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EP.26 Show Runner – Amanda Hoffmann

EP.26 Show Runner – Amanda Hoffmann

•Women in Automotive’s “Every Woman Award” Winner. Putting a Fresh Face on the Automotive Industry and how it’s Paying Off! •

In this special episode, we talk LIVE on the floor of the Women In Automotive, Conference with Amanda Hoffmann, winner of the WIA “Every Woman Award.”

Amanda is a perfect example of how the conference is educating, acknowledging and empowering women in the automotive community and giving them the courage to be their best self and move the automotive industry forward by creating a positive place for growth and inclusion.

Amanda, who brought the tenacity of a struggling single mother and the sales skills she learned in the health and wellness industry, tells us the story of how she built a unique and profitable career for herself in the male-dominated car business.

Breaking down the old-school ways of thinking and the typical car salesperson’s stereotypes, Amanda developed her “make a friend – sell a car” philosophy which made her the top performer and sales leader… not bad for a girl!

The Assistant Manager at Eagle Auto Mall Corp in Rd, Riverhead, NY, she believes that “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing.”

Amanda Hoffmann, Assistant Manager at Eagle Auto Mall Corp

Lessons you will learn from this podcast:

  • Mermaid red hair and why you don’t want to bet against it!
  • Act like men, be like men, sell like men… or not?
  • How the Disney brand is selling the magic, and how you can too
  • How to put a big red bow on customer loyalty for repeat and referral business
  • The secret weapon behind building the salesforce of the future
  • Facebook messenger and the consumers who are most likely to respond
  • Why honesty and transparency in advertising is the best policy
  • The strategy behind the Chevy Blazer “Sexy Mom Car” and why it works
  • New tools for connecting with consumers replace old-school thinking
TRANSCRIPTS

>> Kathy Cunningham: Hi everybody, it’s Kathy. And today is another special episode. We are talking live on the floor of the women in automotive conference with Amanda Hoffman, we were so honored that women in automotive invited us to bring our podcast to the floor. And so your gonna hear some background noise but it’s gonna be worth it. Amanda Hoffman was the winner of the women in Automated Every Women Award, and that was sponsored by TrueCar. So you can hear the buzz around us as the conference is in full swing with the attendees rushing to leadership courses, marketing and trend presentations, and networking opportunities. It’s really great because Amanda is the perfect example of how this conference is educating, acknowledging, and empowering women in the automotive community. And giving them the courage to be their best self, and move the automotive industry forward by creating a positive place for growth and inclusion. Amanda is gonna tell her inspirational story of how she overcame some personal obstacles, and used an unexpected opportunity at a dealership, to build a unique and profitable career for herself. And how she is creatively flourishing in this male dominated industry, Amanda Hoffman is the assistance management at Eagle Automall. She believe’s that success is no accident, it’s hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, and sacrifice. And most of all, love what you’re doing. She is four years in the automotive sales industry and she just actually received a call that she was officially accepted to the Northwood University bachelor’s and business administration program. And she’s gonna major in automotive marketing and management. So I’m excited to bring you this interview from the floor, so remember there’s some background noise, but I hope you enjoy it. It’s Amanda Hoffman. Hey everybody. We are here at Women In Automotive in Orlando. And I’m so excited to have Amanda with me here today. Amanda, thanks for joining us.

>> Amanda Hoffman: Thank you for having me happy, I’m having a great time here at Women in Automotive, meeting a lot of fun new people, learning a lot of new things. And getting a chance to connect to people that probably wouldn’t have had a chance to connect too, thank you.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH] Well this is so fabulous. So if you hear background noise, we are smacked in the middle of this whole convention and it’s just so exciting. You want to bring some of this excitement to the podcast, so I hope you don’t mind the background noise.

>>  [BLANK_AUDIO]

>> Kathy Cunningham: Amanda, thanks for being here. I’d like to start by asking you, can you tell us a little bit about your professional journey, you’re background in business and what led you to the dealership where you’re the assistant manager?

