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Laura Madison

Salespeople Social Selling Under the Dealership’s Umbrella


Social selling is sweeping the automotive industry. A quick search for the terms ‘social selling’ will bring a bounty of articles, training offerings, and tips for salespeople leveraging social media to win business. All this social media mania is leaving dealerships wondering how to empower and control their employees who want to participate in this social realm.

The best strategy for this social movement is NOT to ignore the power of individual presences on social media or to prohibit salespeople to use social to promote themselves altogether; the best solution, for both dealerships and salespeople, is to create a social media presence where salespeople can participate under the umbrella of the dealership. This allows dealerships to benefit from any brand equity created by salespeople but also contributes to a larger, more cohesive marketing effort. It’s both empowering and controlled.

Uploading Under the Umbrella

Executing on this strategy is relatively simple. For example, a dealership can encourage salespeople to upload personalized videos to the dealership’s YouTube page. Simple videos filmed by salespeople with a smartphone highlighting the best features of a top-selling vehicle or the changes to a recent redesign, can provide great visibility for both the salesperson and the dealership. This upload can be facilitated very simply by a marketing director or whoever is presently running the dealership’s social media sites.

Salespeople can also participate on the dealership’s Facebook page in a number of ways. An effective social media presence highlights the humans behind a brand, so featuring photos of salespeople and tagging them in these photos can be a powerful way to add a human component to a dealership presence and also become more visible to these salespeople’s connections. Another way salespeople could contribute on Facebook is by providing content to post to the dealership Facebook page, like interesting product or customer photos.  Mining salespeople for Facebook updates could add incredible variety to posts and allow a dealership to show the faces behind the business.

There are a few big benefits of executing on this umbrella strategy:

  •  Increased visibility. Leveraging salespeople to create content, including automotive related photos or short videos, can boost activity on social channels and exponentially increase a dealership’s online reach. The more active a dealership can remain on social media the more prospective customers they’ll reach over time.
  •  A human component.  The key to an effective social media presence is creating human connection. Consumers want to know the people, and the story, behind a brand. Incorporating content from salespeople and featuring them in posts adds a dynamic and human component to a dealership’s social channels.
  •  Improved search engine optimization. Increasing videos, posts, and activity on certain platforms can catapult the organic search engine optimization of a dealership’s channels. For example, salespeople uploading content to YouTube will boost the likelihood of those videos appearing on the first page results of a Google search.

This umbrella approach on social media will result in a less fractured, more cohesive online presence for dealerships and dealership employees. Creating an environment where salespeople can contribute to the dealership’s social presence provides a fierce and powerful online visibility advantage in today’s competitive automotive space.

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Wayne George

More Manufacturer Recalls Are Coming: Here’s Your Checklist to Make the Most of Them


Experts believe that we’ll see more frequent and larger automotive recalls in the future, as regulatory agencies increase their scrutiny of the automotive industry. After a record-breaking number of recalls in the last few years—and today’s highly publicized emissions concerns—it looks like that is a safe bet.

Fortunately for dealers, though, owners report that they are pleased with service during recalls. The J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Customer Service Index Study found that “overall satisfaction among customers who take their vehicle to a dealer for recall-related work improved to 789 on a 1,000-point scale, up from 777 in 2014.”

It’s clear that while recalls may strain the service department, they present a great business opportunity for your dealership. Here’s my checklist to help your dealership get the most out of manufacturer recalls.

First, the basics:

  • The primary goal of every recall should be to retain all your current customers by providing them with exceptional customer service.
  • The second goal is to “WOW” any first time or former customers during this visit in order to make them or recapture them as service clients.
  • Every recall comes with problems, so get your team together and create plans that address anticipated issues.
  • Make sure every vehicle serviced is handled as you would a customer pay repair.

Now, how you can make a stellar impression and secure more customers:

  • Make sure your team has a plan in place that assures an email address is captured or verified for every recall customer that comes into the shop.
  • Specifically identify any new customers or former customers. These are people new to your area, customers that have never returned for service or customers you once serviced that have not been in during the last 6 months.
  • Have a promotional package of “Welcome” or “Welcome Back” materials that will bring these customers back to you for future maintenance. Do not sell any repairs or maintenance during this visit. Only complete the recall repair unless something is specifically requested by the customer, or if you discover a problem with a safety related item.
  • Be sure that your Service Manager (not a clerk or an advisor) contacts every one of these “newly found” customers after their visit. We want to know how the repair visit went and also want to take the opportunity to welcome them back for future service.

