Did you watch any of the TV program “Dancing With the Stars? If you did, or if you’ve ever done any serious dancing, you might be familiar with the terms; Timing, Technique, and Teamwork. Those three terms can easily be applied to almost any business and especially the Automobile Business. Let’s break them down:
Timing in the automobile business is always crucial. You know that from the many sales and promotions you’ve done over the years. Sometimes you hit it just right and others times not so right. All indications are that 2008 car sales will drop to below 13 million new cars sold and below 40 million used cars sold. Even at 40 million, that’s a big piece of pie to go after.
Is this the time to dig in and firm up your fundamentals in all departments? Is it the time to get back to basics? When things tighten up dealers tend to pull back on training, when the fact of the matter is, it’s really the time you should invest in yourself, your staff and your dealership.
Have you signed up to attend the NADA Convention? Why not? Can’t leave the store? Don’t want to spend the money? This is the very time you need to invest in yourself so you can see the endless possibilities of improving your knowledge and your business.
What better way to look for ways to improve your business than a Twenty Group? Oh, sure, maybe you’ve been in one before. Got tired of it. Got tired of the group. Felt you had gotten all you could out of the group, so you finally concluded it was a waste of time and money and you dropped out in order to reduce expenses. Is now the time to re-think your position on being an active Twenty Group member? Timing is everything…now is the time.
Technique in the automobile business is the key to being successful. Technique would be another way of saying “Processes.” If you don’t have a solid foundation of basic processes you will never maximize your success. Processes, just like dance techniques, tend to evaporate over time if they are not practiced on a daily basis. Our solid processes/basics tend to evaporate. That occurs when we change personnel or it happens over time because we lose our focus and discipline. Many dealerships contract with trainers in sales and service to come back every 90 days to re-boot them. Does it cost money? Of course it does. Is it worth the investment? Of course it is. All the more reason it makes good business sense to be in a Twenty Group. Look, we all get lazy, and get caught up in our daily routine. By being in a Twenty Group you get revitalized. You’ve got 19 other dealers constantly preaching technique/processes. Seems like a no brainer.
Teamwork in the automobile business is what it’s all about. The automobile business is very much like a football team. All the members of a football team have to run the same play. You’ve seen football teams run a busted play before haven’t you? It’s a disaster, one big wreck. Running back goes one way, quarterback goes another and we are thrown for a loss. That’s what happens when your team is not on the same page.
To keep your team on the same page you have to constantly communicate to them what the expectations are and what processes they are going to follow. I can almost bet that in many dealerships, if you asked the sales people and sales management team to write out the steps in the selling system you would get as many answers as you have people. They are all running different plays. It’s an ugly dance when they don’t all know the same steps. If they are not working together as a team, you will never maximize your potential.
What to do?
- Is now the time to evaluate how you are doing things? What better time than now? If you are going to maximize 2009 it starts right now. Not in the first quarter of 2009. You cannot afford to take a “wait and see” attitude.
- Can you improve your technique/processes? If you focus on revamping your processes, what effect do you think it will have on your business? Maybe you can do it yourself or maybe you should hire someone from outside to help you with it. Either way, it will more than pay for itself. There is no better investment than the development of yourself and your staff. 2009 is going to be another challenging year.
- Can you improve your team? Got the wrong players? Now is the time to make the changes. If you already have the right team in place then it’s time to properly train them. The thing about training is that it gets all the members of your team on the same page. When you give them the proper tools (training and processes) and they understand exactly what is expected of them, then you will maximize your potential.
Timing, Technique, Teamwork. It works in dancing and it works in business. Put the three together for a winning combination in 2009. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs