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Tag Archive: Leadership and Management

Steve Hall

A Triple-Dog-Dare: Stop stalling and solve that dealership problem

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Nothing could get me moving outside my comfort zone faster as a kid than my friends daring me! Granted, many times those dares weren’t the wisest actions to take, but peer pressure will make you do some amazing things. (And, no, I won’t share any stories.)

The power of a dare: action

There is no better case for how far a dare can take you than the 1983 movie classic A Christmas Story.  In one scene, a young boy named Flick has the gauntlet thrown down for him: the triple-dog-dare.

This kind of dare, we’re told, challenges your manhood along with your entire social status. And it can really make people do things that they normally wouldn’t. In the scene, Flick falls for the bait and ends up in the brutal cold with his tongue stuck to a frozen metal flag pole while everyone else runs away. Not exactly the result that he wanted.

I triple-dog-dare you to address a dealership issue

What I am going for in this blog is not to get you to take unwise actions but, rather, to take positive steps. I dare you to take action. Forget that, I’m going to go all in and triple-dog-dare you to take action!

I challenge you to address one of these issues for your triple-dog-dare. Or, if you’re tough enough, do all three!

1) Have the tough conversation with “that” employee. Most departments have one employee who just doesn’t get it. Maybe production is too low. Maybe the attitude is all wrong. It might be that attendance or punctuality is deficient.

Whatever the reason, you and I both know they are a cancer in the department. Yet, you have put off the tough talk with them. Sure, conflict is tough, and you may not want to lose the person. You also know in your heart that the conversation must happen.

Whatever the reason that you haven’t addressed the person, I triple-dog-dare you to face reality and do it today!

2) Meet with your boss and admit something that you don’t understand. People never want to admit that they don’t know something. Yet, if our leadership isn’t aware of a deficiency, they can’t help us improve.

If you’re not sure of how to improve profitability, margins or growth—or even the best way to lead your team—be direct and honest with your supervisor. Show them your vulnerability and your true desire to learn.

Not only will they appreciate the honesty, but it will improve the respect for you as a manager. Requesting training shows that you want to learn, not just be a smoke blowing know-it-all who really doesn’t know-it-all. I triple-dog-dare you to have an honest relationship with your boss.

3) Take charge of your career. Take time from your schedule to attend a training class or workshop. Buy a book on business or leadership. (Yes, an actual hardcover—without pictures!) And then, I challenge you to actually read it.

If you don’t take charge of improving your knowledge base, who will? Learn how to become a better leader of your people. Read the book within the next 30 days, highlighting items that jump out to you.

Not sure what would be the best book for you? Just e-mail me and I’ll give you a few suggestions.

Do whatever it takes to improve yourself. I triple-dog-dare you to get started on the path of self-improvement within the next seven days.

So, there they are: my “childish” dares. While I certainly don’t want to hear about your tongue stuck to a frozen pole, I do want to know if you accept my triple-dog-dares! Send me an email and let me know how it goes or comment below with your experience.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/03/a-triple-dog-dare-stop-stalling-and-solve-that-dealership-problem/

Tom Hopkins

Success Begins in Your Mind

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Most people who fail in business fail because they don’t know how to keep their attitudes positive on a daily basis. They start their careers learning and practicing the basics, applying those ideas and end up making some money. Then, they go into a slump. They will stay in their slump until they go back to the fundamentals. Until then, they return to doing what they get paid for and accept failure and rejection without letting it stop them.

The key to success is in how you handle failure. Handling failure does not come naturally to most people. It is an acquired skill.

Some of your emotions tell you to sulk and avoid any situations in the future that are likely to put you in line to feel the pain of rejection again. Other emotions tell you to get more out of life for yourself and your loved ones. Concentrate on what you have to gain, and learn how to change your attitude toward rejection.

I am going to present five sayings that have helped me move forward in all areas of my life. Memorize them and recall them when you’re rejected or have failed to achieve what you wanted.

I never see failure as failure, but only as a learning experience.

Every sale that doesn’t go through is a learning experience; every challenge you have is a learning experience. Learn from your failures. Thomas Edison, who conducted more than ten thousand experiments on filaments before he produced a practical light bulb, was once asked, “How did you keep going after you failed more than ten thousand times?” Edison replied, “I did not fail ten thousand times; I learned ten thousand ways that didn’t work.” Like Edison, try to look at failure and rejection in a different light as a learning experience.

I never see failure as failure, but only as the negative feedback I need to change course in my direction.

Outside a restaurant with a lively bar, I once saw a gentleman who had too much to drink to try to unlock his car with the wrong key. No matter how many times he tried, the wrong key still didn’t work. After I’d talked to him into taking a taxi home, it occurred to me that sometimes we all keep using techniques that don’t work in our selling endeavors. We keep applying the wrong solution to the problem long after we’ve tried it and failed.

