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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development Manager

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Are You A Manager or A Leader?

Having the right leader in place on the dealer level can make or break the dealerships bottom line. Knowing that for every employee who quits costs the dealership as much as thirty thousand dollars. Yet so many dealers still fail to address the elephant in the room. That is hiring managers, not leaders. Where it is easy to hire a manager and let them do their thing. However, employee relationships cannot be developed or advanced without a leader to see their journey through. 

That said, here are some of the top reasons your leadership is failing your dealership. 

Your Expectations Do Not Match Reality. There is A Difference between Promising and Delivering. 

Your GM calls you into a meeting to discuss the next quarter's sales forecast. In which case, you eagerly look at the OEM’s objective and do one of two things. That is mock it. Offering that there is no way your team can hit that objective. Crying foul given that the OEM does not often support their objectives with selective market data. The other approach, which is just as bad is your merely agreeing and saying “yep. We got this one.” Knowing full well that your team is not going to hit that objective. And instead of understanding “why your team will not hit the objective” you start to blame the “bottom performers” for not hitting the objective. 

The issue (amongst many with this mindset) is that you never once stopped to ask yourself “why your bottom sales consultants are not hitting their objectives?” Where in many cases, you have not taken the time to train the sales consultants. That is the key difference between being a manager vs. a leader. Another issue, too, is that surprisingly even the GM’s and Owners often overlook the “manager” vs. the “leader” joining in on their sales managers tantrum as to they cannot hit the objective. 

So when the end of the month comes around your attitude towards your sales consultants - who you have neglected to train or develop - is hateful. To which you in some cases threaten to fire them. All without having taken the time to mentor them or offer them a plan of action to become a better sales consultant. This mindset of overpromising without delivering can be a toxic one, which makes it that much harder for your team to respect you as a leader. 

Brow Beating Your Sales Consultants Did Not Work Before. And it Will Not Work Now. A Leader Has to Evolve Offering New Ideas to Hit the Objective. 

A bad manager will browbeat their sales consultants. Making every excuse known to man when they are under the gun of the GM or owner. In which case the wheels on the bus go round and round. As they will roll anyone they can under that bus before taking the blame for their inability to manage. This Manager continues to expect excellent results but does not have it in them to work with their team on “how to achieve the results.” Namely, what can they do to assist their team knowing that the demands of today's customer have changed. 

A real leader, however, has a much different effective approach. Wherein, a leader will take the time to look at several data points. That is the historical trends in sales with the dealership to then reviewing his team's sales statistics. Aligning each sales consultant with a realistic sales goal. Those sales goals, however, are then mapped out for each sales consultant. That is the leader working with his sales consultants individually offering what they can each bring to the table to hit their objective. That can be anything from social campaigns, conquest letters, or even equity mining. So instead of being a “manager” take the time to be a “leader.” 

Your Team is Checked Out. The Harsh Reality Many Managers Face. 

It is no secret that once your team has checked-out, it becomes that much harder to engage with them. As your team is simply going through the motions to make it through the day. This mindset is terrible. Knowing that your employee's disinterest will make its way to the customer's experience. Another issue with this is that it hinders your team from using their creativity or aspiration to build their sales portfolio. No one wants to put in the extra effort if they do not believe it is welcomed or wanted. 

So instead of having an empty audience - as everyone has checked out - take the time to have one on ones with your team. Offering each sales consultant advice or guidance that is unique to them. Knowing that each sales consultant has their own strengths and weaknesses. You would be surprised as to what ideas they have been holding onto without bringing them up. This will also allow you as a leader to build the much-needed rapport with your team! 

Bottom Line: A leader will lead his sales consultants working with them. Not over them. Understanding that as a leader they have to be in it with the team as it will assist them in building both trust and rapport. In doing so, the results will follow, and your team will have the guidance they need to hit the dealers objective. So are you a leader or a manager? 

Chris K.

Visionary Leader + Implementer in Chief. 70% of our sales are now from the digital space vs 3% when I started at this specific dealership 10 years ago. We make them Desk Managers look fabulous. All I know is non-internet savvy desk managers need to get the heck out of our way. Just hook onto us tightly. You don't want to fall off and be left behind.

Casimiro (Casey) Garza

Good post, one of my pet peeves with my managers of the past, is them not knowing the difference between a manager and a leader.....it has always been my thinking that managers are about numbers and leaders are about people. Leadership will get the numbers, and without you having to be drinking buddies with your people.  You set an example, an example that they will follow and even take that bullet for you, willingly if that was to be present.  An exaggerated example no doubt, but the point they will work hard and willingly for you....they spend what 8-10 hours on that hot cement, show them you can do your job.  Shut the heck up, get off that tower and do your job.

Derrick Woolfson

@Chris, K. well said! It is a huge pet peeve. Especially if the GM or Owner allows them to make decisions when it comes to how the CRM ought to be managed???? Does not make any sense.I cannot tell you how many times they would offer how leads have to be managed, but they never *ever* spent a day answering leads. 

Derrick Woolfson

@Casimiro, I completely understand! From experience, we'd be slammed all day on the phones, marketing, chats, etc. all while some of the managers were busy trying to be friends watching YouTube on their phones, which slowed the internet speed making it hard to look up inventory on the phone. Not to mention, just the sheer amount of customers they'd let walk by on the lot (or that they did not notice) because they were glued to the tower. 

R. J. James

Derrick... Great post, and you touched on two of my most frequent consulting challenges: (1) Managers who were promoted on "Functional Excellence" (i.e., Top Sales Consultant promoted to Sales Manager or Top Service Advisor  promoted to Service Manager); (2) Managers holding the same performance expectations for every member on the Team.

Even though you designated it as Manager or Leader and I approach it as Managing or Coaching, it appears we see the same need for Awareness, Skills Development, and Organizational Development in the Dealership's Management Ranks. 

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