In our efforts to become the number one Nissan dealer in Redlands, we decided to do something that we haven't done before. We're excited to introduce our new podcast! Each month you'll be able to hear from one of our valued reps and you can expect to hear more about our values, tips for you as a consumer, and upcoming technology that will be featured on our future models. Listen to episode one now!
Happy Thursday. JC here at Metro Nissan of Redlands on their very first official podcast. So uber-excited to be here, man. I got to be honest, I think I'm tearing up, man. So coming from the auto industry, breaking that barrier down, right, getting a dealer to really think outside the box. I think we can all agree that technology has really changed things. So trying to find that dealer that really sees kind of where that industry is going and how people want to be reached and talked to is very difficult. I am happy to report that Metro Nissan Redlands agrees that the industry's changing, right? A lot of things have changed. So uber-excited, man. We're going to talk about some really exciting things over the next few months that I think are going to shed some light as to how a dealership currently runs their operation, and I think you're going to be shocked that it's nowhere near what most people think. So the day of doing business like the '50s or '60s is just eradicated, right? That's just not the case anymore.
So I'm sitting here with Mr. David Reynolds. He's general manager of Metro Nissan Redlands. Say hello, sir.
David Reynolds 01:10
Hello. How are you, Jimmy?
I am fantastic, man. Thanks for asking. We're also sitting here with the general sales manager. Introduce yourself, sir.
Jaime Ramirez 01:17
My name is Jaime Ramirez. Thanks for having me, Jimmy.
Appreciate that. So first and foremost, man, so I've heard some of the most oddball scenarios on how people get into this business. Like it's just some of the most wacky stories I've ever heard, man, is how people get into this business. So just talk to me a little bit about, Dave Reynolds, how did you get wrapped up in this business?
Yeah. So that's a real good question, Jimmy, because in the car business or automobile business, this is kind of an interesting think, I think. No one plans on jumping into the car business--
--for the matter. We all kind of get here in some weird shape or form. But I got in through a friend. Previous to this, I worked for a Fortune 500 company, a very structured environment. We worked within confined boxes, so to speak, and a friend of mine was running a small little mom-and-pop store. Asked me to work on the weekends, and I started working on the weekends to help him out, and that basically led me to jumping in with two feet and working full-time and starting basically 20 years ago.
So basically, you made money and didn't look back?
Yeah [laughter]. Pretty much, that's the situation.
That's typically what happens. So I know you had a brief stint with some really cool stuff that we'll talk about at a later time. I actually think people would love to hear some of your backing story, but I've been fortunate enough to really kind of get to know the dealership and know a lot of the bodies in here, man, and I think that part of the issue that people still have within the industry is the fact that, let's just face it, right, I think we can all agree that this industry is still tainted to some degree, right?
Would you agree with that?
Right. And we can't speak for all dealers, right? So all--
Yeah. I think it definitely is tainted, and I also think that it takes a lot for a customer to come down to a dealership because the perception is this is kind of a crazy and wild place. And dealerships can be intimidating, I think, and that's kind of a thing of the past. And that's kind of why we do these types of things, is to introduce ourselves to the public, to let everyone know that we are just regular people, just like they are, and we're here to provide a service to the customer.
Yeah, for sure. So one of the craziest things, I think, over the last five or six years, that I think a lot of consumers don't think about is the use of technology and how that's changed our industry, right? Because let's just be honest here, right, 20 years ago, if a customer wanted to get a hold of cost on a car, right, that was not readily available.
It was not.
It just wasn't. Like, you couldn't, right? So at this point, it's safe to say the consumer has at their fingertips, at a click of a couple buttons, right, with something called Google, they have all the information that is available, even to a dealership, at this point.
Absolutely. I mean, pretty much every consumer has access to it, and the internet's-- it's a beautiful thing. It's provided a lot of information out to the consumer from a pricing standpoint and a shopping standpoint. And these days, if we get someone-- it doesn't happen often because most of the time they already know. But if someone comes into the dealership and says, "Hey, I wanted to see how much you paid for the car," it's readily available, and we don't turn down. We show them, "This is how much we paid for the car," and those things are all over the internet these days, so.
