Open the Doors to the Dealership

“I like to tell my managers to keep the main thing the main thing. APPOINTMENTS are one BIG main thing.”

Too many managers in the car business (and probably many other industries) get sidetracked from the main thing. They spend too much of their time telling and insisting that their people do things the “right” way. The problem is, the “right” way almost always is “their” way. I see it a bit different. There are certain parameters, processes, or daily routines that need to be followed. Take for instance, greeting a guest. It is most important that we greet every guest warmly and make them feel comfortable. “How” each employee executes is up to interpretation (as long as it is socially appropriate). Many managers get involved right there. Everyday. All the time. Stuck in the mud of “how” each employee executes, and stepping over the fact that they are in fact executing. It is surely the micro approach. It frustrates the employee and increases the turnover and decreases the gross profit. If an employee does not have the freedom within a process to be themselves, then the manager is simply spinning plates. Because once the manager is not watching, people are less inclined to follow that parameter, process, or daily routine at all. They need the freedom to respond in their own style, their own warm way, and certainly it will pay more dividends.

I like to tell my managers to keep the main thing the main thing. APPOINTMENTS are one BIG main thing. If the manager ensures that appointments are being booked in sales/service, then the door will open. The more frequently the doors open due to guests coming in, the more opportunity. When that happens, leave your people alone. If you have set processes in place, then let them do their job. Allow them to be themselves and follow the process. Don’t be hung up too much on the ancillary stuff. If a guest drives into sales/service, the employee will do his/her job within the processes that are in place. The other employees will then do their job, and ultimately the store will have happier employees and happier guests. SIDE-NOTE; if someone has strayed from a proven process that will create a calculated result, it is important to discuss and set them back on track. This is not to think freedom means full autonomy.

So, in closing, hire great people and set a solid process. Then get out of their way. You’ll find them to be much happier, which will bleed over to the guests and make their visit to your store that much more enjoyable. If you are to focus on any one thing, I would suggest driving the traffic to the store and let your well-trained people give your customers an experience far and above the competition. Whenever I hear a door opening in my store, I think to myself “opportunity”. So, set a plan in place for 2018 and get your doors to open . . .A LOT!

Photo supplied by original_photography123 (Instagram)

Resigned or Resolved

As I began to think about the difference between being resigned or being resolved, I realized they both kind of go hand in hand. Once a resignation is in the works, we are resolved to reach even greater heights in the new endeavor. In the late 1700’s, the English colonies resigned their support for the King of England and were resolved to gain their freedom. We all know how that played out and realize now the sacrifice that occurred to make it happen. The same principles are played out in our life when we resign to one way and resolve to another. When a resignation of employment is rendered, it brings joy and relief to one side and can bring surprise, anger, and/or resentment to the other. It is a choice. It is an end to one era and a beginning to another.  Some people are resigned mentally from their position long before the decision is ever officially made. Others work hard up to and through a resignation and if you were looking in from the outside, you would have a hard time deciphering if there was a resignation in the works at all.

Even if there is not an official resignation at hand, there are other things to resign from daily. In business, we need to resign from poor choices, wasted time, entitlement mentality, laziness, procrastination, and taking for granted the things we should be grateful for. We should resolve to simply give our very best each day and be good stewards over that which we have under our authority. We should resolve to put our heads down and be diligent with each opportunity, and not just simply exist in the time and space provided. Ultimately, we should be eternally thankful that whatever we are resigning and resolving to do, it is puny in comparison to the sacrifice and magnitude of the American Revolution.

Black Friday

As I began to think about why Black Friday is a success for many retailers, it became so obvious. They plan for it. They focus on it. They prepare for it. They have great enthusiasm for it. They advertise for it, and ultimately they have great results. Many people in the car business just keep doing what they did last week, last month, and last year. The customer is bored, the staff is bored, and the bottom line reflects the lackadaisical approach that many Sales Managers, Service Managers, and General Managers take to growing and sustaining their business.

Truth be told, we get just about what we focus on. That is why we create action plans, forecast our month and even our year, and have written goals to run after. After all if we do not focus on growing our business daily, we could be swimming in the red ink, or barely in the a profitable situation. So let’s take a page out of the retail industry. Let’s plan for it. Let’s stay focused on it. Let’s prepare for it. Let’s have great enthusiasm for it. Let’s advertise for it, and let’s have great results all the time like every week was Black Friday.

Don’t Shoot Until You See the Whites of Their Eye

One very common mistake many leaders in the automotive industry (and probably all other industries) make, is they criticize and tear people down before earning the right to speak into their lives. These are not leaders. They are tyrants. They are used to bullying their way to some level of success, if you will. But if an employee feels you have their best interest in mind, they will be all ears. Have intentional one on ones. Have a cup of coffee together. Ask them about their life. Ask them about their job. Ask them if there is anything you can do personally to help them succeed. Do it often. Once you spend enough eyeball to eyeball time, you will have earned the right to be frank with them concerning their performance, attitude, or otherwise. Remember that timing is everything. Once you recognize the open door, act upon the opportunity.

The employee’s trust must be earned through consistent action. Once that happens, you can speak into their life and they will not only hear you, they will listen and act. So remember to draw your people close to you. Close enough that you see the whites of their eyes. Then you can shoot (figuratively of course).

All Created Equal?

As I was visiting a Dunkin Donuts recently, I asked myself why does this store run so smoothly, and the one down the street not run smoothly?. The lady that took my order called me, and everyone else that she talked to “hon”. She was quick, polite and pleasant. The person making my bagel, did so quickly, and exactly as I ordered. It left me feeling as you would expect, satisfied. How about our businesses? Do we have the right people on our team? Do they covey the culture the leader desires? The truth is, we need to evaluate our staff and make decisions necessary to make it great. And quickly before we lose any more market share to our competitors.

So the answer is no. All businesses are not created equal, even if they share the same franchise name. The differentiator is almost always the people. Find the right people. Pay the right people. Keep the right people. Heck, we would not even be an independent country if it weren’t for the right people.

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EBT Gains

This is the post excerpt.

Just as the sun rises and falls each day, so do our opportunities to maximize our financial statement in the form of EBT in the car business. However, for many, the day comes and goes and they don’t even realize that they have not been intentional in their activities that day to increase the bottom line. Sure, they showed up. They may have even “won” that day in their own mind. But unless their actions were decisive and decisions crystal clear, then I would argue that whatever level of success won, it was in spite of their seemingly weak planning and executing. In order to be successful in the car business (or for any other for that matter), it must be intentional. It must be planned, executed, and conquered. So as the week comes toward the end, make this week be the week you decide to take back your business and make a conscious effort to keep the main thing the main thing. Say no to the meaningless time wasters and say yes to the things that use your time wisely. Remember your time is nothing more than a bank account with minutes instead of dollars. How will you spend that time?

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