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Interviews

Jeff Bounds with Cardone Automotive

Jeff Bounds is credentialed for Negotiation via the Harvard Business School

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Kelly Kleinman:
Hello from Southern California. This is the DealershipNews.com podcast where we bring you the new and old school insight into the business of selling cars and service. So you have the foresight to grow your dealership and stay ahead of the competition. I'm Kelly. Kleinman. And here is our show.

Kelly Kleinman:
We have really interesting guest and happy to have him. He's the top gun at Cardone Automotive Resources with 25 years experience and sales, marketing and training. He's a personal friend of John Harbord and a Crimson Alum. He is Jeff Bounds. Jeff, welcome.

Jeff Bounds:
Hi, everybody. How you doing. Happy to be on the show Kelly.,.

Kelly Kleinman:
Glad to have you. Now, some of us grew up in the car business. Some of us just woke up one day and there we were. What was your path to the automotive industry?

Jeff Bounds:
Yeah, it's actually interesting because, you know, I think very similar to everybody else just out there listening to this podcast. No one ever starts off with the intention of getting in the automotive business. It always kind of happens. You know, I guess, you know, by happenstance. So my my initial path was I was a very talented baseball player all the way through high school in the college and have aspirations of playing professional ball. And, you know, when that dream ended, you know, I never will forget. I was on a bus ride back from Louisville, Kentucky. We had just finished the conference baseball tournament. So I had a long bus ride back from Louisville to Richmond, Virginia. And I remember on that way back, I was trying to think, you know, what am I going to do with my life? And because I never really like had a plan for myself outside of athletics. So I kind of had to figure out on my own. Right. So you got back home, moved in with my parents for like a week and literally like to the week. My dad came home one day from work and he said, hey, if you think you're gonna to lay around all summer and not do anything, yet another thing coming in to go out and find a job.

Jeff Bounds:
Right. So the advice I was getting from my parents was be a police officer, work at the post office, you know, get into retail work for the government, get a salary.

Jeff Bounds:
And I don't know, even at a young age, man, it's like I knew there was more for me. It's like I wanted to have the opportunity to make something for myself. That kind of came, you know, for my athletic background. So stumbled through the The Help Wanted section. And I see this ad make one hundred thousand dollars as automotive sales professional. And I mean, you know, when you're twenty one year old kid, you see they're like, oh, my God, man, this is awesome. I got to check it out. So I picked up the phone, made the call and started in the business. And 1993, and you know, like anything else you start to get good at, it's hard to get away from it.

Kelly Kleinman:
Starting out in the industry, what's the one thing you wish you'd known when you began your career. I know that hindsight is foresight that happens too late. But what would you what was your one main.

Jeff Bounds:
We know it's interesting because, you know, back then you didn't have all the resources that you had today. So you just kind of had to like, you know, learn trial by fire. Right. And I guess the one thing that I wish that I had then that I had now is just the access to information and the resources that are out there, that if somebody you know, if you get hooked up with the right mentor. And I was really lucky because, you know, the first mentor that I really resonating with was now obviously Grant Cardone, who I now represent, its automotive division, is kind of surreal to think about it. But, you know, back then it was like, you know, CDs, DVDs, this and that. You know, if I had had everything that's available today, you know, with these learning management systems, these training tracks and and coaching and everything else. I mean, man, that really would accelerated my path. And I think that's one of the things that it was really hard on people, man, because car business is rough. I mean, I mean, I started you know, I got I got a phone, a three-by-five card box with index cards on it and a phone book that says, let's get it. Let's get after, you know, start making calls, start cold, calling people and there is no training. Just threw me out to the wolves, man. So I almost quit the business because I was awful at it. So you just had to figure out at that time, went to the Borders bookstore and started picking up some books and tried to figure out my own man. But you know, hell, if I could do it over again and know what I need today, I mean, like all of us. If we can look back and have the knowledge that we have now. I mean, you know, be a totally different ballgame.

