. 500 bucks is a lot of money.

 

20:31

Let's do it. Right.

 

Jeff Sterns  20:33

So Jay is very, very successful owns a company called auto exact and the tagline was

 

Jay  20:38

fine. And this is right. I thought I was gonna be like an auto trader type site.

 

20:42

Well, except there was no auto there was no Auto Trader. So they copied you. So

 

Jeff Sterns  20:46

if your tagline was saralyn, find the exact car you're looking for.

 

Jay  20:51

Right? ADP had a site. And it was like 150,000 cards and no actual photos. So that's how I got the idea of taking photos.

 

Jeff Sterns  20:59

So you were really a pioneer in I mean, you weren't like another guy taking photos. You're the only one I've heard of and probably

 

Jay  21:07

Yeah, there. I think. Maroney might have been out there. But did you

 

Jeff Sterns  21:13

know of anyone else doing now?

 

21:14

No, no.

 

Jeff Sterns  21:15

So you are copying anyone?

 

Jay  21:16

No, no, no, no, there was no databases. I had to build it. And you know, now we're shooting 600 stores. 70 employees. Marcus. Harmony has been with me 20 years crazy.

 

Jeff Sterns  21:30

And you're shooting pictures for six or 700 stores now. Yeah.

 

21:35

Texas and

 

Jeff Sterns  21:36

Florida. Well, you deserve all the houses. So if you're a 360 booth customer, I've got nothing to do with you. I remember, you know, you and I did a little business venture together with another friend of ours. And we got recognized at nada for one of the niftiest correct. And we live fires

 

Jay  21:52

ahead of our time. And that was so sad.

 

Jeff Sterns  21:55

Recognize the automotive news? Yeah, there's an article. That's right. But we were at nada in while we were working together,

 

Jay  22:01

dealer mouth.

 

Jeff Sterns  22:03

Okay. Do we have to talk about the failed business?

 

Jay  22:07

Hey, if you ain't throwing shit up against the wall, you ain't trying. That's right.

 

Jeff Sterns  22:11

So while we were spending a lot of time at your home office working on the software and the idea you kept bringing up this idea of Van or something pulling up with an inflatable, like bounce house thing that would pop out of it right? And give you a nice spot to take pictures of current as you were frustrated. I

 

Jay  22:31

could control lighting because shooting outside inevitably I thought somebody had to do it.

 

Jeff Sterns  22:36

You were frustrated taking pictures of dealers inventory.

 

Jay  22:40

Yeah, Florida, it rains every day. And then up north of Chicago, Detroit, it'll rain and be crappy for three weeks. So you're going to you can't if the internet was going to work for the car business you had to shoot 24 seven. So I thought someone had to do it might not be me. So shed some tears. You know, spend some money sheds more tears frustration, frustration, finally had a breakthrough. And I come up with the design for 360 booth.

 

Jeff Sterns  23:08

So 11 years ago. 360 booth well, so this is an environment.

 

Jay  23:13

Correct? The concept is with zero motors because turntables or electrics, let's be honest electronics fail. The whole room rides on the track, and you're able to push the room like a sliding glass door to control all the lighting and reflection on your car. No software needed. Although we do pitch some software. You don't need it with my suit. It's a one off. I priced it for market share rather than I guess, really high gross. I'm wanting to capitalize and so far it's worked. I kept it simple. We got over 800 in five countries. 16 and us New Zealand 10. In Australia, Guam, Hawaii. 50 or so in Canada. How long have you been selling these?

 

Jeff Sterns  23:56

Six years? And he's got 800 of them?

 

23:59

Go 100.

 

Jeff Sterns  24:01

That's really success story. And you've had a couple copies or attempted? Oh, yeah, yeah. Then you've rescued some dealers that tried the other one. So

 

Jay  24:08

some of my competitors, I have probably 3540 of them inside their spaces. It failed because what they're trying to do is to build a room and do the traditional photo booth. Which, let's be honest, the car business doesn't have access to at least skilled photographers, and they set those rooms up for highly skilled photographer. I tried to dummy it up with my experience on the photography side. I need people to just as this much more give a shit and we can give them an income and visit to deal with five days a week. But you know, I'm curious. Back in the day when you were shooting Polaroids since most likely there's car guys looking at what was your favorite car in 1998. Gosh, oh 2000. Around Bentley time, you had to have had a favorite car.

