My Largest Lesson
One of the greatest privileges in life is doing something you love. Coaching dealerships fixed operations for improvement is truly something I love however, today I’d like to share my largest lesson with you.
Understand that everyone has parts of what they do that they don’t enjoy. For me the task I don’t enjoy is marketing and sales. I’m sure all of us of been annoyed by random phone contacts from companies wanting to do business with us. I tried that in the beginning of my company, over 14 years ago. I had to force myself to make these calls and honestly hated every minute of it. I mailed letters out to dealer principals every day because that was less intrusive and more acceptable for me to do that task. I have mailed out coffee cups, flashlights, and even bottles of hot sauce to catch the attention of dealers.
I have written articles that have been published in many magazines, which are distributed to car dealerships throughout the United States. Sharing content, illustrating my point of view and opinion and is something I love to do and has been successful marketing. Some of all of that works however, that isn’t my greatest lesson.
My greatest lesson is to understand that if the total focus is on your customer and their success it ensures yours. They happily share their success with other dealerships in their family and friends networks or 20 groups. They are so appreciative of what you’ve accomplished in their dealerships, and they love the opportunity to talk about their positive experience with anyone who will listen.
Today’s dealerships spend tens of thousands of dollars every month in advertising, yet need to understand this same truth to retain customers and develop future growth. Dealerships need to focus in on their customers experience and make that so exceptional they want to tell their neighbors and friends about it. The processes have to be so standardized and the employee so well-trained, exceptional customer care is every time on every vehicle. Your dealership success isn’t dependent on advertising or mailers. It’s dependent upon what you do for your customers that separates you from other dealerships.
Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
I Don’t Get No Respect
The comedian Rodney Dangerfield used this line often in his monologue getting untold millions of people to laugh. It’s much more serious when it gets down to our dealerships. Let’s look together in more detail about not getting any respect.
From Your Customer
If your customer believes your dealership disrespects them, I promise you that they are not going to spend their money with you. There are many ways to show respect for your customer, starting with their time. The most important thing any of us need to manage begins with our time. If the dealership doesn’t schedule appropriately it shows no respect for your customer, when you force them to wait an hour and a half to two hours for a standard oil change service. I promise you they do not care one bit that two of your technicians are off today being trained and another phoned off with illness. I have heard so many times when the customer tracks down an advisor for an update on their vehicle the excuses flow out of the dealership employee’s mouth. I’ll say it again they frankly don’t care about your issues, they only want to get their task completed and go on about their day.
Another way your customers are commonly disrespected in dealerships is to not take the time to understand each concern that they have. They show up at the dealership and get processed like cattle into a slaughterhouse, without the advisor even looking at their issue. This generally leads to loss of technician time, as they try to figure out what the advisor meant on the repair order. Many times the customer will have to return to the dealership again to repair the item they wanted fixed in the first place that wasn’t explained correctly on the repair order. Then we show the customer disrespect while we are interrupted by the telephone several times as the repair order is being written leaving them standing in front of you. Show your customers respect for their time!
From Your People
If your dealership employees believe they are not being respected, they surely won’t show the customer’s the respect that is deserved. It should be a common practice that employees are told when they do a great job. When they only hear about things that go wrong, a negative culture spreads and can’t be hidden from your customer. When your employees are appreciated and valued with their compensation your customers are always treated better. We must show our employees respect as well by listening to them. Seek out their advice and input as to what the dealership can do to improve. Openly and honestly ask what can be done to make their experience as an employee better. Never hold any of these conversations about viewpoints against them in any fashion. The culture must be based on a foundation that truly cares about improving the quality of life of every dealership employee.
Make a promise to never allow your customers or employees to feel like Rodney Dangerfield, always show them the respect they deserve!
Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Are You Overwhelmed?
Life in the dealership world is hectic and many times overwhelming for the staff. The emotion of this weighs heavily on the individual with the effects going well beyond the job and into family life. Let’s look at some ways to deal with this feeling and turn it into a positive impact for everyone.
What Is Important Now?
It’s human nature to allow your thoughts to pile up on one another instead of focusing in on one issue at a time. Feeling overwhelmed is a result of this piling up of situations, problems, and concerns that happen in your daily life. To overcome this overwhelmed feeling, we must first understand what must be accomplished first. When you’ve listed the things that are important it’s easier to focus in on the item at the top of that list. The success of accomplishing one task at a time with total focus on the most important first will immediately reduce the feeling of you being overwhelmed. Make this a discipline in your life and understand the importance that this holds in improving the quality of life that we all desire.
Distractions are another reason many people get overwhelmed and accomplish little as they tackle their day-to-day life. It might be you are the person that everybody goes to with a problem and you want to please everybody, and be the solution for them. Unfortunately, always being the answer for these people is a negative for them as well, because they will never be able to perform at a top level without outside input. Everyone will need help from time to time and you won’t be able to eliminate distractions however, my hope is you learn to become very aware of the need to reduce and control them.
Always Learn and Train
We need to make it a daily habit to be seeking ways to improve our performance with training. This can be with process improvement as well as motivational materials to encourage us. The key is to always have an open mind to implement new ways of doing business. Seek out an expert in your field and study their material closely. It isn’t that you can accept everything however, always be looking for something to improve. Motivational material also needs to be a daily practice as we all get enough negative distractions in life. I listen to a lot of this material personally such as Zig Ziegler, John Maxwell, and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale as a few examples.
Faith and Exercise
Another way of overcoming the feeling of being overwhelmed in life involves faith and exercise. Spend time reading Scripture with prayer and meditation away from the rush of the day. For me exercise is also a critical component. My personal goal is to walk over 5 miles every day and I understand many times I fall short with all of this.
I am confident that this newsletter will help you attack the feeling of being overwhelmed in your life. I hope you accept it from this person that has experienced this feeling of being overwhelmed and overcome it. At times we are all attacked however, my hope is this will be a good guide for you from someone who cares.
Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Rob is President and Founder of Fixed Performance Inc. which he began over 15 years ago. His passion for customer care and helping others has assisted hundreds of dealerships with their fixed operations performance. His common sense coaching and training lifts people up as individuals and team members. With over 30 years of dealership management experience, he understands and respects the daily challenges of fixed operations. Placing a strong value in people and best practice processes always provide growth. His articles have been published regularly in national publications and weekly newsletters are read by thousands.