Have manufacturer recalls positively or negatively impacted your business? What steps have you taken to ensure you’re getting the most from these opportunities? Tell us below.

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Jody DeVere

Socially Conscious Brands Win with Women

Optimistic Female In Car

Auto dealers continue to increase their level of giving to charitable causes, according to a recent survey data from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and Ally Financial.

More than 70 percent of new-car dealers surveyed in September 2014 said they increased their charitable giving in 2014, up from 65 percent last year. About 43 percent of dealers said they expect to increase their contributions again in 2015.

The bulk of this giving is staying in dealer’s local communities, as nearly 90 percent of dealers said their contributions go to supporting community service and local organizations. More than 65 percent of dealers surveyed said they organize staff volunteerism opportunities in their community.

Women consumers view their role in creating social and environmental change as extending well beyond the cash register. Companies can serve as a catalyst for sparking donations, volunteerism and advocacy by giving consumers a spectrum of ways to get involved.

Partnering with women consumers in this way can serve as both a reputation and bottom-line builder.

Cause Marketing Wins with Moms:

    95% find cause marketing acceptable.

    92% want to buy a product supporting a cause.

    93% are likely to switch brands.

    61% of purchased more cause-related products in the past year.

Source: Cone Cause Evolution Study, 2010

According to a study by Research International Ltd., 86% of consumers are more likely to buy a product associated with a cause or issue. About two thirds of Americans have a greater degree of trust in companies aligned with social issues. 64% of consumers feel companies should make cause-related marketing a part of their standard business practices.

Women are more likely than men to believe that supporting causes creates a sense of purpose and meaning in one’s life, makes them feel good about themselves and enhances the feeling of belonging to a community. Men and women are generally in agreement when it comes to which particular causes they choose to support.  For both, feeding the hungry and supporting our troops are among those that rank the highest, and as expected, gender-related health issues like breast cancer and prostate cancer are significantly more likely to be supported by women and men, respectively. 

Women Are Strongest Believers in the Power of Supporting Causes

8 in 10 American women believe that supporting causes creates a sense of purpose and meaning in life; and feel everyone can make a difference through their support.

Women Support Companies that Support Causes

Cause marketers often target the female demographic with campaigns, and with good reason

survey results confirm that American women are significantly more likely than men to show their support of a cause by purchasing products or services from companies who support the cause.

*Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact

Communication findings are part of the larger Dynamics of Cause Engagement study.

Millennials: A Critical Cause Demographic

Millennials, more than Non-Millennials, prefer active engagement in cause campaigns, such as volunteering their time (31% versus 26%), cause-support purchasing (37% versus 30%), encouraging others to support a cause (30% versus 22%), and participating in fund-raising events (27% versus 16%). Thirty-seven percent of Millennials report being drawn to products co-branding with cause campaigns where their purchase is a form of support. 

American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation.

Top areas women support most as volunteers and with charitable donations:

1. Health care charities related to women, children or family support.

2. Local youth & family services

3. Education

4. Preserving the environment

5. Arts, culture, or ethnic awareness

6. Help people in need of food, shelter, or other basic necessities

7. Improving neighborhoods and communities

Who you partner with as a charity makes a difference with women on her purchase decisions,  your reputation, positive word of mouth and your local market reach.

Tip: Visit Charity Navigator to review charities before you partner with them to determine the charity reputation and how funds are being utilized.

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Steve Kain

What’s the Score?


Just imagine. It’s a glorious fall night and you’re the quarterback, racing for the end zone. Lungs aching from the run, you finally make it: touchdown! You look at the scoreboard to see the score: -/-. What?

That’s right. Nothing. No score. All that work, and no idea how much it may have affected your team! Did you win? Are you losing? Without results, you have no idea.

Don’t know the score? Then, you’re losing the game.

Far too often, I’ve found that dealerships leave their staff in the dark when it comes to performance. Not only is it confusing for your personnel, this tactic makes it hard to determine a clear strategy for success.