 

Jeff Sterns  24:57

Jay, I get asked that a lot. What was my favorite car, you know, that came in stock?

 

Jay  25:02

Or you would want to own? Even though it was you've never really owned the supercar right.

 

Jeff Sterns  25:09

No. And I also had the ability to drive one as a company card. And somebody would ask why aren't you driving a Bentley or a lotus or something? I was always so worried about it. Because I remember one time, somebody traded in a Rolls Royce Corniche convertible with a little damage around the headlight probe into a garage door or something. And I remember they had to get the guy out of retirement, that made the headlamp bezel, right and it sat behind our body shop for 10 months, while we were waiting for a part. So I was so paranoid to drive that even though it could be insured and repaired. And I mean, I didn't want to wait 10 months to fix anything. And I also knew we would need to disclose that the thing was in an accident, and even if it's flawless work that would drop it another 10 or $20,000.

 

Jay  25:59

But let's be honest, both of us, it's not in our DNA to have that ego where we needed to drive that greater than gray car. Like, I love the new 12 cylinder silver spur Bentley. But I couldn't, with a clear conscience sit in one and drive one and own it. It's just not me. I'm in T shirts and jeans and a hat. Now, I do have a dream car. And it's kind of a little downplayed of a car because you know, gt three Rs is most people perceive just as a 911, with some plump wing on the back of it. And most don't know about except for some Porsche guys. So it does kind of fly under the radar. But your ego really didn't allow you to feel comfortable driving these cars. No, yes.

 

Jeff Sterns  26:47

But I liked driving the car is if I thought I'd bump into somebody that might want it

 

Jay  26:51

just for financial gain, or

 

Jeff Sterns  26:55

for my kids or a neighborhood kid today, right in it.

 

Jay  26:58

But I've run across a lot of my dad back in your position that if they don't drive the latest and greatest trade in their cripple, they will never drive the less than Ford. And I just think it's

 

Jeff Sterns  27:11

so I would only drive Cadillac

 

27:13

right at the time.

 

Jeff Sterns  27:15

But my favorite car at the time, was, Well, you know what? I didn't I didn't have it. So I mean, the car I really wanted at the time was a Ferrari F 40.

 

Jay  27:26

So you went all in? Now, don't you wish he had kept something or had access to get that back then? Of course. I mean, what's those things worth now? Well, that's

 

Jeff Sterns  27:37

over a million dollars.

 

Jay  27:38

I don't know. I don't know. Right? Over a million though. Yeah, for sure. And they didn't stick are nowhere near that

 

Jeff Sterns  27:43

will. We'll put on the screen. How much of Faria 14 words right now, and I haven't dealt in one. So I'm not cognizant of the value. But I can tell you at the time, I thought, boy, wouldn't it be nice to have one of those, like, gosh, they're in the $400,000 range, right. But like the cars that we took in that I really liked, I loved test, I think so it must have leaned toward Ferrari. So I think I really loved Testarossa.

 

Jay  28:06

I think it's all Miami Vice, I think in the 80s started that Testarossa forever. Yep.

 

Jeff Sterns  28:11

And I love the Berlin and a boxer. Ferrari also, yes. And then a great touring car. Yeah, and then a lot of guys would make fun of me because it was their cheap and they don't bring a lot of money. Well, maybe now they're worth a lot too but a Mondale Ferrari No, the backseat little the convertible with the backseat, right? I thought they look beautiful. They were never very expensive, which I love the

 

Jay  28:33

FF which looks like you know the golf or stationwagon Ferrari. Right? Because of the long wheelbase and the touring in. It's a 12 cylinder. But once again, that's a car that you would love to own. But I wouldn't feel comfortable driving the perception of the Ferrari and the half million dollar car even though it's not but it's not my DNA.

 

Jeff Sterns  28:55

So you've been auto exact shooting these photos now for 20 years.

 

Jay  29:00

23 years past June, gosh, and up on my 24th and

 

Jeff Sterns  29:04

I get to say it and when I was customer Oh, one

 

Jay  29:07

you were you were in fact, we still shoot demetz cars 23 and a half years later,

 

Jeff Sterns  29:16

you shoot Do you still shoot every day?

