A lot has changed since this photo was taken. Photos aren’t black and white as a rule, unless an Instagram filter is applied, and the folks in this photo are quite a bit older. The gentleman with sincere smile and thick glasses is my grandfather, actually, and he’s no longer with us but he did have a dream to start his own BMW dealership back in the 80’s. This photo commemorates the grand opening of our original location in downtown Escondido.
All things human.
The internet has influenced every aspect of life, including how we do business, interact with our friends and customers, and shop for things. But one thing I’m absolutely certain of is that the automotive business is still stuck in the 90’s when it comes to how customers want to buy cars and above all, how dealerships present themselves online. One of my favorite authors, Mark Schaefer, wrote in a recent book that “Marketing is all things human.” So much of the marketing in the automotive world is devoid of any humanity, the photoshop work so perfect that even the fakest of social profiles wouldn’t use them. Our mission as a dealership has always been to use the very best we can to create a top-notch customer experience, and as RQ Construction VP Eric Taylor mused, “The great companies work hard to try and maintain some of that original entrepreneurial spirit” and involve all stakeholders at every level of their projects to create the best outcome.
We love working with startups and new ideas.
I have a huge passion for small businesses that have a great idea, and we love using these new ideas when they fit into our processes. One that we are using daily for shipping our cars to auction and to customer’s front doors is RunBuggy. They didn’t pay me to write this, and they don’t even know I’m talking about them, but the point is that there are some incredible ideas out there and we want to be a hotbed for these startups to work out some of their ideas. Our GSM, Moe, and I have been building up our libraries this year with nothing but books on startups and the greats, and this is definitely a direction we love to pursue.
We want to market better.
That just means that we want to be more human in how we present ourselves, because we really are a community-driven company with a passionate fanbase of BMW and MINI owners. We are also in the community in other ways, supporting non-profits like the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Waves for Water and others, because we have all been affected in our personal lives by something difficult and needed support. We’ve been working hard with an awesome marketing team too lately, working on our content and I literally cannot keep up with the energy and amount of information that gets piled on daily. College was nothing compared to where marketing is now, and where it’s going.
Bring us a subscription model.
I can’t wait for a subscription model of car buying to be 100% viable and possible. There are companies making moves in this field independent of their manufacturers, but there is massive potential here. Mark it down, someday this will be the way it’s done and it will dramatically improve the entire process of car ownership and service. Many mind-changing books sit on my desk at home, about how other industries have completely changed their processes, and I think the idea of subscriptions has yet to take root in our industry. As Warren Buffet said in his book, The Snowball, it’s all about looking for people’s habits and gauging when they will change, and this is an opportunity that fits that criteria of opportunity.
We will always be about service.
Our dealership is bad at bragging, but we are always in the top 5 for customer satisfaction for the entire west coast and haven’t been edged out of our #1 spot in San Diego for quite some time. In fact I just spent a ton of time along with Russ writing up this piece on how our business started and why we are the premier BMW service center. We’ve been growing our parts business, shipping across the country, and we’ve done that without losing any ground on the home front. It’s because we put the people in our lives first, from customer to employee, and that makes the difference. You can’t get that at a corporate dealership, and you’re never too far from someone that can actually get you the answer and solve your problem for good.
I’m fortunate enough to love what I do but more than anything I want to nurture the automotive industry into changing. Maybe we don’t have all the tools to do it yet, but with the right mentality this too will change.