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From: Jared Hamilton
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Ron Henson

Ron Henson Director, Dealership Strategy & Development

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Identify the Problem Solvers in your Dealership

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!

Roger Laughary
Great article! Thank you for sharing.
Ron Henson
My pleasure Roger. I'm glad you liked it.
Randall Welsh
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 rwelsh@cimasystems.NET
Randall Welsh
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. rwelsh@cimasystems.NET
Ron Henson
Fantastic comments Randall. Kudos!

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