 

Jay  29:19

Every day never changed that it made no sense that when competition started coming in, they would come one or two days and focus on the sticker. I knew coming from the car business that there was plenty of salesmen sitting on their hands. That tip for someone to take 15 minutes put a sticker on it we find so we give them that ability. But photography should come five days a week. You're in business six days, seven days a week here in Florida. So we should be shooting cars.

 

Jeff Sterns  29:45

So backing up again. So military,

 

29:49

yes.

 

Jeff Sterns  29:50

Were you the model? soldier? Were you in trouble? Were you rebellious

 

Jay  29:55

were you so in retrospect after You know, heavy education in addiction and being sober now 2627 years? Can I say that I joined the Air Force to get out? The typical attic runs from their problems. I think if my educations taught me anything, I probably went in that direction to get some structure, thinking I would just fly under the radar that first night I get there, which apart, it's free, I partied three days straight before basic training should have been thrown in jail if I had gotten a blood test, but the night we get off the bus, I'm dorm chief now it goes dorm tree Chief, five, four or five squad leaders and the rest of the 70 people in that basic training camp. And now I'm number one responsibility for everybody. And I'm just not digging this. But I rose to the occasion got through it. Air Force crew chief 130s. Did Desert Storm. Thank you. All Thank you. And, you know, came out still had a little issue going on met an incredible woman and wanted her loyal compass. I didn't know I was lacking. Okay, it just eats away at you ever so often. So just wanted that moral compass. I walked in and said, Okay, I'm done. Well, now back up again. I was given a referral from you for a psychiatrist or psychologist. And I sat with him a couple days. Needless to say, you're fine. You just need to stop drinking and drugging. Right? I mean, he says, you're fine. We don't need to talk anymore. So you know, then I started to realize, but I'm in love life. I don't like to have a clouded judgment anymore. I like to feel my pains. my frustrations. My I just like to feel. And I like the good side of feeling too. Right?

 

Jeff Sterns  32:00

Well, I mean, I'm sober also about 25 years. I I'd have to look it look up the exact date.

 

Jay  32:05

Right. Me too.

 

Jeff Sterns  32:06

I agree that so the reason that we use those of us attics is we're not really looking for a feeling we're usually avoiding. Correct some feeling. And then we later learned that the best way to the other side of the problem is not around, not under it, but just you got to go right through it. Right. And the beautiful thing about getting everything is you get everything. So I love what you just said that about feeling the bad stuff? Because it really does it really well. First of all, when I went sober, and then there you know, one of the steps of sobriety is you got to find make your list of people that you you own amends to.

 

Jay  32:48

I never got that call, by the way, and then

 

Jeff Sterns  32:53

I've been waiting myself, okay. So you can always you always know friendships on the rocks when they're scorekeeping. So, when you make your list of a men's people, you own a men's two and you go make your men's. And for me, by the way, as a dyslexic,

 

Jay  33:06

I've danced around all of them, but I'm still sober.

 

Jeff Sterns  33:10

And Congrats, no matter what. And what I found is when you said I want to feel everything is once I went through some of my processes of sobriety, once something I did wrong to somebody, it would be such a prevalent issue.

 

Jay  33:26

Unbelievable, right? Unbelievable. I

 

Jeff Sterns  33:28

have to go clean, immediately, like I can't have. I mean, if I ever

 

Jay  33:32

been in the same respect, when you run into someone that is not necessarily an addict, or a drinker of some sort, but just like, corrupt, just full of garbage, I tend to stay away, because I know the hurt will come. So I'd rather push away.

 

Jeff Sterns  33:52

Well, there's something to be said about choosing who you surround yourself with.

 

Jay  33:57

And now the car business talk went into therapy session, but I'm good with it. Hi,

 

Jeff Sterns  34:01

are you gonna be with me? Right now get into therapy. Okay, this is what happened in the military, you meet a wonderful woman that whose moral compass you want,

 

Jay  34:11

right? I got it. So it was a rough patch. 16 months or so but just good. Just got it. And now probably I've taken the addiction into work, focusing on breathing techniques, and, you know, focusing on lowering stress, I guess, and I was diagnosed with an aneurysm. So it could be my last run or sprint to the gate. All joking. purely a joke. But I don't know how I got it could have been hereditary, but I'm just being authentic. You know, I do videos. I try to keep them under a minute. And be authentic as possible and truly only do a video for something to say for everybody out there on LinkedIn. That's just talking Stop. Don't do the minute and a half the intro. We don't care. You're there too. Give us something, and it's not your intro and who you've met.

