I wrote this after reading Ralph's article about mentoring, what a great topic!.
As I was reading Ralph's post
I was reminded time and time again of my involvement in and around my community
(my real community, not the virtual kind) and why in the heck would I spend so much time coaching kids, volunteering at local events and other time-consuming stuff. The reasons are all listed in Ralph's post. They may not be tangible, see-em-touch-em-feel-em, but they are certainly there. Selfishness is not the reason.
Over a century ago, Big Brothers Big Sisters was started to help children without adults in their lives find a mentor and hopefully allow a young person to connect with a "good citizen." It didn't take a rocket-scientist to figure out that this was a good thing for the kids, and the adults. A hundred years later, we still know the same thing and millions of kids + mentors are connected all over the world. In a modern, social network kind-of way, the ADM community operates on nearly the same principle as Big Brothers Big Sisters. The content providers could be called the "adults" (Ralph is the grand-daddy) and the "hidden readers" could be the "kids." I say hidden readers because thousands of site visitors read but do not contribute (like me for months) for all kinds of reasons. But, rest assured, there are readers that benefit from the content of ADM and similar communities without ever telling us their names. This is OK. These people still need the mentors.
In the professional world, it's sometimes difficult to justify "helping" because as much as many of us are peers, we are also competitors. As much as we may like each other, when it comes down to it, we are all after the same dollar - right? Why should I "contribute" my "special knowledge" when I'm ultimately trying to earn a living. If you cannot answer that question, you might look around a bit. Choose an industry, any industry, find the leaders, the ones with all the attention, money, respect AND CUSTOMERS. I would bet that in nearly every example the successful people (and organizations) are the most transparent.
These people and organizations don't have any worries about sharing their knowledge because they understand that their knowledge is not necessarily why they are successful. We are not trying to race to the moon and I can nearly guarantee that you don't know anything "special" "life changing" or "revolutionary" like NASA discovered in the Jimmy Hendrix era. Sorry to burst your bubble. The reality of it is, ADM and other communities are trying to advance our industry, nothing more, nothing less. If these types of communities were not sincere about this most basic goal, they would not last for more than a few months. I wonder how many online-communities have been started, then disappeared (along with their creators), because the site-owner was more interested in earning some ad-revenue from his cheezy little 3x3 ads than he was in sincerely helping somebody, some group, some organization?
I could write for hours on this topic because I feel so strongly about it. Without plugging our small organization, it's important that I explain what MyGoalTracking
is trying to do. We are trying to assemble a community of sales professionals (not industry vendors, please don't register if you are not selling cars today) that are sincere about succeeding in this difficult down-economy. We have not been at this "community building" thing very long and only recently began allowing free use our service. We have been providing our CRM (insert other acronyms like ILM, BDC, here, there are tons!) to dealers for a fee for many years and continue to do so. But, we believe strongly that there are many many professional sales people that are working in dealers without the dealers support!
Yes, these people "get it" and their employers do not. These are the people we are trying to help. We are sincere about helping the "pro" that is stuck in a dealer without a CRM, an ILM or a dealer that "gets it." Will they eventually pay us for our service? Maybe, but that is not the point - really. Were doing fine with our corporate customers and will continue to do so as our industry transforms itself.
This is where you come in
: If you have something to add to this community, or any other auto-related community, add it. Don't be anxious, don't be worried that your thoughts are not valuable - they are. There is a newbie salesperson out there in "car land" somewhere detailing a car because the porters go laid off. There is a dealer going to auctions trying to figure out how to bid on a beater previous rental because the last time he went to the auction he bid by yelling (he laid of his UC manager of 20 years) and today they want him to use his "browser" to bid! And, there is a vendor out there that USED TO sell something to dealers that can now no longer justify the vendors fee before his managers salary. Our industry is in dire need of PROS, of people that GET IT and of some solutions. There is no secret Car-Czar answer to all of this. But, if the folks that help the dealers, the folks that sell to the dealers (not always the same thing) and the folks that RELY on the dealers don't start coming up with some answers... there may not be any dealers to worry about.
Hoping to help...