Sure. So one of the main things that I think-- to go along with that, is just the fact that because the consumer has access to all that, right, because the consumer has access to all the information readily at their fingertips, right, so at that point, really, we're talking about experience, right, at that point? So dealer experience, right? So Jaime, if you can kind of shed some light, just because you deal with that on a day to day basis, right? So you're up here. You're working deals. You're talking to customers. So how transparent has that process become, man? Because there really isn't nothing left for you guys to hold back. The customer already has it, so how does that process look now, compared to even like 10, 15 years ago.
Yeah. It's night and day. It just makes it a lot easier. It makes it easier for the consumer. Okay? They can come in, get a fair price. They know they're getting a fair price, okay? It makes it easy for us, as well, because all of the haggling, all of the transparency is already there. So it makes it easy for the customer to come in and get a fair deal and get the car that they want, okay? They have an understanding of the features and benefits of the vehicle, and they get to see it in real-time when they get here with a true sales professional.
And I think one of the main things on why this podcast is so important today - like I said, breaking ground, man, just doing things as they should be based on where the industry is now - is you are one of the very few dealerships that I came to talk to that actually really embraced the whole tech-forward way of process and thinking, man. Even now, to this day, the shameful part is I talked to-- out of 20 dealers, maybe 3 of them, 4 of them understand what it is the process should be. You were one of the very few that actually said, "I actually think it's a great thing that the customer has access to all the information because that eliminates another layer," right?
Yeah. Well, in general, I think, one of the things that Jaime and myself have been able to do in the past 10, 15, 20 years is embrace technology, and technology has obviously evolved, especially in this business. And it's one of those things, if you're not embracing the technology of the present, you're going to get lost in times, and the ability to embrace technology is-- the benefit would be we're able to serve more customers and sell more cars, and that's what it's kind of turned into. And we've always looked at, you want to be in the front part of the technology, on the receiving end, not on the back end. And the technology that's out there available to you, not only the consumer but dealerships as well has been vastly improved in the last five years, ever since the recession. And we've always had that in our minds and we've always tried to embrace as much technology as possible, and we pass a lot of it on to the consumers. And the consumers-- the benefit and byproduct of that is when we sell cars, as many cars as we can possibly sell and serve as many customers as we can.
Sure. So let's talk a little bit about Metro Nissan of Redlands, specifically, right? Because let's face it, right, you're not the only Nissan dealer, right? I mean, ultimately, I could probably count four other dealers within, I don't know, a 30 minute drive time of you, 40 minute drive time of you.
Yeah. In this area, and particularly in southern California, the Inland Empire, there's a lot of Nissan dealerships. It's a very heavily populated area. And to try to touch base just on that a little bit, that's just why we have to be that much better than the surrounding dealerships and embrace more technology, is because, you're right, customers have a lot of options. And the customer might have two or three Nissan stores in a 10-mile range or a 15-mile range, and we have to be that much better from a customer service standpoint, from a technology standpoint, and the overall perception. And that's what we're trying to do.
Yeah. So you guys are serving currently, obviously, the city of Redlands--
--and then, obviously, you import into Yorba Linda, Loma Linda, San Bernardino, Highland, Colton, I would assume.
Yeah. We get a lot of customers, obviously, from the Inland Empire, the areas that you just named, but we also get customers from up in the High Desert area, and also from Palm Springs, Indio. Those types of communities, I think sometimes they want to have more options. Currently, as we see here today, we've got about 500 new and pre-owned vehicles on the ground, so we have a very large inventory. And I think because of that and having the right inventory, we're able to serve more people and sort of a bigger community.
Sure. So expectation for a consumer: I found the Nissan I want; I jumped on your website - which, by the way, I will tell you you've done some major overhaul on your website, really removed some of the layers and some of the friction that was there, right, so--
Yeah. That's a good point. That's another thing that we always try to do. We want to make it easy for the customer to search our inventory online because we do understand that a lot of the decision making process is made more in part--
Pre. For sure.
--before the customer even comes down to the dealership. So we believe that having the customer engaging on the website and having the proper tools for them on the website, basically, and have more information at their fingertips will help them make a good decision for themselves.
Yeah, for sure. Ultimately, along with that, so talk to me, Jaime, about what that day looks like, right? So I found the car; I jumped on your website; I like this Altima, 2018 Altima; you'd love the car; you've had a Sentra before; I'm local, or I'm from San Bernardino or whatever; I want to come down. What does that experience look like for me, if I'm a consumer?
What you can expect, first and foremost, you'll be greeted at the door with a smile, okay?
So you mean, someone's going to actually talk to me?
Like they're not just going to let me walk around?
