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The "C Word". You know, that word. The one that makes dealership executives' skin crawl, makes sales people laugh, has trainers' mouths drool and absolutely keeps your store from its true potential. It even has female staffers cringing, question working at the dealership. Say it with me....CULTURE.
Ignored by only the bravest of souls who understand the kind of wrath and trial it brings. Changing culture takes balls. It takes work. It takes time. And it takes an unrelenting focus as well as undying commitment. We all know it, so why do so few do it? Weak leadership? Lazy management? Not necessarily. Mostly it's due to the lack of understanding what the intermediate goals during and wins at the end of the effort are. You know...not starting with the end in mind.
Culture, by definition, is a way of life of a group of people--the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
In other words, you've built the existing culture and it's continued nearly blindly. In order to change a culture, the industry has historically resorted to spiffing or spanking. That's not truly leading a culture change, rather a practice of distraction. So we take adults who should otherwise be able to achieve a change and create a different focus. Then we shoot down the same adults when the incentive or punishment dissipates. Quit setting your business up for failure!
Culture change takes conviction and creating lots of buy-in. We do that a lot with lead management and sales coaching at IM@CS. Creating adoption breeds results. More than taking the same business rules and communication requirements from dealer to dealer, like most consultants and trainers do, it takes a focus on sustainable actions through owning efforts, responsibility and results at each individual business.
Instead of blaming incompatible software, say desking and CRM, for why salespeople don't complete their logging and steps in tracking and following up with customers, create an environment where sales supports each other and daily reports reign. And back it up with at least one weekly sales meeting run completely out of CRM. Over-simplified? Possibly. Worthwhile? Absolutely.
Culture? It's everything or it's nothing. Yeah, that will reflect everywhere...
Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results
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