 

Jeff Sterns  35:04

So we're sharing a camera and we're sharing a microphone. As you can see, we're trying to figure out and COVID

 

Jay  35:08

that we don't believe that there is COVID. And we believe it's dangerous. He already has immune to it. I've done 140 flights since May. I'm very hands Washington mass, but we are safe as family.

 

Jeff Sterns  35:23

That's right. And no, COVID is a real thing. And luckily, I'm in the 99.9% survivor group.

 

Jay  35:29

Right after I got it. 99.08%. Okay.

 

Jeff Sterns  35:34

We'll get into that. But no offense to anyone that's ABS lost anyone? I

 

Jay  35:38

mean, it's brutal. Oh, my God.

 

Jeff Sterns  35:40

Yeah. No doubt about it. So we're trying to figure out how to do this. Anyone that's watched or listened to my other shows have all gone through rebel legends through recorded with the relationship had been through recorded zoom. So what we were going to do in this office was two zooms, or I'm sorry, a zoom it from two spots inside the office. And we were going to work with this additional microphone borrowed from my son Max, it turns out that it's the kind of microphone that picks up everything in the room.

 

Jay  36:11

So we hope this is sounding well, because we're all prepared for

 

Jeff Sterns  36:14

it was the interview this? And then Jay on the other. So now we decided to stand or perform next to each other for you guys. But when we were sitting on the couch over there in my office, not the casting couch. Jay says, you know, we need to limit these things when I do them it when I do and it's about a minute and when I listen, it can only be a minute when I listen to these guys doing.

 

Jay  36:41

Audiences I can't stand and I can't listen for a podcast for an hour. Two different audiences. I have a very good friend and employee that listens to Rogen for hours. I can't do but I did want to limit it to an hour but I would love to come back. If you know I can fit into your car legends thing one day, maybe I'll be a legend. A legend in my own mind when we can limit it to an hour.

 

Jeff Sterns  37:05

Do you have any idea how long we've been a? Not a blast? No, me neither.

 

Jay  37:10

What do we miss?

 

Jeff Sterns  37:11

So here we are. J smithwick. I want to just talk to you about cars for a minute. And we can have another cuz I know your attention span. I know the attention span. Already one foot out the door already excusing himself in the middle of the show on the air.

 

37:28

Good. That's my boy.

 

Jeff Sterns  37:30

So you pulled up in a beautiful gt three. Correct. I do remember a Hummer H one.

 

37:37

Yes.

 

Jay  37:39

h twos came out. And I was surfing pretty regularly at the time. And this is 2006 and I was driving from Tampa to Cocoa Beach and chasing tropical storms and hurricanes before they hit. And then after they left. And I convinced my wife that I needed a like surfing Safari vehicle. And I dreamt one up and I found that Reeves imports. Great people have had a h1, it had us and braid like Sedona, Arizona has landscape on it. But it was brown and had all the big. Everything you wanted in a convertible h1 it was a showcard had like 4000 miles it was more 2000 miles on it bought it for $37,000.

 

Jeff Sterns  38:25

What are those worth now?

 

