Ep. 231 INTERVIEW – Adam Sutton

by | Jul 6, 2021 | Podcast Guest, Podcasts

New Trends for Solidifying Company Culture – INTERVIEW with Adam Sutton Executive Vice President at RNR Tire Express Franchise. Adam shares how to be prepared to help your employees thrive, no matter what challenges come their way.

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Get ready for an unfair advantage over your competition. This is The Sales Edge podcast. Where globally recognized sales expert and trainer Joe Pici helps you sharpen your skills for booking more appointments and closing more deals. And now here’s your host Joe Pici.

Joe Pici (JP):

Joe Pici of these sales edge, welcome. You know, we have gotten a client that we’ve been with probably 12-13 years and we’ve seen a generational transition And we’re going to give him an opportunity today to educate you on the power of franchising, cultures, and franchise and the importance of sales and franchise. I’m Joe Pici. I’m your Host, this is the sales edge podcast number 231, believe it or not, our sponsor is Pici and Pici, which is a speaking coaching training consulting company and all of our efforts right now is to help our clients recapture, lost revenue, and attract, and retain new clients, and sell more virtually.com.

Every Thursday night, I’m out there live on our web-based membership platform, I do coaching a new training, there’s downloads, there’s interviews, there’s e-courses and there’s going to be coming in August a complete sales, training web-based program, we can’t wait to launch that but today, we’re here with Adam Sutton and so Adam. As the Executive Vice President of R&R Tire Express, can you give our audience a little background on where you were and how you got, where you are and what you’re doing now.

Adam Sutton (AS):

Sure, first off, Joe thank you so much for having me. I have had the pleasure of knowing you for many years and getting to watch you work in person with our team and others and it’s really an honor for me to be here. So thank you. Love what you’re doing and listen to your podcast regularly and pass onto our team. So let me just start right there. I’ll try to be brief, Was essentially in advertising for 15 to 20 years and loved every minute of it. A lot of that was such a technology-based and ’04 had the privilege of starting my own agency with my wife called red-letter Studios and we had a great run enjoyed it and enjoyed it. As you know you and Dawn it can be difficult but also exhilarating running a business with your wife. Is that fair to say right?

(JP):

You know, it’s like Clint Eastwood would say The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, right?

(AS):

You and I talked about this recently and I complimented you because y’all been together, how long? How many years?

(JP):

Just about 50 years we’ve been in business together since 92.

(AS):

That’s unbelievable. So we were we were in are still in earlier years of being married. So navigating that, you know, navigating your new roommate and navigating running a business together and bless her heart. She stayed with me, praise God. So, we had a great time doing that for a long time. And I was really focused on kind of a creative agency design printing video production, which was one of my favorites and did that for quite some time. Had a large client of ours that kept asking me to come on board, and they were a company called Thusey (sp?). And at the time in 2010, I consult them for a couple of years. They were focused on social media, which in 2010, it You rewind back. Some very early days for media, you know, we kind of just said, look, I talk with my wife, it was good timing. I said, let’s do it. Let’s take this chance. So I came on board and help lead the team there. And the first year really focused on digital campaigns, we built out Outbacks reward system, we built Under Armour.com, you know, it did some pretty cool stuff, some pretty fun stuff at a big level, you know, is wherever I’m at, I want to be making it better and I want it to be making me better and pets. I have a beautiful wife as I mentioned and three beautiful children that I love and I liked and I wanted to keep.

It was a 24-hour job that, you know, again, we personally if I was a single man, you know, I probably would do it till the day I die. But it wasn’t fair to my family and amount of hours and devotion it took and just decided hey, I need to I need to move on from this toughest one to talk. Things ever not that shift came for me as a huge blessing and great timing for me. My father, called me one day, who as, you know, as an amazing man, you’ve had them on this podcast, he called me up and said, look, you know, I know you’re looking to leave Thusey (sp?) and our company RNR Tire Express is growing. You know, at the time they were at the I think 87 stores and and I need somebody to come help lead the team. Here and take us, you know, to the next level, which is for me, a childhood dream. I grew up traveling to stores with him.

(JP):

And I was there when the transition happened.

