Check Out Our Interview From NADA 2019

Check Out Our Interview From NADA 2019

by | Mar 25, 2019 | Training

Transcript of Interview

Joey Little interview with Sara Shabana for NADA. Sara is the owner of BDC Builder and delivers a white glove service for dealerships to help them, get them more out of their database and their marketing efforts.

Joey Little:                           (music)

Joey Little:                           You can see everybody behind us. And I want to let you know, right now, we are live. This is live, streaming on YouTube, pushed over to Facebook, LinkedIn, everywhere, live. Sara is here, at the BDC Builder. Sara, you might know her as the MVP. Is that on your license plate too?

Sara Shabana:                    Yeah.

Joey Little:                           Yeah.

Joey Little:                           Do you pronounce your last name as Shabana?

Sara Shabana:                    Yes.

Joey Little:                           Yes.

Joey Little:                           Sarah, just on a personal note, Sarah made my birthday absolutely amazing. I went to Boston, Massachusetts to visit our office out there at the same time The Red Sox happened to have their parade going on for the World Series, as a big Red Sox fan. You called me up and you said, “Hey, listen, I want to take you out for dinner for your birthday. You took me to dinner, we went and had, what was the name of the pastries place we went to?

Sara Shabana:                    We went to Strega and we went to Mike’s Pastry.

Joey Little:                           Oh, it was delicious. It was good.

Joey Little:                           So you’re here now.

Sara Shabana:                    Yes.

Joey Little:                           And we are going to talk a little bit with BDC Builder and what you do. I know your personal story, we’re not going to get really into that, but more of how you got into the auto industry, how you got into doing what you do now. Tell me a little bit about BDC Builder first. What are you guys doing here?

Sara Shabana:                    Sure.

Sara Shabana:                    BDC Builder is pretty much like a white-glove service for dealerships, to really help them, get them more out of their database, more out of their marketing efforts. The way it was established, just really quickly, I’ve been in the business since 2002, by complete accident, world-class knucklehead, just wanted a job. I worked in service for a long time, and then I got into sales in 2005 and I was very fortunate to work with the best privately held company in New England.

Sara Shabana:                    With this being said, when I transitioned after 10 years of retail to the automotive vendor side, it was pretty interesting, the amount of dealerships that I went and I visited to sell paper plaque or things like that. It was more about, everyone was looking for the magic pill. And I wish I can tell you that-

Joey Little:                           What was that magic pill? What were they expecting from a magic pill?

Sara Shabana:                    They expecting, “Which advertising source we need to be on to get more sales?”, “How much more do we need to spend?” Traditional versus digital, versus this and that. And of course, my job as a visual consultant is to sell product. A lot of the time, having all of New England as my territory and having to visit so many stores, it wasn’t so much about just spending more money to get more leads. It was about really doing a better job with what we have.

Joey Little:                           Customer experience.

Sara Shabana:                    Absolutely.

Joey Little:                           Yeah. And you were thinking about customer experience way back then.

Sara Shabana:                    Yes.

Joey Little:                           So, what you do now is like a BDC solution for dealerships, but also, are you still bringing in digital marketing and all that as well, right?

Sara Shabana:                    I am a geek by trade and this is my second time in San Francisco, first time I was on the Google campus a few years ago. And I really do believe that there is the holistic approach to really look at the whole operation from what’s spent and leads, and process and give that personalized customization, to equity mining tool. So, having that route that I’ve took in my career have really helped me be of good service to my clients.

Joey Little:                           You’re splitting your time between Florida and Boston.

Sara Shabana:                    Yes.

Joey Little:                           A lot of your clients are in the New England area, a lot of clients down in Florida as well?

Sara Shabana:                    Yes.

Sara Shabana:                    And New York, too.

Joey Little:                           And New York, as well. That’s a lot of traveling.

Sara Shabana:                    I love it.

Joey Little:                           Yeah? You digging it?

Sara Shabana:                    Yeah.

Joey Little:                           I know this about you, is you look at life holistically as well, right? You look at every aspect of your life and if you see something that is a challenge or something, you’re fine tuning that. I like how you segment your life into making sure that everything is positive and happy, and your positivity is so infectious.