Jay  38:26

over 100? Yeah, and I was just talking to my wife's queue management. I kept that thing but I think I kept it five years. But like 5000 miles on it was driving back and forth to cocoa and a lot of fun in that thing. A lot of fun. So I guess that was and I let it go. I actually sold it for what I bought it for five years later. So that was a win. I think if you can sell something, get your money back in the garbage. That's a win. Right? It doesn't necessarily have to be a profit, you know, 20 years into building a business when I guess I could have hopped and got the supercar or whatever dream car you wanted. I just really focused on if you had the ability to do that type of car. You should pay cash for it or just don't be a wannabe. I wanted to gt what was the stripped down gt that was just a racing car, the GTR gt well, gt speed gt speed 2010 I wanted it bad. Put my wife in it once she got it was like a NASCAR experience. I mean, it's just brilliant for someone that likes to drive cars was brilliant. She wanted no part of it. And it was that Bentley moniker so it didn't feel good. And then I had a dream with a Mazda Miata convertible. None of them came to fruition, but I always kept that hair out there for me as I was just grinding. And then a couple years ago, I'm driving in DC. I travel five days a week, visiting stores. And this orange thing just flies by me and it's a GT it's a 911. The Hell's that we Now, I can't believe I'm in the car biz and never heard of a GT three Rs, right? And I see this window lie and I catch it up in traffic. And it's got these events over the front wheel. And that's what that's crazy. Who customize that? 911. So I saw the bad in the back into gt three Rs, and I researched it. And I just fell in love. I started watching all the racecar drivers talk about the track monster in it. It's got ESP and it thinks for you on the road, and it's just perfect ultimate driving car. And I thought, boy, these guys were really gonna get a hell hobby. But I started looking at him. And this fires, unfortunately special for me. Because the day I go to the dealership, I think it's lava orange, which is a factory color. And the day, it was at one of my stores, I'm installing a studio at the day, I'm walking to space to measure the space for the studio, I get a call from my brother. He's frantic to find my mom on the floor. So compose myself turn around in the meeting, sit in my car, in the worlds of spin, you know what's going on? You've unfortunately experienced it. What do I do now? I go see this car, right? I'm in New York. I don't know what to do. I call my wife and I said, Honey, I'm just going to go see this car. It's almost like the Seinfeld episode, where Elaine gets a phone call her friends been stabbed. And she runs back into the theater to get the Juju beads. Right. And he goes, where did you get the ginger beans before after you got the call? You know? Right, right. But that was a great example. That was not so I went in. And it turned out to be a paint to sample color from Porsche called golf orange. Now the reason that color is significant. And how did it happen that I see it on my mother's death is sophomore High School, Chicago, Illinois, my dad drives by a Chevy store and there's an orange Corvette Stingray sitting there and he buys it. I'm blown away. I remember running across this room. Ah, we got to go bad. I was crazy about it. And it's the same damn color. Long story short, I bought that car madly in love When I turned 16 every time I get behind the wheel, and I strongly suggest that if anyone has dreams, live them without bankrupting your family. You need to live

 

Jeff Sterns  42:33

well, and cars have a great way of doing that. I mean, you see you get behind the wheel of that car. You're 16 every time reminds you Yeah. And yeah, most of the cars I've chased have been cars that I grew up in that my dad had

 

Jay  42:44

right. Some representative back here. Yes. So um, yeah, car businesses always or cars in general. I remember my parents had met my stepfather some 40 years. When he moved in, he had this book of Corvettes. And when you flip through it, it was it was all the the prototypes and things like this and it was this Maiko shark Corvette that kind of like, Oh my god, so And now I'm talking like fourth fifth grade, right. And I 10 cars and coffee up in Newport, Rhode Island in summer, and I saw Maiko Corvette. And just crazy crazy. So

 

Jeff Sterns  43:23

my father was an influence in the cars. Was this the car with the exposed headers coming out of this?

 

Jay  43:29

No, it just had this really exaggerated body kit on it. Lo and behold, I got RS which is all exaggerated there. So I definitely like the cars that are exaggerated more so for a track rather than luxury cars that gt three is a rough ride if you don't buy

 

Jeff Sterns  43:46

the car from I remember when the GT three came out? Of course you weren't aware of it. You write it later. No, but they when you bought a new they came with driving school.

 

Jay  43:55

Correct. In fact, when I picked up this even though it was a certified car, they deliver it in LA at the track or Atlanta in this case, it would have been in Atlanta, but I was like a kid in a candy store. But no get into my house. Right? I should have took the track. I should have learned something on the track. I can't wait to go and be more of a technical driver rather than just a passionate Loon. Right. Because I would love to learn the particulars and the techniques. But yeah, just crazy.

 

Jeff Sterns  44:26

Well, a 911 but that's a whole different type of technical driving anyway. Yeah,

 

Jay  44:30

we're done with the RS. all four wheels turn. So I mean, you want to do a U turn. You just break everybody's neck and just pull it is crazy. is crazy.

 

Jeff Sterns  44:41

Now the car I heard you talk most about absolutely was the Infinity q 245.

