Have a Plan?

worst-of-2016

No matter how your 2016 went (or didn’t go) the question we all have to ask ourselves is, “What is my plan to make 2017 better than 2016?”

Maybe your 2016 was a matter of being out-performed by the competition.  Maybe 2016 could have been better if you had anticipated some critical changes to your industry or the market, and had been better prepared.

Maybe 2016 is a blur for you because you weren’t paying attention for one reason or the other.

Regardless of how you feel about your 2016 if you don’t have a plan for 2017 you are probably going to get more of the same.

We’re not talking about making New Years resolutions, we’re talking about figuring out what “success” is going to look like for you in 2017 and developing a strategy for realizing that success.

  1. Where do you want to be at the end of 2017?
  2. What do you want to have at the end of 2017?
  3. What do you have to do in 2017?
  4. What do you want to do in 2017?
  5. Who’s assistance is necessary for your success in 2017?
  6. Who do you need to get out of your way in 2017?
  7. What obstacles are in your way in 2017?
  8. What advantages do you have on your side in 2017?

Hope is not a strategy.  If we are going to get what we want, live the life that we want, have the relationships that we want in 2017 we are going to have to have a game plan.

Not only do we have a have a strategy, we have to have the skills necessary to execute that strategy, so part of our plan for 2017 needs to be ways that we intend to sharpen our skills and abilities.

Essentially, we have to figure out what it takes to get what we want and do those things every day.  We can’t take a day off from living into our purpose and executing our plan.

  • Big Wave Davedavid on Sea-doo
  • Trainer-Mentor-Coach
  • 469-939-0410 Mobile
  • dscarguytx@gmail.com

JANUARY 1: LESSONS LEARNED THROUGH DRAMATIC CHANGE

There were many changes for the Simpson’s in 2016.  At the beginning of the year I was the Regional Sales Manager for GM Financial; the finance arm for General Motors.  I was responsible for 187 dealers across 5 states and 5 area reps.  The job entailed a lot of travel and being in a different car dealership every day.  When I accepted this position my strategy was to build relationships with my dealers that would result in an opportunity to eventually become a General Manager.  With my territory being the Midwest, I anticipated my opportunity to be a GM to be somewhere in the Midwest as well.

At the end of the Summer last year both of my kids left to go to their perspective colleges, so Jan and I effectively became “empty-nesters”.  Having raised our kids to this point in their lives ran parallel to Jan and I achieving this point in our lives where we could accept the right position at the right dealership regardless of where it was in the country.

I flew to several dealership interviews from one side of the country to the other, and once I had made up my mind of where we were going and who we were going to work for things moved pretty quickly.  I packed everything I needed and left Jan in Dallas to get my kids off to their colleges and to pack up our apartment in preparation for a relocation.  I arrived at my new store on a Friday morning, and by 11:00 I knew I had made the wrong choice.

A week later I got on an airplane and flew back to Dallas.  Before I left the dealership parking lot I made a phone call and accepted another GM position in another part of the country.  I called Jan from the airport with the news, “Don’t stop packing, but we’re going someplace else.”  I spent the next week helping Jan pack and the next Sunday I was on another airplane headed to our new opportunity in Maryland.  That Tuesday I started my next new career at my current store.  Walking into the conference room to meet my new staff, I knew in an instant that I was home.

In the 4 months since I accepted my current position, the store I manage has made a 180 degree turn, Jan and I are closer than ever, my kids are learning how to be self-sufficient, and I am finding things out about myself that I could not have learned in any other context.

figure-playing-basketballThe first day of the new year is a great time for introspection and reflection, and looking back I am so proud of the way Jan and I have embraced this new road we are on.  I am thinking this morning of the lessons that I learned along the way.

 

 

  1. Don’t lose focus on your goals, regardless of your circumstances or your geography
  2. The most important asset in any ones life is the quality of the relationships we make along the way
  3. We are capable of more than we think we are if we focus our efforts on our strengths and passions, and are willing to do the work and invest the time
  4. A person is never too old or too stuck to reinvent themselves into the person that they know that they can be
  5. Making a mistake is never fatal, staying in those circumstances becasue it’s easier than risking another mistake is the reason most people are dissatisfied with their lives

 

  • Big Wave Davesimpson-seadoo
  • David Simpson
  • Trainer-Mentor-Coach
  • (469) 939-0410 Mobile
  • bigwavedave@oictraining.com

BE A PRO

It is so cliche to try to compare sports to business, but in the case of sales there are a lot of parallels.