Kelly Kleinman:
Sure. Sure. You mentioned Grant Cardone, but who are the three people that have been most influential to you and why? I ask this because almost every trainer or motivational coach that I've ever met was impacted by someone who did the same thing before them.

Jeff Bounds:
Yeah. Yes. So. So my first mentor was actually this guy named Eric and I worked with Eric for a short time and he was big into personal development and he gave me my first copy of Thinking Grow Rich. So that was the first time that I was never into reading books. That's the first book I ever read. So it set the baseline for me to get me interested. So he was my first mentor, just getting me into the whole, you know, lifelong learning track. But the first guy that really changed my life was Zig Ziglar. And I was twenty six years old. And they had one of those big old, you know, they have many more these big motivational conferences. And I can make it with Steve Forbes and Les Brown and and, you know, all these other big motivational speakers.

Jeff Bounds:
And I'm super excited about it. Got to the convention center early and actually bumped into him in the lobby of the hotel and just had a chance to actually touch base with him. And of course, you know, I was enamored by him. I'd read his books, everything. And we really thought a lot of the guy. And, you know, a little conversation, you know, he says what he always says, hey, man, if you help enough people get what you know, what they want, you'll you'll be able to get anything you want in life. And I think when I heard that, that kind of set me on a unique path because I've always been service first. Right. And it's like Grant, you know, he always talks about give, give, give, if you can, you know, go into an interaction. You know, either a personal relationship or business transaction. And the other person can really feel that you're there to help them solve a problem or you're there to be there for them. I mean, it comes back to you tenfold.

Kelly Kleinman:
Yeah. Let's talk about two other people. Well, you mentioned two Ziglar and Cardone and yeah, you mentioned Forbes, but it does look like he was a motivational guy for you. He was just at the event. Who was the third person be?

Kelly Kleinman:
Well, Dale Dale Carnegie for me, I must have read that.

Jeff Bounds:
Yeah. Yeah, with friends and influence. Yeah. How to how to win friends and influence people. Well, you're going to laugh, and I tell you that.

Jeff Bounds:
You'll get a kick out of this. So the first guy that I learned from was this cat named Joe Jarraud. Right. And Joe Jarraud was like this old school guy. They sold like a million cars and everything else. And he wrote this book, How to be a Bridge Selling Cars. Right. And it's like, you know, the tale of Two Cities. I'm reading this guy's book and he's like, hey, go to a sporting event. Take a handful of cars and throw them up in the air. And then people are gonna know your name and this and that. Just these real outlandish things. And you. He got my attention at that time because, you know, this flashy guy and and, you know, he was talking about how he made all this money and he sold all these cars and I started following him. But, you know, I found out real quick that, you know, his techniques weren't scalable. They were outdated. You know, at the time. And then that's when I was exposed to Grant. And I was really able to resonate, you know, with just him his persona and his delivery.

Kelly Kleinman:
Sure. Now, the tables have turned a little bit. So what advice would you give somebody who's wanting to pursue a career in the automotive industry as well?

Jeff Bounds:
Yeah. Don't give up. Realize that, you know, it's something that is going to be very hard at first, I always tell people, look, man change is hard in the beginning, messing in the middle and beautiful in the end. And it's like you start off whatever you do. It's like, you know, you're going to have the demons inside of you telling you to quit. Right. You know, you're not going to be good at. You got to get good first. You gotta fail forward, right? You gotta you gotta go through the hard knocks. And, you know, they always say pressure makes diamonds. Right. So what I would say is, you know, fight the good fight. Be committed and get yourself and align yourself with someone that's gonna be your mentor. You only have one mentor. I think one of the things that I see is that people are reading like twenty five different books, following like twenty five different philosophies and they can't ground with one process. You hook onto that one person. You find out who you want to get behind. You learn everything that they do. And then, you know, you just get to the point where you become, you know, unconsciously competent. So to say.

