598 episodes

The car business is rapidly changing and modern car dealers are meeting the demand. Join Michael Cirillo on The Dealer Playbook podcast which features expert interviews, actionable advice, and insights that will help you create a thriving career and life within the retail automotive industry. 

The Dealer Playbook Michael Cirillo

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 124 Ratings

The car business is rapidly changing and modern car dealers are meeting the demand. Join Michael Cirillo on The Dealer Playbook podcast which features expert interviews, actionable advice, and insights that will help you create a thriving career and life within the retail automotive industry. 

    Leadership Lessons from a Millennial General Manager - Gabrielle Abinion

    Leadership Lessons from a Millennial General Manager - Gabrielle Abinion

    Gabrielle (Gabi) Abinion is the General Manager at Fox Valley Volkswagen of St. Charles. With a rich family history in the automotive business, Gabi brings a unique perspective to her role, blending tradition with innovation to drive success. Her dedication to empowering her team and fostering a culture of growth has been instrumental in the dealership's continued prosperity. Buckle up for a conversation about hard work, navigating family businesses, and forging your own path in a rapidly changing industry.
    What We Discuss In This Episode:
    Gabi isn't your typical dealership GM. The daughter of a Filipino immigrant who came to America to chase the dream, Gabi grew up around cars but knew she had to carve her own path. Despite her family's auto group, she ventured out to learn the ropes at another dealership before returning with a fresh perspective.
    Gabi shared her inspiring path into the automotive world, rooted deeply in her family's heritage and the profound impact of her father's journey as an immigrant. From witnessing her father's resilience and determination to carve a path in the industry to her own decision to follow in his footsteps, Gabi's narrative underscores the transformative power of passion and perseverance.
    A focal point of our conversation centered on the importance of cultivating a thriving workplace culture as a driver of organizational success. Gabi shared insights into her leadership philosophy, emphasizing the value of clear communication, active listening, and fostering a sense of belonging among team members. By prioritizing collaboration, mentorship, and continuous learning, Gabi has cultivated an environment where employees feel empowered to thrive and contribute their best.
    Furthermore, Gabi underscored the significance of community engagement and customer-centricity in building trust and loyalty among clientele. By prioritizing authentic connections and meaningful interactions, Fox Valley Volkswagen has solidified its reputation as a trusted automotive partner, dedicated to serving the needs of its community with integrity and excellence.
    Thanks, Gabi Abinion!
    If you enjoyed this episode featuring Gabi Abinion, support us by clicking the links! 
    Connect with Gabi Abinion on LinkedInListen to the full episode for insights and context from Steve Whitlock! 
    ⭐️ Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your LinkedIn or Instagram handle so we can thank you personally! 
    Connect with Michael Cirillo
    Connect with Michael on LinkedInCLICK HERE to learn more about The Dealer Playbook! 
    Sell Smarter, Not Harder
    AutoFi helps progressive dealers like you sell smarter, not harder—on your dealership website and, now, in your showroom, too.
    AutoFi solves the everyday problems dealers actually face: like bottlenecks at the sales desk, customer distrust, and decision overload. And their all-new showroom solution includes deal estimation, desking, lender routing, and an F&I menu – all in one powerful platform that bridges the gap between the CRM and DMS.

    Go to AutoFi.com/dealerplaybook to learn more. And start selling smarter, today.

    • 27 min
    Run Into the Fire: How to Move from Management to Ownership in the Car Industry with Steve Whitlock

    Run Into the Fire: How to Move from Management to Ownership in the Car Industry with Steve Whitlock

