Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: New Car, General Mgt

Identify the Problem Solvers in your Dealership

By Ron Henson on Feb 28, 2013

When was the last time that you walked onto your showroom and saw that gathering of sales consultants standing around in the "Ring of Despair" and thought to yourself, "I'll bet that's a productive and uplifting conversation?"

Truth is that there are Problem Causers (yes, I know that's not a word) & Problem Solvers in every business in America.  Car Dealerships are certainly no exception and I submit that the Problem Causers seem to gravitate toward car dealerships for some uncanny reason.  

As a leader, should your valuable time be spent putting out the fires caused by Problem Causers or fostering the growth and goodwill generated by Problem Solvers?  The answer seems quite clear at first blush, but the execution of the concept gets a little tricky.  We all know that misery loves company so unless you have a sales staff loaded with high performers and the bottom guy on the totem pole is still rocking 18 units per month, you may have a few of these Problem Causers on staff.

I like the saying, "Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions."  

Many of your most influential employees in your dealership today may not have the word manager in their title.  Seek these people out!  Interview your management team and your employee base and find out who these non-management leaders are and tell them that you appreciate their efforts.  Tell them how much it means to you that they foster an environment of positivity in your business and ask them to continue to spread it throughout the organization.  You can spend countless hours finding people doing things wrong, but if you go looking for people doing things right and mentor them and coach them on helping others to do the same, your day will be much more productive and your attitude and mood will certainly benefit.

Be the leader that you would want to have and watch the results.  Now it doesn't happen overnight, but it will happen.  The "Dope Ring" will start to erode and the Problem Causers will start to drift away toward other dealerships that are much less successful and creative than yours.  They will go find the cancerous, negative environment that they crave and your store will be the better for it.

Move some metal!

Comments

Great article! Thank you for sharing.

Mar 1, 2013

My pleasure Roger. I'm glad you liked it.

Mar 4, 2013

Ah yes, the pity party. Managing many Sales professionals over 32 years in the automotive industry, these gatherings are cancerous. Over the years, I have put the "Gung Ho' of the month award. My idea stems from the book, Gung Ho? By Ken Blanchard/Kevin Bowles and that I have a strong belief in its message. I rolled this out in a few phases. Phase #1, I purchased 5 of these easy read books. I then asked my whole team (Sale-Service-Parts-Office) to read the book and give me their thoughts. In turn, I would reward them with a bonus tchotchke. (You choose the bonus). Phase #2, I introduced the "First Friday" awards meetings, where I bought lunch for the whole store and introduced the "Gung Ho" of the month recipient. The department heads would vote and pick one person, who went out of their way, to do something special. This could range from, helping a customer over and above to picking up trash on the lot, which typically would lay there for weeks before the wind blew it into the parking lot next door. Phase #3, during these meetings, we would announce the winner and present the winner with a $200 gift card and an award they could take home, but must bring back the next day so it could be prominently hung on a wall in the facility. I would also hand out a $50 runner up award. It was amazing what this did to my facility. I had sales people reporting to me, what they did over and above in efforts. Office personnel, who looked to price shop common use items to reduce overhead and lot attendants who would finish cleaning the inventory and weed around my office windows to get attention. It had such a positive effect on reducing negativity and stopping those pity parties while building a "Total Team" effort. Phase #4, anyone who made a mistake or did something negative would be consulted in private using two managers (HR preferred) and myself in the conversation. Never, and I mean never allow reprimand in front of their peers. Randall at

Mar 4, 2013

Ah yes, the pity party. Managing many Sales professionals over 32 years in the automotive industry, these gatherings are cancerous. Over the years, I have put the "Gung Ho' of the month award. My idea stems from the book, Gung Ho? By Ken Blanchard/Kevin Bowles and that I have a strong belief in its message. I rolled this out in a few phases. Phase #1, I purchased 5 of these easy read books. I then asked my whole team (Sale-Service-Parts-Office) to read the book and give me their thoughts. In turn, I would reward them with a bonus tchotchke. (You choose the bonus). Phase #2, I introduced the "First Friday" awards meetings, where I bought lunch for the whole store and introduced the "Gung Ho" of the month recipient. The department heads would vote and pick one person, who went out of their way, to do something special. This could range from, helping a customer over and above to picking up trash on the lot, which typically would lay there for weeks before the wind blew it into the parking lot next door. Phase #3, during these meetings, we would announce the winner and present the winner with a $200 gift card and an award they could take home, but must bring back the next day so it could be prominently hung on a wall in the facility. I would also hand out a $50 runner up award. It was amazing what this did to my facility. I had sales people reporting to me, what they did over and above in efforts. Office personnel, who looked to price shop common use items to reduce overhead and lot attendants who would finish cleaning the inventory and weed around my office windows to get attention. It had such a positive effect on reducing negativity and stopping those pity parties while building a "Total Team" effort. Phase #4, anyone who made a mistake or did something negative would be consulted in private using two managers (HR preferred) and myself in the conversation. Never, and I mean never allow reprimand in front of their peers.

Mar 4, 2013

Fantastic comments Randall. Kudos!

Mar 4, 2013

Comments 1 - 5 of 5

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Ron Henson's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Will Boomers and Millennials Ever Understand Each Other?

