Today on Inside Automotive, we’re pleased to welcome the no.1 certified Honda and Acura dealer globally, Brian Benstock, Partner GM and Vice President of Paragon Honda and Acura. He is joined alongside Chip Perry, former CEO of TrueCar, now President and CEO of A2Z Sync, a software, implementation, and training solutions company for car dealers. Benstock and Perry sit down with anchor Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss how the customer experience is changing and what car dealers really need to focus on to meet consumers’ demands.
Like many car dealers pre-COVID, Paragon was dealing with margin compression and shrinking gross profits. They were looking to cut costs on the average transaction while maintaining a high degree of customer satisfaction. To combat these challenges, Benstock enlisted the help of A2Z Sync to break down the customer experience and innovate the overall retail process. In order to compete with disruptors like Vroom and Carvana, car dealers need to have buying experiences that rival the likes of Amazon and Apple, not just other dealers. Perry adds that it’s crucial to understand how customers perceive car dealers, and do deep explorations of their pain points. The disruptors are here and they have convinced Wall Street, that they are the future.
After stepping back and re-tooling the processes, Benstock became more interested in the single point of contact sale, pioneered by Perry and A2Z Sync. Like every new process, it had to be tested. So Paragon put two stores up against each other and found that the store operating with the single point of contact sale concept, had saved 17% on comp and increased growth by 16%. Over time, Paragon has rolled out this strategy at multiple dealerships.
“What Brian did was enable his frontline salespeople,” says Perry. “To handle the entire transaction seamlessly from beginning to end. The F&I people in the store have adopted new roles. They’re supportive team leaders as opposed to deal spinners and paper processors.”
Benstock adds that this method can increase your capacity. Instead of having three F&I people, or four, everybody becomes an F&I person. They can handle any transaction from start to finish, including online, right from the command center.
As a technology company, A2Z Sync puts teams in place and addresses all of the moving parts that operate the existing auto retail system. Auto industry professionals need to have a similar mindset to protect, invest, and build toward the future. Benstock and Perry believe innovation is not only about how to get today’s leads, it’s also about competing in the long-term with big-box retailers.
A2Z Sync is looking for innovative, progressive car dealers like Benstock to bring into their fold. Nelson Group Automotive, The Price Simms Auto Group, and Carter Myers Automotive are also working closely with the company to strategize for the future. Every car dealer is different, so A2Z has a tech platform that has sequential steps that a deal follows. A big component of this sequence is training, which develops every step of the sale. However, the culture and skill level can vary at dealerships so all of the training and implementation is customized. A2Z also coaches how to do one-on-ones between teams, and team leads. All of which, is essential to keep the disruptors at bay.