    In this episode, I sit down with Steve Whitlock, the president of Innovation Financial Services, to explore the fascinating journey of automotive entrepreneurship. We dive into Steve's unique background, starting from his days as a firefighter to his eventual transition into the car business. Steve shares insights into how his diverse experiences shaped his path, showcasing the unexpected twists and turns that led him to where he is today.
    What We Discuss In This Episode:
    As we dive deeper into Steve's journey, he recounts pivotal moments that sparked his interest in the automotive industry. From selling cars part-time to venturing into finance, Steve's story is a testament to the opportunities that arise when one embraces change and takes calculated risks. His candid reflections offer valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs navigating their own career paths within the automotive sector.
    The conversation takes an exciting turn as Steve unveils the inception of Innovation Financial Services. Drawing from his extensive experience and entrepreneurial spirit, Steve shares the vision behind the company and its mission to empower automotive professionals. We explore the innovative programs developed by Innovation Financial Services, including the groundbreaking Road to Ownership initiative.
    Steve elaborates on how the Road to Ownership program is revolutionizing the industry by providing a clear pathway for dealership ownership. Through strategic partnerships and tailored solutions, Innovation Financial Services is empowering talented individuals to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. Steve's passion for fostering success shines through as he discusses the impact of this program on the automotive community.
    Thanks, Steve Whitlock,!
    If you enjoyed this episode featuring Steve Whitlock, support us by clicking the links! 
    Connect with Steve Whitlock on LinkedInListen to the full episode for insights and context from Steve Whitlock! 
    Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your LinkedIn or Instagram handle so we can thank you personally! 
    Connect with Michael Cirillo
    Connect with Michael on LinkedInCLICK HERE to learn more about The Dealer Playbook! 
    Sell Smarter, Not Harder
    AutoFi helps progressive dealers like you sell smarter, not harder—on your dealership website and, now, in your showroom, too.
    AutoFi solves the everyday problems dealers actually face: like bottlenecks at the sales desk, customer distrust, and decision overload. And their all-new showroom solution includes deal estimation, desking, lender routing, and an F&I menu – all in one powerful platform that bridges the gap between the CRM and DMS.
    Go to AutoFi.com/dealerplaybook to learn more. And start selling smarter, today.

    • 19 min
    From Clicks to Customers with Glenn Pasch

    From Clicks to Customers with Glenn Pasch

    Glenn Pasch, an industry veteran with a penchant for data-driven insights and a logical approach to marketing, brings decades of expertise in digital marketing and dealership strategies. As the brains behind PCG Digital, Glenn has empowered countless dealerships to optimize their marketing efforts and unlock hidden sales potential.
    What We Discuss In This Episode:
    We kick off our conversation by dissecting the enigma of marketing attribution, unraveling why despite a substantial influx of website visitors, sales opportunities often remain untapped. Glenn brings a refreshing perspective, emphasizing the necessity of demystifying marketing attribution to uncover hidden sales potential and drive tangible results for dealerships.
    As our discussion unfolds, Glenn and I delve into the essence of customer experience, highlighting its pivotal role in shaping dealership marketing strategies. We navigate through the logic behind prioritizing customer satisfaction, stressing the importance of fostering meaningful interactions at every touchpoint. Through Glenn's insights, we unveil the power of aligning marketing efforts with customer-centric principles, ultimately revolutionizing the dealership landscape.
    Our conversation extends beyond theory, delving into actionable strategies for maximizing sales opportunities and driving sustainable growth. Through Glenn's expertise, we unveil practical tactics for converting website visitors into loyal customers, emphasizing the importance of personalized marketing and tailored messaging. From optimizing website experiences to leveraging data-driven insights, Glenn equips listeners with the tools to transform marketing efforts into tangible sales outcomes.
    In the culmination of our dialogue, Glenn underscores the significance of personalized marketing and the power of maintaining ongoing customer engagement. With a strategic focus on nurturing relationships and delivering exceptional experiences, Glenn empowers dealerships to transcend conventional marketing paradigms and unlock unparalleled success. 
    Thanks, Glenn Pasch!
    If you enjoyed this episode featuring Glenn Pasch, support us by clicking the links! 
    Connect with Glenn Pasch on LinkedInListen to the full episode for insights and context from Glenn Pasch! 
    ⭐️ Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your LinkedIn or Instagram handle so we can thank you personally! 
    Connect with Michael Cirillo
    Connect with Michael on LinkedInCLICK HERE to learn more about The Dealer Playbook! 
    Sell Smarter, Not Harder
    AutoFi helps progressive dealers like you sell smarter, not harder—on your dealership website and, now, in your showroom, too.
    AutoFi solves the everyday problems dealers actually face: like bottlenecks at the sales desk, customer distrust, and decision overload. And their all-new showroom solution includes deal estimation, desking, lender routing, and an F&I menu – all in one powerful platform that bridges the gap between the CRM and DMS.
    Go to AutoFi.com/dealerplaybook to learn more. And start selling smarter, today.

