Where have all the good managers gone?

A lot of dealerships think they are saving money by taking a good sales rep and making him/her a manager and not training them . The pay plans have shrunk for managers over the past year as well . The idea of paying people less and expecting more is a bad choice ranging from managers to internet people . 

 A planed sales training meeting  should be done every day . Very few meetings have the hooting , clapping and hollering any more compared to years ago . 


With poor managers the longevity has shrunk as well . It was nothing 10 years ago to see sales reps with 10 to 15 years on the job . Now it is hard to find sales reps with this much time at one dealership .


 Some of the old ways will never be surpassed by the new ones . A hand written Birthday or Holiday card with a follow up call will never be beat . Computers are great but the lick em stick em envelope with a sheet of paper wishing someone Happy Birthday was outdated the day it started . 

 All is not lost . I work with dealers that have not gotten away from the meat and potatoes training and making sales reps accountable the right way . There sales meetings are fun because everyone knows what is expected . There are great managers that lead by example but we need more of them . I believe in time the dealers will go back to basics and invest in there sales force and not just advertising .

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Comment by Fran Taylor on July 2, 2012 at 2:52pm

I was wondering how we can get more dealers to join in on our blogs like Candace. I thank you for the calls ,  the emails and all the comments . Any ideas ?

Comment by Jeff Nabel on June 29, 2012 at 7:23pm

Mark, this was an amazing thread, I think what's important for all is that Candace is active in a dealership and is proactive everyday, and more importantly recognizing and knowing what she's got.  Remember a great administrator always know what he or she's got. My hat off to Candace for being part of the heart beat of her store.

Comment by Mark Rodriguez on June 29, 2012 at 5:59pm

This is an amazing thread.  So many great contributions here.  In terms of the car business my roots are in sales.  Don't get me wrong, at no point in my adolescence or teen aged years went to my parents and said "Mom and Dad I know you want me to be the first Doctor in the family but I want to work 60 hours a week in a profession that is 2nd from the top hated profession in society".  No way.  The car business was my great second chance at making things right for my family.  I was a very good salesperson and was elevated to a Sales management position with no training.  I have no regrets because the lessons learned were many and I have met some amazing people along the way.

With respect to creative pay plans that attract, engage and retain employees it is important to consider the internal dialogue that each manager has within themselves from the perspective of answering the questions - What are my Monthly, Weekly and daily goals? How do I teach what I have never been taught?  Forecasting, Goal Setting, CRM, Phone Skills etc  Who are these souls that I have hired and promised to increase the quality of their lives by working on commission with no ceiling on income?  What are their motivations?  What is my responsibility to them for their success?  When I tell to follow up - Do they know what to say? Do I l know what to say?  Do I wait til there is no month left to talk about saving the month or Do I engage my people in making performance corrections every day?  Are all of these activities I speak of a Should or a Must?

I see many managers who, like me,were given the position because they were good at selling.  A good sales person doesn't necessarily make for a great leader oops! sales manager - or should they be one and the same.  When a manager looks out at his/her sales team can he confidently say "I know the motivations and hot buttons of each of his team members? Sadly enough today's Managers are focused on only the retail and not the detail.

You see, your sales people are customers also.  They are the internal customer.  Ignore them, don't train them, don't teach them how to hunt and create their own leads, give them reasons not to trust you, demotivate them in sales meetings on Saturdays, treat them poorly and they will leave you.

When I train dealership staff I do my best to connect the dots.  My expertise is in helping dealership staff provide world class service over the phone.  If I'm training sales people I work real hard at getting the staff to buy into the fact that when a customer calls in to a dealership they are speaking from the logical part of their brain that says I have a budget, I want to save time and I don't like the car buying experience.  However, once in the dealership emotion takes over and emotion will make you use logic to justify emotional reasons to go with a higher payment or a different car.   And so the phone dialogue follows a logical track that leads to an appointment and future follow up. 

Most managers were not trained to properly handle an inbound phone opportunity much less make an outbound one. How does the saying go " You can't blame the untrained"  Well how do we fix it? 

The Paradigm Shift has already begun for sure and many of us are not prepared for what is to follow.   If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result then why do we keep hiring good people, training them and watch them go only to have to repeat this process again and again? 

As a business owner and trainer, I for one want to be a part of the solution and want to leave this great industry better than the way I found it.   I am grateful to all of you for this dialogue!

