Pssst, I want to tell you a Secret. But you cannot tell anyone. Please keep this under wraps. M5 Management Services™ President and CEO Lee Harkins has gone slightly crazy. He is advising clients to stop selling the business. If the word gets out M5™ will be out of business in its first year of performance coaching and training. I am asking you not to tell other managers or dealers of this secret going on in our organization.
Lee Harkins whose client list reads like a who’s who of the auto industry may have gone LOCO. Mr. Harkins has trained 1000’s of Dealerships, Service Managers, Parts Managers and of course Service Advisors in his long and illustrious career, has trained these men, woman and companies to create profits beyond many dreams and expectations is turning the industry on its ear by telling everyone to STOP SELLING THE BUSINESS. Lee is telling his clients to SELL THE CREATIVE EFFORT™.
What does that mean? How do I make someone accountable for being creative?
Sounds almost ludicrous if you ask me?
Since we are here together, let’s examine what Lee is telling everyone he meets. In fact, Lee gave a presentation to the National Auto Dealers Association last week. He stood up for 1 hour and told them to advise their clients to STOP SELLING THE BUSINESS. Dave, Mark and I were at client’s dealerships and we could not stop Lee.
Lee states, the customer has already made the decision to have the service performed at the dealership. Why are we giving them the hard sell? We would not accept a salesman with flashy white shoes to beat us over the head or use old school sales techniques. That would no doubt make us angry. If this is the case, why would we teach our advisors to go out and do the same thing? Go try to sell the business as your way to a profit these days and just see what you get. You may end up with the opposite. Red ink and a diminishing customer base!
The aftermarket industry is a mulit-billion dollar industry. Those are the new car dealer customers who have defected. It is all because dealerships have trained service advisors to sell hard. This has created a TRUST problem. That’s right, the problem with dealerships today is simply TRUST and a lack there of it from the customer.
Maybe Lee is on to something. At M5™ our motto is to Question Everything. Is Lee really crazy or is he on to something special. Sell the Creative Effort™. It is time to rethink how we do business. Maybe it is time to re-evaluate how we do everything. Maybe we should revisit pay plans and training programs. Maybe we should make sure everything we do is customer retention based and not hard sell focused.
So how do we strike a balance between sales and customer retention? That statement is the wrong question to ask ourselves.
Think about that statement: A balance between sales and customer satisfaction.
There is no scale that balances the two. There is ultimately only one component of long term profit. There is only one component to long term sales. There is only one component for developing Effective Labor Rate, Hours Per Ro and all of the other Key Performance Indicators we hold so dear to our pocket book.
That component is customer RETENTION. That is the question. How do we as dealers perform in the market today as to create long term profits for ourselves, the auto manufacture and retain the new car buyer over and over? That is the question. The answer is real simple. Lee Harkins might just be on to something. We sell the CREATIVE EFFORT to our customer.
We as a dealer body must, with every fiber of our being, retain our customers. We must drive them back into our dealerships. We must make them or keep them our customers forever. This is the true measurement for the future of our dealerships.
If you want to learn more about the CREATIVE EFFORT or Lees not so LOCO thoughts, give one of us a call at the office.
M5 Management Services™
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