Friday, July 18, 2014

The first time I met John Marazzi

The first time I met John Marazzi had to be in late 2005 or most likely 2006. I was a "young car guy" LOL (not as young now as when I started this blog, har-har) and a vender friend had offered to take one of my favorite car guys Ross Bauer (our then GM at Toyota of Tampa Bay) and myself to Fort Myers Toyota to meet what we already knew was one heck of an operation.

I was low on sleep in my then role as a Floor Manager at Toyota of Tampa Bay but lucky for me Ross drove all the way down. Operationally John had some things going on I'd never seen before. The bottom line was that each step he found a way to maximize efficiency and get his most capable people in front of the customer every time. He was finding ways (and still is) of getting to what he felt consumers wanted and at the same time breaking sales volume records left and right (with happy customers too).

While my colleague ventured around the store I found myself alone with John in his office. He opened a long file drawer in his desk and asked me to come around to look. "Do you see that Brett," he said with a small trace of his New Jersey roots, "these are all the people who would love to come to work for me here in Fort Myers." As I looked down I saw, neatly organized, near a thousand filed job applications locked away below his desk. I believed John. Anyone with the drive, charisma, excitement and competitive spirit of a John Marazzi doesn't have to tell tales. He's going to just show you sooner than later.

Fast forward to 2014 and John has been partners with my father and I for nearly 2 + years. Everyday I learn from John Marazzi and I still see the very same instincts and energy I found in John some 8 years ago. Is he confident? Sure. Does he run in a million different directions each day? Sure, many successful business leaders do (He's a tough man to keep up with sure). He tries things others in his industry are unwilling to try. Is he perfect? Heck no, John can be fickle and change directions so quickly if he thinks something isn't working, sometimes maybe too quickly but hey, he's impatient. AGAIN --- many great people are. So when you meet John, do me one favor, just don't ever tell him NOT to do something. He'll just work all the harder to prove you wrong.

Brandon Honda is a place today unlike it has ever been. I'm proud to call John my partner and I am proud of what we are able to do as a team. John Marazzi's team is one I'd send my application to any day of the week.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

John Marazzi continues a trend of success with Morgan Auto Group at Brandon Honda

While it seems like yesterday in 2011 that John Marazzi joined Morgan Auto Group, in a short amount of time the successful General Manager (and now our partner) has done quite a bit. He's shattered store records in regards to Service, New Car Sales and Pre-Owned Sales all the while focusing on his online reputation and customer satisfaction.

Just in 2014 alone Brandon Honda has been acknowledged and recognized by three separate awards. The best news? One is the prestigious American Honda "President's Award" and the other two are based on online consumer ratings.

Brandon Honda is now the winner of the American Honda President's Award, was the 2013 Dealer of the Year for and also an "5 Star Dealer."

We look forward to following John’s success here in Tampa after an award winning career in Naples and Fort Myers (Ft. Myers, FL). Keep it going John! I remember the day I met him at while he was at the helm of Ft. Myers Toyota and still recall that first impression of a deeply motivated, very personal and hands on leader! 
Tags: John Marazzi, Tampa, Tampa Honda, Honda Dealerships, Brandon Honda, Sam Raabe, Reviews, Awards, Honda Awards, Customer Service, Brett Morgan, Morgan Auto Group

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Congratulations to our Brandon Honda General Sales Manager Sam Raabe!

I just wanted to take a minute and pass a deserved nod and a wink (hats off) to our GSM extraordinaire at our Brandon Honda store, Sam Raabe, for receiving 40 Under 40 designation. As a past recipient I understand the scope and impact you have to make professionally to receive this kind of recognition from Automotive News. Sam's impact on the day to day business of Brandon Honda has been nothing short of Herculean. We are surely proud of you Sam!

If you would like take two minutes and read the article below (or click here to read the original).

Taken from the July 14, 2014 issue of Automotive News: 
Sam Raabe was sick of working nights as a bartender, with no direction to his career. So he started selling cars at Kendall Kia in Miami. It was a way for a guy without a college degree to get a good-paying job and advance quickly.
Within a few years, Raabe (pronounced “Robbie”) had risen to finance manager at Honda of Ocala. Now, he’s general sales manager at Brandon Honda, a President’s Award-winning Tampa dealership.
Raabe’s sales tactics require managers to get involved early, “roaming the floor, not sitting at their desks,” greeting customers early in the process. After a test drive, that same manager will handle any price negotiations after the first exchange of numbers. That speeds the deal process greatly, Raabe said.
“When the boss comes out, you know you are near the end of the deal, plus it gives credibility to the deal,” Raabe said. “It’s always the same guy as before the test drive, not some scary new guy.”
Raabe also likes hiring sales staff who have never sold cars before. At his store, 70 percent of the staff is new to car retailing.
“They don’t have bad habits. They only know our process and don’t take shortcuts,” Raabe said. That process includes daily inspections of recent trade-ins and inventory older than 60 days, as well as a daily one-hour training session by a manager to teach employees all facets of the business.
The tactics are working. In the six months of 2012 before Raabe took the general sales manager job,Brandon Honda sold an average of 174 new and 110 used cars a month. In 2013, that soared to 242 new and 151 used sales a month. Profits rose 42 percent.
Brandon Honda also is the top-rated Honda dealer in Florida on DealerRater, scoring a 4.9 out of 5 from more than 1,200 customer reviews, in a cut-throat metro market. There are nine Honda dealers within a 45 minute drive of Brandon Honda and four within 30 minutes.
Raabe is not satisfied. His target is 350 new and 250 used sales a month in 2015, with profits up 25 percent this year and 15 percent next year.
Raabe thanks Brandon managing partner John Marazzi for his mentoring and “never give up” attitude. Marazzi’s best lesson, says Raabe: “No matter how tough it’s going, you can never be afraid of taking risks. You need to take as many risks as possible.”
– Mark Rechtin (taken from Automotive News) 
TAGS: Morgan Auto Group, Sam Raabe, Brandon Honda, Honda in Tampa, FL, John Marazzi, Honda of Brandon, Tampa Honda, 40 Under 40, Automotive News, Dealership, Honda Dealerships, Florida