I am sitting here watching the Cubs play the Cardinals, and the Cubs are shredding the Cardinals pitching.  It is the top of the 2nd, and it is 7-0.  The Cubs are hitting all the way through the lineup, and that got me thinking about how baseball players, especially in the National League where the pitchers are in the lineup and get an at-bat, baseball players are professional hitters, just like a salesperson is a professional seller.

steps of a swingThis I know from my experience around the game of baseball; depending on the coaching philosophy a baseball players swing is 3, 4, 5, 6 and sometimes even 7 steps.  As a matter of fact, as players become more advanced in their abilities a lot of times coaches will take a player who had a 3-step swing and make it into a 4 or 5-step swing.  This makes it easier to isolate places in the swing that need work.

Do you think a baseball player ever skips one of the steps in their swing?  Of course not, they are professional hitters.  Why then do sales people skip steps in their sales process, if they are professional sellers?

How ever many steps there are in your particular sales process, make sure you stick to it and execute every one of them.

PROSPECTING

If we are sitting in our showroom, waiting for the “Up Bus”, we aren’t being very professional at our chosen vocation.

A professional sales person is always looking for a person to sell a car to and an unique way to get a hold of that person.  They aren’t hoping for a customer, they are working for one.

When I was a new sales person, I had been selling cars for about 4 months and I decided that I wasn’t going to achieve my professional, personal or financial goals relying on the dealers advertising only.  I knew that I needed to get out and find prospects of my own.  This is the exercise that I did (click the link below for your own copy):

PROSPECTING WORKSHEET

This was my first exercise to determine who I had to prospect, and I’ll be honest, it resulted in me spending a little money.  My whole family has attended the same small private school here in the area of Dallas/Ft. Worth where I live, Dallas Christian.  That school has a great athletic program and our football team, the Chargers, were in the state playoffs for football that year.  I had 2 nephews on that team and a niece who was the head cheerleader.  I bought 2000 of those little plastic footballs; on one side it said, “Go Chargers!” and on the other side it had my dealership’s logo and my name and cell number.  Every time we scored a touchdown during the playoffs, the cheerleaders would run up and down the sidelines and throw these ball up into the stands.  The fans would jump up and down and hold up their hands screaming for a football.  If I remember correctly, the footballs cost me about $460.  It was an investment that paid off, which if it hadn’t my wife would have killed me because I was just a poor car salesman.  I probably sold 1-2 cars per month to parents at that school over the course of my career.  Last December 2010, not even working in a dealership, I sold 9.

The next thing that I did was to put a 5’x8′ sign on the outfield fence of our baseball field.  That field was used by our high school for 3-4 months during the Spring and we rented it out to a local baseball league during the Summer, so there were always plenty of eyes on it.  That sign cost me $600 the first year and $300 per year after that to renew and keep it up there.  Once again, hard to quantify but I always knew that I was going to sell 1-2 cars per month to parents or their friends that those parents would refer to me.  Now, before I take a fresh “Up” in a month, I had 3-4 cars out.

What are you doing right now to sell a car?  Does everyone that you know, know what you do for a living?  Have you called all your family and friends in the past several weeks and asked for a referral?  Are you ‘hoping” for success, or are you “working” for it?

Get to work! Stay green!

David Simpson
Cell (469) 939-0410
david@dealerconsultinggroup.com

MANAGER’S EXERCISE

Do this;

Go to your service department and pull 25 Used Vehicle Reconditioning Repair Orders, total the number of labor hours, divide that by 25 and figure out what the average hours per R/O is for used car reconditioning.

I don’t know what that number will be, but it will likely be less than the average customer pay hours per R/O that your service advisors are doing on the service drive.

The question is, who owned that vehicle before your used car department did?  A customer, that’s who.  The same kind of customer who is probably getting in and out of your service department without getting the same work done that your service department was able to sell your used car manager.

