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Jared Hamilton
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Bart Wilson

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I wanted to take a minute and give you my philosophy on split deals. I do this because I think it represents an overall management philosophy that others don't subscribe to. Here it is: We have too many rules that get in the way. Regarding split deals, I feel we should have 3, maybe 4 concrete rules and let the floor govern themselves.

I am very passionate about processes. I would define a process as steps that lead to an end result. Each store has a sales process that, if followed, make it easier to achieve the goal of selling a vehicle. Your store may have a process for capturing customer information. You may have a follow up process, or a process for handling internet leads. These are necessary. A rule, on the other hand, could be defined as an action with consequences if disobeyed. Some rules are necessary. Too often I feel they actually get in the way of selling cars.

When you implement a rule with consequences you are drawing a line in the sand. Do this or else. When the rule is disobeyed and the hour of reckoning is at hand, a manager has two choices. Enforce punishment or let it slide. If you look the other way your credibility is damaged. There may be cries of favoritism. Management is really backed into a corner at this point. Rules often violate trust. That is why I dislike rules.

Don't get me wrong, certain rules are needed. For instance, show up to work on time. But too often the rules stop us from achieving our objective, which is to sell a car.

Let me illustrate my point with an sample rule. "No trade evaluation until after a demo. We will not look at a trade unless your customer drives a car". I can see why a store would implement such a rule. They may be having a problem with salespeople skipping sales steps. But to me that is a process issue, not a reason for another rule. Look at how the sales staff may view this. First of all, some will lie to you and tell you they did demo the vehicle. Or worse, they may tell the customer they can't evaluate a trade without a demo and thereby possibly lose the guest on the lot. Neither response will lead your store closer to a car deal. The veterans may feel micromanaged. "You don't trust us enough to let us work the deal."

I think it all comes down to trust. I know I am over-simplifying things, but if you have salespeople you don't feel you can trust, get rid of them. Chrysler just eliminated 789 franchises. Management is being reduced in dealerships across the country. You can find good salespeople now.

I would review the rules I have in place in my dealership and evaluate which ones help a salesperson sell a car and which one actually make it more difficult.

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