Insane. Hard-headed. Lazy. When it comes to the car business, I've probably fit into each of these categories at one time or another. And—just between you and me—I’ve definitely ticked all three boxes on a few occasions! If you’re honest with yourself, you probably have, too. And before you get mad: I can explain!
Old habits are hard to break …
How often do you find yourself trying to fix things by doing the same stuff you’ve done since starting in the business? I know I have. And I do it, even though I agree with Albert Einstein’s famous definition of insanity: “... doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It’s the same problem with being hard-headed. Did you or do you still fight against change in your own dealership? Were you one of the people that kept saying this “internet thing” won’t ever catch on in the car business? Or that the internet will make it impossible for us to make a profit? What about laziness? Do you want to train your staff, but find yourself procrastinating on seeing the process through?
… but you CAN beat them!
Here’s the thing. It’s not the end of the world if you fall into one—or more—of these categories. But you can’t let them rule you. Take a hard, honest look at yourself and your habits, then make the necessary adjustments. Why do I bring these things up? Well, I’ve realized there’s a common theme among poor performers: They want quick fixes. First, let me just say that there’s no issue with wanting to solve a problem fast. Dealerships need to be swift and flexible when course correcting. But, there’s a big difference between immediate action and slapping a Band-Aid on a problem.
Quick fixes aren’t always best fixes
Unfortunately, many of the struggling dealerships I’ve seen want quick “Band-Aid” fixes. When things are bad, they focus on seeing results improve and demand that they improve fast! Excellent performers, though, focus on activities. They know that investment in training and examining and changing processes—while slower—will yield improved results that can be sustained. Unless you’re strategic, quick fixes are just those bad habits acting to undermine your business. I mean, it’s easy to just fire your staff. (Ahem: laziness.) Or demand that they produce a certain number of car sales per month. (Hard-headedness and a smidge of insanity.)
Without changing what your dealership does—and how your staff handle their work—you shouldn’t expect anything different. Unless you’re crazy. And, we both know you aren’t crazy. So, what should a successful dealer do? In my opinion, one of the quickest ways for us to increase profitability is by teaching our employees how to properly manage the activities that lead to results. Make changes to things you and your staff can control. And be sure to clearly communicate goals associated with the change. For instance, it’s fairly easy to manage the number of confirmed appointments each salesperson has each day or the number of customer pay service vehicles that get a full walk-around inspection. There’s nothing crazy about that plan.