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January 1979 I sold my first car at a small dealership in North Jersey. Since then, a lot has happened. I've personally trained over 15,000 sales professionals, written 10 books, spoken literally around the world, and now work with top dealers to fill their sales needs. I have seen and participated in three "worst ever" downturns in our industry. Each has taught me lessons on how to deal with the struggles and what to improve on as business gets better. There was one lesson that repeated itself through all of the good and the bad times.
In the auto business there is no room for absolutes!!!
Now, as a trainer/consultant, I bristle whenever I hear a dealer of manager use words like "always," or "never." That level of inflexibility is costing them customers, salespeople, adn ultimately huge sums of money. And, they never even notice. As long as they don't vary from their absolute direction, it's impossible to see what they might be missing. Anything that gets by is assumed to be wrong.
We NEVER hire women. They're too moody, have kids they're always running off to take care of. We ALWAYS low ball customers who leave without buying. We NEVER take less than $**** for a gross. If a potential sales person comes from #######, we ALWAYS hire them.
And my top two favorites:
We've ALWAYS done it this way.
If always or never actually worked, and we followed the "Rules", there would NEVER be a downturn in the industry and we would ALWAYS be making huge profits. How have your incomes looked over the last few years? For some of you, it may be, "I've NEVER seen it so bad."
What can you do? Markets do change. Customers seem smarter. Management is a challenge. All the more reason to get flexible. Look at what you can keep - those are principles. Be willing to adjust or eliminate what (or even who) isn't working. And, if you're in this for the long haul, toss it all and rebuild. While the last is very extreme, so is success. If that's what needs doing, and you're serious about reaching your maximum potential, do it.
We tried that once, it NEVER works.
A better way of looking at this is to actually have a real plan. One that not only includes what you want done, but where you hope to end up once you've finished. In fact, the objective must be the priority. Whether it's a monthly objective, or one that is for the next year or two. Once that is set, be willing to make adjustments along the way to stay on track. Waiting till you're halfway there is often too late. Adjust and review daily or at least weekly. Leave yourself time to adjust without making panic fixes or moves.
Our best dealer clients talk to us about where they see the staff a year or more down the road. This allows us to make the right choices for planned growth. The question we ask to make sure we're on the right page, "What if what we do really works?" That answer solidifies our plan. Too many dealers think about what they can do if something doesn't work up to expectations. It's rare that they actually plan for massive success. Maybe that's why massive success is so rare.
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 http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.net. 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.