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Christopher Ferris

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With all of the "what to name your baby" books flooding the market for the past few generations, something unusual has surely transpired. No, it is not a conspiracy, to be sure, but it is definitely a phenomenon worth investigating. A million plus babies named "Justa" have grown into adults and, as soon as they have reached adulthood, they have descended like locusts upon automotive dealerships all over the USA.

They have swarmed our showroom floors, our service drives, our parts counters, our front lines, our websites and our telephone switchboards from all directions. And this all but inexplicable invasion of Justas continues relentlessly 24 x 7, seemingly unaffected by the current turbulence in the national and world economies. Well, every dealer may not have the Minnow's fearless crew from Gilligan's Island to deal courageously with the Justa invasion problem, but he can always call upon his own Justa Defense Force (JDF) unit to keep his domestic and import franchises safe and secure.

Worry not that JDF unit members might be unskilled. All JDF unit members have undergone basic and advanced intelligence collection and target identification training. As the late, great Green Beret singer Barry Sadler would be crooning today, if he were still alive, "One hundred auto sales consultants will train today, but only three win the JDF beret."

Doubtful? Here are some examples of first rate intelligence collection and target identification passed on directly by JDF unit members in verbal after action reports. (Rigid security regulations required as part of OPERATION NOLOG prevented the documentation of the following data in any dealerships' CRM systems or paper desk logs.)

He's JUSTA brochure seeker.

She's JUSTA tire kicker.

He's JUSTA lost soul who is asking for directions.

She's JUSTA vendor who wants to sell us something.

He's JUSTA driver delivering new cars.

She's JUSTA driver picking up used cars for auction.

He's JUSTA friend of the GSM's second cousin's great aunt who still drives a Yugo.

She's JUSTA person who e-mails us all of the time and never buys anything.

He's JUSTA parts driver for one of our wholesale accounts.

She's JUSTA bi-weekly be back who is three months away from buying.

He's JUSTA price grinder who will torpedo us on CSI.

She's JUSTA look-e-loo who is not serious about purchasing anytime soon.

He's JUSTA guy who is looking for a car for his son who is serving in the Peace Corps in Zambia.

She's JUSTA complaining customer who does not like our dealership.

He's JUSTA stroker who will waste my valuable time.

She's JUSTA close friend of the general manager's attorney whose daughter attends college with the dealer principal's son.

You get the picture. Years ago, millions of reflective women felt compelled to name their babies Justa and, baby, those grown up Justas have decided that automotive dealerships are absolutely fantastic places to hang out!

Here's the good: sales consultants serving in JDF units do not have to remember multiple first names, since almost every person that they encounter is named Justa.

Here's the bad: every Justa has a weird, unusual surname that may be hard for a sales consultant serving in a JDF unit to remember. (Thank God that such unconventional surnames never have to be written down. Whew.)

Here's the ugly: for every Justa that is noticed casually, pigeon-holed verbally and then ignored or repelled by a sales consultant who serves in a dealership's JDF unit, the long term loss of gross profit in sales, service, parts and accessories should justa 'bout stop that dealer's heart from beating.

What is the daily Justa count at your dealership? Who serves (too) proudly and (too) willingly in your dealership's JDF unit? What can be done to turn all Justas into opportunities? These are questions that definitely need to be asked. Yes, some answers that you find may be hard to swallow, but the discovery process is justa 'nother step along the road to transforming your dealership into a place where no potential customer's first name is ever Justa.

 Christopher Ferris   c 603.233.8759

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