Your Bench Sucks

Maybe it does or maybe it doesn’t, but if you’re like a lot of dealerships you don’t even have a bench.

Don’t believe me? Answer this question. If you lost a key manager today, who do you have that’s ready to step in and get the job done? There you go…I didn’t think so.

Time and time again a dealer group will seek to expand, or they lose a key manager and here we go again with, “Who do you know that would like to make a change?”

What should you do to improve your bench strength?

First, identify a couple of people that have high energy levels, are good communicators and exhibit some fundamental leadership skills. Some things you can teach. Some things you can’t.

Second, create a well-defined management development program. No, not in your head, write it down. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it has to be a commitment.

If you’re going to put them in a place to succeed when their number is called, you’re going to have to invest some time and money. If you’re the GM or Dealer, then you need to invest some of your time mentoring these newfound rock stars. The more you commit to them, the greater the odds of success.

If you’re a salesperson by chance reading this, you too, need to be willing to invest in yourself. Stop sitting around crying and complaining and start investing.

Part of a management development training program should be to include these management candidates in your manager’s meetings, strategy sessions, and the monthly recap of “the numbers.”

Whenever I’ve done in dealership management training for dealers, I’ve always encouraged them that if they have someone on the sales team that they think might be a manager candidate to include them in the training. In 20 years, I can only think of a handful of times that a dealer invited a salesperson to attend the training.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right now. The best time to start growing your bench is right now.

You can’t grow if you don’t grow your team.

That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs.