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Episode 47: 

Joe Webb: President of DealerKnows Consulting, Keynote Speaker 

Show Notes:

About Joe Webb

Improving how companies communicate w/ clients through technology, training, & trust.

Joe Webb is the President of DealerKnows, a sales process training and inbound marketing consulting firm specializing in automotive. We maximizing companies’ online investments through the creation of sales processes, email templates, video marketing, CRM optimization, and coaching. Improving businesses online, on the phone, and on the showroom is our specialty.

Joe is known as "the funniest guy in the car business" and passionately consults throughout North America, showing organizations success by instilling progressive communication tactics. He writes for multiple publications and industry resource sites, and is a regular keynote / top-rated speaker at conferences in and out of the industry. With a documented history of retail success, Joe separates himself from the rest by his innate ability to blur the lines between entertainment and education.

His training and consulting skills don’t hold a candle, however, to his expertise as a loving husband of a beautiful wife and dedicated dad to his two hilariously-crazy sons who he’s fondly nicknamed “Tiger” and “Bear”. When not solving a dealer’s dilemma, he spends all of his time making his family laugh. 


There’s a disconnect between marketing and from the sales floor.

Dealers (or any corporation) spend so much of their time effort and energy looking at their analytics and how to drive traffic and drive leads then they completely turn their backs on what the customer experience is and what they are given.

They don’t look at the emails that are going out they look at the display ads that are going out. Dealers turn a blind eye to it.

Organizations are doing a great job of marketing themselves and setting high expectations for their self, and the customers are coming in but they do not match the customer expectations that were set in the marketing.

Catfishing - Joe believes organizations are doing much the same thing – they have gotten very good at marketing, they know who their customers are and where they are and what to say to them, they know their value proposition that sounds good to the typical consumer. Then they can’t deliver on those experiences.

He believes they catfish customers. There's not enough training or holistic integration between marketing campaigns and the things that we connect with our customers. It’s not embedded in email templates, loaded on sales peoples lips or on what they are sending.

We are doing ourselves a disservice by not allowing not all our marketing dollars and genius to match what’s happening in retail.


Why do you think – in auto and marketing initiatives online – the follow through on the sales floor in dealerships or sales people in general – if they know this why are they not wanting to making a change  in that disconnect and connect the dots between marketing and sales?

From the dealership perspective – the people that run the dealership that are going to determine positive or negative are the sales mangers who are not marketers. The ad agencies are marketers, the dealer their self is a marketer. Good sales people can be marketers by using YouTube and other social channels and generate their own book of business.

The average sales manager who is focused on every single deal that’s about to be desked, focused on the sales people on the showroom floor, they aren’t thinking about what goes needs to go out and what is going out. They are just thinking of what’s in front of me – it’s very short term gain and long term loss.

In auto, people look backward not forward. What happened last month? Instead of what needs to happen moving forward, what do we need to do to match these campaign with what our sales people are delivering and what our internet team or business development centers are delivering.

It’s pretty common that if you run a lease special or a buy back campaign, or a charitable campaign that you are sponsoring and send team members go to, but the people clocking in and on the sales floor they have none of that information. It falls on the sales manager – not the dealer's fault.

The information needs to come from the top – dealers need to educate the sale manager on the campaigns, the delivery of information is about the specials, spiffs and volume that needs to move.

There’s no delivery on here’s the campaigns we’re running, social evidence that puts them in the best interest of the customer.

Customer asks "Why should I buy from you?" Almost all say the same thing: the customer service will be provided, family operated for 35 years. It’s how we take care of you before and after the sales. You can’t quantify any of that.

You can quantify with reviews but you better be the best dealers in your area and the best for your brand by a long shot in your area to make any claims about customer service.

“Where marketing breaks down: dealers and companies in general don’t champion every single employee to be their own mouth piece for their company and to make them all marketers. To get them all excited about it. If you knew that your organization was going to have a super bowl commercial, you’d want to be 100% aware of the Super Bowl commercial, the goal of it, how that one huge event is going to translate to more calls, leads, opportunities, customers, traffic – even at the lowest level in your org want to know that because we live in a what’s in it for me society – if they don’t see how the marketing  connects the dots to putting money in their pockets then it really falls short on the entire org in spending the money in the first place.”

Slide in old presentation – a good executive team or good business development team is like the cast of Friends – they all have their own personality, strengths nobody is robot – everyone works, lives in a osmosis, learn and start to become alike, but they can live functionally in a community and they all make each other better. If you take one out of the cast, it falls apart.

A sales person thinks of themselves like The Fonz from Happy Days – this is all I care about (myself). That’s how we’ve judged sales people because we want to make them ultra competitive and hungry from a sales perspective. We’ve done ourselves a disservice of just how we’ve structured org in the first place whee sales people are kill what you eat and every person for themselves. Other departments only function well if it’s a wheel and everyone is a spoke in the wheel – you take one out and it becomes less capable of keeping it moving forward.

Most consumers want everything to go faster – not take longer like salespeople want to do.

Everyone is looking for the quickest, simplest path to an easy win. Not a good strong win  but an easy win.

The days of The Fonz sales people – you’ll need one or two – but a decade from a year from now the customers that walk on the sales floor are almost as thankful to be greeted by an interactive touch screen kiosk than a sales person with a mustache.

Seeing it already with Carvana – changing the car buying process today.

As dealers, we can do business every single way. But that’s not a strong enough marketing message. So they go back to the way they’ve always done it.

Even as Internet leads and opportunities – the reason why people are submitting fewer leads today, the auto industry hasn’t done a great job of proving real value at all of emailing in advance. You can respond to the email, they can be approved for finance online, they can get their trade in evaluated already so you know what the value is. But the customer walks into the dealership and what does the sales person do? They take the customer through the road to the sale the way they’ve always done it, the only way they know to keep control of the customer. It breaks down all the customers expectations that marketing has spent money on to get them to that point of visiting the show room. 

We’re not doing a good enough job in retail, or in any organization, if the customer comes in, has already done their research and you don’t do a reasonable job of understanding what their journey has been and what they’ve accomplished up to that point. You’re doing them and yourself a disservice because you’re wasting time. It breaks down the trust factor and it's not a good experience, they are likely to not be a repeat customer.


DealerKnows – Joe has always been upset that dealers dedicate so many dollars toward generating opportunities. Then those opportunities are poorly managed. The moment you miss manage an opportunity it’s like throwing the marketing dollars away.

Try to flush out the CRM – organization this is our entire campaign for Q4, campaign for November it’s a buy back product or whatever it is – they never take the time to embed any of that information into their email messages. They don’t connect the dots between advertising dollars and email.

1st things:  Clean up CRM and make it more relevant to them. A lot of studies and have a lot of data what needs to go out at the right intervals under certain circumstances on different lead sources. They craft all the email messaging and design all the work flow processes and build out in the CRM.

Coach the team on who’s handing the lead opportunities – not just the what an dhow but the why – and understand consumer behavior before you can start sending out emails based on data alone.

Don’t just tell people to send emails - Craft emails Studied nuero-linguistic programming so definitely believes a way to word specific language to yield an optimal result for customers.

He Learned in retail that he was much better endearing a potential prospect to him through writing than verbally. It took time understanding the exact language to use in emails before memorizing them that he was good enough to know what to say to people.

Last step is understanding body language.  

If you hire every person believing they could one day be the president of your org, it’s a good idea to start them out in some sort of communications role or business development center. Have them spend time in some customer relations or marketing department.

You need to understand how your audience is engaging with your brand and what they need to hear and what they need to say if you ever hope to lead a team to do the same.

Build out processes, template and phone scripts then train them on those methodologies that they then reinforce  that more with a team and technologies that goes into the CRM that grades them on how thoroughly they are following up with those customers over 8-10 days of a lead opportunity life.

It’s one thing to give them the info and tools it’s another thing to teach them and have then do it. how to use it. 

We always want to train initially but an ongoing reinforcement. Slowly trying to modify people’s behavior so they start thinking more like the customer and less like a sales person.


What would be do – process between marketing and sales – connect those two what would be the ideal path you would take to make that a better path for the customer?

Goes to internal communication in the organization. Unfortunately departments that are their own silos. It’s not atypical that a BDC doesn’t sit in on a sales meeting , never sits in a marketing meeting, people handling the phones – never receive any additional training ever. Whatever the mfg is trying to jam down their throat, it may not be ideal for that org.

If internal communication is happening, and if you do a good job hiring, orienting and training so every person in the org believe they have input and they have a very firm understanding of the goals of the org, feel a member of the team, not a team but a family. If every org did a better job of team building, there’s a better way of disseminating inform, they are allowed to give buy in to it, you’re asking their opinion, you’re running things by your team, you’re using people on your team as a sounding board. That’s how you win people’s thoughts and minds.

It’s like going to existing customers asking about what they like and don’t like, use and don’t use then you build what they need based on their feedback. Then you go back to them and tell them you delivered what they asked for – are they going to tell you no? Of course not! It was their idea.

The more you can give to your entire team to contribute and show them they have a voice, they will be a mouthpiece for the organization.

Companies that block social media on their desktops don’t realize the disservice they create for customers. If they brought their team along the way and trained them and have earned their buy in and their respect, you give them the skills and the capacity to do so, they will go and use those tools as a way to promote your brand.

“There’s no silver bullet in anything marketing and sales other than the people. If you truly do a great job of hiring, retaining and training the people ongoing and make sure that everyone is one big cohesive unit, then everything else is probably going to fall into place. That’s how you deliver a great experience.“

People hate to be sold but they love to buy.

It would be great if every organization found a way through the dissemination of marketing information and through training and coaching and how to communicate the right way with customers to make every single employee an ambassador of the store. Those are steep goals but what else are you going to be spending your time on?

What do you want people outside the automotive industry to know about DealerKnows that maybe they don’t already know?

The hardest thing for an organization to find is somebody they can trust implicitly. DealerKnows doesn't take money from outside vendors for referrals or kickbacks or to promote any products. They've earned the trust of their customers.

Joe truly does care about his customers – he genuinely cares about people getting better. It’s an ongoing partnership, on the phone with their team, peer to peer attention and watching inside the CRM. They don’t drop things on them and hope it sticks. Has the behavior modification training in the background. Try to be a trusted ongoing partner and it’s not a one-time thing. It's ongoing. 

Links mentioned in the interview

Blog Article: Don't Play Catfish with Your Customers

Joe Webb gives bad advice to women in automotive:  Part I

Joe Webb gives bad advice to women in automotive:  Part II


Where to connect with Joe online:

His company website 

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