Jim Fitzpatrick: Hello everyone, I’m Jim Fitzpatrick. Thanks so much for joining me on another edition of CBT News. Today I have a special guest with us, and that is Rudy Tremenio. You know him though as El Patronn. Thank you so much for joining us today, El Patronn.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. So let’s kind of drill right in here. Kind of tell us how you got into the car business.
Rudy Tremenio: You know, came in, my mom left when I was six years old in El Salvador, came back here at 15 not knowing the language, anything, and I pretty much had to start all over again. So I didn’t graduate high school because I was a little bit of a badass and my best friend, he introduced me to the car business. So right in the Bronx 15 years ago I started selling cars … in the Bronx and 18 months later they say, “Hey, you’re selling an average 28, 30 cars a month. You should be in management.” And I’m like, “No, I don’t want to be a manager. Every manager that got promoted got fired.” So my mind was like if I make it to manager, I’m going to get fired quicker. So I made my guy sign something saying that if I don’t make it as a manager that I’m allowed to go back on the floor, and he signed it.
Jim Fitzpatrick: How has that experience impacted your life today as a dealer principal?
Rudy Tremenio: It impacted me dramatically. My first year was one of the best years ever, not only financially but growth and I said, “This is it. This is my career, this is my thing and I’m going to go for it and just go all the way to the top.” So that was my aha moment. I said, “Okay, no college education, no nothing. This is it. I’m going to stick to it and learn everything that I can to become the best version of myself.”
Jim Fitzpatrick: Do you think we can be too tough on people in that first year? You had mentioned that the managers, if you do good at sales, you get into management and then you get blown out because the dealer says, “Hey, I want more cars to be sold than what you’re delivering me,” and on with the next guy. We just take the kind of the … What’s the word I’m looking for?
Rudy Tremenio: I think we give up on our guys too easily. It’s just like a marriage. You got to be able to work it out man, some way, somehow.
Jim Fitzpatrick: It’s a huge turnover in the car business. What are we going to do about that?
Rudy Tremenio: Well, I’m trying to do the best I can to change the stigma, the negativity. There is a better way. Cancel culture is big and I’m making a lot of noise. And I’m putting these conferences and all these things to spread the word that there is a better way. I don’t use that methodology anymore, and I used to do that. I used to be that guy, believe it or not. I used to be that jerk of a manager, and I learned the hard way because guys were not staying with me.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.
Rudy Tremenio: So it wasn’t working.
Jim Fitzpatrick: There’s a lot of people that think that if you get rid of a guy or girl that’s selling six, eight cars a month, that you’re going to replace them with a superstar that walks in the door. And that just isn’t the case, is it?
Rudy Tremenio: It’s not. Sometimes the superstar is the cancer. He’s the one that creates all the animosity and those guys got to go. I don’t believe in cancers, even from BDC to sales, even in service. Just because you’re a superstar, if you’re not a team player man, look at the Tom Bradys of the world, right?
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.
Rudy Tremenio: Beckham Jr, those guys, and they’re great at what they do. But if it’s not about the team, it’s not going to work.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And like Tom Brady, if the quarterback before him never got injured, we wouldn’t have the Tom Brady that we have today, right?
Rudy Tremenio: Exactly.
Jim Fitzpatrick: So maybe there’s a lot of Tom Bradys on the showroom floor that just need to be developed and to be worked with, to bring them to that superstar status. But I think in the industry we-
Rudy Tremenio: That’s exactly what I want to do is invest in people and invest in them to develop them, like you said, to make them a superstar because we all need help, man. We’re all trying to go through this process and I learn every day. I don’t know it all, I’m not a know-it-all. And I learn something from the newbies, from everybody, from the porter, and I think that’s why I keep growing and I keep succeeding man, because I’m willing to learn.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Well, you have been succeeding. I want to talk to you about that. So where did the El Patronn, how’d that come about? How’d that campaign start and where’d you get the name from and-
Rudy Tremenio: It came back in 2012 when I was running a Ford store in Jersey City. And me and my best friend used to watch a soap in Spanish. And there was this show called El Patron, which originated from Pablo Escobar, believe it or not. It was about his life and whatnot. But everybody call me the boss, so el patron means the boss in Spanish. I just added the extra ‘n’ because people can’t confuse me for the tequila, and I don’t drink. So it stuck to it, but I didn’t blow up until two years ago.
Jim Fitzpatrick: So talk to me about that. What’s appealing to you about marketing everything that you do on social media? What is it that you want to get out of that?
Rudy Tremenio: Marketing is my passion. I learned it from a couple of mentors. How to think like a customer, where I used to work at a Toyota store where for seven years [inaudible] train station and nobody knew about it. This guy realized that in five minutes, he’s like, “We’re sending all the clients to the competitor.” All our advertisers said that. So I pay attention to the little things where it makes a big difference. Some guys don’t think like that. It’s not just about spending, spending, spending money, it’s about making a difference and guerilla marketing, it’s just in your face. So that’s pretty much what I’m about. That personality comes out on those videos, on those ads, and people love that.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And you encourage each one of your salespeople there to have a presence on social and to build their own brand within your dealership on social?