Monitoring the current state—and sharing it daily—gives you concrete data to guide your decisions and clear metrics by which to hold your staff accountable. It’s only when they see the reality of their performance that they can improve it.

Prepare for victory.

First, let’s consider how you can use a scoreboard to help with advisors. Things I like to track include, customer repairs and customer pay dollar sales in both labor and parts. It’s also good to monitor the closing percentage on both menu opportunities and additional service requests, follow-up sales, number of warranty repair orders and customer satisfaction numbers.

Next, let’s score the technicians. There’s a lot you can track here. You definitely want to know the daily number of repair orders, how many hours were billed and productivity per tech. Other things to consider are how many additional service requests were generated from multi-point inspections and the number of comebacks. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, monitor customer satisfaction numbers.

Moving on, I also like to look at parts and service holistically. The key to this is tracking fill rates. After all, isn’t there a much greater chance a customer will say yes to the advisor when the part is in stock? I’ve even found dealerships that pay incentives to parts personnel based on technician productivity, because service can be negatively impacted by time wasted at the parts counter.

But don’t base parts’ score just on others’ performance. You want to note both total parts sales and also the gross profit margin of parts sales both individually and as a group. And, like I mentioned before, keep an eye on the fill rate for parts requests. It may also be beneficial to track the dollar amount of special order parts in the special order bin because those parts mean both parts and labor sales.

Make your own playbook.

Don’t be limited by my suggestions! If you want to improve numbers in your dealerships, start tracking them and developing an improvement plan. If there’s a number in the dealership that you want to improve, just track it and it will change.

Alright, Coach—are you ready to get those score boards up? Tell us your objectives and share how you plan to rally your team to a victory this month.

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Lee Michaelson

What do I do with today’s bucket jumpers?


Bucket jumpers—vehicles that reach 16, 31 or 43 days in inventory—pose a huge strain on your dealership. Make certain your bucket jumpers get all the attention required to reduce inventory aging issues and improve turn.

Investigate the vehicle

A vehicle becomes a bucket jumper by sitting too long in your inventory. The first thing you need to do is check on how much interest the vehicle is generating on the internet.

Prior to the stock walk process, analyze how much prospect activity garnered attention on each vehicle. Here’s what I suggest you evaluate:

  1. The number of times the vehicle appeared on a search results page (SRP)
  2. How often prospects clicked through to the vehicle details page (VDP)
  3. The vehicle’s VDP conversion percentage (Divide VDP by SRP)
  4. Confirm the number of inbound phone calls received on each vehicle
  5. Check the number of emails received requesting information for each

Once you have a sense of how much interest the bucket jumper has generated, inspect it in person:

  1. Open all of the doors, the hood and the trunk; identify any issues that require correction.
  2. Start the vehicle. Does it operate properly? Check all systems such as climate, navigation and audio. Open the sunroof, and make certain the windows, locks and seats are in proper working order.
  3. Inspect the exterior for problems that require correction.
  4. Determine if the vehicle needs detailed again.
  5. Keep a list of the vehicles you identify that need additional reconditioning, and make certain the reconditioning is completed in a timely manner.

Involve your staff

The most important question about a bucket jumper is: Why haven’t we sold it? Ask your staff how many opportunities you’ve had on lingering inventory and how many of those opportunities went on a demonstration drive. Get their feedback about the vehicles, especially any comments they remember from customers.

Once you’ve gathered all the information—how much interest the car is generating, its condition and how many people have seen or test driven the car—it’s time to implement your action plan.

Address the problems

Typically, there are three possible resolutions to the bucket jumper problem. The vehicle needs additional reconditioning—arrange for the repairs immediately or wholesale the unit. The vehicle is priced too high—keep it, but adjust the price immediately. It’s not a good vehicle for retail—wholesale the vehicle and redeploy the cash.

Selling the bucket jumper list

Be aware that the decision to keep a bucket jumper means a commitment to more work. Not only will you likely need to adjust its price, but you’ll need to evaluate its marketing and merchandising. Once these are addressed, you should see movement; if not, it’s time to reevaluate.

Are the bucket jumpers in your inventory slowing your sales? Share your experiences below. 

