Car Guy Coffee Podcast Panel at Kain 2024

Carol Marshall and Eric Schlesinger Brew Solutions on the Car Guy Coffee Podcast at Kain 2024

Written By Carol Marshall

Lou Ramirez: What's going on car guys and car gals, it's Lou Ramirez, the car guy ,

Fred Lennartz: and it's Fred Lennartz, sub prime hero,

Lou Ramirez: And we are having even more fun keeping you some of these double shots coming on the car guy coffee podcast at the Kain 2024. clients and friends event here in lovely Lexington. We've been having an incredible time and we have the team here from ActivEngage that's making things happen, helping sponsor the event, helping keep the fun going on.

And we got a Kentucky girl here too, don't we? Uh oh!, So do us a quick favor, everybody. Let us know who it is that you are, where you're from. If they don't know what ActivEngage is, a little bit about what that is. 

Carol Marshall: We're the best.

We're a messaging company. We've been around about 17 years, unscripted, fully human from the moment your shopper hits your site, your Google business profile, Facebook, whatever that is, there's a human interacting with them. And they start the conversation wherever your shopper wants to start the conversation.

What a novel idea. 

Eric Schlesinger: Well, I think part of Lou's request here as well was to kind of say, Hi, I'm Carol Marshall. 

Carol Marshall: No, you can go with the company, right?

Lou Ramirez: We're talking about activEngage, that's fantastic. 

Carol Marshall: We're talking about ActivEngage, nobody cares about us. 

Fred Lennartz: Yeah, we do. Oh yes, we do. That's why you, here's, there's a reason why you're on the show and there's, you know, there's more than just two of y'all one day.


Eric Schlesinger: I think there are, so my name's Eric as well, but you know, yeah, I mean, to Carol's point, like we really like having this whole aspect of these unscripted conversations. We want to be able to help the consumer through the process. Buying a car's complicated. You know, we gotta actually do these fun things.

Help the consumer. 

Carol Marshall: Yes.

Lou Ramirez: I agree with you. And that's what's happening here. And you all are part of the V 20 group, so you're helping to bring. Solutions to the industry in a unifying form. Why is it that you all have found and attached yourself to an incredible group like the V 20? 

Eric Schlesinger: You know, I think the V 20 group was a fantastic idea by Dave, Dave, and Dave.

You know, and Triple D! 

Lou Ramirez: Triple D! Triple D! Triple D!

Fred Lennartz: Let's go! Triple D! 

Eric Schlesinger: It really kind of highlights the aspect of vendors that we want to be able to partner together, to be able to really bring best in class ideas and so forth and be able to help the dealer body. I think it was an extremely unique experience for us to be able to sit there and collaborate with some of the greatest minds in the automotive industry and I think we're going to see some really really good things out of it.

I mean, you know, there have been 20 groups around now for well, as long as the automotive industry has been around. But I think that this is the very first time that the vendors and some of the best vendors in the industry have gotten together to really come up with something new and something different.

Carol Marshall: Yeah, part of that collaboration is saying, 'Hey, we at our company tried this and it was a complete failure.' and having the, that kind of relationship with 19 other vendors and everyone sharing, there were a few people not part of that V20 group in the room on Monday and they were just really speechless as to how we all interacted as a group. Both very earnestly, being very genuine, also at times ruthless with the heckling, which is always fun.

Lou Ramirez: That's what brothers and sisters do. That's what fam does, right? 

Eric Schlesinger: I mean, let's face it. I mean, this is a very small industry, you know, as big as it is. And, you know, everybody in that room, we've all known each other, or many of us, at least have known each other for years and years and years.

And so to be able to bring those ideas and personalities, because we're all strong personalities in the car business, you have to be right. And we're not opinionated at all. Only, you know. 

Carol Marshall: Just a couple of opinions. 

Lou Ramirez: And not too many, but maybe a few know-it-alls, right? 

