<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=415977606533839&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">




EP. 5 | Innovate to Elevate: Sales Strategies Decoded 

Today’s guest, Jen Suzuki, President of eDealer Solutions, joins host Danielle Mills Walden to discuss her innovative approaches to BDC training and outbound prospecting.

Jen Suzuki-modified

Something Powerful

Tell The Reader More

The headline and subheader tells us what you're offering, and the form header closes the deal. Over here you can explain why your offer is so great it's worth filling out a form for.


  • Bullets are great
  • For spelling out benefits and
  • Turning visitors into leads.




Jen Suzuki

Jennifer Suzuki is the Founder & President of eDealer Solutions, Inc., an award-winning education and activity based training company focused on improving dealership showed appointments, sales and management process. Her 23 years of experience includes: President of e-Dealer Solutions, In-dealership sales trainer, three-year guest instructor at NADA Academy, NADA seven-year convention speaker, OEM, State Association, Twenty-Group speaker, and Northwood University graduate. She has a tremendous reputation for delivering significant success to dealerships looking for up-to-date phone skills and profitable actions that convert non-present buyers to showroom customers.




eDealer Solutions

e-Dealer Solutions has propelled forward as a leader in Dealer Learning tools in its 15 years of operation. The company, founded by Jennifer Suzuki, delivers more options for dealers to receive training materials in-line with the latest technology and best practices.










The importance of involvement management in training

 How leadership and team building in dealerships has evolved

 Rethinking outdated sales and CRM tools

 Utilizing customer data to create the best buying experience

I'm more inclined to have salespeople be the first point of contact, and then have BDC come swoop in behind when you get ghosted, or you can't make a contact.”
“If you get your team talking about solutions to our biggest problems, then they're redesigning the process for you, and making it easier for them to execute.”
“If you're not looking for something that's going to help you become more efficient, you have to challenge the old ways of thinking.”



At times, you can view auto sales as a game — the numbers, the tallies, the energy — but there’s another side to the playing field.

A hungrier side. A side that is there because they have to be to survive. The side that is fighting to build a life and escape from destitution with everything they have.

That’s the mindset Jen Suzuki, president of eDealer Solutions, had when she first stepped foot on the car lot as a new adult with one goal: to not become homeless like her mother, who had always struggled with alcohol.

She achieved that goal and so much more as her career progressed, and she did it by embracing digital and phone sales when everyone else was out on the pavement boiling in the sun, trying to snag leads. 

She knows a thing or two about seizing opportunities and using those opportunities to innovate and elevate beyond expectations.

For Jen, it started with one phone call from a lead, and from there, she has built a business and strategy that dealerships clamor for.

True growth and progress are anything but easy: it almost always involves asking tough questions and accessing even tougher answers and truths about outdated methods. And, above all, the willingness to lean into change.

The importance of involvement management in training and why it starts with leadership

What is a team without a strong leader? Where are they without a competent manager who not only paves the way for profitable practices but actively embraces change and innovation for the betterment of the team?

Typically, pretty disconnected and scattered. Or at the very least, unmotivated. 

One of the main ways a manager can develop the hands-on, active presence that earns engaged team members — and, as a result, customers — is when a dealership encourages and applies involvement management.

Involvement management gives salespeople the tools and skills to identify solutions and potential improvements to processes, and that starts with leadership.

“It is a top-down thing. I don't think that's ever going to change. If the top down doesn't understand the process, they’re just gonna hire somebody like me to come in and teach a process, but if you don't know the process, and you don't know how to teach or coach, that's gonna be an immediate fail,” Suzuki said.

Even if someone like Suzuki comes in and shows a team how to: 

  • Make a plan
  • Make money
  • Set up points 
  • Get people to show up on time
  • Put deals together
  • Get conversions

It could all be for nothing if there isn’t understanding from the top down. That’s how new strategies flourish instead of floundering after a few weeks. 

