We can do many things to stand out against the competition. Quality phone skills, streamlined processes, and even an up-to-date website. Yet many of us struggle to achieve any of the above tasks. Have we ever stepped back and asked ourselves why we cannot accomplish any (or all) of the above? Sure, there’s the age-old excuse of “not enough time in the day” or “we don’t need that to sell cars.” Another favorite is “we’ve been selling cars before all that was a thing and are doing just fine.” Just fine? Being just fine is just that “fine” – “average,” but what about when “fine” or “just average” no longer cuts it?
It’s like we understand what the core challenges are, but we just won’t tackle them until they’re punching us in the face. And even then, as we’re getting punched with one thing after the other, we’re making knee-jerk reactions instead of focusing on the root cause of the problem. That is ensuring our teams are adequately trained, have streamlined processes, or working with an updated website that offers prospective customers a good experience. It’s that word, though, “experience,” that often throws us for a loop. A loop that has been on repeat for the last ten-plus years. The auto loop of having the conversations on what we could do to only half-ass those changes.
Hiring a trainer for a one-day session filled with buzzwords is not training, sorry. Just like “grabbing your GSM for an all of a sudden brain dump meeting” isn’t going to work. Have we ever thought that perhaps randomly grabbing a GSM – in the middle of their work – is a good idea? Beating them over the head with an ill-explained problem that isn’t even thought out? Where their responses – being on the spot – are often bum-rushed word vomit that isn’t going to solve the problem? Much less the damage it does to the morale when they go back and word vomit what their teams are or aren’t doing? And to make it worse, let’s say you go back to the GSM two days later to ask what the updates are, and they give you a deer-in-the-headlights look because it is entirely out of their minds. To which, heck, you might go to a random sales consultant’s desk or BD agent and “quiz” them – the same thing happens, though. They give you a deer-in-the-headlights look. To make it worse, the GM might even stand over the Sales Consultant or BD Agent while they’re on the phone to wait for an answer. There’s nothing like being on the phone while trying to concentrate with someone breathing down your neck.
So, what is that? Well, it’s not good. And no, this isn’t about beating up the GM, either. But it is an all-too-common problem. Not to mention, almost everyone wants to do better. It’s just that to do better, you need resources. Those resources are clear expectations, training, and processes in our case. Without those, it is a free for all war zone full of chaos and uneasiness. No one wants to sit there looking like the class clown, but it’s inevitable when the dunce runs the show. It’s time we put the dunce cap down and focus on what can and will impact the dealer level. Take a minute and get with your GSM. Let them get with their teams to ensure that the website is up to date, ensure there is a refresher on the processes, and, most importantly, make sure there is a process in place for ongoing training. Try being proactive vs. reactive because when it hits the fan, and it will, chance favors the prepared mind.
Taking a minute to invest in your managers – as a GM – will not just build trust within your dealership, but it will create a positive environment where your teams will be more proactive about training. All too often, training or even asking for changes is seen as being negative or “questioning the status quo,” as in, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Well, are we so far past being broke that we just don’t know how to fix it? Perhaps, but the good news is that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to “fix” the root cause. Tackling the problems that can and will set us back as we learn to navigate the ever-changing new normal. If you’re serious about fixing the problem’s root cause, take a minute to complete a free stealth test.
As the Vice President of Phone Ninjas, Chris delivers leadership, coaching, and mentorship to 55 team members providing software sales and phone skills coaching. He fosters powerful partnerships and collaborations with leaders across various business sectors, establishing expectations, communicating vision, and escalating performance to maximize productivity and effectiveness.