Here is an interview I did on Daniel Alonzo’s podcast:

Brian Benstock knows that the secret to success is not strength or smarts, but being able to adapt. He has accomplished an enormous amount himself, as the General Manager and Vice President of Paragon Honda and Paragon Acura, the #1 certified Honda and Acura dealer in the world. Brian is also a keynote speaker, author, and thought leader in the automotive industry. In today’s technology-driven world, it’s an extremely exciting time to connect and communicate, but we must remember to adapt to the customer first and foremost.

Here is an interview I did on Chris Collin’s podcast:

This week, Chris talks to Brian Benstock, the GM and VP of the #1 Honda and Acura dealership in the world, Paragon in Queens NY, and is known for his customer driven philosophy “The Future is Frictionless,” and for following the digital trends of big name companies like Amazon and Peloton.

Brian grew up on Long Island and around the age of 12 he started playing hockey but his dad couldn’t afford to buy him the right gear. So in order to play, he made his own pads out of foam, plastic and jean fabric. He didn’t make the team but for his next birthday his dad bought him the right gear and he decided that if his dad was going to invest this much in him that he would invest all he had into becoming a great hockey player. And he did, he even played for the minor leagues. Then, at the age of 22 someone told him there was no real future in playing hockey and he needed to get a real job. That’s when he started working for Paragon Honda in Queens “until something better came along,” – he’s been there for 36 years! By working as hard as he could and constantly pushing back the goal post, he worked his way up to where he is today.

Brian believes that if you want to be successful you must be disruptive. He looks to companies like Amazon, Instagram and Uber and applies their business models it to his dealership and service departments. He’s invented software to create a “frictionless” experience for the customer booking car service and some of his customers never even leave their house. He believes that the auto industry is our game to win and if you can adjust with the changing trends and find new opportunities then you can be extremely successful.

I’m fascinated by the recent explosion of smart gyms. Recently, there have been several articles written about Peloton, Classpass, and a host of other entrants into the smart gym space.

This should come as no surprise to retailers as today’s consumer is all-powerful, selecting winners and losers with a simple swipe to, or away from, a retailer. They use their smartphone as their personal mission control center, firing instructions from their device as they dictate the terms and conditions they require.

Consumers demand shared control of the process; consider Uber or Netflix. In both cases, the consumer selects what they want and when they want it, from the convenience of their phone. Peloton has capitalized on this. They provide users the ability to select the instructor, the length and intensity of the class, the genre of the music, and the time they would like to take it. Frankly, it is brilliant.

Today’s all-powerful and all-knowing consumer presents many opportunities and a few challenges for today’s retailers. It is indeed an incredible time to be in business. As a side note, I am sorry to see Jennifer Jacobs leave Peloton. She was one of the very best instructors and had a cult-like following. People matter.

https://www.cnet.com/news/three-smart-gyms-tested-peloton-mirror-classpass/

 

There are several lessons that we can learn from the adjustments being made by supermarket retailers, and companies like Best Buy in order to offset Amazon’s incursion into our respective businesses. The good news is that several companies are making solid gains against the retailing behemoth.

1) Realize that Amazon is only gaining market share by providing better service to our customers, so it seems like a simple solution to simply think in advance about how we can improve our customer experience. It is much easier to keep your existing clients than to attempt to regain their trust after they have defected; do it now.

2) Supermarkets are now focusing on the special and the specific needs of the wealthier consumer by offering upscale product offerings and customization to this group of shoppers. It would then make sense to spread the customization to a larger group of consumers in different sectors providing “customized scalability”. By providing these services to our entire customer base we can increase our value proposition and retain/expand our customer base. Clearly, we can do this in our respective industries.

3) Provide better value in everything that you do. We have to disrupt ourselves by anticipating the needs of our customers from their perspective. Chances are the front line associates that work for us can provide great insight into how we could make things easier, better, faster for our customers; harness the brainpower of your staff! The more consistently we do this the less appetizing our respective business will be for Amazon to consume.

When we set out to create the Paragon Honda/Paragon Acura pickup and delivery service we considered a number of pricing strategies, from having the customers pay a subscription fee to offering it as a line item on their service bill. We decided to take a page out of Amazon’s book and to offer the service of picking up and delivering customers cars, for service, for free. The luxury car manufactures will be hard-pressed to provide better value than we are currently offering to all of our Honda and Acura customers. The response from our customers has been outstanding.

Thank you to Jim Fitzpatrick of CBT News for capturing the essence of the Google Marketing live meeting/ ThinkAuto2019.

We thought that Paragon Direct should bring all the services directly to the customer. Whenever, wherever, however, they access the Internet – 24 hrs a day

How do we create a play that can make us impervious to the competition? 

The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have 

 

We have to sustain our business model and simultaneously develop the disruptive model

Know the clouds are there and behind it, is a storm