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Tag Archive: Goals and Objectives

Tom Hopkins

Dedicate Yourself to Educate Yourself


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 all 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 increase. 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 on me here. 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 tastes and beer budgets. Understand 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, or seminar on the subject. Then, schedule the time to learn from it.

Choose just one of these five areas and dedicate yourself to improving in 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.


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Joe Basil

How to Convert Auto Dealership Objectives and Goals into Results

NCM's Joe Basil shares how to achieve dealership goals

We just returned from a 20 Group meeting and it was the most invigorating workshop we have ever attended. We completed an assessment of our dealership operations and identified major sales and profit opportunities in all departments. We have benefited from the extensive experience of our facilitator and fellow members. We had the opportunity to compare our operation to other automotive dealers and industry Benchmarks. We’re motivated, enthused and excited to get back to the store and start converting each and every one of those profit opportunity objectives into results. We know which goals and objectives we will focus on and we are ready to lay it all out for our managers to execute.

The question then becomes: How do we go about achieving those elusive results? This is a question I asked myself as a dealer many times.

Sometimes we set up one-on-ones with each manager; sometimes we address the objectives in a managers meeting with everyone; and sometimes we use a combination of both. Regardless of how we present the plan we are determined to achieve those objectives and results. So, department by department, manager by manager, we relate to them the opportunities that we identified during the workshop. Immediately, we run into the constraints of running a store; our 20 Group spanned two full days and we do not have that luxury with each manager. So we present a condensed version in a matter of hours of what we experienced and identified over two days. Our enthusiasm and excitement is overwhelming and even our managers get excited about the potential these opportunities offer. Everyone buys into the goals and objectives. “That’s great, boss, we’re going do it!”  they tell us.

We monitor progress and, as the weeks turn into months, we see varying degrees of success. We begin to get frustrated because we know the results can be achieved; others in our 20 Group have done it! Yet the energy and enthusiasm level seem to be fading in our store. What is the gap?  What dynamic is missing? Why is our team not converting those goals and objectives they enthusiastically supported into results we all seek?

When looking at how highly-effective organizations and teams convert goals and objectives into results, there is a common, overwhelming dynamic that drives the process. That dynamic is leadership. Unfortunately, leadership is a word often thrown around, yet seldom clearly defined and understood by team members. Even less often is leadership driven down to the job level and converted into actions by team members. Even more often, this is the result of a lack of definition and understanding of leadership. So how would we define leadership and convert leadership into actions?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Leadership as: 1. the office or position of a leader; 2. capacity to lead; 3. the act or an instance of leading. As we can see by the literal definition, there is a gap between the noun and the verb; the action!

Having faced this challenge in my own dealerships and when working with clients during my consulting career, I have developed a definition of leadership in the context of actions.

Leadership is:

Having a clearly defined shared vision that attracts, develops and retains top performing people who can flawlessly implement and execute initiatives in support of achieving goals and objectives for the team as a whole.” 

Based on my experience working with dealers and dealership management teams, this definition of leadership is easily understood and readily adopted by those with leadership responsibility. A contingent benefit is that this definition clarifies leaders’ responsibilities.

Now, how do we take it to the job level? What are the key dynamics that managers in leadership positions need to pay attention to on a daily basis to convert goals and objectives into results?

  • Dynamic number one is that every team member intimately understands and believes in our team vision, values, goals and objectives
  •  Our second dynamic is measuring progress through an accountability structure
  •  Third, our “best people are in the right position”
  •  Fourth, there is a reward plan in place that has unquestionable credibility with the team
  •  Fifth, comes a timely and unencumbered decision-making process delegated to appropriate levels in the team

Number six, the key to connecting all of these dynamics together, is an open and transparent communications structure

With these six dynamics in place, those elusive 20 Group initiatives become solid results.  So start converting goals and objectives into results today through outstanding leadership at every level in your dealership!

Attend the NCM Institute’s Leading Your Dealership Team to Success in Miami (April 15-16) and learn to be the leader your team needs you to be! Call 866.756.2620 or click for details and to register!

Leadership training from the NCM Institute

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