    • 22 min
    Driving Business Innovation in the Electric Vehicle Sphere with Alex Lawrence

    Driving Business Innovation in the Electric Vehicle Sphere with Alex Lawrence

    Alex Lawrence is the CEO and co-founder of Ev Auto, a pioneering dealership specializing in electric vehicles. With a background in franchising and tech, Alex brings a wealth of experience to the table, along with a passion for creating exceptional customer experiences. His dedication to honesty, integrity, and innovation has propelled Ev Auto to success in the competitive EV market.
    What We Discuss In This Episode:
    We start by tracing Alex's remarkable journey from his background in franchising and tech startups to the inception of Ev Auto. His diverse career path and passion for innovation set the stage for a dealership experience unlike any other in the EV market.
    One of the central themes we explore is how Ev Auto is reshaping the traditional dealership model. Alex reveals his commitment to creating an unforgettable experience for customers, emphasizing a no-pressure sales approach and a welcoming atmosphere. By prioritizing customer education and satisfaction, Ev Auto has carved out a niche in the competitive EV landscape.
    Throughout our conversation, Alex emphasizes the importance of staying true to core values. In an industry often associated with high-pressure sales tactics, Ev Auto stands apart with its emphasis on honesty, integrity, and transparency. Alex shares insights into how these values have not only built trust with customers but also fueled the dealership's long-term success.
    As we delve deeper into the EV market, Alex offers insider recommendations on must-try electric vehicle models. From high-performance luxury cars to budget-friendly options, Ev Auto caters to a diverse range of customers with different preferences and budgets. Alex's expertise and passion for EVs shine through as he discusses the exciting future of electric vehicles.
    Thanks, Alex Lawrence!
    If you enjoyed this episode featuring Alex Lawrence, support us by clicking the links! 
    Connect with Alex Lawrence on LinkedInListen to the full episode for insights and context from Alex Lawrence! 
    ⭐️ Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your LinkedIn or Instagram handle so we can thank you personally! 
    Connect with Michael Cirillo
    Connect with Michael on LinkedInCLICK HERE to learn more about The Dealer Playbook! 
    Sell Smarter, Not Harder
    AutoFi helps progressive dealers like you sell smarter, not harder—on your dealership website and, now, in your showroom, too.
    AutoFi solves the everyday problems dealers actually face: like bottlenecks at the sales desk, customer distrust, and decision overload. And their all-new showroom solution includes deal estimation, desking, lender routing, and an F&I menu – all in one powerful platform that bridges the gap between the CRM and DMS.
    Go to AutoFi.com/dealerplaybook to learn more. And start selling smarter, today.

    • 23 min
    Spanish SEO Does Matter! | Ally Pinon

    Spanish SEO Does Matter! | Ally Pinon

    Are you leaving a massive chunk of the market untapped? Welcome back to another insightful episode of the Dealer Playbook podcast. Today, we're delving deep into the world of marketing segmentation, focusing specifically on the Hispanic marketplace.
    Joining me today is Ally Pinon, the Digital Marketing Director for Chastang Ford, as we uncover the secrets to successfully reaching and engaging with this vibrant demographic.
    What We Discuss In This Episode:
    In this episode, Ally Pinon and I explore marketing segmentation with a focus on the Hispanic market, addressing challenges like language and cultural nuances. We highlight the importance of word-of-mouth in Hispanic communities and strategies to leverage it, emphasizing cultural relevance over mere translation.
    Ally shares insights on authentic engagement through local influencers and balancing marketing channels for dealership growth. The discussion underscores the necessity of authenticity, cultural understanding, and strategic marketing to connect with Hispanic consumers and foster long-term relationships, offering actionable tips for dealerships aiming to tap into this demographic's potential.
    Thanks, Ally Pinon!
    If you enjoyed this episode featuring Ally Pinon, support us by clicking the links!
    Connect with Ally Pinon on LinkedInListen to the full episode for insights and context from Ally Pinon!
    Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your LinkedIn or Instagram handle so we can thank you personally! 
    Connect with Michael Cirillo
    Connect with Michael on LinkedInCLICK HERE to learn more about The Dealer Playbook! 
    Sell Smarter, Not Harder
    AutoFi helps progressive dealers like you sell smarter, not harder—on your dealership website and, now, in your showroom, too.
    AutoFi solves the everyday problems dealers actually face: like bottlenecks at the sales desk, customer distrust, and decision overload. And their all-new showroom solution includes deal estimation, desking, lender routing, and an F&I menu – all in one powerful platform that bridges the gap between the CRM and DMS.
    Go to AutoFi.com/dealerplaybook to learn more. And start selling smarter, today.

