It’s all fun and games until . . .

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Or is sued. Or something of the sorts. Compliance to legal affairs, and processes upon processes of seemingly wasteful resources, are daunting and most of us come kicking and screaming when it comes to falling in line with all of the guidelines required of us. Until we need it.

I recently was challenged by a customer regarding the purchase of a used vehicle, that was bought two years earlier. She called and threatened that she was told by the sales consultant that the car she purchased was a Certified Pre-Owned and should come with a robust warranty, zero dollar deductible, trip interruption, roadside assistance, and complimentary maintenance.

I took the liberty of pulling her deal from two years prior. All of the documents she signed and initialed stated the car was used. Only the remainder of the factory warranty remained, etc. There was not a whisper of the vehicle being a certified Pre-Owned.

Because the staff at my store did their job, and did it well, this customer has decided to purchase another vehicle, which is a Certified Pre-Owned with all of the benefits mentioned above. It is a win, when it easily could have been a loss. On the original deal, the staff did not pick and choose what “i” to dot or what “t” to cross, and all of the paperwork was bulletproof. There was not a question that our staff “sold” her on something she was not aware of receiving.

So, compliance is not fun and sometimes seems meaningless. It only matters when it matters. The problem is, we never know when it will matter. So, I encourage you to do your job and do the things that are required of you, no matter how mundane. And do it before someone loses an eye.

Full of Hot Air on St. Patrick’s Day?

“The more impossible, the sweeter the victory when you arrive”

Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, right? Wrong. They want to be Irish but don’t measure up as it relates to DNA. Same goes for success. You either are or are not. You either make excuses and are full of hot air, or you are not.

Successful people have a habit of pushing through the crap. Unsuccessful people never make it through. They quit. The way I see it, you’re either sinking or you’re swimming. Make no mistake about it; you will pay the price. The price of success is seemingly insurmountable. Most people are conditioned to find the easy way out, the path of least resistance, and/or the quickest way. There is no shortcut to the top. It will take sleepless nights, tireless focus, thankless days, long hours, & hard work. It will take a desire to win that is greater than the desire to give up; a willingness to do whatever it takes (legally and morally). It does not matter how long it takes or when you get started. It only matters that you get started and never ever quit moving forward until you reach your goal. Never listen to those who tell you it is impossible. The more impossible, the sweeter the victory when you arrive. Either way you have to go through the crap. Except, the ones who quit, quit in the middle of the crap. The successful still have to go through the junk, but by never quitting and continuously moving forward, they enjoy the victory that quitters thought impossible.

Although it may impossible to be Irish when you are not, success is possible as long as you are full of determination to hit your goals and not just full of hot air.

A fever is never the problem . . .

When someone is sick and they have a fever, they will usually respond with “I have a fever” when they are asked, “what is the matter”. A fever is just an indicator that something else is wrong. Your body is fighting something, and that something could be dozens of things, from a common cold to the flu and more.

Same in sales of virtually any kind. As it relates to the car business, whether in sales or service (nevertheless, all of it is sales), there are indicators that are blamed for a lack of income. If one can see past the indicator and diagnose why it is happening, the “fever” will pass and the results will increase.

I have heard people mention they missed a monetary bonus of some kind because a customer satisfaction survey was less than par, and the person who missed the score was sure they did nothing wrong. I say it is an indicator that you need to brush up on, learn, (or re-learn) advanced people skills.

I have heard sales consultants say that a customer will not answer the phone a day or two after leaving the showroom and that is why they missed their sales targets. I say, the reason a prospective customer is ducking their calls is just an indicator that they missed it when they had the chance in person. They either talked too much, listened to little, did not find out what the customer really wanted to accomplish, or pressed their own agenda on the customer (or all of the above).

I have heard service advisors make excuses on why they don’t seem to sell as much as their peers. “My customers say they can’t afford it”, “my customers want to wait until next time”, “my customers say they can get it done elsewhere cheaper”, etc. That is the indicator that there is a deeper problem. A “fever” if you will. I say they  missed a chance to build rapport, missed a chance to do a thorough walk around, perhaps did not build value, or they were looking to “sell” instead of serve.

If we will all be bold enough to find out why we have the fever, and do something about it, we will have a much more prosperous and joyful year than 2017.

When your mouth is open, your brain is on parade!

It never fails. When someone is nervous they speak just to speak. Their mind is going a thousand miles an hour, and when they speak, all kinds of crazy stuff comes pouring out. They may be at a funeral, or on a first date, at the bank, or filing their taxes with an accountant, or any number of other situations, when they open their mouth and fill the uncomfortable silence with noise. In professional sales, it also happens (like all the time). The consumer is thinking and processing the spiel, and the person selling thinks it would be a great idea to muddy the water with all kinds of senseless chatter. Once this happens, the consumer is confused and most always delays or declines to purchase. LET THEM THINK IN SILENCE.

