Leaders Hate Surprises

Many, many years ago I was the Vice President and Sales manager for an F&I training company called ADR. We had 850 dealers in 7 southeastern states with a field force of about 40
composed of District and Regional Managers.

One of the things I always emphasized to them was “no surprises.” If we were going to lose an account they needed to know about it before it happened. If they didn’t know then they should have.

When I was a new car dealer we had the occasion to sell a customer a car that had been in a wreck. We didn’t know it and didn’t represent it as such. At some point the customer took their car to another dealer for service and they were advised it had been wrecked.

They returned to our dealership and the managers they had contact with more or less blew them off. At some point the lawyers got involved. Once that happened I got involved. I don’t have to tell you, but once the lawyers got involved it’s out of control and there’s not much one can do.

Expensive and painful is an understatement.

Back to the point about “no surprises.” Had the managers made me aware of the problem I would have no doubt done whatever it would have taken to make the customer happy.

But, they chose to do what they thought was right, which in this case was to do nothing. What they did was cause the company a lot of heartburn and a whole lot of expense.

I hate surprises and you should too. Let me suggest you remind your staff that the best surprise is no surprise. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs