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Millionaire Car Salesman Podcast

Welcome to The Millionaire Car Salesman Podcast – your ultimate destination for insights, strategies, and success stories from the frontlines of the automotive industry! Hosted by the dynamic duo, Sean V. Bradley, CSP and L.A. Williams "The Blind Master", this podcast is designed to empower automotive professionals with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in today's competitive market!

Every episode brings you engaging discussions with industry experts, thought leaders, and trailblazers who share their secrets to success. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or just starting your journey in the automotive world, you'll find actionable insights and inspiration to elevate your game!

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Jun 18, 2024

In this latest episode of the Millionaire Car Salesman Podcast, host Sean V. Bradley sits down with Bob Lanham, the Senior Vice President of Manufacturer Relations at CarNow, to explore the transformative impact of digital retailing in the automotive industry. Bob reveals how we are witnessing the second-largest digital shift since the advent of the internet, emphasizing the critical need for dealerships to seamlessly connect their digital and physical showrooms to meet the rapidly changing consumer expectations!

Sean and Bob passionately argue why embracing digital tools is essential for enhancing customer engagement and satisfaction. The conversation is packed with actionable strategies and real-life success stories from top-performing dealerships! Bob provides valuable insights on the power of data—how understanding and using it correctly can vastly improve customer experiences and boost dealer profitability.

The episode also features Cody Carter, who shares his firsthand experiences and remarkable success stories! He demonstrates the tangible benefits of integrating digital retailing into daily sales operations. Additionally, the discussion highlights the importance of training and process adaptation to fully leverage digital retail tools!

Don't miss out on this insightful episode that equips automotive professionals with the knowledge and inspiration to thrive in today's digital-driven market!


Key Takeaways

  • Embrace Digital Transformation: Understanding the connection between online engagement and physical showroom visits is crucial for modern dealerships.

  • Enhance Customer Experience: Investing in digital retail tools can significantly boost customer satisfaction and streamline the buying process.

  • Utilize Data Wisely: Properly analyzing and acting on data can increase lead quality and improve closing rates.

  • Learn from Industry Leaders: Examples from top dealerships and industry experts like Cody Carter illustrate the practical benefits of digital retailing.

  • Continuous Training and Adaptation: Regular training and willingness to adapt processes are key to successfully implementing digital retail strategies.


About Bob Lanham 

Former Meta executive, Bob Lanham, has joined CarNow as their Senior Vice President of Manufacturer Relations. Bringing more than two decades of technology and leadership experience, Lanham is responsible for supporting sales, product development and marketing operations. 

“Throughout my career I’ve partnered with many dealer platforms, and CarNow consistently topped the list of innovators,” said Lanham. “CarNow’s team has developed the platform with dealer experience and execution top of mind, which makes it a standout system that directly drives sales and service revenue. I’m so excited to join the team at this very promising juncture.” 

Lanham is an experienced technology professional who has served in key marketing and sales roles at leading brands such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Hulu, Shazam and Meta. He will play a critical role in ensuring CarNow’s enablement of the success of its customers and partners by expanding its collaboration with its more than 25 OEM partners.  

“Bob is a truly respected and accomplished leader who has spent his career at the forefront of innovation in technology,” said Andy Park, CEO of CarNow. “I’m thrilled to welcome him to our leadership team where his experience and strategic vision will be pivotal in shaping the next chapter of growth for CarNow and our customers.” 

As the Head of Automotive Retail at Meta, Lanham developed the company’s automotive retail narrative and strategy, writing its first-ever “Automotive Playbook for Dealers” that is used daily by automotive professionals around the world. Lanham has spoken at more than 500 industry, OEM and dealer events globally. He began his career selling automobiles, working in the F&I office, and serving as an internet manager at Toyota of Sarasota. Lanham earned a Bachelor of Science from Elon University. 




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The Digital Showroom Revolution: Connecting Online and Offline Experiences

As Bob Lanham eloquently states, "We are entering what I think is the second biggest digital transformation since the introduction of the Internet." The modernization of digital retailing tools is not just about convenience; it’s about transforming the entire car buying and selling process. In the automotive industry, the distinction between digital and physical showrooms is fading, necessitating an omnichannel approach to meet consumer expectations.

"71% of consumers say that they'd likely complete their next vehicle purchase using an omnichannel approach," Lanham notes, highlighting the importance of integrating online research with in-store experiences seamlessly. This adaptation is crucial, especially when only 8% of consumers prefer to shop entirely in person. Lanham reinforces that dealers need to accommodate every customer type—whether completely digital or totally traditional—to succeed in today's competitive market.