“I'm going to come in, show your team tactics, and show them exactly what you do to get these conversions — but I'm going to be thinking about every manager sitting in the same room next to their team because I'm not doing the class without them,” Suzuki said, “the class is gonna feel like it's for your team, but it's actually for you.”

Suzuki takes this approach due to the known pipeline of sales managers in the auto world. Most likely, they are salespeople who did very well and were promoted without any leadership courses or experience managing a team. This environment can lead to a stagnant selling floor and a disconnected culture.

“The way that I train is very inclusive, it's very much team building, always evolving and being mindful that people's lifestyles have changed, and the way people feel about being on a team is different. Some people don't even know what that feels like,” Suzuki said. “For managers, I expect them to be part of this initiative, it can't just be ‘Jen comes in, and Jen leaves, and everything's gonna be fixed,’ it doesn't work that way.”

The hands-on exercises, strategies, and activities Suzuki brings to the table are meant to inspire lasting change, and that is only possible with a dedicated manager.

The one trait that will help dealerships survive the coming years (spoiler: it’s not rocket science)

What differentiates the dealerships that grow in times of transition — such as the rapid adoption of AI and new tech — from the ones that fade away?

It’s simple: the ones who are willing to try new things are the ones who survive.

“People that bring me in are more progressive. They believe in training, in nurturing their people, in next level success; they're trying to knock records down, they are looking for an angle,” Suzuki said. “The clients I work with — they literally will buy anything that makes sense, just to give it a try.”

What could sound like an extreme approach is an effective strategy for finding the right solution at the right time — sometimes that means kissing a few frogs before finding the prince. 

Or, in this case, trying out a few clunkers before discovering a tech solution worth retaining.

“The most important thing you embrace is change — really own it and look for stuff. You’re fighting to find the next available tech that's cutting edge, that’s going to do what you need to do to solve the problem,” Suzuki said. “But if you're not out there knocking on doors, and you're always going to wait for vendors to come to you, you're missing the boat, you're going to miss a lot of opportunities.”

You may be wondering, “How do I know what solution to look for?” 

Ask your team. They know the most prevalent problems in the current system. If they don’t have a solid plan for how to solve them, they’ll at least know where to start.

“If I'm asking my team to be a part of problem-solving, now I know what to go out there and look for,” Suzuki said. “There are certain people in the industry that will cross your path — you are constantly asking your network, ‘What is working? What is good?’”

The more you involve your team and actively search for solutions outside the norm, the more likely you are to ride the tech wave and reach the other side alive and thriving. 

Why continuous learning and development is critical for sustainable success

It can be tempting — once you’ve found a solution that works — to stay put and stop looking for ways to move forward. To get comfortable, focus too closely on what’s working right then and forget to look towards tomorrow.

Suzuki has a thriving business in her hands, but she’s not stopping there. Instead, she aims to cultivate new skills and aim even higher. To expand, explore, and evolve without losing speed.

It’s not enough to look until you find something that works and then buckle down with that for the next ten years — that’s what has some dealerships in a tight spot today. The goal is intentional, continuous improvement and innovation. 

“When you get tied up in a routine, and business is good, and you're making money, and nobody's starving, it's hard to learn a new skill, it's hard to challenge yourself,” Suzuki said. “I've made an extraordinary amount of mistakes in the last three years, and I've lost a lot of money. But I've learned a lot of lessons, and I'm building the next big thing, which is a conglomerate of all the lessons I’ve learned.”

For Suzuki, that means bursting into software development.

“I want to be able to provide something revolutionary for the way we treat people in business,” she said. “It would be a culmination of everything I ever stood for, everything I’ve ever worked for.”

There is a delicate balance across innovation, stability, growth, and change. The trick is to always be open to learning new things and roll with the punches. When you try a lot of things, they’re not all going to work. But you must keep trying.

Stay tuned for new episodes every other week on the Leadership in the Dealership Podcast.

CoverArt Leaderhsip in the Dealership


Stay tuned for new episodes every other week on the Leadership in the Dealership Podcast