100%. And most of our clients, they have some kind of initial engagement with one of sales professionals prior to coming to the dealership.
That's not creepy or anything like that, right? Like there's no creep going on?
No, no, no. Absolutely not.
Okay. Just making sure. Making sure.
Absolutely not. We train and train and train in regards to customer service, first and foremost, okay, because that's truly what's going to set the dealership apart. Because let's be honest, just like you mentioned earlier, I mean, there's five, six Nissan dealerships within the 30-minute drive from here, so what really's going to set us apart is our attention to detail, customer service, okay? You can expect, like I said, to be greeted with a smile. The vehicle that you selected to be clean, ready for a test drive, okay, and to have somebody there that really knows the features and benefits of the vehicle over and beyond what the experience of the website's going to give you.
Sure. Now, I'm just going to throw this out there, man: are you going to make me sit here for five hours, man, to work a car deal?
Not if you don't want to.
Okay. I don't want to. I don't ever want to.
I don't want--
I don't think anybody wants to, right?
I don't want to either.
Nobody wants to sit here [laughter] for five or six hours, right?
Well, it's a good point, and we live in the times of efficiency right now, Jimmy. And obviously, what's efficient for the customers is even more efficient for the dealership. We obviously have a-- we move a lot of metal every day and we service a lot of customers every day, so we try to simplify the processes, which makes, I think, the overall customer experience better. And it shortens the length of someone coming in here. Now, these days, if you know what you want to get or you have an idea of what you want to get, even if you don't, the sales representatives know, I mean, an exuberant amount of information about the vehicles, like Jaime mentioned. And the process is very, very streamlined. Most of the time if consumers need help choosing vehicles, we have managers ready to be available out on the lot to help them kind of narrow down what they're looking for based on their needs or wants, and we just try to overall simplify the process. So you can expect to come in and out of here-- hopefully, within the time you set foot to the time you leave, it's maybe about a two hour to maybe a two and a half hour deal. And the car washed up, detailed, gassed up, going through all the different aspects of purchasing a car, and I've seen customers get in and out of here in an hour before, from the time they step foot. Obviously--
So you're not going to lose my trade-in keys or anything like that, right?
No. No, we're not going to throw them on the--
You're not throwing them on the roof or anything like that?
Not throwing them on the roof. Yeah, those [crosstalk].
I've heard those horror stories, by the way.
Yeah, that's a--
And it's a shame, right? I mean--David 13:38
And again, and that's what we have to work hard as a dealership, which is why you opened up your dealership for this, is because you're trying to eradicate that vision of what kind of thinking [crosstalk].
Yeah. And we've dealt with a lot of customers that always, when they come in here, they're like, "Wow, this is a really great place," and, "you guys are so different." And we obviously enjoy hearing that stuff because that just reinforces what we're trying to do, what we're trying to accomplish here in Redlands, and moving forward, how to better our processes and make it easier for the customer to purchase a vehicle.
Sure. And like I said, I think out of all the dealers, you're one of the very few forward-thinking dealers, and for that I think, if anything, the consumer should appreciate the fact that you're willing to open up your doors and be a little forward-thinking and not get stuck from 20 years ago.
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And in our dealership here, too, I think one of the really bright thing that we have is we have a lot of guys who-- we have some guys that haven't been in the business that long, and we have guys who've been in the business, like myself, almost 20 years. We have a nice range of everyone, so we have a collective staff from all different walks of life, all the way-- that kind of have done multiple roles in a car dealership and have a really good understanding of what the customer expects when they come here. And we always want to line up what the customer expectations are with what they deserve to have when they come down here.
Of course. So as we continue these podcasts, again, I want to thank Mr. Reynolds; I want to thank Jaime for being here today. I think this is sometimes the hardest easiest conversation to have only because in the car business space, dealers have never been bred that way. So I want to thank you for your time. I want to thank you for your openness. As we continue these podcasts, we're going to get even deeper and even more transparent. I think you guys are going to enjoy, for all you listeners out there, I think you're going to enjoy some really next-level, refreshing way of doing business, not only in the car space specifically but, obviously, Metro Nissan of Redlands. So I want to thank Dave for his time. I want to thank you both. I really appreciate the conversation, and best of luck to you, man, and you guys stay blessed.
Awesome. My pleasure.
Awesome, guys. Thanks [crosstalk].
Thanks for having us, Jimmy.
Appreciate it, everybody. Thanks.