Comment by Fran Taylor on June 29, 2012 at 5:21pm

New car dealers are a lot different than an independent dealer . The last week of the year is one of the best all year long . Factories spend millions of dollars trying to get rid of last years stock . 

 I agree with Candace on giving time off . I wrote an article that will be in Auto Success Magazine next month about Tiffany Jean Kruzer. She was the first one ever to deliver 40 cars in one month at her dealership. The manager did not want her to take time off. This is what discourages good sales reps in the auto business and deters others from getting into the auto business . Feed the big fish because they eat the little ones .

Comment by Jeff Nabel on June 29, 2012 at 5:03pm

Very nice Candace, I'm sure you are absolutely right and I like it.  It's great you have that kind of support from your owner, that is a great program. You are in touch, great job.

Comment by CANDACE BENNETT MCRAE on June 29, 2012 at 4:53pm

Jeff...time off spiffs are very effective.  I set a spring goal/deadline and if the team meets it they all earn a 3-day Memorial Day weekend (store closed!).  Same for summer and the reward is a 3-day Labor Day weekend.  Now you had better sit down for this spiff: we set an annual goal for the first 11mos and the spiff is...we close the store from Christmas Eve thru January 2nd.   Those holidays are much more effective in maximizing productivity than cash bonuses.    I know that alot of traditional car guys would say that it's heresay to close the store on Memorial/Labor days & the last week of the year...but if the store is maximizing the non-holidays then those few days won't matter.  The moral is incredibly high and thus the GenY gang is productive the other 300 days of the year (in fact, the flaunt their time off and paychecks to their buddies at the other stores in town).

Unconventional true but EXTREMELY effective!   That's what I mean by knowing how to manage this GenY gang.    

Comment by Kurtis Smith on June 29, 2012 at 4:14pm

Although good points have been made regarding developing new ways of engaging and managing the performance of salespeople, I believe that the approach has and will continue to be the issue.

You cannot manage a person to produce sustainable results, because there are too many moving parts that have to be accounted for. It is for this reason that including points like inspiration, self esteem and motivation in the conversation prior to a strategy for producing results in any activity is defined, can be misleading because it distracts you from the ultimate objective.

Yes, they are important in making the individual feel good and even do what we ask, for the moment. But the fact remains that you have a business to run and objectives that must be achieved. So unless you have a clear path to success that anyone can follow, you will continually resort to screaming, begging, pleading and coercion as a primary means of getting the individual who signed on for the job, to do what the position requires. 

Managers, need to have a process to manage, & salespeople need to have a process to follow. When you combine both, you have a team of individuals that know their roles and their responsibilities that can be held accountable for specifics, instead of ambiguous tasks that are not connected.  

This is what we must some how find away to teach those that we promote into management roles.

Comment by Jeff Nabel on June 29, 2012 at 4:03pm

Discipline, regimentation aren't bad words we just have to get the same job done among the Y gen, it's harder for us as some points made by both Fran and Scott.  Now discipline and regimentation has to be done by creating good daily business habits, everyday review and reasonable expectation on a growth curve, yes it takes more patients. Appointments is a discipline that turns into a reward and value as an example, but reward not for appointments but instead for appointment write-ups, weekend spiff must have 3 appointments, two of them have to be written up (does not have to be sold) to qualify to get in the game, most overall unit person wins.  Make that a weekend spiff and see how many appointments show up and offers written.

Comment by Fran Taylor on June 29, 2012 at 3:41pm

Not sure I understand that we can't teach like the baby boomers . My GM never swore , never raised his voice and made us accountable every day . He took me out and showed me prospecting and we did walk around's and product knowledge every day . We had an appointment board up for all to see and you better have an appointment on it . Not many dealers do this any more . 

 I'll take this old school ,training any day . I think this is why we were number one in all Mid Atlantic region .

Comment by Jeff Nabel on June 29, 2012 at 3:36pm

Candace very well written, while a paradiegm shift is already upon us and well into our business, what is the level of inspiration promised by these potential new leaders?  This is a quadinkyium, what is that? No one is sure yet! Looks like if we instill best practices, measure and inspect them, inspire but more strongly build self esteem, make them once again proud to be professional salespeople and professional car people, we will then be successful and have future leaders that can truly inspire.

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