Now, we’re all familiar with the line, “There’s no business like show business.” Well, I wouldn’t personally know if that’s true or not, but I can say from firsthand experience that there is no business like the car business — not just for the controversy and characters, but for the triumphs as well.
In the car business, you have a group of people that range from the dealer principal to the lot attendant, who earns a living and gets some satisfaction from a job well done. On the sales side, you have an environment where guys and gals from all backgrounds spend a lot of time trying to sell one more car, make a few more dollars, hit the next bonus level and, in some cases, produce enough for a particular month to have the opportunity to do it all over again.
I recently read an article about pay plans for sales professionals. It detailed changes some dealers are making to their plans to help retain talent and, ultimately, make it worthwhile for someone to put in the work. My question to you is: What are you doing to improve your own bottom line without depending on new bonus plans or blockbuster advertising?
If you have been in the car business for any amount of time, I bet I can summarize your career thus far: When you started, you were probably like me — ready to take on the world. You were determined to be the best, standing tall on the point and waiting for that next “up.” Or, you were positioned next to the phone, ready to grab that next “phone up.” Unfortunately, things changed. Time, life and the daily lunch decisions sucked some of the fire out of you. Now here you are with however many years on the job, still trying to make it happen. But are you still trying hard enough?
One of the things that I believe makes me a great dealership strategist is my ability to approach a project with a short-term view. This means I have to figure out the problem and the fix quickly. I only have a certain number of weeks or months to come up with a solution. This gift can also be a curse, because my transient nature spills over into my personal life.
As a car customer, I prefer short-term leases of 24 months and will take a maximum of 30 months. What does this mean to you? Well, every year, for at least the last five years, I have played the role of customer in search of a vehicle and, more importantly, a great sales experience. The problem is, I’m still searching for that experience.
Now, for the record, I know plenty of fantastic salespeople all over the country. However, because I don’t purchase vehicles from clients, there is no bias in my approach.
In the last six months, I visited Subaru, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Infiniti and Lexus dealerships. I received only one professional vehicle presentation, and almost zero follow-up from these dealerships. This is despite each store having some fancy customer relationship management program. How can this be? A wise man I know said that anyone who doesn’t work to get better in today’s market will be punished by that market and the increasing options, demands and changing attitudes of its buyers.
Take control of your own outcome. Don’t wait for anyone and don’t blame anyone. Here a seven keys to breaking away from the pack:
1. Learn what others won’t take the time to learn.
2. Study others who are more successful than you are.
3. Seek out more opportunities. (You can’t imagine the number of people who run from Internet customers, retention customers or orphan owners.)
4. Work on delivering more service and value than you are getting paid for.
5. Don’t walk, but run from the daily coffee klatch.
6. Stay in your lane and focus on your book of business.
7. Dig deep into your pocket and pay for your education. It will come back to you tenfold.
As the headline says, there is no traffic on the extra mile, only profit and opportunity. You are, of course, greatly encouraged to give it your all and try to prove me wrong!