>> Amanda Hoffman: I’ve been in the auto industry about four years now. I kind of fell into this by accident. I inquired through a text help line actually about a receptionist position and unfortunately that was filled. But after speaking with me, my now still boss wanted to interview with me for sales, and after hearing my story, about my weight loss, my journey with my young son’s heart defect. Being a single mom, he hired me on the spot, he figured if I was so determined to change my life physically I could battle through anything. That I could be successful in anything I put my mind to, my only real experience with sales and marketing before this, was with a health and wellness company, that with the help of my wonderful support team and awesome collection of products I was able to achieve losing over 100 pounds in a fairly short period of time. With those sort of company I had to essentially market myself with whatever tools and whatever small budget I could manage, being a single mom. Social media, Internet, Facebook, referrals, everything like that was super important. I was pretty much in charge of my own paycheck kind of like now, [LAUGH] I’m not too far from the situation in terms of a dealership. But I also had to inspire, and recruit, and manage my team as well as sell products on top of that. Just continue to share my own story, share real life before and after photos, from my customers as well as members on my team. I had to explain background to the company and everything along the lines to that but, it definitely set me up for the success that I needed to kinda get into the dealership setting. When I was hired, all of the men in the dealership pretty much laugh, I was just speaking, so one of these lovely hair and makeup girls over here,

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH]

>> Amanda Hoffman: That had bright red little mermaid hair that is what color of my hair was, when I started out the dealership. All of the men there, they laughed at him, they said that I would never amount to anything, that I wouldn’t be able make it anywhere. How could a single mom with two kids, a sick little boy for one of them. How could I ever make it in an industry like this with the hours and the pressure, and he ended up betting his entire year salary to one of the excellent salesmen. That I would beat that guy’s numbers and keep in mind this guy’s been selling cars for 20 years, and I ended up doing it within a month.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Wow.

>> Amanda Hoffman: I continued to do so until that gentleman so happened to leave the industry [LAUGH] about a year so into me being there.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Well, it’s such an interesting story. Thank you so much for telling us about your background, because it’s almost like it was an accident that you ended up in sales. And it sounds like you blew everybody away, their expectations, and maybe even your expectations for success.

>> Amanda Hoffman: I’d totally agree with that. It’s never something with some of the issues I’ve been through. Lack of confidence, whatever it may be, it’s something that I never would’ve expected myself to be able to achieve it

>> Kathy Cunningham: Amanda, that’s fantastic. Well, I would’ve loved to have seen that guy-

>> Amanda Hoffman: [LAUGH]

>> Kathy Cunningham: Leaving the dealership

>> Amanda Hoffman: [LAUGH]

>> Kathy Cunningham: Tale between his legs. Yeah, with it.

>> Amanda Hoffman: [LAUGH]

>> Kathy Cunningham: With his tale between his legs. Boy, did you show him. [LAUGH]

>> Amanda Hoffman: Yeah, yeah, he was a little upset, but he ended up finally taking me under his wings to kinda show me some of the ropes. He’s one of those typical old school sales guys, hey, are you buying it today? Oh, you’re not meet Amanda. [LAUGH] So I got a lot of practice from the people that he didn’t wanna deal with and ended up selling them, so he didn’t like that. [LAUGH]

>> Kathy Cunningham: Well, it’s one of the themes of the Women in Automotive convention here is, it’s such a male dominated industry. And traditionally, the salespeople at a dealership have been men. So when they saw you coming with your mermaid red hair, I bet they did not know what to make of you.

>> Amanda Hoffman: Oh, not at all. That I would agree with 100%. [LAUGH] I was just having this conversation with Mabel before, one of the other winners of the Every Woman Award through True Car. About her vision to potentially go into corporate for one of the manufacturers that we happen both work for, not naming any names. And how I think that one of the biggest reasons why they have not pushed her towards that is because they’re scared, they are a little dry. So put it kindly and I think that she would just kinda open it up almost a little, little too much. But I think they need a little bit of that.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Well, that’s interesting. Tell us about the Every Woman Award.

>> Amanda Hoffman: So it’s a award through Women in Automotive, sponsored by True Car. Essentially we had to submit a video about a story and how we ended up here, a little bit of a background about ourselves, and the end of that narrowing down three winners and called us all on a video conference, and we’re here.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH] Oh yeah, that is so exciting. And was it a full paid trip, everything included for you?

>> Amanda Hoffman: Yes.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Oh my God, that sounds fantastic. True Car, you’re amazing.

