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I don't know about you but I'm a sucker for classic westerns.  Even though about 10 minutes into the movie, you can pretty much figure it out, I always enjoy the "old west" from Hollywood's perspective.  It was a simpler time.  Or was it?      

Back then, at least in the movies, there was always a point when the good guys were surrounded.  It always looked like there was no way out.  Or, as the cliche goes, "It looks like the end of the line."  Yet, seemingly out of nowhere a solution seemed to drop in the lap of the leader.  The solution was almost too simple.  But, simple means success.      

What if you were surrounded?      

I think that every successful dealership is surrounded by three powerful factors.  These are my three "P's" to be surrounded by.  While there are many varieties of each, once you choose, stick with it.      




PHILOSOPHY - What is the philosophy of your store?  Too many times, we've gone in to train a store and on Monday the sales meeting screams about holding gross.  "No more #*!@ low gross deals!"  You know the meeting I'm talking about.  Then, by noon on Wed. you have another meeting and announce, "Everybody rides!  We're taking all deals."      

Pick your poison and stick to it.  Develop a reputation for being who you feel you should be.  Make sure everyone in the dealership is clear on your philosophy.  Service, the office, parts and sales all need to be singing from the same hymnal.  If not, all departments will point fingers and take the path of least resistance.  And, before you know it, you've got a team of people with no real direction.      

PEOPLE - One distinct advantage to being a dealer is, you pick the team.  While you may have managers do the hiring, if you're clear on what you want, they will find it.  But, if you don't provide any guidance, the dealership will be a reflection of the management and not the ownership.  And, if you're okay with that, PUT THEIR NAME ON THE BUILDING!      

The old saying, "Opposites Attract," is a bunch of pure crap.  We had a Civil War and it wasn't because both sides had too much in common.  In business, if you hire "your type" of people, the entire dealership will feel comfortable to your customers as well as each of the departments who will work much better together.      

PRODUCT - I know you have a Franchise and the factory sends you product, but that's not what I'm talking about.  Product is in all departments.  How clean is your service area (That's one of your products)?  What does your customer parking look like?  If it's more of an employee parking area, you'll have happy employees who never speak to customers.      

Pre-Owned product.  What are the guidelines?  I have one client dealer who never keeps anything over 60,000 miles.  While it may be argued that he's potentially losing money, his customers have been trained since that's been the policy for nearly 25 years.  His sales people have no fear about what might happen when they show a car.  That relaxes them, it relaxes the customers and since they already know what they'll find on this dealer's lot, he asks for all the money.      

I believe that every dealer needs to surround themselves with the three "P's".  That doesn't mean these "P's" have to be identical to the ones in this article.  There are many correct "P's" not just the ones you've read here.  But, once you've chosen your "P's" stick with them.  Unless you're only going to be in business for a short time, it's always better to build a long-term solid foundation and defend it to the max.      

Train your people, let them train the public and soon enough, you'll find that business not only gets more consistent, it actually gets easier.          

John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. Our Trainers are ready to work for you and develop a sales team you can be proud of. Email us by Wednesday and we're in your dealership on Monday ready to interview. When your dealership needs amazing results hiring new people, visit ATTENTION DEALERS: VISIT OUR WEB SITE AND REGISTER TO KEEP UP ON MONTHLY TRAINING SAVING SPECIALS. Our trainers are ready to show you our "WOW!" factor. (c)2012 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.    

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Comment by Nancy Simmons on September 18, 2012 at 5:33am

Nice job, John!  My three "P's" are People, Processes, and Percentages!  (Sounds like an automotive accountant, right?)  Choose your p's and stick with it, exercising traits of consistency and accountability! 

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