125 episodes

The Gain Traction podcast features top automotive entrepreneurs and experts and shares their inspiring stories.

Gain Traction Neal Maier and Mike Edge

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

The Gain Traction podcast features top automotive entrepreneurs and experts and shares their inspiring stories.

    Racing Toward a Purpose With Fred Roger and Stephen Kantarze of The Veterans Trust

    Racing Toward a Purpose With Fred Roger and Stephen Kantarze of The Veterans Trust

    Stephen Kantarze, is the Program Director of The Veterans Trust. He joined the US Army in 2008 as an infantryman, serving his countries in numerous capacities including a tour in Iraq. He was deeply impacted by his role as a casket team leader at Arlington National Cemetery, where conducted over a thousand funerals and ceremonies. As part of The Veterans Trust, Stephen continues to honor his military roots by serving other service members.
    Fred Roger is the Executive Director of The Veterans Trust. He began his service journey in high school, spurred by the events of 9/11 and a deep sense of duty to protect his country. Joining the ranks of the US Marine Corps at just 18, he embarked on multiple tours, including in Fallujah, Iraq, where he confronted the challenges of combat head-on. Transitioning into civilian life, he immersed himself in various endeavors, eventually finding his calling in nonprofit work. Through his foundation, Fred merges his love for motorsports with his desire to give back, creating unforgettable experiences for military veterans and first responders.
    In this episode… Many service members struggle with a lack of purpose after their service. The importance of providing veterans with opportunities for engagement and purpose after leaving the military cannot be overstated.
    According to Fred Roger and Stephen Kantarze of The Veterans Trust, motorsports can play a large role in supporting veterans' adjustment to civilian life. Stephen stresses the significance of finding passion and expressing oneself as a means to combat depression and find fulfillment, while Fred notes the camaraderie and community support veterans experience in response to their motorsports involvement.
    On this episode of Gain Traction, Mike Edge welcomes Fred and Stephen for a conversation about supporting veterans' transition to civilian life through motorsports. Stephen emphasizes the psychological benefits, highlighting motorsports’ role in providing purpose and self-expression for veterans. They share humorous anecdotes and discuss the program's growth, including partnerships and national expansion.
    Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:  Stephen Kantarze highlights the diverse engagement opportunities at motorsport events Why veterans may struggle to find purpose after military service How motorsport can offer a seamless transition for veterans seeking purpose The importance of offering veterans opportunities for self-expression The Veterans Trust's reliance on donations and sponsorships for program support The significance of in-kind donations, volunteerism, and monetary contributions to sustain the initiative Fred Roger says despite mishaps, camaraderie and support among veterans remains strong Resources mentioned in this episode: Fred Roger on LinkedIn  Stephen Kantarze on LinkedIn  The Veterans Trust  Mike Edge on LinkedIn Tread Partners Sponsor for this episode... This episode is brought to you by Tread Partners. 
    At Tread Partners, we provide digital marketing for multi-location tire dealers and auto repair shops. 
    By using our strategy, branding, and marketing services, we help shops sell more tires and put more cars in bays.
    We’ve helped companies like Action Gator Tire, Colony Tire and Service, and Ulmer’s Auto Care Center bring extreme growth in paid leads, ROI, and searches. 
    So, what are you waiting for?
    Visit www.treadpartners.com or email info@treadpartners.com to learn more.

