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Huddles Are Killers - Let’s show up and go to work

If you doubt the validity of the saying “misery loves company,” look no further than a typical dealership huddle.


You know, the group of sales associates standing together commiserating about life. They take turns sharing frustrations about the weather, their spouses, the dealership advertising and the lousy numbers the sales manager always gives them.


Before long, you have a herd of defeated sales associates no longer eager to work – for you or themselves!


Discourage huddles. Don’t join them. By their very nature, huddles are depleting entities, leaking away enthusiasm, desire, ambition and energy of those participating. In fact, ban them – go as far as hosing them down from the hydrant when you find them!


Instead, train your staff so they develop better prospecting, follow up and Road to the Sales skills. If they do these things by the book there’s no idle time left. The only huddles you should permit are training huddles were you or your trainer engages associates in skills building.


You want sales associates who show up to work to actually work, not huddle. You want sales associates who value hard work, who understand long-term sales success – for them and for the business – is based on assertive selling, not passive selling like waiting for ups to arrive.


When you hire, focus more on the candidate’s work ethic, their desire to go to work to earn a living rather than on people who will see the workplace as their home away from home where their social life begins.


Vince Lombardi, the famous coach of the Green Bay Packers, said some remarkable things in his career. I like two of them that especially apply to work ethic:


  • His players operated by Lombardi Time – showing up ready for practice 10 to 15 minutes ahead of time. Associates who want to get ahead will show up at the dealership early so when the doors open or their shift officially starts they’ll have had their coffee, made their rounds and gotten themselves focused on their daily work plan.


  • Everyone working for a living should live by this Lombardi axiom: “If you aren’t fired up with enthusiasm you’ll be fired with enthusiasm.” 


Huddles are time wasters. Rarely if ever has a worthwhile idea, enthusiastic spirit or winning attitude hatched from a group of commiserating sales people. Outlaw huddles at your store. Then set a policy to hire only those you sense will work harder than you do – who want to show up to work prepared to make a living not socialize.  

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Tags: AutoCon2012, CAR, CRM, Customer, Kelly, Patrick, Research, XRM, car, management, More…motivational, rally, relationship, sales, speaker


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Comment by Kelly Holloway on August 2, 2012 at 4:17pm

I will like any blog post that quotes Vince Lombardi...I was born and raised in the Frozen Tundra. I am pretty sure Vince's exact quote is "if you show up on time, you are already late." 

And your "No Huddles" content is a great reminder of how to keep employees motivated and focused on the tasks at hand.  At ActivEngage, we find that providing perks like a free gym membership where they can relieve some stress or having a cow bell drilled into the wall to acknowledge a job well done can help. Employees are also constantly being trained which always keeps their brains working with limited downtime to "huddle". Seems to work for us as we were just rated one of the best places to work in Orlando by our employees. I am not bragging or anything :)

Comment by Duane Gilder on August 2, 2012 at 3:14pm
Very true.
Sadly enough this is also where a lot of "green peas" get training for their career in Automotive Sales. The folks that understand how to be successful in this business are not huddling up but, rather, working the PHONES and communicating with their customers. Its a simple rule of success: talk to people who will buy something from you! A lot of them. And do it well. Period.
Comment by Brian O'Connor on August 2, 2012 at 2:47pm

I agree. I notice that most of the time these little chat groups are made up of the old school sales staff, and the lowest closing staff. I always encourage new hires to steer clear of both. Listen to your trainers and your own little desktop business, don't worry about the gossip and gripes of unhappy employees, and you will never find a reason to join that huddle!

Comment by J. Michael Zak on August 2, 2012 at 2:47pm

AMEN - Short, simple, truthful.  Start the day fast and follow through to the end.  Socializing is with my customers and after work with my family and friends.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 2, 2012 at 2:24pm

This is all too true... Unfortunately, most people new to the business do not realize how demotivational these types of huddles can be, and they get sucked into them by peer pressure.  I believe it is management responsibility to break up the huddles as quickly as possible.

Comment by sara callahan on August 2, 2012 at 7:45am
Nice post Pat. Welcome to ADM!

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