(AS):

That’s true.

(JP):

Because I started with RNR with your dad, I mean, a cold call and a handshake and we were off and running. And I remember, he told me about, Adam. And then when he you decide to come aboard, he was just so fired up. When I got to know you, although you’re cut the Same way from focus and energy, you have a different, a different approach to things. We just been fun, you know? It’s like and we’re going to get into that in a minute. But here’s here’s as, as the Executive Vice president, I like you to speak on the emphasis on the importance of sales in your model.

(AS):

Yeah. Well and Joe, and I got to give you a lot of credit for what I’m about to say. Because, you know, we’ve we’ve always tried to have focus and vision. I think that’s important. You know, in 2017, my father, we rolled out, we used to have this really long Mantra mission statement, you know, you saw it. It’s nobody could memorize it and he did. I don’t know how Larry did. But it Larry Sutton is my father’s name. By the way, through to go back and listen to Joe’s podcast. It’s great. As this is just a hundred nuggets of wisdom and therefore, both of them, but in 2017, we so we really need to kind of bring in more Focus. And we introduced our mission statement which is to be the best tire and wheel Concept in America and that was something that we wanted to kind of just Define shorten and really bring Focus. And when you hear Larry do any does it so much better than me. But he will say, you know, every decision you do and everything that you’re going to do for that day, you need to ask yourself. Is this what the best tire and wheel Concept in America would do? And when you start doing that long enough, you start to become the best tire and wheel Concept in America, right? And in. And so, part of that shift in Focus was, you know, two of my favorite clients were Disney and Chick-fil-A got to work backstage with them, as Disney calls it. And just two of the greatest in my opinion companies, certainly customer experience. I always say this joke about it. My wife is which is real if my wife was at a four-way stop and the kids are in the back and they’re hungry and there’s a McDonald’s and there’s a Burger King and there’s a Wendy’s and there’s a Chick-fil-A which one she going to right it for light all day it in. Why is that? I think number one because they’re chicken is raised in heaven, right? It’s just the something special about that, you know. But number two, they’re going to get your order, correct, right? The only place you, but I think you pulled away from you. Don’t check the bag. You’ve got the sauces, right? You’re not getting frustrated when you hit that red light, and you realize they forgot something. And number three, they do it with manners if top Millennial manners, right in the number four, they worked on the customer experience. And right, so, same for Disney. You never going to go to Disney and have a bad time, right? You know,Walt Disney stepped off how far apart the trashcan should be.

Because he used to watch about how long people would set down trash and they got tired of caring and so taking that level of detail and care and Applying it to the mission is, I think critical in helping any organization but you also have to Define what that is. And when I said, you helped us with that, you know, something you really kind of brought to Forefront right before I think I came back was reminding us or unveiling to us. I, you know, I’m not sure if we do it before that, we’re a sales organization, right? You would tell us that you are a sales organization. If you’re sales organization, you need to think like a sales organization, you need to have Have the tools. Prepared and created and delivered for the team members to generate a lot of sales, right?

(JP):

So Adam, I’d like you to speak into what you believe culture is and how you’re building it at RNR,

(AS):

But, you know, the company was 15 years old and, you know, there, that can cause some bad habits or just not the best optimal performing habits, right, right. And and so, we had a great basis for kind of, my father is known for taking care of his people. You know, that but we needed to adjust and modify and enhance is probably the best word that culture with a couple things. And one of those things was accountability, you know something this age-old and true is sometimes your greatest strengths can be your greatest weaknesses and when you are people driven organization, you care so much about people. Sometimes if you stretch that too far you can be at the cost of accountability, right? And on the other side, that be true, if you’re cute accountable, you’re too regimented. Then you know, you might not be caring or being tender enough with your people. So we’re really working on that balance and kind of put together a plan as, you know, a multi-year plan of, how do we get to a higher level of accountability. And also, how do we really Define our culture in tighter vocabulary? So, you know, as I mentioned, we shortened our mission. Meant to, you know, to be the best tire wheel Concept in America and then we introduced the serve not service purpose statement. We also introduced the third one which is kind of been a staple of my father’s life. A trail that he kind of leaves behind in a good way if you will. But we again, one of the things I learned from Disney Chick-fil-A, I used to ask is, how did they do you accomplish their customer experience? How did they, you know, get that many people to have a replicatable positive experience?