    • 39 min
    Tread Carefully: Ensuring Roadside Safety With David Bennett of AAA

    Tread Carefully: Ensuring Roadside Safety With David Bennett of AAA

    David Bennett, Repair Systems Manager at AAA, brings over 37 years of dedicated service to the company. Originally from the Washington DC area, David's career journey began at a young age, marked by early experiences as a paperboy, at a gas station, and in food service. His passion for automotive work ignited during high school, where he received vocational training and honed his skills, laying the foundation for a successful career in the industry.
    In this episode… The vast majority of adults in the US own a vehicle, but are they paying attention to the most important maintenance elements? Which often-overlooked parts of a vehicle specifically require proactive attention for safe driving?
    According to David Bennett of AAA, tire maintenance is of paramount importance. Drawing from his extensive experience in the automotive industry, David highlights the alarming frequency of tire-related issues among vehicles he has inspected. He emphasizes the critical need for regular tire care, noting AAA's role in promoting roadside safety. Through AAA's network of approved auto repair facilities and roadside assistance services, its members gain access to reliable resources for addressing tire-related emergencies and ensuring safer travel experiences. 
    On this episode of Gain Traction, Mike Edge welcomes David to discuss the importance of automotive education and tire maintenance. David's journey from working at McDonald's and a gas station to becoming a Repair Systems Manager highlights the value of vocational training and hands-on experience in the automotive industry. He cites alarming statistics revealing widespread issues related to tire maintenance.
    Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:  David Bennett retells his 37 years of industry experience How vocational training in high school laid the groundwork for David’s automotive expertise How David specialized in engine diagnosis with AAA's Mobile Diagnostic Van Program How the decline of vocational education has impacted the automotive industry The diverse services AAA offers aside from roadside assistance David stresses the significance of tire maintenance, including proper inflation and tread checks Resources mentioned in this episode: David Bennett on LinkedIn American Automobile Association National Air and Space Museum Bureau of Engraving and Printing  Mike Edge on LinkedIn Tread Partners Sponsor for this episode... This episode is brought to you by Tread Partners. 
    At Tread Partners, we provide digital marketing for multi-location tire dealers and auto repair shops. 
    By using our strategy, branding, and marketing services, we help shops sell more tires and put more cars in bays.
    We’ve helped companies like Action Gator Tire, Colony Tire and Service, and Ulmer’s Auto Care Center bring extreme growth in paid leads, ROI, and searches. 
    So, what are you waiting for?
    Visit www.treadpartners.com or email info@treadpartners.com to learn more.

    • 33 min
    Empowering Employees for Success With Baker Ghanim of Tire Store Service Center and oTo Solutions

    Empowering Employees for Success With Baker Ghanim of Tire Store Service Center and oTo Solutions

    Baker Ghanim is the President of Tire Store Service Center in Bedford, Texas. Under his leadership, Tire Store Service Center opened nine locations in its first 10 years, with a goal of ultimately opening 50. Baker is also the Founder of oTo Solutions, where customers can easily order tires online. With his background in business management and customer service, Baker is dedicated to providing top-notch services and solutions to clients.
    In this episode… In a rapidly evolving automotive sales and service landscape, innovative management techniques can empower employees and unlock unprecedented levels of success.
    According to Baker Ghanim, empowering employees by treating them as store owners fosters a strong sense of ownership and responsibility within them. Implementing performance-based pay and involving managers in decision-making processes leads to increased engagement, loyalty, and accountability among employees. This strategy not only enhances employee satisfaction, but also translates into better customer service and overall business performance, as employees are motivated to excel in ensuring the success of their respective stores.
    On this episode of Gain Traction, Mike Edge talks with Baker about fostering a sense of ownership among employees in the tire industry. They delve into empowering managers, referencing stores by their names, and the benefits of this approach. Additionally, they discuss Baker's entrepreneurial journey, insights from Kent Coleman's book, It’s Not About the Mangos, and the innovative solution for independent tire dealers, oTo Solutions.
    Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:  Baker Ghanim learned valuable business lessons from Kent Coleman's book, It’s Not About the Mangos Why Baker values employees as family and focuses on the human side of business How empowering managers to feel like owners fosters a sense of pride and responsibility Baker discusses his belief in personal incentive, aligning employee and company goals for mutual success How the motto "We Don’t Sell, We Service!" guides Baker's business Why Baker views a sale as merely one touchpoint in a customer's journey — all interactions matter  How oTo Solutions streamlines the tire ordering process for independent dealers Resources mentioned in this episode: Baker Ghanim on LinkedIn Tire Store Service Center  oTo Solutions  It’s Not About the Mangos  Mike Edge on LinkedIn Tread Partners Sponsor for this episode... This episode is brought to you by Tread Partners. 
    At Tread Partners, we provide digital marketing for multi-location tire dealers and auto repair shops. 
    By using our strategy, branding, and marketing services, we help shops sell more tires and put more cars in bays.
    We’ve helped companies like Action Gator Tire, Colony Tire and Service, and Ulmer’s Auto Care Center bring extreme growth in paid leads, ROI, and searches. 
    So, what are you waiting for?
    Visit www.treadpartners.com or email info@treadpartners.com to learn more.