Sara Shabana:                    Oh, thank you.

Joey Little:                           If you’ve never, like really, ever had a conversation with Sara … We had a amazing conversation at dinner, we both have the-

Sara Shabana:                    You’re great-

Joey Little:                           … same philosophy-

Sara Shabana:                    … company.

Sara Shabana:                    You’re great company.

Joey Little:                           Well, I love you to death.

Sara Shabana:                    I think the world of you.

Joey Little:                           We have the same philosophy on life, and to not think that you bring that over to what you do for dealers is impossible to think.

Sara Shabana:                    It’s passion.

Joey Little:                           Yeah, you’ve had clients for years, right? You don’t have a lot of turnover?

Sara Shabana:                    I truly love what I do and I can tell you that since I started … I wish I can tell you, “Oh, my God. I am an entrepreneur. I had this vision that I needed …”I’ve had dealers who come up to me and say, “You’re so good at strategy. You’re so good at process and hiring, and training. Why don’t you just come and help us do that?” And I was like, “Ha.” And next thing I know, I start penciling in a restaurant, literally on a napkin. And the next thing you know, I had a business plan, or I had put my notice. And here we go.

Sara Shabana:                    And since, all of my business is word of mouth advertising.

Joey Little:                           Right.

Sara Shabana:                    Or …

Joey Little:                           Or, being on a live show that we turn into videos later that we can put out there later about BDC Builder.

Sara Shabana:                    This is the first time, yeah.

Joey Little:                           This is good.

Sara Shabana:                    I’m so excited, thank you.

Joey Little:                           You have a better face for video than I do. I’m just saying that. I have a face for radio.

Joey Little:                           I’m not trying to make this sound like a commercial, or anything like that. What type of dealership would need what you’re doing? What challenges are happening at a dealership in service, or whatever that would need a white glove, maybe not your business, but somebody like yours. What’s happening?

Sara Shabana:                    That’s a great question.

Joey Little:                           Okay.

Joey Little:                           That’s all I ask.

Sara Shabana:                    You’re amazing. You’re good. And this is definitely, I want to provide as much information to support the audience. This is not about selling anything, really.

Sara Shabana:                    It’s people, process, product. And there is not a one-size fits all, from where I see it. I been doing this for almost 16 years, I started when I was 12.

Joey Little:                           11?

Sara Shabana:                    Yeah.

Sara Shabana:                    People try to figure out how old I am. I’m like, “22, plus tax. Something like that.” So, I see the biggest thing is, we’re constantly chasing the PPC clique, the Facebook Fleet, the this, the that, and really not cultivating and loving our database. We, sitting at the front …

Joey Little:                           You’re a data lady? Are you all about data?

Sara Shabana:                    I love data.

Joey Little:                           You love data?

Joey Little:                           I see your faces changes like-

Sara Shabana:                    Oh, my God-

Joey Little:                           … “Oh, I love data.”

Sara Shabana:                    Oh, my God.

Joey Little:                           Or, when somebody says, “I love chocolate.”

Sara Shabana:                    I do that.

Joey Little:                           “I love football.” Yeah.

Sara Shabana:                    I love data.

Joey Little:                           So putting it all together, a dealer that doesn’t really understand the data that they’re sitting on …

Sara Shabana:                    Oh, my God.

Joey Little:                           You come in and …

Sara Shabana:                    And I see opportunities. All of my clients, before we even talk, I’ll be like, “Okay, let’s pop the hood. Let’s see what’s in there. Who’s doing this? Who’s doing that? Who’s throwing down?” And the next thing you know, you see just by cutting maybe 15-20% off expense in marketing …

Joey Little:                           That’s the first thing you do.

Sara Shabana:                    Yeah.

Sara Shabana:                    Spot out all the waste, and you won’t even know that this was gone. Just save for that-

Joey Little:                           Do you see a lot of wasteful spending? Yeah? In marketing and advertising. Do you see it in traditional, or do you see it more in digital, or both? Because digital can be just as confusing and there’s a lot of snake oil there, too, as well.