 

Jay  44:47

I thought because that thing had 345 horsepower. Now we're going back to 1993 92 white leather or so it had leather but it was the sedan that had horsepower. It was like, attainable. You talked about it so much. I really did. I really I didn't see it. I never owned

 

Jeff Sterns  45:07

one. I've never been in that case and I love

 

Jay  45:08

the 900 tops Saab turbos in the late

 

45:13

19 89,000. Yep.

 

Jay  45:15

No. 900 I think was the turbo and then a 9900 was

 

Jeff Sterns  45:20

a real car. Yeah. Okay,

 

Jay  45:22

I stand corrected. in public. It was 900 turbo. But yeah, it all started. I think cars are the shit. I think it's the greatest industry to work in. I mean, from wheel guys to dead guys to all the parts suppliers to the windshield, to detailing and ceramic coating and the wraps Now, every aspect of the car is just phenomenal. And then you go on into the car business digitally for websites, photography studios, chat with car cat, I mean, just gotta love the industry.

 

Jeff Sterns  45:56

How about when you were selling cars? I mean, you've been in a lot of businesses since do you bring forward? I mean, was that any education for you? Now without doubt,

 

Jay  46:03

any salesperson needs to go sell cars first. Now back in the day, you didn't sell a car you didn't eat. I mean, there was a draw. But minimum wage, minimum wage, it was a couple 100 bucks. And I remember, and I probably could find it, I've literally got a two week check for like a buck and a half, right? Because

 

Jeff Sterns  46:21

they take the draw back. When you add more to that to your drug dealer.

 

Jay  46:26

You make like a $2,000, check and get $1 50 back because they have taken all the draw because you didn't sell anything because you were pretty occupied doing whatever the hell you're doing. Okay. But that truly made me who I was the desire was there. But now the car business gave me the hunger. So when you did work in the car business, you made money.

 

Jeff Sterns  46:45

You know, Jay, I always said that. Everybody, when they get out of school should go to Europe for one or two or three months see the military, right? And needs to sell cars for a year? Absolutely. I think you learn more about the human condition, telling people what their trading is worth, and having to nurse them through that thing. Correct.

 

Jay  47:06

You just got your head ripped off, you owe five grand more than it's worth. And now I get to bury that equity into your car and add to it just it's brutal.

 

Jeff Sterns  47:19

Right, but it's there's a lot of life skills in there. And it's funny the guys I've talked to already on these shows, or talked to about going on the show that are highly successful, interesting people. You know, we talked about Billy, I hear if they've sold cars I hear over and over again, everything that I ever I was able to pull everything forward for my car selling experience

 

Jay  47:40

in my industry in the same respect to though back when we were selling cars. 1% of the people lasted a year.

 

Jeff Sterns  47:47

Right? There's a little bit of turnover

 

Jay  47:49

was a lot of turnover, because you either had to sell or you starve. And then you had a lot that made me who I am. And every day even though I can probably pay my bills for a solid six months, I still get out and think I'm broke and it's time to go to work.

 

Jeff Sterns  48:06

Now you've never acted comfortable. No,

 

Jay  48:08

I know. If you're comfortable. You're in trouble. So where have you been?

 

Jeff Sterns  48:13

What countries

 

Jay  48:14

you've been everywhere to Desert Storm Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, northern Iraq, Spain, Northern Africa. And then with 360 booths 3040 days and five trips to New Zealand greatest place ever put it on the bucket list. Australia is great, but it's very similar to Walt Disney World, Orlando. It's very condensed and beautiful in in a small area and then three miles out you're in pasture. In Australia, you're out in the outback. Very cool experience. Guam, Hawaii, Canada, Vancouver's beautiful Anchorage, Alaska. We have a studio that was amazing. you'd hold up your cell phone and you throw away the picture because you just couldn't get the scale. Right of Alaska. You just can't do it. God bless you when you shoot a photo that looks great in Alaska. So to date today, this year during COVID and since the January of last year, I've traveled 6.6 and a half times around the Earth in airline miles. I've got 900 cities, I'm from May I got 141 flights and love every minute of it.