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Lindsey Quinn

Automotive Cybersecurity: 4 Steps to Protect Your Dealership


I doubt that data security keeps most dealers up at night. But it probably should, considering its staggering impact. Each year, cybercrime costs the global economy $575 billion—$100 billion of that in the U.S. alone!

Data breaches are an expensive problem, and hackers increasingly are targeting the automotive industry and its lucrative bank of social security numbers and financial information. Just take a look at these findings by NetIQ:

  • Automotive firms reported a 32% increase in reported detected cyberattacks.
  • More than 70% of organizations surveyed in their 2015 report had been affected by a successful cyberattack last year.
  • The average cost of a corporate data breach is $3.5 million.
  • The vast majority of security incidents involve a current or former employee.

The automotive industry will continue to be a tempting target for cybercriminals, but you can fight back by creating a solid data management and security plan. Expert David Spisak—ReverseRisk President & CEO—shared the four key steps you should take to control your dealership’s data.

  1. Take ownership. It doesn’t mean you have to do all the work; it just means you need to be actively engaged in every aspect of your organization’s data management.
  2. Find a good gatekeeper. This person will be directly responsible for executing the plans and processes that you approve for your organization. They will also maintain and monitor your firewall, conduct spot checks of employee internet access and create access reports for your review.
  3. Create formal access policies. Outline what type of access new and existing employees should have to your data. Be sure to develop a clear plan for closing data access for former employees, who are likely to be your biggest data security risks.
  4. Review access reports monthly. Weekly is even better. No matter the interval, review who is accessing your data network and take steps to address any issues.

These steps are just the start to securing your data and protecting your business. Join David Spisak in Park City, Utah, December 10-11 for more details on the data security risks dealers face and how best to prepare your store against these attacks.

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Joe Basil

What are you hiring for: personality or failure?

What are you hiring for?

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve listened to hiring complaints from dealers, managers and business owners. Finding and retaining the right people is a huge concern for any business, but the auto industry pays a particularly heavy toll with an average turnover rate of 66%.

Leaders like you want to know the best way to hire and keep high-performing staff, but the answer may not be what you expect.

Hire the person and the talent, not the skillset

Take a minute to think about a job opening you have. Chances are, you have a specific list of activities and experiences needed to fill that role. Now, consider the last person who worked in the job—did you let them go because they didn’t match up with this list or did they simply not “work out”? Did a different person show up for work than the one you interviewed?

I’d hazard to guess it’s because they “didn’t work out.” But what does it mean, exactly, to “not work out.” It means that the person didn’t behave in the way you wanted. Maybe he or she wasn’t outgoing enough to really make sales. Maybe she simply wasn’t very organized and couldn’t keep track of incoming BDC leads. Those problems are related to personality, not skill.

Understand the personality needed for success

Let’s agree that personality and talent should influence your hiring decision. The next question is: What’s the right personality? How do I know their talents? This is where things can get tricky. Let me give an example.

If you ask around the dealership what are the best traits for a sales rep, you’re going to get many different answers:

Dealer:  Energetic self-starter with good people skills who sets goals and achieves them —a good closer, good grosser and they have to be a team player!

Manager #1: Someone who is organized, punctual, follows procedure and covers all the details.

Manager #2: Someone who is persuasive, outgoing and can build a book of business.

Manager #3: Someone who is friendly with customers, always takes care of their needs, never has customer complaints and can create strong customer satisfaction.

Who should you hire? One manager would hire a “neat nick,” the next manger would hire a “slammer” and the last one would hire a “consumer advocate”—and no one would hire the dealer’s sales person!

To figure out the best personality fit for a position, don’t ask the managers what they want—in fact, don’t even ask yourself that! Instead, look at who’s been successful.

Consider your top performers: What are the character traits that help them succeed? Then study your worst performers in the role: What about their personalities led to their failure? After some thought, clear patterns should emerge about each job, and you can use those insights to find the right personality for your open positions.

Balance out performance and personality

Not that you should only hire on personality! You need to balance a candidate’s skills and personality, and select people who are a great fit in both criteria. During the interview, gauge the candidate’s ability and natural talents. But remember: while you can always train someone, you can never change their personality.  Even if you like a candidate, he’s not going to perform well if your dealership requires him to act against his nature.