Sara Shabana:                    There is.

Joey Little:                           Yeah.

Sara Shabana:                    And it takes [inaudible 00:08:24] to get down to the bottom of it.

Joey Little:                           Are you hoping to change the view of the geek in this world, that not all geeks wear glasses and pocket protectors and all that? They also have long hair and wear nice dresses and skirts, right? So, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Sara Shabana:                    So, yesterday, my first class was Tax Changes for Dealership 2018, which really has nothing to do with BDC, or digital … but I have such a passion for what we do. And it’s really everything, and impacts the dealer, which, that’s my home.

Sara Shabana:                    So, at the end of the class, somebody came up to me. He was like, “Please tell me you’re not an accountant.” I was like, “I don’t look like an accountant?”-

Joey Little:                           I think you look like an accountant.

Sara Shabana:                    … “Why? What’s wrong with that?”

Joey Little:                           Yeah. You get judged. I wonder what they thought you were, like, a game show host or something?

Sara Shabana:                    Sitting here, just taking notes.

Joey Little:                           Yeah.

Joey Little:                           How many NADAs have you been too?

Sara Shabana:                    Four.

Joey Little:                           Four of them. For somebody who may be attending next year in Vegas, what’s a tip you would give a dealer that’s going to come out, or anybody, really?

Sara Shabana:                    I think it’s the greatest event of the year. Every time I come I feel like a kid going to a candy store. I’m so excited to see some of the most brilliant mind in the industry speak and see the latest and the greatest tools, and really compare a lot of technologies to see what’s …

Joey Little:                           Yeah-

Sara Shabana:                    Right next to each other-

Joey Little:                           You see what’s new, and you see what’s in the market, yeah.

Sara Shabana:                    Exactly.

Sara Shabana:                    And also, a lot of the classes and a lot of the round table conversations are amazing.

Joey Little:                           And you joined into those.

Joey Little:                           Have you thought about speaking? We talked about this a little bit. Have you done anymore consideration on, maybe doing your own workshop?

Sara Shabana:                    I thank you for that because you’ve been a true inspiration.

Joey Little:                           I’m saying. I think it would be a great workshop.

Sara Shabana:                    You’ve been a true inspiration.

Joey Little:                           We’ll get the video together. You’ll get what you’re going to talk about. NADA makes you send it in early, like seven months early. So, if you’re into data, if it changes, you’re like, “Oh, goodness. I can’t change my presentation.” But, I’m not hearing a yes from you.

Sara Shabana:                    I am.

Joey Little:                           Oh, you are going-

Sara Shabana:                    I am-

Joey Little:                           … to do it?

Sara Shabana:                    I am-

Joey Little:                           Okay. I thought-

Sara Shabana:                    … very interested. Actually-

Joey Little:                           Very interested.

Sara Shabana:                    Very interested, and I have taken your advice and I have actually executed on it for Digital Dealer Conference. I have submitted my application. And the topic that I want to discuss, How to Run Your BDC, just like if this was a recession time.

Joey Little:                           Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s good.

Sara Shabana:                    Because looking at the trends, they’re getting a little scary, you know?

Joey Little:                           They are. The government’s going back to work here, real soon. The market’s been down. People are a little unassured of what’s going to happen and what’s going on. Taxes are going to change. So, yeah, recession could be on it’s way and so how are you going to adapt to that at the dealership? Is that in your title that you put in?

Sara Shabana:                    Yes.

Joey Little:                           Recession?

Sara Shabana:                    Yes. Yeah.

Joey Little:                           That’s truly, pretty cool.

Sara Shabana:                    And I had the courage because of you. Usually, I’m actually shy, here I’m outgoing and everything.

Joey Little:                           You are very shy.

Sara Shabana:                    I am like, “Oh, I don’t know”.

Joey Little:                           But you’re the MVP. You’re the MVP.

Joey Little:                           I might have an MVP here coming up real soon. I think I told you when I saw you earlier on the floor that Steve Young might be here. The NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers might be here.

