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Gary May

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You know what? I can't blame you!  Now days it so easy to just think about yourself and your needs when a customer comes through the door toward you. Things are so slow on the showroom floor, you might have to role play with a set of 22" chromes (but they might not talk back) or do a walk around with the receptionist! No matter what, you can't stop focusing on what is truly most important.

The customer, how you treat them, what they expect, what they're prepared for and everything to do with that is what everything comes down to. Things may seem different, but don't lose your perspective! What you're paying attention to and how you represent yourself and your dealership is so critical...

If you're a pit bull dressed in Armani, you may get a sale but the next one will wait until after the 5 o'clock news has stopped talking about the attack (so to speak, of course). By the same token, don't wait for your general manager to come up to you to check your pulse.

Stay locked on your customer and really pay attention to them: their needs, their actions, their demeanor, their family, their surroundings and, yes, their engagement with you. Figure out how to influence them by paying close attention to these things and more. Half-baked salespeople get half-baked results, period.

In all fairness to the sales staffs, what is management paying attention to? What is it about your motivations that steers your team's results certain ways? Here in the Southern California area, one of the luxury brands' SUVs (which launched within the last month) was being sold at MSRP for, unfortunately, just a few days.

Then someone (alas, it always starts with someone) had to take the price down to between invoice and $500 over. On a brand new car. That people will pay window for. That people have waited for. In a market and industry where profit must be king today (behind paying attention to clients). Even without a unit to sell!

And for what? For leadership? To force other dealers? For the brief satisfaction? It's mind boggling how counter-productive dealers can be...and then complain to anyone who will listen about how bad things are. What are you paying attention to? Whatever it is, it's not beyond your nose.

In this teetering-on-the-edge-before-the-next-round-of-bad-news world, start paying attention to and doing the things that will get you the results you want, that continue to pay you, that build a volume of completely satisfied clients and ultimately keep you and your customers happy.

And it shouldn't be too hard since the next dealer is probably doing the same thing that caused them to lose the last customer!

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