Ready to learn more about hiring and retaining the best talent? Join the NCM Institute for its courses on Finding Top Talentand Sales and Management Compensation. Working with experts such as Joe Basil and Mark Shackelford, you’ll develop a comprehensive hiring and compensation strategy to bring the best talent onboard and to keep them.

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Joe Basil

Stop “Unselling” Your Customers!


How many used car deals have you “unsold” lately?

Yes, exactly: unsold. Take a look at your used car closing ratio. Chances are it’s between 25 to 35% … maybe even 50%. That means you aren’t closing half—even up to 75%—of your opportunities. So, what happened to the customers who came in for a specific used car and left without buying?

I have a guess: They got “unsold” at your dealership.

Sales decisions are faster than ever

Remember the old days? Back when we had showroom traffic logs on hand-written sheets and phone messages on pink slips? I kept our entire used-car inventory on a sheet in my pocket! And customers would visit four or more dealerships, on average, before closing a deal. They’d visit to collect information on availability, pricing and selection. It’s during those times that we’d take a car on trade, put a price on it and “let’s see what happens.” Well, those days are long gone!

In today’s used car world, customers are making slightly more than one dealership visit before purchasing. Instead of coming into the showroom, the internet gives them a portal for instant access to all of their pre-purchase research on model availability, pricing, dealership reputation and geographic proximity. The majority of used-car customers come into our showrooms knowing what cars we have and what our prices are. Typically, they’ve already selected the car or truck they want to purchase. With so many customers submitting web leads, hitting the “call now” button or just showing up on the lot informed and ready to purchase, we should be closing 100% of our used-car traffic.

Why aren’t you closing more leads?

As Dave Anderson has frequently pointed out, we have total control over two differentiating factors in our dealerships: our people and our customer experience. Based on the fact that most customers come into our showroom with a vehicle selected, there’s clearly some disconnect between these two factors that causes customers to become “unsold.”

Inspect what we expect

When disconnects happen, it’s a good time to inspect what we expect! It’s time to audit your customer experience. Shop your own store online, on the phone, listen to the phone calls and mystery shop in the showroom

Consider whether or not you have the right people in the right position. Do your employees express your dealership culture and values to each customer, every time?

Take a look at the customer handling process. Is it a one-size-fits-all approach, or do you adapt to the customer’s purchasing preferences? Customers should have an experience that earns you rave reviews in reputation management. If that’s not happening, ask yourself if your salespeople are trained properly on how to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Spot check, too, to see if they can even describe it accurately.

Sure, the sales process has changed. But thanks to the internet, many people come onto the lot informed and ready to purchase—meaning we have more opportunities than ever to close more deals. Take advantage of this new reality by making sure your staff and customer handling process is up to the task.

Do you have a problem with customers becoming “unsold” at your dealership? Comment below and tell us how you’ve solved this issue. 

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Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 22)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.


Words That Work: Hunger

In this post on building a high performance culture I’m adding the word “hunger” to the “words that work” category. Hungry cultures are those that regularly change, risk, and stretch—even while things are going well and all the seas appear calm.

I’ll dig deeper into hunger below; but first, quickly review the strong and weak cultural words below so you can conceptualize the ideal culture to move your organization towards, as well as what you must weed out of your culture in order to maximize your organization’s potential.

Words that work and must be woven into culture

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Commit: to pledge oneself to something.

Prune: to remove what is undesirable.

Wise: having or showing good judgement.

Diligent: giving constant effort to accomplish something.

Words that hurt and must be weeded out of culture

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Interest: to be curious about (as opposed to being committed).

Foolish: lacking good sense or judgment.

Micromanage: to control with excessive attention to minor details.

Hunger is defined as an intense desire, a compelling craving. 

Note that the definition isn’t limited to merely a “desire or a craving;” intense and compelling are the keys. If something is intense and compelling it moves you, which brings up the key point to this post: you can’t have a hungry culture without hungry people at all levels moving it forward. The challenge is that while you can motivate people—stoke embers that already exist—you cannot make someone hungry by putting the embers of desire within them. Thus, your team members must bring hunger to the table; they must give you something to work with. Hungry people normally have the following traits that make them easier to identify during an interview, or to evaluate the people already within your culture:

  1. Hungry people have compelling reasons—their “why”—that drives them to excel. Their why may include a range of motivations from buying a nicer car, moving into a bigger home, sending their kids to a private school, helping a sick parent, making a difference in the lives of others, to supporting orphans. People tend to lose their way when they lose their why, and wind up going through the motions as they miss their potential by a mile.

