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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Interview With Car Dealer Guru & Author Jeff Morrill



Jeff Merrill offers an interesting, new book. Below is a bit about him and an interview with the businessman-turned-author.

Jeff Morrill co-founded Planet Subaru, “your undealership,” in 1998, and built it into one of the most successful privately-held car dealerships in the United States. He later started other businesses in automotive retail, real estate, telecommunications, and insurance that generate over $100,000,000 in annual revenue. His achievements in building profitable and ethical companies have been featured in a variety of national media including USA Today, Entrepreneur Magazine, Automotive News, The Boston Globe, and others. (www.jeffmorrill.com)

1. What motivated you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and turning it into a book? During the twenty years I worked long hours under fluorescent lights, I dreamed of the freedom to do my favorite thing, mountain biking, out in in the sun. Eventually we developed a team of people who could run our Boston-area businesses, so my wife and I moved back to our native Virginia in 2018, near Charlottesville. And did I ever ride my mountain bike, practically every day, until I was nearly killed when I wrecked, alone, on a gravel road in the middle of nowhere. Immobilized for months, I wanted to use the time in service of my values—specifically, to create expand economic opportunities for people. I had been collecting the stories and insights for many years, and the accident provided the catalyst to write the book. {There is an extended description of the accident here.}

2. What is it about and who is it for? Based on our success, I briefly make the case that businesses can take the high road straight to the bottom line. Stockholder and stakeholder interests are more aligned than they might appear, because other people (team members, customers, community, etc.) have an incentive to help you keep winning if they’re winning too. I wrote if for current or aspiring entrepreneurs who want to leave a bigger legacy than just a pile of money.

3. What do you hope the reader will be left with after reading it? I aim to inspire readers to incorporate the practices in their businesses that we use every day, so they can increase profits and better serve their many stakeholders.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? With respect to writing, just begin, and then gently persist in adding to the draft. As E.L. Doctorow said about starting a novel: ““Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” With respect to publishing, go in eyes-wide-open knowing that nowadays there are enormous quantities of content chasing an audience. If you are not already well known or have a sizeable built-in following, you will experience a lot of rejection from traditional publishers. Be prepared to work very hard to find an agent, or, failing that, to find a publisher yourself who will take on your project without payment.

5. What trends in the book world do you see -- and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? It is easier than ever to get a book published because there are many alternatives to traditional publishers. But it is harder than ever to sell the books once they’re printed, because the competition for attention is so fierce. It is more difficult than ever for first-time authors to be heard above so much noise. It appears to me that the “rich” (those with existing notoriety or a large following of some kind) are getting richer because publishers are confident those people can move their own books, lightening the load of the publishers to build an audience. Remarkably, I don’t know that the first Harry Potter, already rejected by most publishers decades ago before this trend had consolidated, could find a traditional publisher today. Today’s Rowling would probably need to self-publish and then build her own audience of fans who would be inspired by the quality of the story-telling.

6. What challenges did you overcome to write this book? Like so many other projects in my life, I occasionally struggled to muster the energy to persist when the likelihood of success is hardly guaranteed. I spent many hundreds of hours writing and endlessly revising the manuscript, wondering if any of that creative output would even see the light of day. What kept me going was the knowledge that I was embarking on an adventure and learning about a new industry. I was fortunate to be at a place in my life where I had the financial resources and time available to devote to the effort without the fear that I was neglecting other responsibilities. I am now very empathetic about the doubts and anxieties that writers must push through.

7. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours? I’ve read hundreds of business books over the years, and I finished most of them without any clue how to implement the suggestions. I have narrowly escaped many deaths by platitude! Other than the first chapter devoted to explaining the big premise of the book (make more money by doing the right thing), the rest of the chapters are loaded with battle-tested insights and recommendations on improving the profitable operation of a business in a way that generates many positive results for the community and all the people who depend on that business.

 

Learn, Grow, Succeed!!

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Brian Feinblum, the founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at  brianfeinblum@gmail.com.  You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum. 

 

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