    • 25 min
    From Plastic Surgery to Auto Marketing Mastery | Adrian Gibbs

    From Plastic Surgery to Auto Marketing Mastery | Adrian Gibbs

    When Adrian Gibbs, Marketing Director of Nimnicht Family of Dealerships, stepped into the world of automotive marketing, she brought with her the competitive edge of the plastic surgery industry and a knack for nurturing customer relationships. Our exchange is as insightful as it is humorous, revealing the unexpected connections between such diverse fields and underscoring the transformative power of innovative thinking. Adrian's journey from nannying to navigating the nonprofit sector and now revving up the marketing engine in automotive sales, showcases a career path that is anything but ordinary.


    What We Discuss In This Episode:


    This episode peels back the curtain on the traditional, and sometimes outdated, practices that have long governed automotive marketing. We navigate through the maze of customer experience, finding parallels in the simplicity of choosing an ice cream flavor. Emphasizing the need to craft a clear and inviting journey for potential buyers, we dissect the common pitfalls, such as an over-reliance on third-party leads, and champion the approach of personalizing the car buying experience.


    Venturing into the technical trenches, we unravel the complexities of dealership operations and the critical role of auditing third-party vendors. Adrian leads us through her methodical process, challenging every step from cost to impact on the customer. We wrap up by discussing the balancing act faced by marketing directors, sharing tactics to maximize efficiency and cultivate a robust team dynamic. 


    Thanks, Adrian Gibbs!


    If you enjoyed this episode featuring Adrian Gibbs, support us by clicking the links! 


    Connect with Adrian Gibbs on LinkedInListen to the full episode for insights and context from Adrian Gibbs! 


    ⭐️ Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your LinkedIn or Instagram handle so we can thank you personally! 


    Connect with Michael Cirillo


    Connect with Michael on LinkedInCLICK HERE to learn more about The Dealer Playbook! 


    Sell Smarter, Not Harder


    AutoFi helps progressive dealers like you sell smarter, not harder—on your dealership website and, now, in your showroom, too.


    AutoFi solves the everyday problems dealers actually face: like bottlenecks at the sales desk, customer distrust, and decision overload. And their all-new showroom solution includes deal estimation, desking, lender routing, and an F&I menu – all in one powerful platform that bridges the gap between the CRM and DMS.


    Go to AutoFi.com/dealerplaybook to learn more. And start selling smarter, today.

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
124 Ratings

124 Ratings

Gabi Abinion ,

10/10 Love this Podcast!

The Dealer Playbook is a fantastic podcast. If you’re in the automotive industry or an adjacent industry- listen to this podcast. There is so much helpful information that is shared and great guest speakers that shed light on the industry from a macro point of view and industry trends. Michael is an awesome host that brings good perspective, positivity and inspiration to this industry and his work.

mvelasco07 ,

A must-listen!

The Dealer Playbook has quickly become a favorite in my feed! I'm consistently impressed by the engaging conversations, insightful content, and actionable ideas. I truly learn something every time I listen!

MCivilization ,

MC is as solid as it gets.

Even if I don’t think the guest or topic for the week are relevant, I always end up with a great take away. Cirillo is solid.

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