Back in my early days of selling, lets call them the 'late 80's' shall we(?!), I had a sales manager who's only directive when approached with an objection from a customer was "just get 'em in!" It didnt matter if they were out on the lot or at home and on the phone, all he could ever offer me for assistance was 'jus get 'em in and we'll deal with it then'. I hated having to go to him for help and swore that once I became a manager I would never tell anyone that worked for me anything that wasn't at least some what helpful. Over the years I have worked with more managers than I care to count who worked with that old mentality and I have never quite understood the reasoning of it. I've even asked some of them why they think the salesperson is asking them for help, dont they think if that the salesperson has tried all that they know to 'get them in' and is simply asking the person that should know even more for guidance. Often the sales manager simply assumes the salesperson is 'getting weak' or being lazy and unwilling to do/say whats needed and I still don't believe that to ever be true. A few years ago when the always funny and always on point Joe Webb made a video about this very thing I, like many, laughed hard and thought to myself; "I'm glad those days are behind us"! Or so I thought.....
About nine months ago the dealership I was working for hired another sales manager and within the first week of working next to him at the sales desk I heard that horrid phrase no less than ten times! I copied the link to Joe's video and emailed it to his entire crew and it soon became our inside joke, they would look directly to me every time he said it and we would share a silent giggle! When I left the dealership one thing that I was happy about was not having to hear the things that never worked in the first place repeated daily and set out to find my next opportunity to shine.
In the last month and a half I have been in well over thirty dealership showrooms and spoke with many folks on the job hunt, and as you have probably guessed by now I have come to the realization that 'just get 'em in' still lives on in dealerships across So Cal! While waiting to speak with a GM just yesterday I heard a team leader ask his salesperson if he had called back a customer from the day before, when the salesperson asked him what he was supposed to tell the customer he was met with 'tell him you've got great news and he needs to come back in'. The salesperson then asked what he should say if the customer wanted to know what this great news was and his manager screamed at him "JUST GET "EM IN!" I laughed out loud and ended up leaving the store without speaking to anyone knowing it was a place I would not to work for. I wish it was an isolated incident I really do however I have heard some variant of those abhorrent words so many times over the last few weeks it is almost concerning. The car biz lost many great leaders during the last crunch in 2008/09 and many have been promoted into positions that they don't fully understand and don't really know what else to say when asked for help so they simply resort to what they heard their own managers say. Ego is a dangerous thing and the car business is full of big ones, mostly over inflated with false bravado but still present. Until we can drop the attitude of being 'the boss' and open up to a better way of leading through training and education to create a culture of positivity the business will remain stagnant. The strong economy is increasing sales on its own and unfortunately that creates an environment of delusion and many GM's and managers actually believe that sales are rising due solely to their awesomeness. Its time to stop looking at the increase in sales over last year and take a look at market share, if your store isn't getting a bigger piece of the pie are you really growing or just rising with the tide? Is your management team developing your staff or are they just repeating the same tired old lines? If we arent willing to honestly look in the mirror we wont ever really see the truth, many GM's fear the truth so they busy themselves with creating this weekends ad and pretend everything is good. I have pointed out the realities of the dealership to many over the last month and walked away empty handed from those who say they want better results but are simply unwilling to change what they are doing. As I have said before; "you can lead a dinosaur to water........
Hey there, I'm Mike theCarGuy and here are some of my thoughts about cars, the car business and sales! Take a look around, maybe you will learn something or at the very least find your self smiling, and if you do... leave me a comment so I know I at least did something right! Thanks for stoppin by...
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