I never see failure as failure, but only as the opportunity to develop my sense of humor.

Have you ever had a traumatic experience involving a sales presentation? Three weeks later, you finally tell someone about it and suddenly that same event is hilarious. The longer you wait to laugh, the more that failure will hold you back. Make a determined effort to laugh sooner, and learn the trick of telling a good story on yourself.

I never see failure as failure, but only as an opportunity to practice my techniques and perfect my performance.

Every time you present your service to others and they don’t buy, at least they gave you a chance to practice. Many people don’t realize the importance of this. Learn to appreciate the opportunity to improve.

I never see failure as failure, but only as the game I must play to win.

Selling is a game. Life is a game. Both have their rules. Over the years, I’ve discovered that a single rule dominates every situation: Those who risk failure by working with more people earn more money. Those who risk less failure earn less. If you risk failure, sometimes you will fail. But every time you fail, you’re that much closer to success. Success demands its percentage of failure.

Work with these five attitudes toward rejection. What counts isn’t how many transactions fall out, how many doors slam, how many things don’t work out, how many people go back on their word. What counts is how many times you pick yourself up, shrug off failure, and keep on trying to make things come together.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/04/success-begins-in-your-mind/

Alan Ram

Training That Wasn’t

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Have you ever really trained your people? I don’t mean some of this stuff out on the market that is purported to be training; I mean really training.

Every third call to my office is a dealer calling and telling me “we’ve tried training our salespeople, but it didn’t stick”. Or, reporting that it is impossible to train salespeople. If you don’t think salespeople can be trained, you may as well extend that to all humans. When I ask these same dealers what they’ve done, many times they’ve simply sent some of their people to a seminar or workshop or something along those lines. Seminars and workshops definitely have a place and that place is normally education or creating momentum for a training initiative. For training to be effective, three elements need to be present; education, simulation and accountability. If you don’t have a strategy for accomplishing all three of those things, you don’t have training.

Let me give you some sports analogies that make this easier to understand. I can watch golf all day long on TV. I can understand what it looks like when somebody plays well. I understand golf; hence I’m educated in golf. That doesn’t make me a good golfer. If I want to become a good golfer, I have to hit bucket after bucket after bucket of balls for the rest of my life to get good and stay good. That’s simulation. Then I’m held accountable on a scorecard.

While baseball players need to be educated in baseball and know the rules, they also go to spring training every single year. In season, they take batting and fielding practice every day. And then, in how many statistical categories are they held accountable? All of them. Training salespeople requires the same strategy.

First, you have to educate.

With today’s technology, that can be accomplished online in 15 to 20 minutes per day without a manager having to take salespeople hostage in a conference room for hours on end, reciting what they think they heard someone say at the Marriott in 2004.

Then you have to simulate.

This can realistically be done in 5 to 7 minutes per day with a manager focusing on one or two areas during each session. For example, if you want to train your people on properly handling a preowned ad call on a specific vehicle, you as the manager will play the role of the customer. You would then start the call using a vehicle out of inventory. After making sure the salesperson knows how to properly answer the call, you might say something to the effect of “I’m on your website right now and you have a 2012 Honda Pilot advertised. It’s says to call for price”. You would then want the salesperson to respond exactly the way they had been taught. Maybe today we would just practice the beginning of the call a few times or until they got it right. Tomorrow you might go a little further, or focus on something else. That is simulation. It doesn’t take much to notice a big improvement. Momentum and excitement build as results are seen and cars are sold.

After that, we need to hold our staff accountable.

If we are specifically talking about how they handle the telephone for example, you need to be listening to call monitoring all day every day. That’s accountability. Think about it this way: if it wouldn’t work on a sports team, it won’t work on your sales team. Listening to someone talk for any period of time, calling that training and expecting a change in behavior would be the equivalent of popping in a workout DVD, plopping down on the couch and wondering why you’re not getting in shape. You absolutely can and need to train your people. There are sustainable solutions out there that can help you get it done effectively as well as cost-effectively. Just make sure that next time, what you’re buying is really training.


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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/04/training-that-wasnt/

Tom Hopkins

Setting Realistic Sales Goals

Success conceptAchieving sales volume goals is one of the biggest challenges any automotive salesperson faces. This is a pretty straight forward industry. If you’re not making the cut, you can quickly find yourself cut from the team.

There are so many factors that can affect that final number, that you have to stay on top of every aspect of your sales activities and keep making client contacts.

Hopefully, you are dedicated, professional, and motivated to achieve your auto sales career goals. If you are not, read no further. Instead, start looking for another product to market, something that lights a fire in your belly, something you truly believe in.