>> Amanda Hoffman: Thank you. Definitely appreciate the opportunity.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH] Wow, shoutout to Trues Car. That’s awesome. I mean, so we’re here at Women in Automotive. How does an organization like this change the culture, and the expectations, and the aspirations of the automotive industry?

>> Amanda Hoffman: I mean, I feel like not only are a lot of these strong women inspiration for other women in this industry, but also for women in general. These ladies are pretty tough. You’re in a conference with Lisa [UNKNOWN] for 15 seconds, and you already think that you are powerful and can move mountains. [LAUGH] She’s absolutely amazing. Some of these people that have been doing this for years, probably before I was born, if I had struggled getting through these first initial couple years that I’ve kind of been in this industry, what have they had to go through? Especially how things have changed so much in the past, maybe ten years, what was it like 30 years ago? It’s insane, but seeing these ladies kinda step up in their roles and holding major positions in this industry, that’s still conveniently dominated by men, it’s nice to be here celebrating so many strong women and learning from them, and sharing these stories about success, and where they came from, and where they ideally wanna go it inspires us who have dreams, and goals, and are doing the same thing, pushing, and pushing, and fighting for it.

>> Kathy Cunningham: It’s so inspirational here at Women in Automotive, and I think you hit the nail on the head, because I think every woman here at this convention is an inspiration. I mean, everyone from Lisa Koplan, who has hit the pinnacle of a career here as a top dealer with Fiat, to people like you that are new to the industry and just breaking through, incredibly the way that you are. I mean, everyone’s an inspiration.

>> Amanda Hoffman: No, I definitely agree with that, and I feel like people in this industry, especially female, since there’s not as many of us, there’s not as many people to kind of model off of locally, so getting everybody together like this and being able to see, hey, that lady’s successful and has been for a long time, look at what she can do. Why am I so scared to try it too? I feel like sometimes they feel the need to try to act like men, or be like men, or sell like men, and that’s not who we are, and there’s a niche here that needs to be filled, especially since women just in general, are starting to get more involved in business, and corporate, and making more than their husbands, and making all these financial decisions. It’s not like we’re in the 1950s anymore. Mom just doesn’t stay home, and make babies, and cook dinner every night. It doesn’t work that way anymore. They’re

>>  [BLANK_AUDIO]

>> Amanda Hoffman: Incredible. Some of these big name females in this industry, and out of this industry, they’re amazing.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yeah, and specially women like you. You talk about being a mom. You’re a mom, and you’re a working lady, so, I mean, how do you, and this is such a funny question I’m gonna ask you and I’m catching myself, because we were just saying, you would never ask a man this, but Amanda how do you make it all happen? [LAUGH]

>> Amanda Hoffman: There’s sometimes I don’t, and sometimes I feel like I have some regrets if I can’t make it to this, or if I’m not there to help this customer, so it’s really hard to balance, and I feel like they’re generally, there is no balance. You’re always wishing that you had a little more time at home, you’re always wishing that you had a little bit more time at work, with family. It just it kind of goes back and forth like a seesaw, but I think one of the things that’s kind of special about my dealership that, from what I’m hearing, not a lot of people have the opportunity to do. They allow me to leave for school events, or if I need to leave early, got to take my son to a birthday party, they’re willing to do that and accept that, and I don’t have to worry about not having a job when I come back, like some of these women have to. I’ve heard stories about women that got pregnant and were fired because of it. You can’t be here when you have a baby, so sorry, we’re gonna replace you.

>> Kathy Cunningham: It’s one of the issues that I know that the industry is working on really hard, and common sense like this help us to shed light on those kind of issues. The flexible schedules are so important for women in business, and I think you’re a great example. If we can be flexible then we can have fantastic women like you in our organizations.

>> Amanda Hoffman: Yes, I totally agree with that. I mean, if it’s punching in, or this, or that, we’re essentially our own little business as salespeople, so as long as there’s some sort of coverage on the sales floor, why not be flexible?

>> Kathy Cunningham: Right.