Rudy Tremenio: It’s the culture here. They get their own personalized … I have a guy that comes in on camera once a week, twice, three times a month sometimes, and they do their own little videos. We come up with names for themselves and they start branding that name. I start working on the YouTube channel as well. So that’s the reason why it blew up because the app that I got, it allows you to multiply. So there’s one post, you get it shared by 30 guys, you got a lot of reach by that.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, right.
Rudy Tremenio: And that’s how we blew up, because everybody kept sharing the stuff.
Jim Fitzpatrick: What would you say to the salesperson that’s listening to this conversation right now that’s struggling? They’ve been in the car business for a year or so. They’re getting six, seven cars a month out. They’re really not sure if they want to stay or that this is the right career for them. We’ve all been there if we’ve been in the auto industry longer than a year or two, and they’re not lighting the world on fire, but they’re not getting a whole lot of support from their managers either, because the managers are spending so much time with the people that are selling north of 12, 15 cars a month and they can’t get any traction. They can’t get any attention and they’re lacking in support and training. What do you tell those people?
Rudy Tremenio: It’s very simple. If you’re not getting the support from your managers and there’s a lot of managers out there that are not willing to click and learn and see that the business is changing drastically, so to make that shift it’s tough. Maybe they’re baby boomers, maybe they’re not millennials, but the business is changing. [inaudible] who just want instant gratification. The Carvanas of the world are taking a big, big stake on it and they’re losing their shirt. They’re losing a ton of money by doing so because they’re coming after us. So either we do something about it or not. One thing I could tell you is that it costs $0 to post on social. It costs you $0 to create a YouTube channel. If you share your passion with the world, the world will give it back to you.
Rudy Tremenio: I believe in the law of attraction. There’s people that are amazing, that they have so much talent, not in the car business, but you’d be able to relate to people. And I’ll give you an example. There’s people there that are dog lovers, right? And they’ll do crazy things for their dogs outside of their business, but they’re not willing to share that within the dealership. And you’d be amazed how many people that are willing to connect because of that dog, because there’s so many people that are dog lovers. So that’s just an example. I don’t care if you’re a magician, if you’re a funny guy, if you can keep people laughing, they will love that and they will connect with you, and they will want to do business with you.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.
Rudy Tremenio: I have this crazy energy every morning and I go out there and it’s a positive, positive, positive. There’s no negativity. I don’t want to allow it to go here. And people just gravitate from that and they just want to do business with me.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, that’s for sure. Hey, I know you guys at Brooklyn Mitsubishi give back a lot. Talk to us about the importance of that and what you do for the community.
Rudy Tremenio: So we’re celebrating our 20 anniversary this month. We haven’t done or really get anything back. I’ve been here two years and we did it just to give back to the community. There’s a couple of schools here that did not qualify for funding to take their kids to summer camp. We did that. We spent a ton of money on it. And I spoke to the guy who hit it off and I said, “Listen, I don’t want a list of cars. I don’t care what they drive,” because everybody’s like, “Oh, a dealership wants a list.” I said, “I don’t care about that. We’re just going to give back and whatever.”
Rudy Tremenio: And you’d be amazed how they call me up and they say, “Listen, I saw you at the school, I follow you. Can you help me?” And we sold cars out of it just because, but that wasn’t the point. So now we’re doing this pizza thing, we’re doing the pink awareness next month. So we’re doing Turkey day. They’re excited about that because we never done something like that before. The last few years I’ve been really focused on … And this year, we’ve done a lot in the community and the response has been amazing, but I think that every dealer should do that anyway in their area.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Congratulations on being named one of Auto Remarketing’s 40 Under 40. What’s that meant to you?
Rudy Tremenio: It means that I’m moving in the right direction. It just tells me that whatever energy I put out there is giving it back to me. This is making a difference in the industry, making a difference in people’s life. I do get personal DMs every single day. “Hey, you inspired me to go to the gym,” or, “You motivated me to do this on video.” There’s a lot of kids that I coach on a personal level just to say, “Hey, do this video better or add this or add that.” And I give them the apps that I use. It’s not a secret, I’m willing to tell it all. And some people say, “Why are you telling all your secrets?” I said, “There’s no secrets, man. I can tell you how to do it. You’re not going to do it.” Majority of the time it’s a mindset if you want to do it or not.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Well, the one and only El Patronn right here on CBT News. Thank you so much for joining us today. This has been a real pleasure. I know our viewers and dealers and salespeople and managers get a lot out of it, so thanks so much for joining us. I’d love you to come back though in a few months and see how business is going, and see how you’re closing the year out.
Rudy Tremenio: Yes, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Anytime for you. You know that and-
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