If this is you, there is a cure for your habit. The good news is, there is a simple solution; stop talking. Sound easy? Sound simple? It is simple, but never easy. It is learned and it requires discipline to stop the prattle. If you can learn to say to yourself “stop speaking just to speak“, you will find the outcome will be better than you imagined. Don’t get me wrong, your mind will still be reeling, spinning, and on overload. But, you will be the only one to know it. Abraham Lincoln once said “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”. Good advice.

Think like a millionaire, hustle like you’re broke

So you want to be a millionaire? Highly doubtful if you’re not willing to hustle. Our store gave all of our female guests a long stemmed red rose for Valentine’s Day and it got me thinking. Anyone can buy and plant a rose bush, but if you want long stemmed roses, you’ll have to work very hard and hustle in order to grow a sellable product. It must be crafted as an art if you will. It takes a high amount of planning, maintenance, and care to produce a long stemmed rose.

Same goes for success of any kind. The amount of hard work and hustle needed to succeed is almost immeasurable. In fact, that is the way it should be; immeasurable. That makes the victory all the more sweeter when you get there. Too many people want to know the bare minimum they will have to put in, in order to achieve a maximum amount of results. Unfortunately most people seem to think like they are broke and hustle like they are already a millionaire. Don’t think like these people.

Highly successful people do not think this way. Yes, they do have a written plan. It is clear and thought out. It is measurable. It is a good roadmap to success. But the differentiator is this; when asked how much work they are willing to do, to become a success, the answer is always “whatever it takes”. “Whatever it takes” sometimes means more hours than your friends. More meetings than seems necessary. More miles driven than seems needed. More work days than other people are putting in. More phone calls than the guy or gal seated next to you. More appointments created than another person might be willing to schedule, and so on. Results are results. It took Thomas Edison 10,000 tries to master the incandescent light bulb and you also will pay the price if you are to rise to the top of your field. Paying the price in not negotiable.

Put your head down and truly hustle like you’re broke (even if you are not). Being a millionaire may or may not happen but achieving a greater amount of success will happen. What are you waiting for? Let’s get hustling.

Some will. Some won’t. Calling on all leaders.

Whether in business, or sports, or the military, etc., we should not be dependent on one man or one woman. There is a bigger machine if you will. Even though sometimes we would like to “feel” we are needed desperately, and we probably are to a certain extent, there is always another person willing to make the company great. Get enough of these types, and the team begins to win big time. Even the greats like Michael Jordan could not win a championship without elevating the others on the team. Now don’t get me wrong, one person can make a HUGE difference. But they do not make or break the long term success of an organization. Top sales people alone don’t meet a store’s total quota. Top homerun hitters cannot win the game without the others playing their part. It takes others to pitch, hit, run, make defensive plays, etc. One fighter pilot does not turn the tide of a war. It takes someone to load the plane, fuel the plane, maintain the plane, design the plane etc.

So, the organization needs to have a bigger vision. A bigger goal. A long and short term strategy. The leaders need to always lead towards the bigger picture. It is ok if some do not make it along the way. The winning teams were not full of quitters or full of people only willing to exert minimal effort. Heavy training, demanding hours, and disappointments seem to naturally weed out the ones that will not make it. Then there are those who do just enough activity to be miserable. Good leaders will stretch their team until the unwilling move on and top talent can’t wait to join the movement. Winners attract winners.

Be willing to take your team to new heights, but do not get bogged down when a person or two lose their willingness to perform along the way. And remember not to place too much emphasis on the “one” super star. Love the super star, respect them, encourage them, but never rely on them alone taking you to the next level. Rely on the team to do so. Some will make it, some will not. The show must go on.

Blow-up Business Man?

No, I did not say blow up the business man. I said blow-up business man. Follow me here; I recently went to Starbucks to get my morning coffee. I was running a bit late, so I ordered on the App so I could just grab it and go. Well, it turns out everyone is doing this. Then it dawned on me. We are becoming like the movie WALL-E. Everyone has their face in, and is engaged in, their phone. It is like they do not know how (or want to) look someone in the eye and say “hi”. We want our coffee without speaking to a human, we want to talk to the people we know using text, so we do not have to verbally communicate, and we have hundreds of “friends” (or at least that is what we call them), on social networking sites.

BUT, what about the big nag. We are still empty. We were designed to live among people. It doesn’t matter your spiritual beliefs are in regards to this article, but the Bible states it was NOT good for man to be alone, so God created the woman as well. Then, we were instructed to be fruitful and multiply. This is the answer. We can avoid people all we want, but at the end of the day, we need people, we need relationships, and we need interaction.

At some point, there will be a shift back to a high level of customer service that requires interaction, because although technology is nifty and it captures our attention and “likes”, at our core, we do not want to sit next to a blow up business man. We want to sit next to, speak with, interact with, communicate to, and spend time with, real life people, just like us. So, let’s get out ahead of it! Let’s brush up on our human skills. Put your phone away. Turn your smile on, say hello, wait in line, and for Pete’s sake don’t be full of hot air like our friend in the picture.