She is so nice! So What!

If we had to change the channel to our TV and the remote control did not work, would we say “but it is so nice!”? Or “But it looks so good”? No we would not. We would be upset to some degree that the remote control was not doing its job. If its job is to change the channel, turn the power on, or to shut the power off, that is just what we would expect.

In the workplace you might be shocked that we do not think along the same lines. We hear so many times about people being nice, handsome, pretty, or that they are a good guy/gal. When did any of that seem to matter. In the interview, I am sure we do not say to the prospective new boss  “as long as you don’t mind, I will plan to be nice and look good, I don’t really think that I’ll accomplish anything”. We would never be hired if we did so. The interview and onboarding is usually littered with tasks that are expected of the person, the company policy and procedure, and other mundane but necessary items to cover. In fact each job has a job description that clearly outlines the expectations. In those documents, it does not read “be a good guy”. Don’t get me wrong; WE EXPECT YOU TO BE A GOOD GUY/GAL. We expect you to be nice. We expect you to be polite and courteous to your fellow peers. But, we hire to get a job done first, and expect you to be nice second. Nice and incompetent do not get the job done, but competent and nice do.

We all need to remember, that the remote control is basically useless unless it does what we expect it to do and ultimately what we bought it for. When it stops working, we discard it and get another.

Be reliable. Be the person who is indispensable. The one the boss leans on. The one that goes over and above and does exactly what you were hired for (and more). AND, be nice and look your best. But first, be competent.

Music to my ears!

I recently heard of a Sales Consultant resigning from his job. His previous 6 months had been full of poor performance and his boss had challenged him with an ultimatum; to get results. He had stated many personal concerns that seemed to have clouded his ability to perform even the most menial of tasks that lead to a sale. He openly admitted that he “knew” what needed to be done. I could have done X, BUT. . . I would have been able to do Y BUT . . .

I’m no doctor but it sounds like a simple case of BUTgitis. We all can learn from this simple diagnosis and get our BUTS out of the way before it becomes an epidemic that is highly contagious; BUTgitis. This disease is so contagious, that it only takes a day of constant exposure to make someone susceptible to its harmful effects. The word but, is really a way to justify a lowly position, poor results, and a personal mistake.

Successful people use their setbacks and failure as fuel to get to the next level. Nothing makes them work harder than a little adversity, challenge, setback, or otherwise. Successful people have a bounce in their step that screams “follow me! I am going somewhere”. They have positive body language. They have that look in their eye that they are on to something bigger than their current position in life. They have goals they want to achieve. The goals are written down and reviewed. They set mid-course corrections to get back on track. And most of all, they don’t quit when it gets rough, even though every fiber within them tells them to do so. These people also admit when they are wrong. They step out and say they could have done better. They take the blame and never pass it on to someone else. These little flames ignite into a huge fire within to win the race set before them. And that ladies and gentlemen, is music to my ears!


New Year’s ReVolution!

“Join the revolution this year, instead of repeating another year of disappointments.”

I find it very interesting (and frustrating) to hear a great many people speaking of the year coming to a close in a negative fashion. They not only speak of it to anyone who will listen, they post it all over social media. What is the underlying theme they are talking and posting about? In general most people seem thrilled it is over (I understand some had life altering year that may have been full of tragedy and pain. I am NOT speaking of these people). Some willingly say goodbye to 2017 as if, magically 2018 will be full of greatness and reward and blessing and riches just because it is a different calendar year. Hogwash. If they are honest, 2017 did not disappoint them, they disappointed themselves and it is convenient to blame it on a block of time called 2017. There is no magic 8-ball, no genie in a bottle, and certainly no free handouts that get you to the top in this great country. Some may feel that is not fair. That is true. It is flat out difficult at times. But in these difficulties, we can grow, we can learn, and we can become better if we are looking to.

Successful people set goals, look forward to another year of opportunity, and look inward to learn from their past failures, frustrations, and set backs. Be that person. Set specific goals, create action plans to obtain the goals, and review them often. Look for opportunities (they are usually disguised as problems) and look inward at your stumbles and work on changing you. If you are bold enough to dream big, you will break the cycle in 2018. Join the revolution this year, instead of repeating another year of disappointments.

Show them. Don’t just tell them.

Leaders lead. Leaders “show” and tell. Then they allow (and require) the person learning to do the action themselves until they understand it, execute accurately, and have a positive result

I once witnessed a motivational speaker take a volunteer from an audience and ask the person to “tell” him how to use scissors. The volunteer could not use hand motions, could not pick up the scissors, and could only use words. It was hilarious. The volunteer gave up after a very funny 10 minutes. The point? To show the audience that “telling” people what to do may not work out as well as we thought.

We see this in the car business (and sales in general) very frequently. Meetings are full of information only (and glossy eyed listeners). The meetings are full of “do this and do that, and don’t do this and don’t do that” (I am sleepy just typing the words). The problem with using words alone, is that we all hear things differently. We all have had different experiences in life and those experiences shape how we think the person asking wants it done. If you lined up 10 sales people and gave instructions to all of them to demonstrate the features and benefits of a product to a customer, it would be a miracle if any of the 10 did it the same way (it would be a miracle if each of them could name features and/or benefits at all). This is not only a problem, it is an epidemic. So, who’s fault is it that the sales people do not thoroughly know the features and benefits and that they cannot demonstrate? Glad you asked.

Leaders lead. Leaders “show” and tell. Then they allow (and require) the person learning to do the action themselves until they understand it, execute accurately, and have a positive result. When and only when that happens can we give a verbal instruction to the person regarding that particular point. If the sales and service managers would lead and do this on every process the department has, there would be a revolution at the dealership. So, demonstrating exactly what you want from them each and every time. Once that happens, two things will happen. One, the employees will begin doing what you want and have a expected result. Or two, you will know exactly how to counsel them based on what they are not doing that you have clearly showed them. Let’s lead in 2018 and put our business above the competition by putting the team first and equipping them to succeed by telling, showing, and allowing them to duplicate before sending them to the wolves.

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)