Kelly Kleinman:
No, I'm esprit de corps, I believe training is crucial, but some dealerships say it's too expensive. How do you counter that? Yeah.

Jeff Bounds:
Yeah. Well, you know, the question is, you know, what do you have your attention on? What I always ask dealers is like, look, I understand that training is expensive. But let me ask you this question. So let's just role play her for a second. Let's say you and I, you know, two guys having a conversation. You own your dealership. Would you say it's fair to admit that every single month that you lose at least 8 percent of your deals through the front door because a lack of proper engagement and process with your people?

Kelly Kleinman:
I would say more.

Jeff Bounds:
Everyone says that it's a loaded question, right? So everyone's going to say more.

Jeff Bounds:
And here, here's a tip for some of the young sales guys on the call. What do you do next? You say, really? What do you think it would be? And then most of them are going to say 15 to 20 percent. And then what you do is you do the math. Well, what's your PVR, which are front and back? GROSS profit. Profit per unit. Two grand. Great. So you think you're losing 20 percent of your deals? You sell 200 cars a month. That's 20 car deals and $2000 is $40000. You're bleeding every single month because you don't have your attention on it. So how expensive is training, really?

Kelly Kleinman:
Over half a million dollars is out the door. Totally. That's that's. Well, what would the impact be of not. Well, that would be the impact would be loss of sales more than anything. But there's probably other impact in that would be probably just as detrimental to a business as well. You're losing customers. Yeah. Yeah. For your reputation. They walk in. They walk out. But let me have you expand on that a little bit.

Jeff Bounds:
Yeah. Well, I mean, I think it really depends. I mean, you know, especially when you look at Highline, that that's really what I kind of found my sweet spot. And, you know, I was with Lexus and BMW for the majority of my career. And, you know, both of those brands have a lot of loyalty attached. I mean, obviously, you know, Lexus, the cars never break down. They run forever. And once the Lexus buyer, always Lexus Buyer and, you know, BMW, their lease in a car, every you know, every three years they're coming back to lease. And, you know, dealers that don't have it together and they can't maintain their sales teams, they're bleeding so much because, you know, you got orphan owners, you get people that are being followed up properly. You know, they're servicing their car. Another dealer and they run into a real salesperson in that dealership starts losing deals because especially in the highlight, the book of business is where it's at. You know, it never ceases to amaze me when I see a guy that's been in the business for five years or longer and they can't predict how many units are going to sell that month. It just blows my mind because, you know, you have that book of business. You can predict almost to the to the car dealer how many you're going to sell just off of repeat and referral before you even take a fresh up or Internet lead.

Jeff Bounds:
But, you know, it's just rampant now. Works for the Penske Group for seven years. And, you know, it's a tight, tight knit ship, you know, a good process. And, you know, everybody that I was with, you know, when I was at BMW, we were together for six years. And, you know, we made a lot of money. We had a lot of repeat deals. And I probably sold six or seven cars to one single family. So and and going back to the previous question that you asked, what would I tell somebody that's new in the business as you find out what brand you want to associate yourself with and find out who you want to represent? Because you can't you can't hop. You know, I know guys that work at like 20 different dealerships and it's like you got to find your home. You got to make it your own. You got to get through the blood, sweat the tears and create the foundation and the base. And then everything after. That's great. Now, now, again, I mean, the business gets more more challenging every single year, but it's only as challenging as you make it by, you know, the steps as you skip. And that set up a foundation of a, you know, a solid client base.

Kelly Kleinman:
Know, it's it's easier to sell something that you believe in than something you don't totally be fairly.

