On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome back Hugh Hathcock, owner of ReconVelocity and Kalah McCoy, Executive Vice President at ReconVelocity. The pair discuss their successes so far, plans for creating heightened brand awareness, and the benefits they continue to bring to dealers nationwide.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Hi everyone, Jim Fitzpatrick with CBT News. Thanks so much for joining me on another edition. We’re so happy to have in the studio with us, Mr. Hugh Hathcock with ReconVelocity. Welcome into the show.
Hugh Hathcock: Glad to be here.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And Kalah McCoy, who is executive vice president of ReconVelocity. Thank you for coming.
Kalah McCoy: Thanks for having me.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, sure. Let’s get a catch-up. Last time you were in we got a lot of emails, a lot of comments. You found Hancock and he’s not on the back of some yacht somewhere because you are known in the industry as the $600 million dollar man. I don’t know if you know that or not.
Hugh Hathcock: No, I don’t know that.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s what me and my friends talk about. You don’t know that? That’s what we’re talking about when you leave. So why is a guy like you out doing this? I know you have a passion for the business. We talked about it last time that you were in and now you’ve taken ReconVelocity up a few notches, you’re criss-crossing the country and you’re signing dealers up. Talk to me. Talk to me about this.
Hugh Hathcock: It’s been hectic, fun, fast-paced. We’ve got to see a lot of dealers and we’ve had digital dealer driving sales. All those meetings since we were here last. We were at the Auto … What was it, in Chicago?
Kalah McCoy: Automotive News, Top 100 Dealers.
Jim Fitzpatrick: So you’re hitting all the events.
Hugh Hathcock: We’re out there to get the ReconVelocity name out there and we’re talking to a lot of dealers. We’re getting so much great response from dealers about what we’re doing, how we’re going to do it. We’re having to create and talk to them about how much they need this because we’re still, some dealers are still in the mindset-
Jim Fitzpatrick: In the dark about it.
Hugh Hathcock: Yeah. They don’t know how many days they are, they think they are little better than they are.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. In fact, we got some emails from the last time that you were on and one dealer reached out to me and said, a friend of mine often emails me about the show and he goes, “I didn’t realize I had a recon problem until I saw Hugh on your show and he talked about it.”
Kalah McCoy: That’s good.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And he said, i immediately went back and said, “Wait a minute, what do you mean it’s 14 days? What’s the deal?” So I think you’ve woken some dealers up out there to this problem.
Hugh Hathcock: It’s just not though the mid-size dealers or the large dealers, it’s the groups. Even the groups are not measuring this with the advanced technology tools like our ReconVelocity product. They are still using some Google Docs and some things that they are comfortable with and as we get in and talk to these big groups and get these pilots started, we’re getting a lot of excitement from four or five of the top dealer groups in the United States. We already five to 10 stores started already in all these groups.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And you guys are probably surprised that you went to those stores and they were, “Oh yeah, we’re not paying any attention to this.” When you’re talking about literally 1000’s of vehicles.
Kalah McCoy: Right. Or with our measuring is, one group is measuring how fast it takes their cars to get online as part of their process and then another group is only tracking how long it’s in mechanical or they are trying to pull a report from the DMS and pull a report from their inventory syndication tool and then match those together on these ginormous spread sheets because they’ve got hundreds of stores and all their locations.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Analysis paralysis.
Kalah McCoy: Yes. So they are trying to figure it out but they are still missing all the transportation from acquisition. They are still missing a lot of the steps. They might have a chunk of it that they are piece milling together, but then they also want to have a standard. What should our Hendrick standard be? What should our Brookshire Hathaway standard be? And how can we identify the stores that might be doing pretty good and take the stores that we know are doing not so well and come up with some way in between to get everybody on the same page and to be able to measure it from a corporate level.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And let’s talk about some of the benefits when you do that as a dealer, when you get this particular area of the dealership under control and running much more efficiently than what it has been. You’ve got to have your clientele, you’ve got to have your salesforce, a happier team inside the dealership because everybody knows and is on the same page. Talk to us about that.
Hugh Hathcock: It’s a communication tool. It’s a process tool, but it’s easy to use and people want to come to work to do a good job in these dealerships. They don’t have a way, the people that really work hard and are exceptional in their jobs, it can be a detailer, it can be a tech, they stand out when they own a tool like this. It’s the people that have a little more opportunity that this IDs and it gives the dealership a chance to mentor and get them to the next level.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Which is very important to get.
Hugh Hathcock: But it increases morale. This isn’t like changing a DMS when you put it in. It’s a two day install. We do it with Recon experts that are really talented trainers that know how to get in front of a detailer and a tech and make them see what’s in it for them. How it makes their job easier. And we don’t get the push-back. We don’t get the resistance-
Jim Fitzpatrick: Are those trainers in the stores?
Hugh Hathcock: In the stores for two or three days and then turning it over to a support person that’s in one of our corporate offices, either in Destin or [inaudible 00:05:25], Georgia.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay, wow. That’s huge.
Hugh Hathcock: It’s an exception in the industry. You know how I did it with ELEAD.