Carol Marshall: But I think that's also kind of the magic of the Kain conference is that, first of all, there's a unbelievable collection of dealers. Really, really smart dealers that attend this conference.

But then you have right next to that, all of the vendors that choose to participate in this conference. We're all kind of open minded and I think it's great for the dealers to see vendors interacting in that way. Because i'm sure it's easy from a dealership perspective to think that we're all cutthroat just trying to cut the other guy out for that piece of that budget and that's not at all what you see here.

Fred Lennartz: I love that you said that. 

Eric Schlesinger: Well, there might be one or two 

Carol Marshall: Well, we won't talk about our...

Fred Lennartz: Percentage wise you're probably right, right? You gotta play. I'm a numbers guy. I'm a data guy, but at the end of the day what the core of this is, and I love what you're saying, is that what's happening here is collaboration. 

Carol Marshall: Correct. 

Fred Lennartz: How, you know, Kyle Mountsier, he was wearing a shirt last night that said, you know, uh, what was it?

Carol Marshall: Collaboration is critical. 

Fred Lennartz: It's critical. 

Carol Marshall: And then he said no one could have that shirt, which was not collaborative. 

Fred Lennartz: Right. 

Carol Marshall: At all. 

Fred Lennartz: But I understand that, you know, if it's that critical, we need that shirt, but the collaboration is, you know, and when dealers can see that, that it's not a dog eat dog, that we're actually here to find ways to bring solutions for them together.

Sometimes our tools do combine well, and sometimes this tool will work better with this tool, especially for this dealer. Right? Why not? Why not show that that we're here to work together to be able to bring something that's cohesive that they can use. That's clear, easy to use and really seamless. 

Eric Schlesinger: Right. You know, I think that that really, that gets lost amongst a lot of the dealers, like you said, whether it's at NADA being accosted by some of the vendors as you're walking down the alleys and so forth.

But at the end of the day, I think you're right. I mean, we all, or most of us at least come from the, the retail side of the business that's near and dear to us. And we want nothing more than to, you know, to help that dealer, with new ideas and being able to serve their customers. And it's a reflection on us as well.

I mean, if we're not able to help them help their customers, well, I'm not really sure what it is that we're doing. 

Lou Ramirez: I mean, and that's what we all come here to do and do it in such a defenseless way. That's one thing that we do love about this event is that defenses are down. You don't, you don't have anybody protecting their cards or not trying to find out.

We have more people saying, 'What do I do with this hand? You know, I'm dealt this one, you tell me what to do with this.' And you gotta love that. Especially inside of a lot of the shifts that are happening in automotive and it's just happening culturally because there's a lot that's happening to the whole culture of buying It's not just impacting the industry.

It impacts the buyers. Buyers are acting different. They have new tools inside of their hand and that's great news meeting, right? That's great news that a customer has this right? 

Carol Marshall: Yes, that's kind of what I tapped into in the presentation yesterday is, why it's important to give information in a certain customer experience today. Because you have these digital natives, as I refer to them, millennials and Gen Z who are making up more and more of the marketplace and these folks who grew up from the terror of 9/11 to the recession of 2008, the pandemic, all of these outside forces that altered their path. You know, the millennials took on all this student debt to graduate, 

Eric Schlesinger: To not have a job.

Carol Marshall: And so they have a need to be prepared. The Gen Z want to know their options because they've watched the Millennials take on the student debt and not get a job. 

Eric Schlesinger: You know, there was an article this morning that I saw that talked about how Gen Z is considered to be the most depressed generation.

Carol Marshall: They're the most anxious generation because before they were emotionally able to handle it they had tragedies in full color in the palm of their hand and that is such a sad statement. So for us in the automotive industry, we need to understand that. That this isn't the age of the cyber grinder from 25 years ago where you would lose a deal over 50 cents. For sure. Done it, been there. Millennials are the largest generation. They have surpassed Baby boomers. 

Fred Lennartz: Mm-Hmm. . Wow. 

Carol Marshall: And so they will pay more for a good customer experience. And part of that experience is finding what they wanna know on your site. 