 

Jeff Sterns  49:30

You are amazing, you know from an energy level from adapting. And what I mean from adapting is, I know that when you make a flight, you sometimes need to get up at two in the morning or 10 in the morning or time zones or going overseas to go or be okay

 

Jay  49:46

I leave San Jose adapting that was a great because I was like boy, I must have really done well. I would have jumped out of the plane. However late leaving Dallas closes the airport get to the tarmac. You're sitting there for an hour. 45 minutes, get out of the plane, go to the rental car agency, you're there another two hours, my plane was supposed to leave its land at 730. I left the airport and rental it 15 minutes after midnight. So with no hairy carry events, but you love it. I

 

Jeff Sterns  50:17

mean, you know, I mean, being on the road isn't as sexy. Now, it's cracked up to be for now for some people. But for you, it's amazing to me, and I don't want to put this wrong. Like, you don't necessarily need the next sale like, and I'm kind of the same. I come to work every day like my lights are gonna go out if I don't sell something, right. And I think you do the same thing. Absolutely. Yeah. And the way that you travel, but you put yourself into these situations that are uncomfortable and you adapt, adapt, adapt, and you're still socially posting for your business and personally, and it's upbeat messages and it's positive

 

Jay  50:53

and it's business now borderlines a little crazy. So I'll fly to New Zealand on a one way ticket. Okay, like, Who does that? My wife says where you stand, I'll find a place when I land. You can't book travel, and hope that that schedule goes, it's way too stressful. It's far less stressful, a little more costly to book as you travel through. So when I start my week, I'll make my appointments. And then I'll just book tickets an hour before the plane leaves. So you couldn't take an average person and ride shotgun with me because you would be into some type of panic shingles attack within about six hours.

 

Jeff Sterns  51:35

But is it more costly? Or is it cheaper to book an hour before?

 

Jay  51:40

And I would say 75% of the time, we have COVID extremely cheap, right? Because now they just need to fill a seat. Right? Like one of my guys are going to Vancouver Monday. It's $129. Right?

 

51:53

nuts.

 

Jay  51:53

The Vancouver from Tampa. It's not correct. It's one stop. But you know, I was just telling my wife, I got home, I was tired. And I said, Boy, if the traveling doesn't humble, humble you because right now they're in COVID, you go to California, the restaurants are angry. They literally made him take all the furniture out of the restaurant so you can sit down. Then you go to Florida, where you're wearing masks inside. But everything is open and we're going to town. I'll sit at a restaurant in Dallas and I don't want to wait for a seat. So I sit at the bar and I'm elbow to elbow with somebody else. And that experience of being able to do those things. Like I was in Dallas, it was 39 degrees of rain and took a picture of the dash on the highway. And then I took one here in Tampa Three hours later, and it's 84 and sunny. It's very humbling to do that. I call it time traveling, right? I'm not gonna have anybody beat me either, where the others are doing zoom calls and hoping for the best my asses in the seat making should happen. And it's not always a winner. There's not always a winner.

 

Jeff Sterns  53:00

So you travel the way you travel. You've been You've done enough airline miles to do three and a half times around the Earth already discounting. Excuse me six and a half this year. You and your wife ever want to take a vacation is that.

 

Jay  53:15

So early days? Well, we didn't do vacations for 10 years starting a business. And then I really love Laguna as you can tell, but we would rent a little house for 10 days prior to season. So like 10 days for three grand versus eight grand a week. In June, we'd go to Laguna and but now we have an elderly dog. We now have 360 booths. She'll do 14 hours a day, six, seven days a week. Just trying to keep up with the taxes the influx employees out of three auto exact AI team in 360 booths phenomenal I get to pick from auto exact for the guys. vacation. No we have no desire to go to Mexico or to the beaches. I think we're all in the Clearwater Tampa Bay area at the poor man's Bahamas. So why go to the Bahamas. I would like to take her to Laguna and go back to her house again. I would love to take her up to Lake Tahoe. I was there during COVID I mean go to like Tao. It's gorgeous. We haven't 19 year old dog death. It's her baby. Our baby but she so right now you can't fly. So it's been two years since she's flown.

 

Jeff Sterns  54:27

Now. How about your own bucket list? I mean, God forbid you mentioned this aneurism. Right and you're diagnosed with this aneurysm. There's nothing you can do nothing.

 

Jay  54:37

You hope it does and six months to a year. You hope it doesn't grow. You try to eat right stay away from sugars. You basically and I bet a bet. After diagnose I just start to play with your head sure that you're a ticking time bomb. So I went up to Cleveland Clinic, schedule appointment. Linux great. I felt like a VIP guests there. But it cost me dearly for going out of going out of

 

55:08

pocket of your engineers who I know. But

 

Jay  55:13

yes, you do not stay healthy and don't hold your breath and lift something heavy is basically what they say.