If you aren’t truly excited about the product you are offering, it will show in your demeanor or in some little thing you say or do while with potential clients. They’ll sense it, and little doubts and fears will arise in them about purchasing your vehicle. So, first and foremost, in order to achieve anything in this business, you have to believe in your line of vehicles, in the company you represent, and in your own ability to excite others about them.

Let’s assume for now, though, that you do have the knowledge, the belief and the right attitude in place. How do you set and achieve the sales goals? Start, by setting a financial goal for yourself for the year. Break it down into quarters and months. Is the monthly goal realistic? If not, you either need to downsize your goal or super-size your skills. You decide.

Next, consider the average amount you earn on a typical automobile sale. Divide that into your monthly earning goal to see how many vehicles you need to move this month. Consider your gut reaction and first thoughts when you see that number. Is it one of “Hey, I can do that”? Or, is it, “Wow! How am I going to do that?”

If it seems easy, consider increasing your sales goal. If it seems like it will be a challenge, good. Your goal should be something that both excites you and makes you stretch a bit each month.

When you’re in stretch-mode:

  • You’ll be open to learning new ways of connecting with people.
  • You’ll look forward to making follow up calls and contacting those who are referred to you.
  • You’ll get out of bed in the morning with excitement to face the day and accomplish something positive.

This next step in achieving your goals is critical: Multiply your sales ratio by the number of vehicles determined above to learn how many people you need to connect with this month. Do you typically sell every fourth client you meet at your dealership? If so, your ratio is 1:4. If you need to get people happily involved in 10 vehicles to achieve your earnings goal, you’ll need to meet 40 of them in order to do so. That’s when you’re working with the law of averages.

Is it realistic for you to meet 40 people this month? If not, again, you either downsize your goals or learn new and better ways to meet people, put them at ease, and get them to like you, trust you, and want to listen to you.

That’s the bottom line of what selling is all about. People buy from people they like.

  • If you’re not like-able, you’re out of luck.
  • If you’re not knowledgeable, they won’t trust you.
  • If you want people to listen to you and take your advice about vehicle ownership, you have to learn to listen to them.
  • If you ask questions and get them talking, they’ll tell you exactly what they want to own…not just the make and model of the vehicle, but the features, the economy, the cool color, whatever it is that will make them say, “Yes, that’s the car for me.”

So, in getting back to these 40 people you need to meet this month, where are you going to connect with them? Hopefully, you’re not one of those salespeople who waits in the lot, hoping the company advertising campaign will bring ‘em in droves. To achieve your automotive selling goals, you have to invest time in reaching out to people all on your own.

Call your past clients to see if they’re still happy with their vehicles. These calls shouldn’t take more than two minutes each. It’s just a way of touching base, making them feel important and giving them an opportunity to tell you once again how happy they are. If they’re happy, you have the right to ask them for referral business. If they’re not, you need to know about it because their unhappiness can cost you a lot of future business.

Knowing your target for meeting people is the way to achieve the sales goals you’re reaching for.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/02/setting-realistic-sales-goals/

Garry House

Leaders are made…not born!

h--rek-pictures-blogs-leadership-thumb_Over the last 15 years, NCM Associates has provided hundreds of educational programs that delivered unparalleled training to thousands of dealers, general managers and department managers. However, there is one area in which we have admittedly fallen short…focused leadership training. Up until now, our primary focus has been on the “nuts and bolts” of dealership management. However, the NCM Institute faculty members, as well as many of the dealership personnel that we teach, understand that there are significant differences between leadership and management. Both are important to the success of the dealership, but in our industry there are a lot fewer effective leaders than there are effective managers. Many dealership managers recognize their leadership deficiencies and are craving in-depth training in that critical area.

Early in 2012, NCMi® committed to address this leadership training need, beginning at the general management level. I have personally accepted accountability for developing and teaching this class.

In putting together the content for this class, my research resulted in some revelations for me (and probably for the GMs who attend) that I like to refer to as “punches in the nose!” Though I didn’t get physically bloodied, these surprises really got my attention:

  • Right now, 77% of business leaders believe their employees are not giving 100%; apparently they’re not far off in their assessment, because 72% of employees admit they are not giving 100%!
  • Employees don’t leave dealerships…they leave managers.
  • In order to effectively challenge and motivate an employee to excel, you must successfully connect with the employee on an interpersonal basis.
  • Leadership cannot be taught, it can only be learned. (Maybe that lets me off the hook!)

That first bullet point is pretty scary. Nearly 75% of our employees are giving less than 100%…and more than 75% of our managers know about it!

Looking for help in developing your own or your general manager’s leadership competencies?  Call us at 866.756.2620 to discuss your needs; we’ll listen and help you find the resources appropriate for your situation.

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/08/leaders-are-made-not-born/