Eric Schlesinger: Well, and it's also communicating with them the way in which it is that they want to communicate versus trying to force them into 

Carol Marshall: a phone call.

Eric Schlesinger: The way that we dealers want them to communicate with us, it's not, 'Well, when can you come in? When can you come in? When can you come in?' They're gonna end up doing so much of their transaction before even showing up at the dealership, that it's really, really important to have those different communication channels available to them so that they can interact with you on their time in their methodology. And it becomes important to you, the dealer, to then be able to be present. in their medium that they want to communicate with. 

Fred Lennartz: So what solutions is ActivEngage doing right now? 

Eric Schlesinger: This is what I consider to be somewhat of a game changer. How many people, for instance, call a dealership and the phone call goes unanswered? Here's the crazy statistic. 23 percent of all inbound phone calls to a dealership go unanswered. The average hold time ...

Fred Lennartz: A quarter of your calls? 

Eric Schlesinger: A quarter of your calls! 70 seconds is the average hold time calling into a dealership. I encourage all of you sit there, count to 70 and see how bored you are at the end of it, right?

And so we came up, we saw a need for the dealers and we came up with a solution that in essence provides the ability for that consumer to convert into a text message as they call into the store. So when they call into the store, they're going to be prompted with the prompt that says, 'If you'd like to continue this conversation via text, press 7.'

And then we're able to convert that conversation into a text conversation where they're not communicating with us. Now think about this. The other amazing part is when we're done with conversation, whether it's scheduling a service appointment, scheduling an appointment for them to come in about the new car, that we turn that entire conversation into the CRM as well and think about the dealer's ability to sit there and to start to mine that information. To look at what those conversations are like, or the ability for that customer, you know, six months from now to sit there and say, 'Oh, I have a question. Let me just start texting the dealership.' 

Carol Marshall: So you still have a live human interacting with your customer. 

Lou Ramirez: Which is how. I mean, to the point of the generational shift, right? That's how the generation has been taught now. When, when did we get out of going to school? That was the best dream, right? I was like, customers want to get out of having to go to the dealer.

Yeah. I mean, the school way of education has even shifted to where sit there. There's somebody behind this technology giving you a lesson and teaching you to give you the information that you actually don't have to come here to get. 

Carol Marshall: Right, right. Yeah. 

Lou Ramirez: That is the next generation coming up. 

Carol Marshall: That's the digital natives. That's how they were taught. Go online, research, look in groups, you know, that's why they're social. 

Eric Schlesinger: I saw a statistic the other day, you know, I'm a Gen Xer Carol's a Gen Xer. And, and talking about Gen Xers.

Lou Ramirez: I'm on the border. 

Eric Schlesinger: You're that border guy?. 

Lou Ramirez: Yeah. '81.

Fred Lennartz: So you're, you're there, you're there. 

Eric Schlesinger: You, you're like right there I think.

Lou Ramirez: Yes! 

Fred Lennartz: I'm in there. I'm '79. I'm definitely in there. 

Eric Schlesinger: Oh, I'm '74. I'm I'm right there. I'm good. But, but you know, it's something like the millennials and Zrs look at their phone every five to 10 minutes to see if they've had a new text message. Come in, think about that.

Carol Marshall: I let the dealers know this yesterday. 

When you have a lead that says, 'don't call me, text. I prefer a text.' That does not mean it's a looky-lou. It is still a serious buyer.. Please text them, you know, 

Fred Lennartz: I agree with you so much. Cause again, they want to be spoke to where they want to be spoke to what's most convenient for them where they don't feel pressure. Right.

Eric Schlesinger: That's right. 

Fred Lennartz: And it's, it's, it's where they're at. It's like, it's like, well, come to my house. So I don't have to go to your house. I feel way more. I don't have to go anywhere. I can have a few drinks and stay here, right? Right. So until they, until they have the trust of feeling like you do have a clean house, you have things that I want.