One purpose of an interview is determine just how specific and compelling a job candidate’s why is. This will give keen insight into how self-motivated you can expect them to be.

  1. Hungry people are rarely stuck in their ways. They change before they have to, enjoy learning and sharing new things, and would rather take a mature risk than defend a safe status quo.
  1. Hungry people want new responsibilities. They want an opportunity to learn and grow and to expand their skills. They also want increased latitude and discretion to make decisions without having to always check with a higher-up.
  1. Hungry people are more prone to seek out feedback. They know they need fast, honest, specific feedback to grow.
  1. Hungry people don’t need as many pep talks. Of course like anyone they appreciate pats on the back, but aren’t dependent on them in order to stay motivated and work hard to reach their goals.

Final note: A culture is in big trouble when the leaders have let complacency nudge out their hunger and begin leading more from the rear, than from the trenches; maintaining, presiding and administering but not having a stretch impact on the team. Frankly, lethargic leaders create lethargic cultures. Hungry leaders build hungry cultures, and more naturally attract those with the like levels of internal motivation necessary to build a great organization.

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Rick Wegley

Wagging the Dog: Don’t let a 5% problem ruin everything

Over the last several years, I’ve visited hundreds of dealerships. And, while performing operational assessments, I discovered that the majority of the headaches plaguing the culture and profitability of my clients were self-inflicted.

The problem with too much regulation

Intending to control unique and infrequent variables—and keep them from disrupting their daily routine—I found managers who kept adding steps and reducing employee empowerment. They chose this approach in lieu of defining the structure of the fundamental process, then documenting and training employees on it.

You can map out only so many scenarios. No matter what, unpredictable and uncontrollable variables will appear in nearly every customer service or sales environment.

Ultimately, managers created hurdles that made their jobs easier. But these limitations severely curtailed their employees’ ability to meet objectives and take care of customers. Most importantly, they completely changed their overall process in an attempt to manage the 5% of unique variables we call exceptions within their business model—and, in doing so, negatively impacted the 95% majority of the customers. Worse, they even created culture problems within the store!

Variables are unavoidable

So many processes changed. And, yet, these managers still were unable to avoid the unpredictable and uncontrollable variables that come with doing business.

By trying to control everything, most created new problems along the way. Now, they spend an inordinate amount of time and resources trying to manage a department with ineffective processes for handling the majority of their day to day operations.

Employee morale is low. Customer satisfaction suffers. And the department isn’t meeting its objectives. There’s pressure from above to “right the ship,” and these managers are unable to identify the root cause of a growing problem.

Manage by the RIGHT numbers

You should definitely manage by the numbers, but make sure you’re using the right ones.

Take a good look at your current structure and re-evaluate your current processes— simplify wherever possible. Involve your employees. And solicit feedback from both them and your customers on what is working well and what they feel needs improvement.

Once you have simplified and streamlined your processes, put them in writing. Hold meetings with all of your employees and make sure they all understand the revised processes. Provide the necessary training and resources for employee success. Definitely let them know what the empowerment guidelines are and the accountability aspect for each individual role. And clearly explain the minimum acceptable standards for performance.

Don’t forget the “why” part of this equation when discussing any changes with your employees. Discuss some contingency plans you have considered for the exceptions, and then review the empowerment tools that you have provided for them to use. Give examples of how and when they should be used.

The 5% goal

Manage 95% of your business by process, and then manage the 5% of exceptions. Once a clearly structured business model is in place, a manager should need no more than 5% of their time managing unpredictable and infrequent variables. This ideal state requires simple, defined processes (in writing) to manage the majority of predictable and measurable daily activities that contribute to profitability and customer satisfaction.

Is the tail wagging the dog at your store? If so, take a good look at your current structure and re-evaluate your processes. Chances are 95% of your problems are self-inflicted.

Tell us how you manage exceptions in your business? Is it a 95/5 mix or something different? Comment below with details. 

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