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If you aren’t familiar with the T.V. show Kitchen Nightmares I’ll give you a brief rundown…
Basically, owners of soon to be failed restaurants call in Super-chef Gordon Ramsey to spend a week helping turn things around and restore the business to profitability. Week in and week out the show follows the same format… First the owner tells their story, and provides the details of how bad things have gotten. Then Chef Ramsey shows up, looks around, orders a few items off of the menu, meets the owners/staff and inspects the kitchen. By the end of the show (and lots of fireworks) Ramsey has given the restaurant a “makeover”, a new menu and a dining room full of satisfied customers before he rides off into the sunset.
So what does this have to do with the car business?
Well, the most frustrating thing about the show (which I am admittedly addicted to) is that within seconds of showing the owner complaining about how horrible the business has become, and how much money they owe, and how they are weeks away from losing everything, they cut to Chef Ramsey telling them how bad the food is, followed by several minutes of the owner ARGUING with (and complaining about) Ramsey, saying he’s an idiot and he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Half the show is Ramsey fighting to make the owner understand why it needs to change.
This resistance to change is what reminded me of the car business…
For example, do you know any salespeople who complain about a lack of floor traffic but disappear when you suggest they pick up a phone and call some orphan or previously sold customers?
How about a manager that paces around the showroom during slow times and barks at everyone to “sell something” but won’t change the advertising one bit from “what we’ve always done”?
Obviously resistance to change isn’t limited to restaurants and dealerships, and being DrivingSales members you are on the lookout for the best practices our industry has to offer, but it might not hurt to remind your people that when you have control over the input, you can’t complain about the output. If they keep getting bad results you may want to be open to change.