>> Amanda Hoffman: It makes everybody in the workplace happier, and they have that feel of a little bit of balance, and they don’t need to worry about those things. So it’s nice, and it will hopefully help retain [LAUGH] and keep, not just females, but people working in the salesforce and in a dealership in general.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yeah, well, I know one of the initiative here is really about attraction and retention of women in this industry. So it’s just so important for women here to be able to see you as an example, because they’re saying the same thing to themselves. Look at Amanda, look at what she’s doing. Why can’t I do that?

>> Amanda Hoffman: No, I totally understand that. I think one of the biggest issues in terms of turnover rate, not just for women, but people in dealership in general is that they don’t have the sort of education and training they need. Things are so cutthroat nowadays, so it’s fight or flight.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH] Right.

>> Amanda Hoffman: If you’re successful within the first few days, and you’re not selling a car within the first few days, you’re just not going to make it and you’re going to fall down. A lot of places don’t have the sort of wonderful teachers, and guidance, and kind of that slower paced great place to learn sort of feel that I was able to get from my dealership. Some of these places just don’t want to give you the time of day, especially as a female, because they don’t understand us. They don’t understand, they don’t care. They don’t think that we should be here.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yeah, and I was talking to one of my dealers last week, and he was a guy who has a general sales manager that’s a woman. He’s got several women in the service department and in finance, and you know what he told me, Amanda, he said that his women are his secret weapon, and he says that they balance out the macho male energy of the store, and I just went wow, what a great concept.

>> Amanda Hoffman: No, my boss says the same thing, and he’s actually the one that pushed me to do this since I was like, oh no, why would I win? There’s so many people that deserve this more than I do. So he’s definitely an advocate for females in the dealership. So we have a A couple females that have been hired as part of the sales force. We have female BBC, we’ve had females as service advisers. I’m waiting on a female mechanic, I haven’t seen that yet, getting there [LAUGH]. I know there’s a couple dealerships in my area that do, so that’s really cool to see, very good friends with them. But it’s definitely, like I said, that niche that, needs to be filled, and I think that if people just give it the opportunity, and kinda look at the statistics about who’s buying cars, and who’s making these financial decisions, and get rid of some of the old school ways of thinking that are, at this point, kinda proven not to work. Then, we can all sell more cars, will make more money, and it will just be a better experience for people selling cars, as well as buying cars. If we can appeal to the women that are in the dealership, whether working or buying.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yeah, it’s so true, because we wanna see ourselves when we walk in the showroom floor, we would like to see some female sales people out there. And Julie Kratz was so eloquent yesterday, one of the keynote speakers, when she talked about male allies. So we talked about your manager who’s a real male ally for females in the dealership, and we really need those advocates in order to push this forward, and Joe interview was talking today, too, it’s not just, you don’t just need females in the automotive industry, because we want equality, it’s good for business. It’s good for profit, it’s good for ROI.

>> Amanda Hoffman: Yeah, like I said, if there’s this many people that are females, and they’re the ones that are making the financial decisions, and they’re the ones now that are making money. We just need to kind of transform, as an industry, and do the same thing.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yeah.

>> Amanda Hoffman: If we’re stuck in 30 years ago, and we can’t do that, then, it’s just one of those things that’s doomed to fail, or not doomed to progress [LAUGH]. Whatever way you wanna look at it, [LAUGH].

>> Kathy Cunningham: Well, it’s really cool, let’s talk a little bit about marketing. What are some of the most significant marketing challenges you and your team are addressing in 2019, and what advice do you have for our listeners?

