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Christopher Ferris

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Stop your hand wringing about the swine flu. Set aside your concern about ebola. Worry not about anthrax. Malaria? Don't lose one minute of sleep thinking about it. NADA? Well, that's entirely another matter, a grave development meriting the attention of automotive dealer principals nationwide and perhaps even internationally from Andorra to Zambia.

I know exactly what you're thinking. NADA is the glue that holds us all together. NADA watches out for us in the halls of Congress. NADA is our industry's NFL and we are coaches and players on thousands of teams scattered all across the country. The NADA annual convention is a must attend affair. NADA is the fabric of automotive commerce in our great nation. NADA is our collective strength in the midst of the storm. NADA is our past, our present and our future.

Well, I have news for you. NADA is a cancer. NADA is a plague. NADA is a virus. NADA creeps stealthily into the air of automotive dealerships worldwide and takes an enormous toll on gross profit. (No, not the NADA that you know so well and appreciate so much. Not that supportive NADA.) Let me explain.

The beautiful, elegant and simple Spanish language, a gift to all mankind, employs the four letter pronoun NADA to mean "nothing." As in not anything. Zero. Zilch. Zippo. The big goose egg. Emptiness. Lack of content. Lack of motion. Lack of progress. Lack of happening. Lack of occurrence. Lack of results. You get the picture.

Interestingly, NADA (the Spanish pronoun) is known, recognized and spoken frequently throughout the English speaking world. It's noteworthy that persons who do not speak one word of the Spanish language often use the Spanish pronoun NADA in their daily conversations. Yet, what begins as a perfectly innocent habit can morph into a destructive disease.

One does not have to be a degreed disease tracker at the CDC to see how the insidious NADA virus wreaks havoc on showroom floors and at service and parts counters in automotive dealerships everywhere. Infected employees will attempt to disguise their symptoms by using the English word "nothing" to mask the reality that the NADA virus has penetrated deep into their brains and central nervous systems.

CDC specialists assigned to monitor the status of the NADA virus outbreak in the automotive industry have advised dealer principals, general managers, general sales managers, Internet sales managers and service managers to listen for spreading use of the following verbal expressions. Such verbalizations usually indicate a palpable degree of NADA virus infection.

- I've got nothing going on today.

- There's nothing happening right now.

- My customer is doing nothing.

- I have nothing on the board.

- The current incentives mean nothing.

- This month is a big bunch of nothing.

- This is a nothing job.

- Selling cars is a nothing career.

- I show up for work. I get nothing.

- Nothing ever happens during my shift.

You won't notice feverish brows, nausea, shaking extremities or transient vertigo when the NADA virus strikes your dealerships' employees. What you will hear is frequent conversational use of the pronouns "nothing" (English) or "nada" (Spanish) in all departments. What to do?

Alert your managers muy pronto. Hold off for now on calling in the local Fire Department's Hazmat Team in their biohazard suits. LBWA. Lead by walking around. Be silent. Listen. Carefully. The NADA virus is there. Right next to you. The degree of infection depends on the competence and persistence of your management team. Application of bleach won't help kill the NADA virus. Nor will frequent use of anti-viral sprays.

The only known NADA virus killer also comes to us from the Spanish language. It's the pronoun ALGO, (the opposite of NADA), meaning "something." Because there's always SOMETHING happening. All the time. 24 x7. The Spanish pronoun A-L-G-O could also stand for (in English), "Always Look (for) Golden Opportunities."

Encourage your team to embrace an ALGO attitude today, and the dreaded NADA virus will soon be a totally eradicated threat to gross profit. Months from now, you may even enjoy laughing about the NADA virus when you attend the (other) vitally important NADA annual convention in early 2010!

Christopher Ferris   c 603.233.8759


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