Pushing Against A Legacy Industry To Drive Innovation with Brian Benstock
Why Shared Control is Forcing Change
Want to know what it’s like to push the boundaries of an industry? To do what others are afraid to do? And to see the payoff a willingness to change and innovate? Me too! That’s why I had Brian Benstock of Paragon Honda on Inside LaunchStreet. He’s in the auto sales field, which hasn’t changed in longer than I can remember. But his business has and customers are flocking to him and competitors are trying to catch up. This is a great lesson in what’s possible, even in legacy industries.
Listen now to this episode on Inside LaunchStreet:
[2:12] You might be surprised to know that Brian is a competitive runner. He loves the runner’s high. He compares running to managing a business.
[4:06] Brian started selling cars in 1982. He has become known as a disrupter in the car selling industry.
[5:19] How has Brian approached the clash of change versus legacy in the auto industry?
[7:21] Did Brian set out to change the rules or did he set out to find the loopholes? Elon Musk pierced the franchise law by using electrification. Tamara points out that change is being forced on you. You can either create change, accept change, or fight against it. Brian discusses Uber and how that impacted both auto sales and the taxi system. In NYC, if you drive less than 11,000 miles, it’s cheaper to use Uber than to own or lease a car. Uber has given the consumer shared control over the process. You can pick the car you want, the drive you want, your destination and the price point.
[10:59] Tamara thinks that shared control is the thing that is really going to force change. Brian talks about Netflix and how it’s changed TV watching.
[12:19] Tamara discusses how most people want to force the way we’ve always done it. Tamara shares how she was involved with a newspaper and they just didn’t get that the consumers wanted other outlets rather than the traditional newspaper. She reminds us that we often look too myopic, not wide enough.
[14:56] Listen in to find out what Brian meant when he said he wanted to be the Apple of Honda. Get introduced to the gang of four.
[17:03] Google studies of North America showed 49 percent of people are willing to buy online. Tamara shares her experience about visiting the busy Peloton store. She asked the salesman if he sold a ton of bikes. The answer was no, they come here for the experience. They buy bikes online.
[19:14] Brian has done some transformative things at his Honda shop. Brian shares how forty boxes of coffee arriving at his door made a powerful influence on his business. He’s a firm believer that the person who creates the least friction wins. Brian coined a term, the future is frictionless. He turned to Google to find out how to accomplish less friction. Google Voice Command is involved in making service appointments and getting the car to and from the dealership.
[24:48] How has Google Voice Command impacted sales? Have other dealerships followed suit?
[29:42] Brian and Tamara discuss Kodak’s fear of going online. They talk about making the process easy for the customer.
[30:59] Why is there so much friction in business? Tamara shares that she was trying on dresses at the mall. She needed a smaller size. Instead of asking the store clerk for help, she went online and purchased it while in the dressing room.
[33:30] Brian believes the car dealership will need to become a boutique. Currently, the franchise laws won’t allow much variation. Dealerships will have to change how cars are distributed. The dealers and the manufacturers have to start thinking like one.
[36:31] Tamara reminds Inside LaunchStreet listeners that the rules and the regulations are often at odds with where the marketplace has gone. Brian talks about voice recognition and how the choices show up. The successful ones will begin to develop those phrases and adverbs that will show up and really dominate.
[38:52] What trends and patterns should we be watching? Brian believes that voice technology is laying the infrastructure to make everything voice controlled. The next part of that is the car will be autonomous. On the horizon.is a car with no driver.
[43:44] Brian encourages listeners to look outside of your business for answers. You need to think like a disrupter. Tamara and Brian discussed the fall of Blockbuster and Sears. When they quit adapting, they failed.
[45:34] Tamara appreciated that Brian discussed innovation and the changes consumers are expecting. She encourages the listener to drive innovation. That starts with having an innovation toolkit at your fingertips. Go to LaunchStreet and pick up the IQE pro toolkit. It has the Innovation Quotient Edge Assessment and all the tools you need to put innovation into action daily.