>> Amanda Hoffman: I think one of the biggest things, honestly, at our dealership that we struggle with, is that a lot of manufacturers have rules about how things need to be structured in terms of advertisements, and there’s some dealerships that just choose to break them. And because they’re bigger name dealerships, and they sell a lot of cars, they just get a slap on the wrist, and, oh, no, don’t do that anymore, because you shouldn’t. And then, there’s those of us that aren’t super cutthroat like that. We just try to have the best interest of our customers in mind, and feel like we kinda get the short end of the stick, because they turn around and they’re like, oh, well, sorry, can’t can’t do anything to help you, it is what it is. There’s just so much access to information, but my only advice is to, I guess, just keep holding that integrity. And customers end up will calling out, the ones up calling out the other dealerships, because they’ll walk in after seeing stupid low advertisements that are totally unrealistic, and they know they’re unrealistic, and they’ll realize that they’re nonsense, and then, they’ll come in and speak to you, and say, hey, I saw this, well, I guess, it’s not really something that’s totally truthful. That doesn’t exist. That doesn’t exist. Not like, okay, well thank you for being honest. Just keep taking pride in that, that honesty, and just making sure that you’re being transparent, because that’s just, what the world needs nowadays. If you’re not transparent, and you’re using those old school sales tactics and trying to bamboozle customers, there’s so many ways for them to call you out on your BS nowadays, [LAUGH]. There’s so many ways for them to figure that out. Whether it’s through friends, or social media, or online, I have people that are educating themselves on how to lease a car that I’ve never leased a car before, and I’m like, I can’t, I can’t even put anything with you, because you know the answers to everything. It doesn’t, so it doesn’t pay to have a dishonest sort of work approach. Yes, workers [UNKNOWN]. Yes, we deserve to make a little bit of a profit. Everybody’s gotta pay their bills, everybody’s gotta keep the lights on. Nobody goes to work for free, but trying to bang somebody over the head, it just, it doesn’t work. So just make sure to keep honest and transparent, and customers will definitely appreciate that.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yeah, and it’s hard when you say that your competition is maybe not as transparent, or not as forthright with all the information. And then, it makes you guys look like, well, how come your price is higher than this guy? Well, because that’s not a real deal. So I can see where that’s a real challenge for you guys. But in the end, integrity always wins out.

>> Amanda Hoffman: No, I definitely agree with that. I mean, in terms of marketing, in general, not just our dealership, I think, they’re definitely appealing to more women. It’s something that I would highly suggest for all these manufacturers. You see the difference in the ones that are starting to appeal, versus the ones that aren’t, say for example, Subaru, one of our lovely sponsors here, with their safety commercials, and appealing to that sort of nurturing aspect that women have. Even Chevy, again, another one of the sponsors here, how convenient.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH]

>> Amanda Hoffman: In their new commercial advertising, the Chevy Blazer, one of the women there refers to it as, hey, this is my new sexy mom car, I really like this.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH]

>> Amanda Hoffman: Hearing things like that, women on TV are going, that’s my sexy mom car, I want that car, too.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH]

>> Amanda Hoffman: And then, don’t get me started. We have this conversation all the time about Matthew McConaughey, and that commercial, the man doesn’t even need to speak, and every woman in America wants to buy one of those. Whatever it is, they don’t even know what it is, they just want it [LAUGH]. So definitely, those two things keeping that integrity, of course, appealing to women, that’s probably gonna be a big thing that will push people towards success in the next coming years.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yeah, that’s incredible, let’s talk about the internet and social media, communication is rapidly changing. Do you have a favorite marketing innovation that you’re using right now with the dealership?

>> Amanda Hoffman: I love texting, especially, in regards to when I’m hopping in and trying to hop out, help out the BBC Team. It’s so easy to be able to connect with the customer kind of an a mutual sort of comfort zone level that everybody uses nowadays. So easy to send them a quick message. It eliminates kind of that playing phone tag back and forth, because people are working, people aren’t generally staying home nowadays, so nobody has free time, and then, after five o’clock, or whatever, when they get off, they just wanna go home and spend time with their families. So it enables us to send quick pictures, or send a quick price quote, something that is just instantaneous, and we’ll be able to get back and forth to the customer as soon as possible, and not having to worry about, like I said, the phone tag, and emails, and stuff like that. And it just makes it so easy to contact them, and I think a lot of customers will appreciate, kind of getting on their level, and again, not sticking to some of the old school tactics. That’s definitely one of my favorite, is texting.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yes, and one of the things here at women in automotive, there’s a lot of different breakout sessions, and I was just in one, and we were talking about Facebook messaging, and really how, I think, it was, women were so much more likely to. Reply and to communicate to the Facebook Messenger than mails, and I thought that was so interesting. And then you bring up texting, because the new generation, the- generation X and Y and [LAUGH] Z, they don’t want to talk on the phone. They want to text, so you are right there, [LAUGH] with the texting, because that’s the way people wanna be communicated with.