Jim Fitzpatrick: I know. We talked about it in previous interviews where that was really the differentiator with ELEAD. It was the same thing. You guys had boots on the ground, no long term contracts. Your whole philosophy has always been, if you like it, keep it. If you don’t like it, we’ll get out of your way. Right?
Hugh Hathcock: Yep.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Which has been huge, because so many dealers get tied up in contracts-
Hugh Hathcock: They have so much technology. We need to be a technology company second and a service and support company first, because if the dealer’s happy and he’s making money with our product, everything works out.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. That’s the key to it.
Kalah McCoy: And we also want to take their feedback. In all these meetings and conversations and these shows, you have industry experts talking about things that dealers want, dealers telling us what they want, how we can incorporate different integrations or different ideas into this tool to automate it more. Or be able to communicate with their customer side of this. It’s opened the doors to a lot of other conversations of things that we can do with Recon and how we can move those vehicles faster, match customers to the vehicles.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Now you’re touching on a whole new [inaudible 00:06:37] here. Now you’re teasing me with this. So what else can you do with this information.
Hugh Hathcock: You knew this by knowing me that [crosstalk 00:06:46]. The Recon space is a great space just by itself, but there is so much opportunity there for the dealers, not just in getting a technology that speeds up the work flow and gets them from 12 to 6 days. We can do that, it’s not easy, but coming from our background in CRM where there was so many facets and modules that made the dealer money, as we jumped into this every month we’re talking to progressive dealers and learning how we can take Recon to the next level.
Hugh Hathcock: One of the areas that we’re jumping into now, it’s already going in pilot stores is a product called Recon Match where we’re matching the car when it hits Recon. If we’re going to take a car and tell you, when it’s in Recon, we’re going to chop it from 12 days to six days, if we can match that car at day one in Recon to a prospect, either a conquest prospect that’s looking for a like model car, used car-
Jim Fitzpatrick: In that market.
Hugh Hathcock: Used car in that market-
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s not in that dealer’s database.
Hugh Hathcock: Not in your database.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow.
Hugh Hathcock: And we can take it and sell vehicles and market used car customers.
Jim Fitzpatrick: It’s not even out of Recon yet.
Kalah McCoy: Right.
Hugh Hathcock: And sell the car before it gets out of Recon. That takes this to a whole new … it’s a game changer for this industry.
Jim Fitzpatrick: There’s no question about it.
Hugh Hathcock: And my background is what?
Jim Fitzpatrick: It’s data and technology and cookies.
Hugh Hathcock: Okay. Okay. But in 2000, when we first started ELEAD, nobody bought into it.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.
Hugh Hathcock: We would go into the stores-
Jim Fitzpatrick: You were definitely blazing some paths back then and introducing dealers to the whole CRM concept.
Hugh Hathcock: Right.
Jim Fitzpatrick: You really were.
Hugh Hathcock: But I introduced data mining 10 years before anybody else in the auto industry. We had a product called Gold Digger in the early 2000s and we would go in with that tool and basically try to sell cars the week we were doing a CRM install to get sales people to buy in and want to do this because they didn’t want to do CRM back then. Nobody was doing anything. The internet was new, everything was new. So we were data mining on a very not advanced level. We were just taking some payments and trying to move customers up to new cars because 99% of data mining the auto industry is get them out of a used car into a new vehicle.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.
Hugh Hathcock: We were doing that. We probably done millions of vehicles through ELEAD, the call center, Gold Digger, exchange, those products. We understand how to do this.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Now you’re bringing this to the used car side and marrying it together with the Recon product that you offer and now you’re taking it from cradle to grave.
Hugh Hathcock: We’re doing something different. We can go back to the DMS and market, but we’re going conquest. We’re ID’ing consumers that are looking at, if you’ve got a 2016 Toyota Camry that hits Recon, you traded it in today. It’s in day one of Recon. I’m ID’ing 30 people in your market that are looking at that car, sending them an email and then at that point they were raising their hand and we are selling that car in Recon before it gets out of Recon.
Kalah McCoy: A lot of dealers feel like they’ve mined their data base to death. There’s all these tools, their [inaudible 00:10:15] can do it. Many third parties come in and try to do so this is taking it outside the dance.
Hugh Hathcock: It’s not data mining. It’s an advanced-
Jim Fitzpatrick: It’s not really data mining.
Kalah McCoy: No, we’re finding shoppers.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. For that car that’s already in the system that you built.
Hugh Hathcock: Correct.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Like I said, it’s almost a cradle to grave situation where not only are you recon’ing that car for the dealer, you’re also finding a butt for the seat.
Kalah McCoy: We’re doing it in reverse. Normal traditional database mining is we’re finding a customer and offering them a multitude of vehicles to choose from. We have the vehicle and we’re finding customers to match.
Hugh Hathcock: That are already in the DMS.
Kalah McCoy: Right.
Hugh Hathcock: Nobody’s doing that.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And if the dealer signs up today, are they now today getting that element?
