It’s as if Marshall Goldsmith, famed leadership development guru, read my mind when he titled his best seller, "What Got You Here Won’t Get You There." We agree that, to excel in today’s constantly changing marketplace, you’re going to need to change things up. Strategies must be reworked. The status quo must be challenged.
Are you up to it? Do you have the stomach to rethink the way it’s always been done? The good news is, I’m here to help. Let’s look at two more areas where the status quo needs to be challenged to develop and retain fresh talent.
Training and Development
"Training" is a four-letter word to some and misunderstood by many more. To be effective, your training providers must go beyond factory test taking and shadowing a veteran salesperson for a week. Recently, a dealer remarked that she wanted to wait to see how many of the seven salespeople she hired would survive the first two weeks before determining which ones would be sent to training. Yeah, pretty amazing, right?
People, there are plenty of sound, fundamentals-based training programs on the market, many of which will never see the inside of her dealership and many others. Why? Forget the multitude of nonsensical reasons. The fact is that decision makers (and not only dealers) just don’t believe in third-party training programs and don’t have the leadership skills to implement or execute their own.
To paraphrase what famed management expert Peter Drucker once said, decisions are made solely by those who are empowered to make them — not by the smartest or most qualified person, just the person who can.
Another former client of mine was having trouble finding a quality F&I manager. He had gone through several hires over a couple of months. He had concerns about the "business practices" of the past F&I managers and wanted someone to do it the way he believed would best serve customers.
To help, I identified one of their salespeople with a financial background, strong CSI and a good sales track record. I also recommended an F&I company who could train the candidate I suggested. I felt this candidate’s experience doing it the dealership’s way on the sales floor would transition well into the F&I office, and the training would seal the deal.
It seemed like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, management just couldn’t get their arms around the idea and, to this very day, F&I managers continue to come and go.
Look, I get it. You may have had a bad experience, or the previous training program you paid for just didn’t stick. Or, it could be that the last team you spent money on to train left for the competition. Whatever the case, there is absolutely no reason for you to give up on training your people.
My personal philosophy and commentary on the car business has been shaped over the last seven years while traveling to and working with a diverse group of dealerships across the country — from those selling 1,000 units a month to those selling 50. And throughout that time, one thing remains constant: The smaller the dealership, the smaller margin for error.
See, large stores sometimes make decisions too quickly, while smaller dealers tend to move too slow — especially when it comes to personnel decisions. Turnover is a problem in our business, but, in my opinion, we sometimes put too much stock in loyalty.
To me, loyalty is a bonus earned when someone excels at their job and maximizes profitability for their dealership. The idea that someone needs to be carried or paid for mediocre performance in the name of loyalty is crazy to me. You either expand or become expendable; it’s that simple.
The reality is that tough choices will need to be made in the coming years. Everything will need to be scrutinized, which means no topic should be off limits. More opportunities will be availed to those who want to be first rather than those who wait for someone else to try it first.
You often hear that, in today’s marketplace, it’s more important to dominate than compete. Do you agree? If you answered "Yes," I can say with certainty that domination will never be achieved if you color inside the lines and wait for the other person to show you theirs first.