Sara Shabana:                    Wow.

Joey Little:                           And I don’t know if you’ve ever met Johnny Rodgers. You were here last year, so … Johnny Rodgers, he played in the NFL a little bit, college football, Heisman Trophy star.

Sara Shabana:                    Wow. I would love to meet him.

Joey Little:                           What’s the next step for you? what’s going on with you or BDC?

Sara Shabana:                    Today, this trip have been really amazing, because I always feel like maybe I’m too nerdy to a point. Like, I always have an over analyzed data, and I figure out, “Okay. How can we come up with a strategy based on the talent we have, the people we have, the softwares we have?”

Sara Shabana:                    And what I realized, that it really comes down to the whole hype of online retailing. People want to go online and just click, click, click, and buy a car online. I don’t think that’s accurate. And that have been validated today-

Joey Little:                           Yeah, absolutely-

Sara Shabana:                    It was one of the …

Joey Little:                           Back and forth.

Sara Shabana:                    The whole conversation with …

Joey Little:                           I speak tomorrow, on Saturday morning, 9:00, over in the west building on social media trends for 2019, what I believe is going to happen. One of those in there is virtual showroom. I’ll give you a little thing here. I think the virtual-

Sara Shabana:                    I want to be there tomorrow, but tell me.

Joey Little:                           I think the virtual showroom is BS. The only two OEMs-

Sara Shabana:                    My God, I can’t believe you’re saying that. I couldn’t agree with you more.

Joey Little:                           Hyundai’s the only one that I saw that said they teamed up with Amazon and created a virtual showroom on Amazon. All I did was click to go to it and basically all it is is their website i-framed into Amazon. It wasn’t a virtual showroom. So I get into 360 cameras and how you can set up your Google business page.

Joey Little:                           You know how retailers can have those 360 cameras and they’re selling houses? You can do that at a dealership pretty easy, and Google makes the tools to do it. But like you said, I think that snake oil happens with these consultants and things that come out and say, “This is going to happen, this is going to happen. You have to jump on this virtual showroom, sir.” Point and click, and buy a car, and it shows up at your house.

Joey Little:                           I don’t think we’ve gone that far. I think that everybody is just getting their britches in a wad. And I agree with you. We’re on the same spot. So I’d invite you to come check it out tomorrow.

Sara Shabana:                    I would love to. What is the room number?

Joey Little:                           We can pull it off-

Sara Shabana:                    I can look that up.

Joey Little:                           Yeah. It’s on auto I have it somewhere. Drew will find it. But yeah, I’d love to have you there, and then I’d love to work with you. Where is it that you’re a dealer at? Is it in …?

Sara Shabana:                    Orlando.

Joey Little:                           Orlando.

Joey Little:                           I’ll see if I can slip away and come down there and give you some support and watch you from the back of the room and stuff.

Sara Shabana:                    I would love that. You’re like …

Joey Little:                           I love you to death. We’ve had a great time together. We chat online quite a bit.

Sara Shabana:                    I truly think the world of you, personally and-

Joey Little:                           Well, I appreciate it-

Sara Shabana:                    … professionally. You’re so passionate about what you do, and genuine and authentic. That’s something-

Joey Little:                           Why, thank you-

Sara Shabana:                    … that, that’s something that show. Whether it’s just a career, or it’s really something that inspire you-

Joey Little:                           I’m like you. I care about people. I do. I care about people, and I think that’s why we clicked so much, because we have the same mindset. Knowing that you’re a data person and I’m more of a creative person, also we have that yin and yang going as well, but I do think that’s where we connected, is that we have a passion for people. You care deeply about me, I care deeply about me.

Joey Little:                           You took me out to dinner. A beautiful lady took me out to dinner in Boston on an Italian restaurant and then we went and had birthday cake. I think I got cheesecake. It was wonderful.

Sara Shabana:                    I was so happy. I was scrolling down, I’m like, “Joey in Boston, Oh, my God.” Like, “Hey, are you available?” And you replied, I was like …

Joey Little:                           Love to see if we’re going to match up next time. And I’m going to bring Drew behind the camera, there. I’m going to bring him out to Boston. Have you been to Boston before?