    • 25 min
    From Food to Tires: A Customer Service Journey With Brooke Johnson of McMahon's Best-One Tire

    From Food to Tires: A Customer Service Journey With Brooke Johnson of McMahon's Best-One Tire

    Brooke Johnson is a dedicated Customer Service Representative at McMahon's Best-One Tire. With a prior background in the food industry which spanned a decade, Brooke brings a refreshing perspective to her role, marked by honesty and a strong work ethic. Despite her initial unfamiliarity with the tire industry, Brooke's commitment to learning and serving customers has made her an invaluable asset over her three-year tenure.
    In this episode… Is it necessary to be a lifelong “car person” in order to provide outstanding customer service in the tire and auto repair industry? Is it possible for a novice with a strong work ethic to learn about tires through experience?
    Brooke Johnson's journey exemplifies resilience and adaptability in the face of career change. Transitioning from the demanding food industry to McMahon's Best-One Tire, Brooke was undeterred, committed to personal growth and connecting with customers. Through proactive initiatives like digital vehicle inspections, Brooke ensures transparency and trust with customers, empowering them to make informed decisions about their vehicle maintenance.
    On this episode of Gain Traction, Mike Edge welcomes Brooke to reflect on her journey from novice to proficient in tire sales. They explore her honest interview, which has led to a fulfilling role at McMahon's. Brooke reflects on similarities between industries and her skills that recently led to her promotion to store manager, as well as McMahon’s proactive approach to customer service and supportive workplace culture.
    Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:  How Brooke Johnson began her tire industry journey Commonalities in customer service across different sectors Brooke's favorite aspect of her job at McMahon's How McMahon's digital vehicle inspection ensures transparency and trust with customers Becoming proficient in selling tires despite initially knowing very little Brooke discusses the skills that led to her recent promotion to store manager Resources mentioned in this episode: McMahon’s Best-One Tire Olivia Newton-John Mike Edge on LinkedIn Tread Partners Sponsor for this episode... This episode is brought to you by Tread Partners. 
    At Tread Partners, we provide digital marketing for multi-location tire dealers and auto repair shops. 
    By using our strategy, branding, and marketing services, we help shops sell more tires and put more cars in bays.
    We’ve helped companies like Action Gator Tire, Colony Tire and Service, and Ulmer’s Auto Care Center bring extreme growth in paid leads, ROI, and searches. 
    So, what are you waiting for?
    Visit www.treadpartners.com or email info@treadpartners.com to learn more.

    • 21 min
    Navigating Auto Repairs With Empathy With Lee McWilliams of Midas

    Navigating Auto Repairs With Empathy With Lee McWilliams of Midas

    Lee McWilliams is the store manager for Midas in Eden Prairie, Minn., where he oversees a customer service team in the automotive repair industry. With a keen understanding of the pivotal role customer interaction plays, Lee emphasizes the importance of empathy and adaptability in his role. Raised in a family where small-town values translated to warm customer service, Lee learned the art of building rapport with customers early on, making it easier to navigate conversations and provide effective solutions, whether it's a brand-new BMW owner or someone with a trusty truck of 30 years.
    In this episode… Customer service, especially in the auto repair industry, can be a draining and difficult job. Customers are never happy when their vehicle has a problem that needs a potentially pricey fix. With these challenging interactions, it’s important to uphold the right attitude
    According to Lee McWilliams of Midas, maintaining empathy while providing customer service is of paramount importance. Lee stresses the need to build rapport with customers, regardless of their background or vehicle type, by asking questions and communicating in layman's terms. He emphasizes that customer retention is most often driven by fostering trust and providing quality service.
    On this episode of Gain Traction, Lee joins Mike Edge to discuss the crucial role of customer service in the auto repair industry. Lee emphasizes the need for empathy when dealing with customers, especially considering financial constraints and anxiety surrounding auto repairs. He shares insights on building rapport, educating customers, and the significance of customer retention.
    Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:  Lee McWilliams says empathy is key in customer interactions, especially in tough financial times Why building rapport with customers helps to better understand their needs How seeing oneself as a "repair solutionist" rather than just a salesman changes perspectives Quality service and customer care drive repeat business more than advertising Why having enough bays for efficient workflow is crucial How ingenuity in repairs can be surprising; sometimes makeshift solutions work best Resources mentioned in this episode: Midas Eden Prairie  Robert “Sonny” McDonald on LinkedIn  Toyo Tires Cody Lang on LinkedIn Tire Solutions  Mike Edge on LinkedIn Tread Partners Sponsor for this episode... This episode is brought to you by Tread Partners. 
    At Tread Partners, we provide digital marketing for multi-location tire dealers and auto repair shops. 
    By using our strategy, branding, and marketing services, we help shops sell more tires and put more cars in bays.
    We’ve helped companies like Action Gator Tire, Colony Tire and Service, and Ulmer’s Auto Care Center bring extreme growth in paid leads, ROI, and searches. 
    So, what are you waiting for?
    Visit www.treadpartners.com or email info@treadpartners.com to learn more.

