Welcome to NCM's Up to Speed Blog
Welcome to NCM's Up to Speed Blog

Dedicate Yourself to Educate Yourself

Written By: Tom Hopkins
Posted on May 12, 2015

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life is that no one else is going to look out for you as well as you will look out for yourself. To become and remain a professional in the automotive industry, you must recognize that you are in charge of your own education and act on that fact. Build on your strengths and correct your weaknesses. If you aren't sure of what to work on first, there is certainly someone in your life who will gladly assist you like your manager, your loved ones, or a trusted friend.

There are some common, basic skills that apply to the business world. They impact how well we relate to the needs of others to feel important when they’re around us; to accept the education we provide about our vehicles and the industry; and to help them own a vehicle that’s truly a good choice for them.

Here are five skill areas that I strongly recommend you consider developing or strengthening as they have made all the difference for many of my students:


Having a good memory is critical to anyone, but especially to those of us who meet many new people every week. I have learned to make a game of it in my career. I challenge myself to remember as many people and their stories as I can. There are some great courses and books written on this subject. Even if you learn and use only one small strategy, I guarantee you'll see the benefit of having done so. One little strategy that I learned and have used for years is to repeat each person’s name to myself four times when I first hear it. Then, to use their names (as they give them) as soon as possible in conversation.

A Second Language

Consider the part of the country in which you live and those people you do business with. As our country continually redefines itself by its people, be aware of the advantages of being able to communicate with others in their native tongues. Today's projections show that both Hispanic and Asian portions of the population are on the rise. To be able to work with more people, you must learn more about them, their languages, and their cultures.


Since your clients choose to get involved with you based on what you say, doesn't it make sense that you train your voice to give the highest level of professional presentation? If you've never considered voice training before, record yourself giving a portion of your presentation, then listen to it. Most of us hate the sound of our own voices. Just imagine how our clients feel when listening to us. Your goal is to project your message with clarity and power.


Don't cringe at me! I know many people hate math. However, in business, you need to know some basic math skills really well. Invariably, you’ll have potential clients who will have champagne taste on a beer budget. Determine what they can truly afford before trying to find them the car of their dreams.

Know the current interest rates on vehicles and play with the math on a range of vehicle investments. Learn how to quickly determine what a monthly investment might be on a vehicle prior to persuading the client that it’s right for them.

I know the favorite computation of every salesperson who works on a fee basis is to determine their percentage of every sale. Don't stop there. Play the numbers game often and you'll get better at winning.


Do you consider yourself a trained negotiator? Trained negotiators can quickly and effectively analyze the details of situations and determine the best route to resolution. If that brief description doesn't fit you, make an effort to find a book, audio recording, or webinar on the subject. Then, schedule the time to learn from it.

Choose just one of these five areas and dedicate yourself to improving it this month. Then, next month, choose another. Once you get started on this journey of self-education, you'll be amazed at what you learn and how simple things can have a powerful impact on your overall success in life.

Discover what the NCM Institute has to offer in automotive and leadership training. Click here to learn more!

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