Being adaptable is no longer optional; it is a critical component of providing an exceptional customer experience. Dealers adopting digital tools have seen substantial increases in purchase satisfaction, breaking a three to four-year plateau.


Leveraging Data for Superior Customer Experience

Understanding and Utilizing Digital Retailing Behavior

In the realm of digital retail, understanding consumer behavior through data analysis is critical. As Lanham observes, "Consumers are simply trying to figure out what they can or can't afford against a vehicle on your lot." To capitalize on this behavior, dealerships must provide a transparent, frictionless online experience that aligns closely with the in-store process.

Lanham emphasizes, "Most digital retailing solutions still to this day are not set up to sell cars solely online. Many states still require that wet ink, so they have to come in anyway." This reality stresses the importance of not viewing digital retailing tools as mere lead generators but as comprehensive facilitators of the buying process.

He also provides valuable insight into the effectiveness of removing lead gates: "When someone cancels from car, now when we have a dealer say, hey, I no longer want to use your digital retailing solution, believe it or not, our number one competitor that we lose digital retailing to is to no digital retailing." This highlights how resistance to change can impede progress. By removing lead gates and allowing customers to proceed further into the buying process, dealerships can significantly improve lead quality and reduce friction.

The Cody Carter Phenomenon: A Case Study in digital retailing Excellence

Cody Carter, the world’s top car salesman in 2023, provides a stellar example of the transformative power of digital retailing. Carter’s approach showcases how seamlessly integrating digital tools into sales processes can yield extraordinary results.

"He doesn’t sell cars like the rest of us do," says Sean V. Bradley. Carter utilizes a dedicated website, complete with a robust digital retail tool, to streamline deals before customers even step foot in the dealership.

When customers visit Cody's site, they can select their vehicle, choose financing options, and complete substantial parts of the transaction online. Carter points out, "Most digital retailing tools are roughly the same, so you'll be able to get the same type of idea at your dealership, whatever retail tool you're using." This process not only enhances customer convenience but also allows Carter to handle a remarkable volume of sales efficiently.

Carter’s strategy revolves around transparency and ease of use, empowering customers with the information and control they need to make informed decisions. "Those deals just become so easy. You just have them constantly coming through on the carousel right into your showroom," Carter explains, showcasing the power of a well-implemented digital retailing solution.


Enhancing the Showroom Experience with Digital Retailing Tools

Streamlining Sales Processes for Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction

Digital retailing doesn't stop at the website; its principles are equally critical within the showroom. The integration of tools like Toyota's Smartpath can revolutionize the traditional sales process by combining modern technology with the personal touch of in-store interaction.

"Digital retailing helps us either directly through your phone or through an iPad that you can carry with you in the showroom," explains Carter. By leveraging these tools, sales consultants can provide accurate and immediate information without the back-and-forth traditionally required. This not only builds trust through transparency but also enhances the overall customer experience.

The ability to track consumers' online actions and translate that into a smooth in-store experience is a game-changer. Lanham illustrates this with an example: "We have some stores that have two monitors. One monitor facing the consumer, one monitor that's for the sales representative." This dual-display system ensures that both parties are on the same page, fostering a more collaborative and transparent sales process.

Facilitating Better In-Store Engagement through Technology

Using digital retail tools in the showroom aligns the technological advantages of online shopping with the personal engagement of in-store experiences. As Lanham shares, "If those that use car now, when they come into the store, if they have that barcode, that confirmation, they can take a picture of that barcode. And the second they take a picture of that barcode, it checks that consumer into the showroom experience." This seamless transition from online to offline helps maintain the momentum of the purchase journey, enhancing customer satisfaction and increasing the likelihood of closing the deal.

Furthermore, ensuring that sales representatives are well-versed with these tools is vital. Training and proper implementation can lead to a more efficient and productive dealership. Lanham advises, "Take the training seriously and test and learn. I'll give you a great example. We deal with a number of the larger groups throughout the country, and one group has designated specific sales consultants to only handle the digital retailing ups, and they have to earn it."



Embracing the potential of digital retailing is not just about installing a new tool; it’s about fundamentally transforming the car buying experience. The goal is to create a seamless connection between online research and in-store purchases to meet modern consumer expectations. By understanding and leveraging consumer behavior data, fostering transparency, and seamlessly integrating technology into the showroom experience, dealerships can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and drive higher sales volume.

The insights shared by industry leaders in this transcript showcase the undeniable benefits of adopting digital retailing tools. As Bob Lanham aptly puts it, "Digital retailing is simply taking the in-store process and bringing it online." This blend of technology and traditional sales techniques is not just the future—it’s the present, and those who adapt will thrive in this new landscape.