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

  • Going Beyond All-You-Can-Eat In Loyalty

    When consumers think of loyalty programs, they typically think of racking up miles, or frequenting a business in exchange for rewards, perks or freebies. No matter what business you patronize, there is a good chance that it is offering some sort of loyalty incentive. In fact, many argue that loyalty programs are so prevalent nowadays that they are losing some of the initial qualities that attracted consumers to them back some 45 years ago. Namely, that feeling of being treated special in exchange for the customer’s ongoing business and continued loyalty. Today, some loyalty programs choose not to even offer rewards. Instead they just provide the concept of receiving lower prices. Many grocery store chains have the regular price and then a loyalty member price. Sale prices are reserved just for members of their loyalty program.  Your information and transaction histories are exchanged with the grocery store for a slightly lower total at the checkout counter.   Loyalty programs h...Read post

  • How to Find Out What Women Want and Reach The Modern Female Car Buyer

    A woman’s vehicle path to purchase needs may be prioritized differently than a man’s, and in order to sell to women, stores can benefit by understanding and caring about what women want when it comes to cars. They should ask Mel Gibson (about what women want…)Read post

    By Cobalt on October 23, 2014

  • Brand and Dealer Loyalty – a Fine Balance?

    Think about the last time you visited a business such as McDonald’s, Target, or a 7-11.  Now, think about the store itself – did you select the store because of convenience, or because you were dedicated to a specific location?  Sometimes the answer is both, but more often than not, like most consumers, you are making the choice based on convenience.  Either way, your decision was likely based on the brand or company name and not the individual business or the people that work behind its doors.Will a customer repeatedly choose your dealership for sales, service or your collision center because of who you are and the people on your team? Does your dealership name stand out in the minds of consumers? Or will they choose your location because of the brand you offer and the service they have previously received at a different dealership of the same brand?At your dealership, do you consider your regular customers brand loyal? Or do you consider them loyal to your dealership? If you...Read post

  • There’s Always Time to Do It Right!

    You don’t have to live in a bustling city to see that people are in a hurry. Compared to even ten years ago, it seems that everyone is in a rush to get something done fast and with as little inconvenience as possible. The reality is - people have less time, which means they demand more of businesses, including your dealership.   In today’s hurried environment, it’s imperative that your staff be on their toes to not just make a good impression, but also perform their best in every opportunity afterwards. With customers making fast decisions, one of their first could be to take their business elsewhere if the level of service is not meeting their expectations. The expectations customers have for businesses to provide stellar service is growing quickly.    If you polled all of your employees, it probably wouldn’t shock you that that virtually all of them would say that they provide good service. What metrics do you have to identify what good customer service actually is? ...Read post

  • Do Your Salespeople Spend Too Much Time Managing Software...Instead of Selling?

    The fact is, lead generation is an expensive business and having the right tools to manage this investment and deliver the most qualified leads to your dealership is paramount to your success. When it comes to mining your database and working your in-market customers, you have two choices: use your internal team to run and manage all aspects of it (self-service) or outsource many of the functions to a service provider who does most of the heavy lifting (full service).  Self-service options demand the installation of comprehensive software that requires training and hands-on daily interaction to be effective, while a full service provider will take over the day-to-day tasks (i.e., database management, developing marketing materials, mailings, e-mails, etc.) and, instead, deliver qualified leads to your sales force. Both approaches have their pros and cons. Full disclosure, I currently work for a full service provider, but I also spent eight years as VP of Sales and Marketing for a la...Read post

  • Proactive PR & the NFL?

    While I love to be active myself, I certainly could not call myself a big fan of watching and keeping up with sports. It seems, however, that you cannot turn on a television, read a newspaper or use any social media recently without hearing about continuous misdeeds and wrongdoings of NFL players. I’m sure that you’ve seen them as well. So this is not designed to rehash, recap or discuss any of these controversies. Much of the attention and negative PR has been directed towards those players involved, as well as the NFL itself, as can be expected. Due to the ongoing controversy, sponsors have distanced themselves and some have even disassociated themselves with the league. One sponsor, however, seems to be taking a slightly different approach to the controversy… Verizon.   Let’s face it. Regardless of any controversy, football is not only uber-popular in America, but also big business. It brings massive exposure to its partners and sponsors. Just as in the real world, howe...Read post

  • Dealer Solutions: Catching Red Flags on Millennial Resumes

    Does it ever feel like the term “millennials” is an annoying buzzword or something that the American workforce can’t stop mentioning? Regardless of how this may make you feel, this is a term that won’t be going away anytime soon. You probably keep hearing something about “Generation Y is the future” or “right now is the time to attract millennials at your organization”—although it might seem repetitive, it’s true. This generation currently makes up approximately 23% of the dealership workforce, according to a report released by the NADA last year. Additionally, the percentage of millennials in the workforce is only going to increase in the years to come. This also means that there’s a good chance you’ve had a decent influx of resumes coming from this specific generation at your dealership. While hiring millennials is essential to growing business, it’s also important to make sure you’re hiring the best-fit candidates. One way to avoid poor hiring decisions is by scanning resumes for certain warning signs. The following are several red flags on millennial resumes that hiring managers should search for in order to avoid hiring a potential turnover candidate at your dealership: Careless Grammar & Spelling—This is an obvious red flag to spot on any resume. If a potential candidate is lazy enough to not carefully proofread his or her resume, then it’s likely that same candidate will not perform to the best of his or her ability. Full Sentences—Resumes should never be writRead post

  • Want to sell more cars - KISS IT!

    Selling cars can be a challenging venture. You hope someone comes in to buy, then try to convince them your product and your dealership are their best choice. I have great admiration for entrepreneurs, especially ones trying to carve a niche in the automotive vendor space. To find success, you have to have a hook, a new way to look at old challenges, and inspire dealers and / or management teams to buy into your concept. At the end of the day, though, it isn't specifically about the semantics of calling it steps to the sale or the road to the sale, selling a car is about connecting with PEOPLE - one at a time and in a manner that builds a relationship. If that isn't part of the 'selling process' than selling a car is more akin to being on the highway to hell! If you can't connect with your buyer on a human level, you are literally just a number - the price you give them. Therefore, the best way to sell a car is to Keep it Simple, Silly - or KISS. Whether it's in the showroom, over t...Read post