Hugh Hathcock: We’re piloting it in about 10 stores because we want to make sure we’ve got everything right and [crosstalk 00:11:03] by NADA, 90 days. That product will be in 20 or 30 dealers.
Kalah McCoy: [crosstalk 00:11:10] the dealer knows how to handle the lead also. So that’s kind of the other side, because we can identify with customers. We want to make sure we have the follow through of how to get that vehicle sold.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And we’ve spoken about this issue previously on CBT News. Somebody comes into the dealership, they know the car, they’ve looked at it online, they are ready to go. They don’t want to wait and now all of a sudden it’s hurry up and wait. Now you’ve got to find that particular car and the sales person doesn’t know where it is and the sales manager doesn’t know where it is and then it’s walk the line. How come somebody didn’t put it back where it’s supposed to be. I’m not kidding. It could take sometimes a half hour just-
Hugh Hathcock: And that frustrates the customer.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Tell you what, here’s my number. Call me when you find it.
Kalah McCoy: Right.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.
Hugh Hathcock: We’re really excited. When you put those two additional modules with the traditional module, it totally changes the Recon space. That’s what I want to do though.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That will eventually be all packaged in the Recon offering.
Hugh Hathcock: In ReconVelocity, but if a dealer doesn’t want to do a location service, he might already have something in place, he doesn’t have to do it.
Jim Fitzpatrick: He won’t have that other service, which is the Recon Match.
Hugh Hathcock: No.
Jim Fitzpatrick: You know he doesn’t have that.
Hugh Hathcock: Nobody has that. And that’s something we’re really sure that’s going to sell a lot of cars and change how dealers look at Recon. And that’s what I want to do with Recon. I want to take … when I brought ELEAD into the CRM market, nobody knew what CRM was 20 years. Now people look at Recon and think okay, it’s not an urgency for me. I’m already doing it okay. There’s not a big profit margin or profit upgrade or opportunity and now when they see what this tool’s going to be, it’s not going to be a $500 spreadsheet technology tool, like everybody’s running in this market now.
Hugh Hathcock: Everybody’s tool is very inexpensive and all it does is basically track the processes and it’s automated and it’s nice technology.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.
Hugh Hathcock: But there is so much more that we can do for the dealer to sell him the cars in Recon, to locate the cars in Recon. It’s going to be a fantastic product.
Kalah McCoy: And it will keep evolving because you listen to the dealers you talk to. It’s so important to be a partner and listen and these best ideas come from them.
Jim Fitzpatrick: So if a dealer calls you right now and says, “Hey, I just saw you on CBT News because I watch it every morning.” How long is it before you’re in their store and you install this?
Hugh Hathcock: We believe in going to see dealers. All our competition is web X. Nobody in the Recon space, if you call our competition, they’re are going to try to do a web X for you. We will do a web X if you want that really quick, but we want to send a person that’s a Recon expert in the store that gets in front of your people and gets their feedback, finds out how you’re doing it, what your steps are. And then we want to customize this to fit your dealers needs. We’re going to give you best practice because you’re paying us to be Recon experts. You want us to know the best steps and the best order and we want us to show you all the conveniences and how fast the new mobile app is, but we want to do that face to face where people can touch it and feel it and hear it.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay, okay.
Hugh Hathcock: So it depends on exactly where it is, if you’re in California it might take two or three days. If you’re in Florida, it might take … and if you’re a big dealer, I’m going to send … If you’re a single point store, I’ll send one of my reps in, we have reps in Texas, in the Carolinas, and DC/Baltimore, Georgia, Florida.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That is if you don’t come walking in.
Hugh Hathcock: Then I’ll come. That’s what I want to do. I’m learning still this business and the more I learn it, when I was in here two months ago with you, we really understood the Recon technology but the more I got into it, the more I said, we can do this, we can do this.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Why stop. Why stop with mastering the Recon if you’ve got these other elements available to you.
Hugh Hathcock: And it all effects Recon.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh yeah, for sure.
Hugh Hathcock: It’s all a Recon based tool, but why can’t a Recon based tool sell you 20, 30, 40 cars a month? Why can’t a Recon based tool help you locate cars, do your inventory?
Jim Fitzpatrick: In their wildest imaginations they would have never put those two things together.
Hugh Hathcock: Well they cost a lot of money, you’re talking about $600 million. $600 million gives you the freedom to do that quick and spend the money and make it happen.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And not be afraid.
Kalah McCoy: Right.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow. It’s good to be Hugh Hathcock.
Hugh Hathcock: It’s fun to do this because we’re reconnecting with dealers and this is what we love doing.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Well, Kalah McCoy and Hugh Hathcock, I want to thank you so much for joining us on CBT News. It’s always so much fun listening to these new ideas. As I said, we always get great comments and feedback from dealers that listen to us and say, Oh my God, this guy, there’s no stopping him. The energizer bunny. Thank god you have Kalah to kind of ground you.
Hugh Hathcock: She does, she keeps me organized.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Thanks guys.
Hugh Hathcock: Thank you Jim.
CBT Automotive Network. The number one most-watched network in retail automotive. This has been a JBF Business Media production.