 

Jeff Sterns  55:19

But changing your diet impacts the possibility of this thing. No,

 

Jay  55:23

nothing's gonna grow. It'll only make it worse. So you can't like shrink it. Okay. Yeah, you know, it's there. Like, COVID I'm gonna live my life. I'm gonna wash my hands, put my mask on and do everything possible not to get sick. Not because of the aneurysm because I don't be sick, right? Um, so live your life and you go on. I can't live in a closet.

 

Jeff Sterns  55:46

But it seems like you're doing everything you want to do. Is it possible that you could have a bucket list? Is there anything you want to do? You haven't done?

 

Jay  55:53

You know, it's crazy. I never really I tried to see as much as I can. When I travel. My last time to Australia, I decided, well, I'm going to do something. So I hit Great White, and I actually found one of two places in the world, South Australia. Lincoln, Port Lincoln, you bought a boat at 6am. It's a little fishing village, surf village in South Australia. You bought a boat and you go out through a past where you get two hours of 10 foot waves. But when you get out to the grounds, there's seals clean for dear life and great whites, they drop a cage off the back of the boat. And on a ventilator you jump into like 47 degree water. And you see great whites. And that was not necessarily buckless I never even thought that was humanly possible. It was a National Geographics thing, right? And when you first see it, and you're in the cage, right, isn't there wasn't there for me it was like I'm seeing Bigfoot, because you only see that on TV. But boy, incredible. Wasn't a bucket list. I don't really have a bucket list. I really, you know, I saw my first wife die of melanoma cancer. So you can't live with regrets. So I tried to live now bucket lists or bucket lists for me it was not 100 foot yacht or private plane or things like that. But it's definitely to, you know, do what you can to have this experience called life.

 

Jeff Sterns  57:23

Well, Jay, I think we might be at an hour. Oh, we're waiting. And I know you're at your limit and an hour. The reason I wanted to have you first of all appreciate the friendship, I appreciate you. You're in town just a few days and you came out to the Jeff Sterns Studio solely took your time New Year, I

 

Jay  57:38

thought it was a Saturday, it's a Friday. So New Year's Day, by the way, right.

 

Jeff Sterns  57:43

And the reason I wanted to have you on here, the value I wanted to give to the listener, whether they're in the car business or not in the car business, is you weren't a particularly phenomenal student and you went into the military, trying to give yourself a little discipline, right? You've got your demons, like a lot of us do with

 

Jay  58:01

if you don't

 

Jeff Sterns  58:02

have one, you're kidding yourself that whatever. You're a lowly car salesman, lonely, you tried a few entrepreneurial,

 

58:11

had two things add to

 

Jeff Sterns  58:14

and you know, you've done you deserve all of your success with your 607 whatever. You have car dealers that you're taking upon the hour of the day. Yeah, do they come and go? I understand.

 

58:25

How many staff do you have?

 

Jay  58:27

I think there's just over 50 or 60. Right now. I actually Marcus runs it. So unless there's issues, I've watched everybody's emails, it runs pretty smooth. And Marcus, he's phenomenal.

 

Jeff Sterns  58:40

Now, Marcus, you're not here to defend yourself. So

 

58:41

I'll just say it,

 

Jeff Sterns  58:42

I showed you how to take a picture of a car under the tree without the glare on it. There's nothing you can do. I'll make that a promo clip. I'll just pull that out for 30 seconds, that'll be Marcus's clip, but I appreciate it. I hope that the listener or the viewer, got a little inspiration about what can be done by anybody. I mean, I think statistically, I mean, I don't take anything away from you. Right, but I think if you look back on yourself, statistically,

 

Jay  59:05

1%

 

Jeff Sterns  59:06

you weren't gonna do what you did.

 

Jay  59:08

No, no, no.

 

59:29

This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars.

Jay Smithweck

Entrepreneur. Owner/ founder AutoExact, 360Booth

US Airforce, car salesman, entrepreneur, founder of dealer vehicle imaging/ hosting services AutoExact, founder/ creator of 360Booth (auto imaging booth) . Loving husband, father.

www.autoexact.com