Because there's plenty of homes I can go to. Why should I go to yours first? I'm going to go to the one that gives me the most information. It makes me feel like it's going to be the best process for me. Getting the vehicle that I want. So, it is. It's important. If they want to text, text. Texting is great.

I mean, it is. And then sometimes people want to call. So that's why it's important that we understand where they want to communicate. And some want to get on social media. Some people, like my son, Snapchats with his friends. They don't text. 

Eric Schlesinger: Right. My daughter as well. 

Carol Marshall: Because they have banishing mode and she can have conversations you'll never see.


Eric Schlesinger: Stop scaring me! I mean, you know, that, that's, that's, but it's so true. 

Carol Marshall: Just trying to help you, man. 

Lou Ramirez: Speaking of true, let's talk about a very cool thing we were just talking about before we jumped on here. Especially because we have a lady, a Kentucky lady, in the room, right? Right.

Kentucky's got that basketball flow to it. There's been some stuff brewing with basketball. We just came out of an incredible run with that, but folks, you were just sharing some stats on how the women are getting love, right? 

Carol Marshall: NCAA final game. Women's game received 24 million viewers, which was much more than the men's final and more than the NBA final.


Fred Lennartz: Another stat is that, did you know that women's basketball teams in college don't get bonus money for going to the tournament. while men's do because of the television viewership, right? Cause they get paid for this now. 

Carol Marshall: So the men's team that was over 800 million in revenue, those men's teams, and I think it was like 7 million for the ladies.

Fred Lennartz: So it's time for a change, but you know what? There's some amazing athletes. that are really showing us men that they can hang. And I play against a lot of ladies in the sports that I play in every sport I play. An no more excuses y'all. They just work hard, so let them work hard and they deserve that money. I love that stat and I love that there's more viewership.

Caitlin, she kicks some butt, and I'm so excited to watch her play some professional sports. She is one of the best I've ever seen shoot the ball, man or woman. She is so confident, she will dagger that shot anywhere on the court. Don't give her a foot of space, she's going to pull it on you. So confident, she can pass the ball like no other.

Eric Schlesinger: I mean those three point shots, I mean like how she sinks them like every single time basically I mean it's just incredible. 

Carol Marshall: Made it rain. 

Fred Lennartz: She's amazing. It was unfortunate she didn't get her championship ring, but she played one heck of a season and broke all kinds of records. Yeah, I mean, not just seasonal records, but records for the whole career.

Like most points scored most this, most of that. Unbelievable, 

Lou Ramirez: Well, speaking of rain, I think the rain has cleared up enough for us to enjoy these races a little bit too. I hope so. So we are excited about that. Car guys, car gals, we've been having fun at the Kain 2024 clients and friends workshop, and you need to make sure that you find out how to be involved next year at the next event, because there is a lot of incredible people like these two magnificent people that are not just V20 brothers and sisters, but

are also brewing solutions on the car guy coffee podcast from ActivEngage. We're so thankful that you tuned in with us. I am Lou Ramirez, the car guy, 

Fred Lennartz: and I'm Fred Lennartz, the subprime hero

Lou Ramirez: And we have one thing left to do everybody. 

Carol Marshall: Nope I have one thing 

Lou Ramirez: Oh, go, go for it. 

Carol Marshall: Thank you both for being who you are all the time. You're walking down the hall everywhere.

Anytime a day. So genuine and it means so much you bring so much to this industry. So I just want to say thank you. 

Fred Lennartz: Thank you so much. We love what we do and we love you all. 

Lou Ramirez: Thank you so much. Let's get it going. And then she dons the position. That's what I'm talking about. That's love everybody. On three, one, two, three. Forgive, focus, fly,

and keep growing. Keep growing. Thank you so much for tuning in everybody. Keep having fun with us. Keep just chiming in a little bit of coffee cup emojis, a couple of hand claps and make sure that you tag a car guy and tag a car gal and share, share, share, share, share, share. Get this out. We'll see you soon.

Keep brewing solutions. We're out.