What’s the difference?

Service Advisors: Connecting with the Customer

Service Advisors:  Connecting with the Customer

When my son was 5-years old and in kindergarten his teacher called my wife and asked her if we could come in and have a meeting about him.  We had no idea what the meeting was about, our son was rambunctious and active, like a healthy, and happy 5-year old should be, so we went imagining the worse, as young parents do.  The meeting was a lot of fun; sitting in chairs made to accommodate a kid 3 feet tall with a cheery old lady who spoke to us like we were 5-years old ourselves.

She told us that she had filled out the appropriate paperwork, and had all the signatures required for us to take our son to our doctor and have him tested for A.D.H.D. (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).   At this time, because we had recently moved to the town where we now live, we didn’t have a local doctor, so we asked her for a recommendation and she gave us the name of a doctor that she knew treated several children in the school there where she taught.  We made the appointment and took him in, filled out the new-patient paperwork and were shown into an examining room.

When the doctor walked in, he was looking at Jake’s chart and didn’t look up at us for several moments.  When he finally did, he shook our hands and watched Jake sitting on the examining table, bouncing up and down, rattling that paper that they put on the cushioned surface, kicking his legs…the doctor just watched him as he told us about the A.D.H.D. symptoms and all the consequences associated with it.  He was still talking to my wife and I as he went over, put his hands on Jake’s neck to feel his nodes or whatever, pulled out his stethoscope and listened to his heart, tested his reflexes with his triangular mallet; he did all this without saying a word to Jake, who hadn’t been to the doctor in his young memory and might have been freaked out.

The doctors diagnosis was as expected and he excused himself from the room to go get his prescription pad.  When he left the room I said to my wife, “I don’t like him at all. “

My wife asked, “Why not?  I have talked to several people and he is a great doctor.”

“I bet he is, but I don’t want a doctor working on my son who doesn’t like kids.” I replied.

Just like that, this doctor who went onto to write a book about pediatrics and A.D.H.D. almost lost a patient, a buyer, because he did not connect with us on the appropriate level.

How many times on the service drive to we treat our customers like that doctor treated us?  He was diligent to go about his work, but I never got the feeling that he cared.

We have to do several things to send the appropriate message to our customers that we really do care.  Here are a few of them:

  • Greet them promptly (within 30-seconds of entering the service drive) with a warm smile and an introduction
    • I say, “Hi, I am David Simpson, and you are…”  What brings you in today?”  I don’t say the word “help”, or “service”.  If they are here for maintenance, I am complimentary.  If they are in for service, I am empathetic.
  • Make 1 compliment about the vehicle as you walk around it
      • “This is a great looking Camry.  How long you had it?”
      • “It sure looks like you keep your vehicles nice and clean.”
  • Ask plenty of questions related to how and what they feel is or isn’t happening rather than what they know or don’t know is wrong.
      • “How does it sound when it is doing that?”
      • “Do you feel it shaking at all when you make turns?”
      • “Does the vehicle feel like it is going to die?”
      • “Can you feel that in the front or more towards the rear of the vehicle?”
  • Set the expectation
      • Verbalize what is going to happen next
      • Verbalize what the expense is going to be, if any
      • Ask for permission to continue
  • Do not use the word “Diagnostic” or “Diagnose”
      • Replace with “Inspection” or “Test”.

It’s the little things that we do that make the big difference.  The first impression is the most important.  Let’s get used to using the appropriate language that engages the customer and lets them know that we really do care.

Stay green.

David Simpson

“NO ONE EVER EXPLAINED IT TO ME THAT WAY BEFORE”

There are some things that a customer will say that make your heart leap with pride.  When I was a sales person on the floor, I knew that I had done a good job identifying my customer’s needs, matching them to the car that met those needs and making sense of the numbers when my customer would say, “I’m going to have to go home and get my checkbook.  I didn’t intend on buying a car today.”  That’s just a job well done.  We have a hard enough time selling customer’s who intend to buy, it’s really the top of our game to help a customer who legitimately did not intend to purchase.

In F&I, the equivalent to that phrase about the checkbook, for me anyway, is the customer who walks out of my office and says, “No one ever explained it to me that way before.”  Oh, the bliss!