Jeff Bounds:
And, you know, until elaborate on that, it's like, you know, old school man, they're always like, hey, drive, which you sell. Right. And it's like you've got to be drinking the Kool-Aid, man. I mean, it's like, you know, if you drive a Lexus and the guy's like, hey, what do you drive? Yeah, you can be BS the same drive. And this I mean, there was a time in my life where whatever they wanted to buy, I I owned it. Right. Just because, you know, I had to, like get creative with it. Right. Because people people are looking for guidance on to make a decision. Right. You come in a Lexus dealer, the guy comes in looking at an ES. He asks really wants the G.S.. But, you know, the E.S. is what he thought about budget wise. But, you know, how do people make decisions? They make it on emotion. They justify it with logic. And if you sell it right, you'll get that guy To bump, you know, 60, 80, a hundred dollars a month because you sell mostly attached to it. And that's the guy. And he's like, man, I didn't plan on buying a car today. Right.

Kelly Kleinman:
You know what? The reputation is so important, too. If they like the people that they're dealing with when you walk. You mentioned so he walks through a dealership, they walk out, you lose 20 percent of your business. That's not a good reputation. That's not going to build your reputation. I've had that experience. I walk to my Toyota here in Thousand Oaks and I walked right out because they ignored me. Yes. I didn't write a bad review, but I'm going to walk in there again. Where can people connect with you online Jeff, and we're going to we're going to get back into some more stuff and a little bit more detail right now. This is just a sort of meet Jeff bounce and get get familiar with you in which you guys are doing over there. Where can they contact you? And you've got a big event. I'd like you to plug it right here and now.

Jeff Bounds:
Yes, sure. I appreciate that, so people can contact me at jeff@grantcardone.com. Pretty simple. Also, JeffBounds on LinkedIn and JeffBounds on Facebook and JeffBounds on Instagram. So covered all the bases there. Know big LinkedIn user and you know, obviously Facebook now. Now, the event that that we're having this coming up December 17th and 18th, it's our inaugural 10X Automotive Academy. So Grant has never had his own automotive event. And one of the first things that I ever wanted to roll out when I came onboard here is like, hey, man, you got to have your own event, man. You've got to get people. You know, we have a beautiful complex down here in Miami. And and Grant had built a 200 seat auditorium. We're going to be doing these trainings monthly. And really, you know what? We're going to have content for new hires. We're going to have content for season sales people for g.m.'s leadership, the whole nine yards. So it's going to be solid information and something that, you know, unlike a lot of other trainers, it actually works. And what I always tell people and one of the things that I look at is, you know, who am I going to get my information from? And have they been able to get where I want to go? And when you look at Grant with him starting off in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in the car business and going from that to a guy that was sixteen companies and you know, it's always you know, here there is a network, but, you know, probably over $500 million. I mean, that's a story. That's the guy I want to pay attention to. And I will tell you one thing about him. Everything that he preaches, he still does every single day in his businesses. So he build his business based on the methodologies that we're gonna be teaching in these automotive academies and the methodologies that he teaches on the Cardone on demand. So it works.

Kelly Kleinman:
So they should contact you if they're interested in attending. There isn't a separate Web site or a Facebook page yet.

Jeff Bounds:
Yeah, the the registration Web site, it's 10XAutoAcademy.com. So you've got a 10XAutoAcademy.com. And then there is a button that you can click and register. And, you know, again, we're selling out fast. But, you know, if your listeners can make a job quick and jump on there, you have the opportunity to come out and see the event. And the other thing that is cool about the event, too, is I'm going to have Shawn Bradley down there as well. He's going to be doing some stuff around BDC and Internet. And I have another gentleman that's Canadian. I'm not sure if you're familiar with him or not. His name is Dwayne Marino, who's another really strong car guy trainer. He's going to be coming down as well. So, you know, I am creating a network of, you know, some of the strongest minds inside of automotive then. And, you know, to make sure that whoever comes bannable, we're gonna have people that know that track really well are going to be able to provide great insight.

Kelly Kleinman:
Jeff, thanks so much for joining us. I appreciate it. We're gonna do this in the near future, probably sometime after your event. Good luck with that as well.

Jeff Bounds:
Appreciate it.

Kelly Kleinman:
Folks, that's all we got time for. Kelly.. Kleinman. DealershipNews.com take. Thank you.

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