>> Amanda Hoffman: It’s definitely makes life so easy for people. And again kinda gives a little bit of an introduction without having to be scary and talk to somebody on the phone, or talk to somebody face to face, granted it doesn’t take the place of some of those interactions, but it definitely allows you to kind of mimic something that the customer’s comfortable with.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Right.

>> Amanda Hoffman: So Facebook Messenger, same concept, it just makes life so easy, and being able to access each other, yeah.

>> Kathy Cunningham: So easy.

>> Amanda Hoffman: Yeah.

>> Kathy Cunningham: We mentioned in our conversation, you mention Subaru and you mention Chevrolet and their branding, are there any other brands out there that are stand out that you think are doing it right?.

>> Amanda Hoffman: Aside from automotive, I already named the couple in terms of advertising, by any brands. Conveniently, here we are at Disney. I was having this conversation with one of our global trainers the other day because they are kinda launching their trainings now, not just about products but more about customer service and everything that sort of goes with that and Disney is the epitome of customer service. We’re just talking about that before. Somebody needs batteries? Great. You already know somebody has them. They will jump through hoops to make sure that you have anything and everything and that they can do anything possible to make your experience a better place. I know there’s a couple other companies that really do embody that stand out, one being Kleinfeld Bridal, who is a very good friend of mine. They make that magic happen. Another one, Ritz Carlton. They literally walk around with a little, fold up of the customer promises and stuff like that inside their uniform so they can remind themselves every day, hey, this is what I’m here for. I’m here to make these people happy. And the way that places like Disney, in the way that places like Kleinfeld work, they’re literally selling the magic.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yeah.

>> Amanda Hoffman: People at that point, they don’t care about price people people will drop thousands of dollars just to see the look on their kids face when they first see Cinderella’s castle or run up to Mickey Mouse.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Right

>> Amanda Hoffman: How somebody first looks when they’re first trying on that that wedding dress. They’re selling that magic and then-

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yeah.

>> Amanda Hoffman: The people that work here, they know that and they take so much pride in that and it’s phenomenal. So I think that’s kind of a lesson that we could all learn from it, so not just modelling off of some of the car brands, that are kinda working their way towards what I think they should be.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH].

>> Amanda Hoffman: But some of these other customer service industries in that, I think in that same that same thing we were talking about real estate. Take a lesson from some of those people. They know their stuff. And people will pay a whole hell of a lot of money for a house or something that you kinda sell that magic of being able to live there on. Places like that, industries like that, so something maybe outside of automotive or you can just and about customer service industry, and making sure that people are taking care of people are water driving, all the cars that we sell and that we service and whatever it may be. So that’s what we really need to focus on.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yeah, and I think what you’re saying two great examples, by the way, thank you so much. Super good. Especially Disney. Oh my gosh. We’re right here. It’s probably one of the most marketed brands ever is Disney, and they do such a great job. You know at the core of all of those brands that you talked about is really customer experience. And everybody, it all comes back to branding and your companies and your dealerships about the customer experience and what that’s all about. And people will pay more for an experience, is what you’re saying. And I think that, that’s really good advice when, when you’re looking at building a brand, build it around customer experience.

>> Amanda Hoffman: Yes, I’m always taking so much pride of my customers experience. They all used to make fun of me, the men at the dealership because I was the queen of the big red bow.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH]

>> Amanda Hoffman: And here let me take you a picture for Facebook, I have a scrapbook and they all use to laugh at me but those are the customers that will turn around and not only tip you and send you presents.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH]

>> Amanda Hoffman: I’ve gotten money, I’ve gotten gift cards, I’ve gotten pizza somebody has sent me a pizza because they were so happy. I’m like, oh, this is great. But those are the same people that will keep coming back for cars. So those are the same people that will send every single family member or friend to go buy a car from you and the same people that will generally service their cars at that dealership because they are happy. And they want to make sure that they’re being taken care of from start to finish. So even if somebody does have an issue with the service department, they’ll call me directly on my cell phone, hey, can you help me? Okay, not a problem. We’ll get it taken care of, whatever it may be. So that’s something that I definitely take a lot of pride in. Whether they’re buying a $20,000 Kia Forte or an $80,000 Volvo XC90, we want to make sure that we’re giving everybody the same sort of respect, the same sort of attention, everything that that they need to make them happy and make them keep coming back.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yeah, yeah, that’s fantastic. Speaking about Brands, let’s talk about your personal brand. Can you describe for us what your personal brand is and your leadership styl?

>> Amanda Hoffman: I mean in terms of leadership style, I definitely had a lot of great people that had taught me couple little key things, definitely about the customer experience and making sure that they are happy. But in terms of my personal brands, I don’t know I think I just took a lot of little bits and pieces from every single person that I had really come into contact with, certain things that they said, certain things that I liked about them and just put my own little spin on it I guess, but it all comes down to that customer experience and not just selling them a car but making a friend at the same time. If you’re not making a friend first, then you’re probably not selling them a car.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Well, that’s just ties up your branding in a nice little bow. [LAUGH]

>> Amanda Hoffman: Literally, my big red bow. That’s my brand right there, my big red bow.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Make a friend.

>> Amanda Hoffman: Make a friend sell a car.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Sell a car, wrap it up with a big red bow, [LAUGH]

>> Amanda Hoffman: [LAUGH]

>> Kathy Cunningham: Amanda, will you share with us, is there a personal learning experience, a time or a situation in your career where you faced a professional obstacle and how you overcame it.

>> Amanda Hoffman: I honestly, this was a hard one for me to answer when you had sent me these couple of questions to go over. I honestly can’t pinpoint one specific example that really comes to mind. Every day is a new challenge. Every day is a new adventure, learning something new. I was always kind of told if you ever stop learning in this business, you should just quit because you’re not gonna get anywhere. We’re always constantly learning, constantly growing, constantly problem solving. This is one of those businesses where once you think you know something or everything, something new comes up. Something changes, something is done differently or we have to adapt to certain sort of situations to be able to be successful So, honestly, it’s something new every day. There’s always obstacles, there’s always something that needs to be overcome. But it’s a matter of how you’re doing it and being able to get through those obstacles, keep moving forward. Again, another [UNKNOWN], keep moving forward. [LAUGH] And being able to just push through some of those things that happen to be successful

>> Kathy Cunningham: Yeah, well, gosh, you’ve been a fantastic guest, and thanks for sharing some of the insights of how you got to where you are now in this industry. So just sort of to wrap it up, what do you think is the most significant challenge for the automotive industry in adapting to the changing market and attracting and retaining more female professionals?

>> Amanda Hoffman: Like we were talking about before, I think definitely one of those big challenges is not being able to get rid of some of those old school ways of thinking. I know everybody loves the millennials but something that we’ve kind of been able to prove to do is adapt to whatever sort of new situations and not be stuck in certain mindsets. And just be open to new ideas and new experiences and being able to, again, learn and grow and get through whatever it may be. And not just be stuck in one sort of way for if we’re not able to adapt to whatever sort of changes, then we’re just gonna fail, it’s not going to work. And I think that’s something that females do so well, especially moms, because there’s always something that happens, you always have to find a way to get through it. I was on a plane here, and this poor lady and her son got sick and puked all over the plane. And she just had to figure out a way to get through it, and the poor kid was naked on the plane.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH]

>> Amanda Hoffman: And we always just need to adapt to something. There’s always something that comes up and using some of those life skills in a business like this is definitely proven to be able to help get through some of those challenges, changes, adaptations. But in terms of retaining females, retaining professionals in general, we need to start educating people more and taking the time to listen to them and care about them as individuals and not just, hey, we need to close these people, we need to make money. It’s not about that. And people will recognize and know within seconds of walking into a dealership that, okay, I’m gonna buy a car here, or no, I’m not gonna buy a car here. They know, people have great instincts, and women have great instincts in general. And if you screw up of the women when she first walks in the dealership, you better believe she’ll be the first one to go right on Facebook and write about how bad her experience was and group text all of her friends, and family members. Women can be a little spiteful, so we need to make sure we’re taking care of these strong business ladies that are now appearing in our dealerships.

>> Kathy Cunningham: It’s interesting you mentioned that. I was in a breakout session, and Flemings was reciting some statistics, and she was saying that women shop twice as many dealerships as men. And the reason they do is because they feel like they’re not being taken seriously at a dealership. So you know what, there is a big opportunity there, and it sounds like your insight is dialed in right in the middle of that. And I’m just so glad to see that there’s people like you in this industry that can take advantage of that. Again, it’s good for the dealers.