Because Yeah, it is not. Everybody can do that. In one of the things, I noticed when working with them. And, and, and again, I always like to look at companies kind of Disney calls it backstage or, you know, behind the scenes, right? Chick-fil-A. Because you get to kind of see the true self so they really believe it, you know, do they talk about it? Do they do they live it? In one of the things I noticed with them was a they defined it like we talked about right? And then a short understandable way but be they communicated it. Frequently and clearly and that was one thing. I felt like we were missing to get the best kind of culture was you know the typically how it works is that the leader star says it. The next leaders Hear It. They’ll repeat it but it may not go beyond that, right? The top maybe one or two levels are living it. The rest are being told to do it but maybe they don’t hear the reasons why are the value. And so what we released was what we called, kind of the result if you live out the mission and you live out the purpose. We hope you accomplish this result. And that was four, words changed lives. Changing lives for their when you look at those three things as a whole, we really thought. That’s what we want to Define us right now.

Again, please don’t mishear me. We still talk about sales, we still have some contest and, you know, in all World account management, which is customer retention. So, you’re constantly reselling the customer, and you know what? We Joe helped us. Define value. Propositions for each one, right? So, for our sales, Joe, I know, you know it by heart, our value prop, is..

(JP):

High-quality tires with affordable payment options.

(AS):

That’s it, and that’s the shortest most condensed version that you can say, at 7-Eleven, when the clerk asks you, what you do for a living, when somebody walks in, you know, we offer high-quality safe Tires with affordable payment options. And then for our account management, you know, he even helped us to find one for that which is, we are here to help the customers obtain ownership in avoid paying renewal fees. And some of those just keywords, Joe, you helped us with, we used to use the word late fees. And Joe said, no, no, no, it’s renewal fees, right? Because that’s a different mindset of. We’re renewing the sale on a regular basis and so all of those things come into play, but I think it starts with defining obviously the culture you want. Want, but that doesn’t mean anything. If you don’t Define a plan with goals and some dates, you know, as you know, and put it into play,

(JP):

We had Lee Cockerel on the show who was with Disney and and he said everything matters. Okay. And everything is important.

(AS):

Something I learned a long time ago is, you know, higher to your weaknesses, right? And and not that, I think you shouldn’t be focusing on weaknesses and getting better but I know Myself. And I know my strengths as I mentioned earlier, with Thusey (sp?), kind of my Hamburg, I actually had to get a lot better at my weaknesses during that time because it was run as a start-up for too long. No. But I had to do that, but I’ve always been the most successful when I’ve had a key critical right hand, that is task-oriented that see brain on the disc as you talk about and you know, and I could not be successful without that, including that’s my wife, you know? And so Anyone out there listening, please do not be ashamed of your weaknesses. You should be getting better, but there’s some that you’re never going to be the best at hire to that and you will always be more successful by leaning the smarter better and stronger people than you.

(JP):

I remember the conversation, the three of us had and Matthew. And I kept saying, word accountability and you were right there with us. And, and Matthew, and I always in the three of us there, So place two years ago, I’ll never forget it, it was in October, go ahead. The three of us are sitting in front of a white board and we’re laying out metrics. Well, I love about you guys, is you measure everything and if you measure everything you have something to hold people accountable to. I think that’s a big part of what you do to.

