A story of two people selling cars…..

Danielle and John are friends. They met while selling cars at a family-owned dealership where they each worked for several years, creating a good customer base and enjoying a decent income and lifestyle. Then one day, the owner of the dealership announced that he was retiring and had sold the store, and the new owners were bringing in their own team. Danielle and John were about to be unemployed and suddenly needed to find jobs elsewhere.

After searching for a while, Danielle went to work at ABC Motors, and John accepted a position at XYZ Autos. Both were new car dealerships in the same city and both represented the same OEM.

At ABC, Danielle’s new manager, Tim, spent time with her to make sure she understood what was expected of her, and what her responsibilities consisted of. She was trained on all the tools that dealership offered, and when finished her knowledge and comfort level was evaluated by Tim. Tim then asked her what her sales goals were, and helped her develop a plan to achieve them. They spoke regularly about her progress and her challenges and Tim assigned training to bolster her strengths and shore up her weaknesses. He coached her when she became discouraged, frustrated, or angry. Danielle was very happy and asked Tim how she could become a manager. Tim laid out specific things she needed to accomplish. Certain training requirements, certain performance benchmarks, and agreed to mentor her in the process.

Meanwhile over at XYZ, John hit the floor running. After watching all the required OEM videos and getting certified, he did what a salesman does. He was very successful at first, but then hit a slump, and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. His manager, Joe, started riding him about his lack of performance, telling him that he needed to up his game, and made him sit and make phone calls out of the CRM to orphaned customers. Joe did not work with John on his scripting or approach, he just said – Do It! After a period of time, John became frustrated and began to look for another job.

If you would like your store to be like ABC Motors but don’t know where to start, or how to implement the change, we may be able to help, Give us 15 minutes to find out if we are a fit for your store.

Mike Ashley

The Crisis will pass…Then what?

As the country begins to reopen, the biggest issue in dealerships at this time is not the economy or  COVID-19.  The real problem is a failure to execute.  

Balls get dropped, customer communications are missed, sales tools are seriously underutilized, priorities constantly change, reacting to the needs of the moment obscure long term goals, and resolutions to change this chaos never seems to get accomplished.  

It’s easy to understand what’s happening here.  We have an overload of messages, calls, and emails to wade through.  Communication and data sharing between the tools we use every day is almost nonexistent,  and coordination between employees is more difficult as dealerships become more and more compartmentalized. And as the need for collaboration increases, personal accountability becomes more diluted and unclear.  Employee engagement and teamwork is in decline. 

 A return to “Business as Usual” command and control will no longer work.  The long term solution is to develop new processes that both improve execution and simultaneously create a higher level of commitment from our staff members.

What are your thoughts?

Decisions should be Data-Driven.

The days of making decisions off the hip, or because “that sounds like it might work, let’s give it a try!” are gone. Due to the current state of the Auto Industry, coupled with the amount of cash burn that most dealerships are experiencing makes those kinds of gut-based shots very risky financially. We MUST rely on data, not guesswork.

We have the information to make powerful data-driven decisions, target campaigns to segmented audiences, and create content based on what we know consumers love and demand! We have taught the consumer that it is entirely possible to purchase, finance, and take delivery of a vehicle without ever setting foot in a dealership. Customers have been asking for this for years, but most dealerships have been reluctant to relinquish that element of control, making excuses to the consumers on why it must be done the “way it always has been”.

In the scramble to sell cars in the shadow of COVID 19 dealers have inadvertently removed that argument …..the Emperor has no clothes! The real problem now in front of us, is how do we structure our customer facing processes to not only supply the experience they want, but maintain the profitability that we must have. The dealerships that are nimble enough to make these adjustments, and make them effectively, have a tremendous advantage over all other stores. Moreover, the ones that are loathe to change, and want to go back to business as usual are at great risk of losing their existing customer data base to their more agile competitors.

Superficial process changes will not achieve our goals, we must begin with fundamental modifications of the way we do business. We can start by assessing our management teams as individuals, will they hinder or embrace the “new normal”? Then we proceed with a chain of accountability that is strictly adhered to. Change is hard, but must be done!

Trained Ninjas LLC has the decades of experience to help appraise the current state of your store and help make incremental changes that will help your team make those Data-Driven decisions that are fatal to “business as usual”

Mike Ashley – Founder & General Manager

Change or die? I’ll choose life! How about you?  – Alan Deutschman