    • 25 min
    Keys to Customer Engagement With Jason Widmer of AAA Auto Repair and Darren McLea of DJM Solutions

    Keys to Customer Engagement With Jason Widmer of AAA Auto Repair and Darren McLea of DJM Solutions

    Darren McLea is a tire sales trainer and the Founder of DJM Solutions, specializing in tire sales, repairs, and elevating the customer experience within the tire and auto repair industry. With a passion for fostering growth in automotive businesses, Darren provides comprehensive sales and operational training while delivering consistent coaching feedback. His dedication lies in helping business owners forge enduring connections with both employees and customers, ultimately fostering loyal long-term relationships and increasing tire sales. Previously, Darren was the Executive Vice President of McLea’s Tire and Automotive Service before selling the 41-year-old business to AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah.
    Jason Widmer of AAA Auto Repair brings a unique blend of comedic flair and intuitive sensitivity to his role. Jason has mastered the art of connecting with customers whether they walk in feeling downtrodden or jubilant. His ability to read situations and body language allows him to effortlessly strike up conversations and lift spirits, turning routine interactions into memorable experiences. With a keen sense of timing and a gift for knowing when humor is and isn’t appropriate, Jason creates a welcoming atmosphere where customers feel understood and appreciated.
    In this episode… Maintaining a positive demeanor plays a vital role in customer service and effective communication, particularly within the automotive industry. How do seasoned professionals approach interactions with unhappy customers?
    From personal experience, Jason Widmer and Darren McLea have learned how humor and adaptability can be powerful tools in navigating stressful scenarios with customers. They underscore the significance of establishing rapport and finding common ground with customers to enhance their overall experience. Additionally, Jason and Darren emphasize the impact of positivity on team morale and productivity, and highlight the importance of not allowing negative encounters with customers to dampen future interactions. 
    On this episode of Gain Traction, Mike Edge welcomes Jason and Darren to discuss the importance of maintaining positivity in customer service. Drawing from their extensive experience, they share anecdotes illustrating how utilizing humor and building rapport can enhance customer interactions. The conversation also touches on practical strategies for handling challenging customer encounters and the value of finding common ground with customers.
    Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:  Darren McLea and Jason Widmer highlight the fast-paced nature of service advisor roles in an automotive shop Why providing customer service often requires a positive attitude Jason shares his humorous approach to diffusing customer stress How maintaining a positive mindset can impact interactions and increase sales The importance of refusing to let negative experiences with customers affect future interactions How positivity can influence team morale and improve the overall work environment Resources mentioned in this episode: Jason Widmer on LinkedIn Darren McLea on LinkedIn  DJM Solutions  AAA Auto Repair Mike Edge on LinkedIn Tread Partners Sponsor for this episode... This episode is brought to you by Tread Partners. 
    At Tread Partners, we provide digital marketing for multi-location tire dealers and auto repair shops. 
    By using our strategy, branding, and marketing services, we help shops sell more tires and put more cars in bays.
    We’ve helped companies like Action Gator Tire, Colony Tire and Service, and Ulmer’s Auto Care Center bring extreme growth in paid leads, ROI, and searches. 
    So, what are you waiting for?
    Visit www.treadpartners.com or email info@treadpartners.com to learn more.

    • 26 min

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