(AS):

You know you got to Define it. You got to then Define the process and then you got to commit to doing the process and you know, Chick-fil-a Disney. I looked at their training when you walk outside, right? When you’re about to On stage with Disney, they called on stage with their guests, right. Don’t know what customers are called guests and great book. By the way, Be Our Guest. If anybody’s interested, is talks a lot about the, imagineering kind of view on customer experience and Fan Experience, and then try to model on after that. But they have their signs of their six keys. I think, or it might be. I’ve used to success. It is right there, right. In little things like that. You know, is just I think goes a long way and that’s where you just said is spot on. You’ve got A Define it, you’ve got to have the team in place to do it and you know, a great vision without a plan is Just a Dream, right? What you could accomplish a lot when you put it down to paper and and you hold them accountable and here’s the good news to Circle all the way back. When you do that and you bring in the right kind of accountability, everybody is going to succeed, right? When you have the right, people on the bus, you get them the tools, they need you help lead them and support them. Not just tell them what’s new and direct them. You know, they are going to Have the best career their life. They’re going to have a great work in life that’s going to trickle the way down to the customer and that accomplishes for us our end goal which is changed lives changing lives, right? We’ve made turn people that have helps turn people that have never made, you know, 50 Grand in their life. They’re making six figures, you know? And if we love that, we love to watch our people succeed in our customers. Again, like I said, we’re giving them a product that that They want if it’s a nice new shiny set of wheels at maybe they couldn’t afford, but, you know, now for $20 down or $40 down in that case, they can come in and get a new set of wheels on their off-road truck or whatever. For let these quality, you know, set of tires for the minivan. And it’s just you know, you got to love what you do. It helps when you when you have a plan it helps that you be as stressed. That’s right. Because we’ve done both.

(JP):

Well I would like you to do something quickly and then we’re going to move you on to another interview but for the people who are on their treadmill right now or they’re walking or they’re listening, RNR is a rent-to-own industry and they are expanding franchises. And if I was not doing what I’m doing right now, I would find it investors to back me up and I buy three to five stores because I think it’s the best franchise opportunity out there cutting Rings. Explain the franchise rent-to-own industry.

(AS):

Yes. So The ringtone industry if you’re not familiar with it, I think of a Aaron’s rent to own or Rent-A-Center now rebranded as RAC RAC. Those would be traditional rent-to-own stores and I think there’s you know, 10,000 stores in the country. Majority of those are the traditional record stores. That would carry. Washer-dryer TV appliances Etc. And that’s what my father, Larry, the founder of RNR, as started in its shape. Company called Champion rent ot own again. Great backstory there, if you go back and listen and Joe’s other podcast with Larry Sutton, and that’s what I got to grow up, under watching him and watching the customers and, you know, one thing, when I would be traveling around the world at Thusey (sp?) and they would ask about, you know, you would get into family or background and, you know, and I’d start to tell them about Rent to won. Everybody goes I don’t understand, you know, who would want to do that? And, you know, essentially it’s like, you know, buying a house or a car if you don’t have the money up Front, you know, a mortgage or car loan is a vehicle to get you. What you need. That’s something that, you know, I just got to tell you is so different with this industry than any other industry, which is this. It’s a relationship-driven business, you know, just desire to please the customer in to help them succeed is unlike any other industry I’ve ever seen it. And I’ve had the pleasure of working with a ton of verticals, right? And Just nothing like it and I’ll relate it to this. You know, you wouldn’t go into a Best Buy and you may get a thank you, right? And this is nothing against Best Buy but you’re certainly not going to know the the clerks name. And, you know, essentially the rent to own industry serves an under served demographic people that you know, I think two-thirds of Americans don’t have a thousand dollars in their bank account. I mean, think about that average expense, you know, 400 to 900 dollars puts the majority of Americans in a bind. And we are here to help fill that need, we are providing tires wheels and alignments in some areas, some additional services with affordable payment options in to be able to put a set of safe. Tires on a mom’s minivan. For the first time when she’s been buying used tires over over over over and over again for $50. A pop, you know, showing up spending more. More money on an unsafe Tire in an unfit environment for a family without a service like ours. And so either is that because it had just want to say all that because sometimes people can go there, you know, there might be a stigma there or, you know, you might people might feel like you’re taking advantage of somebody, but I challenge anybody that has a mindset and you’ve done this, spend an hour a day in one of our stores or any traditional rent to owns a store and you will see these customers love us. You know, we can, because we treat them with respect, we encourage our team Excuse me, the to treat them like kings and queens and then you treat their children like princes and princesses, and we’ve got beautiful showrooms, you know, beautiful waiting rooms and you know kids tables with with crayons and free water and coffee and all these things. And so, you know, I think that principle applies to any business.

It doesn’t matter what you do or but it’s how you do it, right? Because if you don’t do it well and you don’t treat people well, You’re probably not going to do that well. Right. But you can have not even the best product and you treat people well and they’ll keep coming back for us. We’ve got great product. Is we are here to serve our customers in not just provide customer service and it’s shorthand on that is, you know? Yes, we are a sales organization, but we don’t want to steam roll on sales and force. Anyone into sales, we want to serve them by using principles, you’ve taught us about. You know, I used to know these, two two things right used to sell before I met you, Joe another. Another is people going to think You’re paying me to be honest because I’m sure generally complimenting you when it says, before I met you and kind of went through your material and learn about the disc, you know, D is see in the in the multi complexity of personalities. You know, when I was selling, I would always you knew to mirror people, right? And, you know, I’m an animated guy I can talk, but if I’ve got a nun talker, I’m not going to talk too much, right? And I thought they were, you know, I looked at people as two personalities people, people and analytical people and the people, I told stories to a little people, I told facts and figures to and you know, when you kind of, when I went through you were training and you broke down for me, had it fairly mirror those four individual personalities and sometimes the combos, right? That was a game changer for me, but is also a game changer for our people and I say that to tie it back to. I think when you fully understand that, that’s how you serve your customer is fully understanding what type of Personality they are what their concerns are as you always say, right? What’s your biggest concern with buying tires? We use that every day and then I think you can truly serve them by answering the questions they want answered and not just selling them selling them selling them right when you’re serving them we find that we actually sell more. So that again another long answer.

(JP):

It’s okay because we have more questions later but but let me let me just start to wrap this and say this. So years ago, I meet Larry Sutton and he said, Joe want to tell you something, 20% of the people in the country need tires every day. Did he give his anywhere once? One of those 20%, and we didn’t have the money for tires and RNR didn’t exist in those days, right? That’s why two people I’m talking to you right now. You may be one of those 20% that need tires and don’t have that 800 900 but you can get high quality Tires, with affordable payment options. But here’s another thing successful business people find a need and fill it. I don’t know of another business in the world that has a 20% need rate every day. If you’re looking for an opportunity, you will never find a better team as a franchise or than RNR. So with that you tell these people how they can reach you if they’re either looking to invest in an open up some stores. Or they’re looking for tires.

(AS):

Sure, and I’ll tell you two things. If there’s consumers out there listening and you do need tires and thank you for the cue out there. The setup, just very good. Go to RNRtires.com As in Robert Nancy, Robert RNRtires.com. And if you are interested in franchising, you can go to RNRfranchise.com. We’ve also you can email us at [email protected] or you can call us at 813-977-9800. And by the way we also sell you know, retail we would call it retail versus rental. So it’s great to have diversification, right? We just went through a pandemic, you know, where thank God. We were deemed essential and a commitment we made. We didn’t make it publicly, but we did make it privately and internally that we were going to keep every single team member No matter what happened and that was a big commitment, right? We didn’t know what it looked like thankfully. We were able to do that, but we were also able to grow in a pandemic, you know? Just so thankful for our entire team that, whether that whole storm has everybody listening this, you know, nobody knew what tomorrow brought and, you know, our goal was just to bring hope and strength and hopefully a peace of mind because we knew that our team members had a lot to think about it home. relatives and their friends and you know, so we wanted to create safe environment for them to do that and you know, all that to say, If anybody is interested in franchising, we be asking me happy to talk to you. We’re a family run business, we’ve got a lot of families involved. Also got just a lot of, you know, just money groups involved and you know we have a lot of fun doing it. So yeah, so reach out, anytime

(JP):

All right. Now what we’re going to do here is this We’re going to move you over to the sell more virtually platform, but before we do it is been a value team. Take out your phone and type in sales. Edge one word, send that text that to 5 5 6, 7 8, tremendous amount of free downloads e courses and links by the, like you to Look at our sell more virtually.com membership platform for pennies on a dollar. You get me every Thursday night live and downloads and e-courses. If this has been a value to your, can you like it, share it and make a comment.

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