    Millennials are often misunderstood by Baby Boomers creating difficult situations when hiring and retaining the 25 to 34-year-old age groups. Why is this? Will Baby Boomers and Millennials ever understand each other or will cohesion and understanding help your business? Find out in this passionate post by Grant Gooley.Read post

  • Creating an Excellent (CX) in your Store

    A recent quarterly digital intelligence briefing from Adobe and Econsultancy titled Digital Trends 2015 outlining the most exciting opportunities for your organization, ranked Customer Experience as number one for the second straight year. The study was conducted on more than 6,000 marketing, digital and ecommerce professionals around the world ranking things like content marketing, mobile, social, big data, personalisation, location based services  and more. Customer Experience or (CX) as a theme has increased the gap from 2014 between things like mobile and social. Last year 20% ranked (CX) as the most exciting opportunity and the number has increased in 2015 to 22%. It is clear that in the coming year we will see a ton of activity in this area, so how can your dealership ensure an excellent (CX)? Customer Experience is defined as is the sum of all experiences at various touch points a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services, over the duration of their relatio...Read post

  • The Fruit Fly

      Fruit flies are pests that are found in homes, restaurants and grocery stores - anywhere there is fresh produce present. They are attracted to rotting or fermenting fruit on which to feed and lay their eggs, and they are relentless and near impossible to get rid of once they have found a home.   Fruit Flies Everywhere! Several years ago, I noticed that I was increasingly trying to shoo these pests away from my face at meals, or just walking through my kitchen every day.  The fruit fly situation became unbearable.  I made several trips to the store to purchase flying insect killer. I purchased several brands, and they all seemed to take care of the problem at varying degrees. I would then spend the next few minutes cleaning up the mess of dead fruit flies and foul smelling insect killer. Well, this went on for days. Every day, I would arrive home, spray with vigorous purpose and clean the mess - only to have to do it again, day in and day out. After a week or so, I realized...Read post

  • Hiring the right people is easier then you think.

    Your best prospects for future success will be those who closely match the best of what you already have. Gain an understanding of what keeps these people motivated and performing at peak ability. These are the traits you will need to advertise and hire for.Read post

  • Retention, Loyalty or Acquisition Marketing?

    We all want new customers. And it’s certainly mandatory to retain a customer to create a loyal one. But how we market our dealerships is increasingly important -- as each form of marketing will deliver different results. The three terms: loyalty, retention and acquisition marketing, all have their own distinct meanings and should be used to satisfy different goals and objectives. While they are often not distinguished differently within most dealerships, they truly have different meanings, and will generate different results.   According to the experts at the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of customer loyalty is as follows:   “The fact of a customer buying products or services from the same company over a long period of time.”   According to Wikipedia, customer retention is defined as follows:   “Customer retention is the activity that a selling organization undertakes in order to reduce customer defections.”   And acquisition marketing is defined as th...Read post

  • Wayne Reaves Adds CarStory Market Reports to its Nearly 2000 Dealer Websites

                    The partnership marks the second customer-wide rollout of the reports by a dealer website provider and grows the CarStory dealer network to more than 3,000 dealerships nationwide.   Austin, Texas – March 23, 2015 – CarStory, the industry’s largest provider of crowdsourced data and analytics on used vehicle pricing and preferences, today announced that Wayne Reaves, a leading provider of independent dealership websites, has integrated CarStory Market Reports into its customizable website platform.  A free merchandising tool and lead source, CarStory Market Reports are available directly on all Wayne Reaves dealership websites.   The partnership is the second in a series of alliances with website providers that make CarStory Market Reports easily available to dealers at no extra cost. CarStory’s dealer network now numbers over 3,000 dealerships nationwide.     “Keeping consumers engaged once they land on a dealer website is key to conve...Read post

  • Superior Integrated Solutions (SIS) Selected as Exclusive Provider of Integration Services for Subaru of America Dealers

    Subaru Dealers Can Now Count on Data Security and Stability. Superior Integrated Solutions (SIS), the industry’s leading integration provider for auto dealerships, today announced that Subaru of America has chosen SIS as the exclusive provider of integration services to facilitate data exchange between Subaru dealers and their DMS vendors. SIS is certified or approved to provide integration services for 14 DMS providers, and serves as an integration services provider for multiple OEMS, including Ford and General Motors. “We chose Superior because we felt they were the one company that could support all DMS providers and provide the level of support, service and security we wanted for our Subaru retailers nationwide,” stated Brian Simmermon, VP & CIO, Subaru of America. Read post

  • What The Watch Will Have You Watching as You’re not Watching What You Need To Watch

    Not paying attention to mobile, tech and search is about to get more annoying…and costly!What time is it? Really, what time is it? It’s not hammer time or time to get ill, although you may after reading this. It is time to consider where you SEE what time it is. For a lot of people in automotive (read: dealer principals, general managers, general sales managers), it’s usually a nice watch. And guess what? Within months, a lot of those people will be migrating to “smart” watches. Lots and lots of people will. What does this mean for you? Well, truth is we don’t exactly know yet however know this…you’re about to get more annoyed from a cost and tech perspective. And to think, you were finally getting comfortable with spending money on SEO for your antiquated website 5 years after you should have been spending the money to DOMINATE your market and you just felt like looking into geo-fencing, although you still don’t get it. Tech, and smart watches specifically, is goin...Read post