Drew:                                    No.

Sara Shabana:                    Not yet.

Joey Little:                           He’s never been to Boston so I’m going to take him there, show him Fenway, show him Bunker Hill a little bit, and maybe let me take you out to dinner, and Drew out to dinner next time. Does that sound good?

Sara Shabana:                    Sounds like a plan.

Joey Little:                           Is your birthday coming up or anything? Is your birthday coming up? Anybody’s birthday?

Sara Shabana:                    Next month.

Joey Little:                           See.

Drew:                                    You’ll get a belated one then, in early January.

Joey Little:                           I think you just missed what she just said. Her birthday’s next month.

Drew:                                    So we’re going next month.

Joey Little:                           And I’m looking for two to three weeks to get out to Boston. We got to make sure that Sara’s not down in warm Florida-

Sara Shabana:                    Tanning.

Joey Little:                           I want to thank you for coming on here. It was short.

Sara Shabana:                    I want to say one thing. I don’t think you know that I been using Auto Alert for 11 years.

Joey Little:                           Oh, yeah? See I didn’t want to pitch products either.

Sara Shabana:                    It’s not, it’s not. It’s really not pitched. I tell you, I absolutely love, love, love Auto Alert. I want to give a genuine kudos. This is not about pitching. I think the audience are intelligent enough to know the difference between somebody saying, “Yeah, try it.”

Joey Little:                           Sometimes. This is the car business. ABC, or ADS, yeah.

Sara Shabana:                    We are having fun. We love what we do. For me, I am going into a store that I want to turn the switch on and start generating sales. Once the traffic is coming, the money is being made, everybody’s happy and excited, this is the environment I want to be in everyday. I want to generate that happiness, even outside of work. So, looking at such a great tool that has such great information, I see it as an opportunity where a lot of dealership are not taking advantage of it to the fullest.

Joey Little:                           If you got it, you got to use it and you got to get trained on it.

Joey Little:                           Have you seen the new CXM? Have you seen the new stuff that’s come out, and the BDC dashboard that we’ve built and all that, the manager dashboard? Have you seen any of this?

Sara Shabana:                    Was this a couple months ago, a few months?

Joey Little:                           Last night.

Sara Shabana:                    Oh, no, no. Not yet. Not yet.

Joey Little:                           Yeah. Maybe I’ll hook you up with somebody down here, like Shawn. Just sit in if you got a couple minutes, just check all the new stuff that’s coming on. HR, we’ve got an HR platform now through Pando.

Sara Shabana:                    I love the Pando.

Joey Little:                           It’s incredible stuff.

Joey Little:                           Yeah.

Joey Little:                           Do you know what Pando means?

Sara Shabana:                    Yes.

Sara Shabana:                    No, I don’t know what it means, but I know how it works.

Joey Little:                           There’s a group of white pines or something like that, in southern Utah, that all the trees were all connected underneath with their root system. So at one time, it was the largest living organism. So we took the name, Pando, because we wanted to completely connect the dealership and all the dealership’s roots, the employees, and F&I, the service, to the front of the house, the office was all connected.

Joey Little:                           Isn’t that a beautiful story?

Sara Shabana:                    I love that.

Joey Little:                           Isn’t that great?

Sara Shabana:                    And I love the software because it was such a process, now I see. And I see that with this app, salesman can not really go spazz away and miss a customer. That’s not happening. Great accountability, and it’s amazing.

Joey Little:                           You got to see this, too. By the way, I don’t know if you know this, but also, just saying, you can have one of these copies. Put it up. If you want one of those framed, we’ll frame it for you.

Joey Little:                           But anyway, Sara, thank you so much for coming on BDC Builder. If anybody wants to connect with Sara, she’s on LinkedIn. You don’t go by MVP on LinkedIn.

Sara Shabana:                    No.

Joey Little:                           Shabana, connect, and just experience the wonderful world of Sara, the MVP. Thank you.

Sara Shabana:                    Thank you.