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There is a statement we've all heard over the years in the car business.  It usually comes from the dealer or a senior manager.  When I hear it, it makes me crazy.  Now, I know that some of you will say that driving me crazy is a short trip, but this one makes me glad that I'm not on a roof when I hear it.  I might jump.     

It usually happens when I'm talking to a dealer.  We may be discussing a hiring campaign, an idea for advertising, a specific sales practice or even a way to cut costs in service.  I'm at a point where I can actually feel this statement before it's even uttered.  My skin starts to crawl and I feel a shortness of breath.  I want to jump up and put my hand over the mouth that is about to speak, but it's always too late.  

"We tried that once.  It didn't work."     

Ooooooh! There it is. Now it's out there.  What do you do except feel hopelessly trapped in a past life that was none to kind.  It reminds me of a customer responding to that stupid question, "Can I help you?"  They get glazed eyes and respond, "Just looking."     

That question draws scorn from even the newest dealers.  Yet, they have no problem uttering an equally ridiculous seven words, "I TRIED THAT ONCE.  IT DIDN'T WORK."     

Let's give the person saying this the benefit of the doubt.  After all, this statement may have saved them from some pretty sticky situations.  I think we should take it literally and never repeat anything that didn't work.  How would life be then?  Let's just see.     

Here are some things that you may have failed at the first time.  What would your life be like if you lived by the rule, "I TRIED THAT ONCE. IT DIDN'T WORK."

•Taking your first step. •Learning to ride a bike.

•Learning to drive.

•Taking a test in school.

•Asking someone on your first date.

•Applying to your first college.

•Interviewing for your first job.

•Attempting to sell your first car.

•Your first day as a dealer.      

I know, you're asking yourself what makes me such an expert on dealing with failing and rejection.  To tell the truth, I actually did write the book on it.  And, I was actually turned down by over 100 publishers before finally signing a book contract.    "REJECT ME - I LOVE IT!" led to 10 books being published and over 1.5 million readers.  Imagine how different my life would be if  I had tried it once and it didn't work.                 


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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Tags: Dealer, Fuhrman, Group, John, Resource, The, auto, car, dealers, hiring, More…new, recruiting, sales, training


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Comment by John Fuhrman on September 8, 2012 at 11:07am

Thanks Nancy.  I agree.  I actually ahd a guy say that to me when I was training in RUSSIA!  Of course he used a translater but told me that things were differrent there adn his competition always advertised lower prices.  How unique!  LOL

Comment by Nancy Simmons on September 8, 2012 at 10:53am

Great read...Love the analogies... That statement is like fingernails on a chalk board to me!  And I also despise its twin statement..."That might work in another dealership, but it doesn't work here."

Comment by John Fuhrman on September 8, 2012 at 9:01am


Thanks.  It saddens me that you are in the minority.  If more auomotive leaders would focus on the results they want, reach out for the help they need, and provide encouragement for innovation, many challenges would go away.  As I've said before, "The difference between an amatuer and a professional is that the professional asks for help while the amatuer thinks they can do everything on their own."

Comment by Tom Gorham on September 8, 2012 at 8:43am

John, so true.  Back in 2003, I read that chat was working well out on the west coast.  I wanted to try it in Chicago.  It didn't work.  Why?  Nobody in the midwest wanted to chat.  They just weren't ready.  We tried it again years later and it worked.  Today we use chat very successfully.  Thank you!

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