I was recently interviewed by Auto Remarketing Canada as a woman in the Canadian auto industry that “exemplifies the best in leadership”.
Enjoy the interview! I’d love to see your comments or connect with you in person; please message me on LinkedIn!
Auto Remarketing Canada: What was your path to the automotive industry, and what do you enjoy most about working in the car business?
Logan Keirstead: Luckily for me, I was approached by longtime family friends that had a fresh startup idea for the auto industry. They picked my brain and I was ready to jump in feet first! I love how many different aspects there are in the industry: retail, wholesale, parts and service, finance, remarketing, technology, product, etc. Here in Canada, we have many amazing leaders (both inside and outside of dealerships) and there’s so much knowledge, one learns something new about the industry and market on a daily basis. There is no end to it.
ARC: How is the Canadian auto business most different than when you first started out?
LK: That’s a great question. I’m still pretty early in my career, so I haven’t been around for some of the real foundational shifts, but I know I will be here for the next one with EVs, Uberization and self-driving. The obvious change would be technology: the advancement of technology for both auctions (where I started my automotive career), and for dealerships (where I find myself now). There are new challenges emerging every day that we have to face as an industry; it’s been interesting to see how the development of technology has helped, or tried to help, overcome some of these obstacles. I see dealers struggling every day to keep up with and adapt to the pace of the technological changes that are occurring.
ARC: How would you describe your leadership style?
LK: I think I’m a team player, but I have a bossy side that kicks in when it’s needed! I’m not scared to call a bull a bull when I see one. I believe in finding a solution, hashing out how it works and replicating it. You can’t argue with results. If we can develop business processes that work and give our teams permission to tweak them to their styles, that’s a win. I don’t believe in cardboard cutout leadership; I’d rather empower people to bring their strengths to the table.
ARC: How would you describe your approach to problem-solving?
LK: I like to take my time and look at the problem from every angle. Where is the problem coming from, why is it a problem to begin with, and where is the opportunity? Problem solving is about understanding where the other person is coming from, and figuring out where the opportunity is. I think 99 percent of the time you can reach a solution that works for everyone, even if that solution is not doing business together.
ARC: What are the biggest challenges facing the Canadian car business today, and how do you and your company work to overcome those hurdles?
LK: One of the biggest challenges I see in the business today is the mismatch between consumer demands and dealership response. Most dealerships are still using the old sales methodologies rather than adapting new processes geared towards the consumer today. In case you haven’t noticed, people don’t walk into dealerships looking for a car anymore; why are your salesmen standing around the showroom? There is a balance that needs to be struck and I see dealerships struggling to bridge the gap between the old and new way of dealing with customers. We work daily to help management understand buyer behavior and expectations. We completely remove one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the old and new way of selling: the challenge of the trade-in. By commoditizing vehicle valuations, we create a better sales flow for both the dealership and the consumer.