I had a customer a couple of weeks ago who was trading in a 7-year old Passat with about 47,000 miles that they had bought new.  The driver, the wife, was a school speech therapist in a small town, and the only driving she did was from home to one of the schools in town; 3 elementary schools, 3 middle schools and 2 high schools. They were looking at a Hyundai Elantra, new, and were considering a lease.

The sales manager who worked the deal brought me the folder and said, “These people want to do a 36-month lease.  They aren’t going to buy anything.”  I took that as a challenge.  I went out and sat down at the sales person’s desk where the customers were waiting to finish their paperwork, and started my interview. “You are replacing a 7-year old Passat with…47,000 miles??  What do you do that you only drive 47,000 miles?”  She told me her story.  “You seem to keep your cars for a long time, would you mind telling me, out of my own curiosity, why you are considering a lease?”

“We don’t know if we’ll want to keep this car for that long” was the reply.

“That is an excellent strategy.  If you were to purchase, your term would have to be much longer to achieve the same payment as a lease.  You know what your options are with that 36th payment, right?  You can sell it and pocket the difference if your vehicle is worth more than the residual, you can trade it in and apply that difference to your next car, or you can refinance the residual and keep paying on the vehicle until it is paid off.  If your vehicle is not worth the amount of your residual, you can bring it back and drop off the keys and let the bank take the hit in depreciation.”

“Yes, that is why we are leasing.”

I love educated consumers.

I went through my presentation, using a graph illustration and the warranty handbook from the owner’s manual packet, to demonstrate what is covered and what is not covered.  They decided on the 5-year/75,000 mile service contract, prepaid maintenance, the PDR policy, the Windshield and the Road Hazard protection.  When I presented my menu and asked her to pick an option, she looked down and chose Option 4 and said, “No one ever explained those products to me that way before.”  It was awesome!

Here is what I told her:

That VSC is not just for failures, it is also to keep your car running good, and to make sure that your vehicle always has all new parts on it.  Those technicians work on commission and when you tell them that you have the Platinum VSA, they will know that no matter what they find wrong with your vehicle, you will only be out of pocket your deductible.  They are going to look extra hard to find parts that are worn out, wearing out or about to start wearing out; anything they can justify to the warranty company fixing, they will fix.  Not only will your car run better longer, don’t you think with all of those repair orders from our service department that your vehicle will be worth more when you bring it back in?

The PDR and Windshield policy will keep your car looking new.  Every time you bring it in for your routine maintenance, just make sure that you tell the service adviser that you have the PDR and the Windshield protection and he will walk your vehicle and make a note of any damage that can be repaired.  Then, he will schedule a time for you to bring the vehicle in to let our PDR and Windshield repair tech pop those dents and dings out, and repair any small chips, cracks and stars in your windshield.  That not only keeps your vehicle looking nice and new, it will save you from an excess wear and tear charges if you decide to turn the vehicle in rather than keep it or trade it.  Also, since your vehicle will look better at the end of your lease term, won’t it be worth more?

The road hazard protection is the best value on the menu.  If you go to a tire store and buy 4 new tires, the technician is going to ask you if you want that road hazard policy.  Most policies sold by tire retailers are 12 month/12,000 mile policies that cover only that tire.  They will repair tires damaged by road hazard, and if you blow out a tire and it is not repairable, they will replace it with another tire, prorated.  And the price of all of that is only $12-$15 per tire.  Our tire and wheel policy covers your tire and your wheel, unlimited claims, unlimited miles and is a $0 out of pocket expense to you if you ever do have a repair.  It also covers your wheel so if you hit something and bend of break a wheel, it’s covered.  If they can fix it, they’ll fix it, and if they can’t fix it they’ll replace it with a brand new tire or rim or both, and we all know that the wheels are much more expensive than the tires.  All that is covered for only $27 per tire and wheel per year.  (Think about it; $27 x 4 tires and wheels = $108 x 5 years = $540 price of the protection)

I assume the maintenance in the description of the VSC, they are right above and below one another on my menu.

“No one ever explained those options to me that way before.”  What a great compliment.

Stay green!