>> Amanda Hoffman: I definitely agree it’s good for the dealers. I’ve walked into random dealerships, just to kind of scope out maybe some of the competitive cars or see how they approach people, and I flat out, had somebody telling me, oh, you don’t have your husband with you? Maybe you should bring him back. And I’m like, okay, I’m just gonna go back to my dealership now [LAUGH].

>> Kathy Cunningham: No, you don’t really say that.

>> Amanda Hoffman: And it’s still like that.

>> Kathy Cunningham: They don’t really say that.

>> Amanda Hoffman: No, they really do say that still.

>> Kathy Cunningham: No, don’t, they don’t say that.

>> Amanda Hoffman: They still do to this day, and it’s kind of disheartening to hear that, because the second that somebody says that. These women are like, oh, I don’t have a husband, or I don’t need my husband, so they’re proven to drive farther away to be able to go to a dealership that is going to accommodate their needs and that is going to pay this sort of attention to them that they need. Whereas men, they care about convenience and if they have the car right away, because they want that instant gratification, and they just wanna bing bang boom, get it done. Where women are like, okay, I need to make sure that I feel safe here, I wanna make sure that my needs are met and not just trying to stick me in any car that they have on the lot. They wanna make sure that this is the right decision for them may, again, being spiteful as females here, they will purposely drive farther away and then they will turn around and call off. I’ve had people that have called off and say, hey, well, you didn’t treat me right. I went to such and such dealership [UNKNOWN] this far, and some of the male sales people are like, well, I don’t get it. Why did they do that? We had a car here that would have fit their needs, and I’m like, well, did you really dial down on what this person needed, and did you give them that consideration? Oh, well, they didn’t have their husband with them, so this and that. And I’m like, I think that was kinda just an out at that point, because they didn’t wanna deal with you. So that’s something that we’re kind of trying to embed into some of the men not just at our dealership but someone that come into the dealership. I’ve had older, probably a lot of older men in that 60, 70-year old range that have looked me up and down, and they’re like mm-mm.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH]

>> Amanda Hoffman: You’re not gonna be able to help me. I’m like, okay, watch, cuz I guarantee, no other man in this dealership knows as much about these cars, as much about the product, as much about this dealership as I do. Go ahead, try mo.

>> Kathy Cunningham: I love it. Prove them wrong every time.

>> Amanda Hoffman: Prove them wrong.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Well, thanks again. I have one last question for you. Do you have a habit or two that you can share with us that contributes to your success?

>> Amanda Hoffman: My habit, something again that was very much ingrained in me by my lovely boss [LAUGH] who pushed me to come here as process. I pretty much have the same process every morning. It gets you in that, okay, we’re ready to do this, let’s get to work sort of mode. I’ll go in, I’ll punch in, I’ll sit down and drink my coffee, eat my breakfast, check my emails, my voice mails, and kinda doing that same thing every morning. I’ll go through the inventory, whatever needs to get done. I already know what needs to get done, those first initial things coming in every morning. Just kinda gets you in that sort of mindset that you need to keep yourself busy and awake and successful all day. Once you kinda get out of that little bit of a process, I feel like things kinda go into chaos.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH] Yeah, great advice.

>> Amanda Hoffman: Just sticking to it definitely helps.

>> Kathy Cunningham: Great advice. Well, Amanda, thank you so much for being a guest on the show and congratulations on your great work and for getting here to the convention. It’s just been spectacular meeting you, and I’m so inspired.

>> Amanda Hoffman: Thank you. Thank you so much, Kathy. Thank you so much at TrueCar, Women in Automotive, I’m so happy to be here. Definitely is an honor, and can’t wait to continue with everything today and tomorrow.

>> Kathy Cunningham: [LAUGH] And what about a shout out for that boss?

>> Amanda Hoffman: Definitely shout out to [UNKNOWN].

>> Kathy Cunningham: There you go. All right, thanks to everybody, and you can find the show notes on our website, and anything else you wanna find out about men, it’ll be there. Thanks everybody, thanks for listening

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