Several years ago, our local golf course completed an extensive re-model and re-design. At the dedication, Ray Floyd was the celebrity guest of honor. At the time, Ray had been enjoying renewed success in his golfing career. The local newspaper covered the event which included an interview. The answer to one of the questions intrigued me, and formed the basis for this article. The question was, “Ray, what do you contribute your recent successes to?” Ray responded, “I hired a new swing coach and started seeing a golf psychologist. You see, I needed to make certain I was maximizing every aspect of my game, both mental and physical! I needed all I could get from my swing and had to make sure my head was in the right place. These two changes helped me to improve my game and start scoring again.”
From Ray’s comments we can conclude that regardless of experience, abilities or past successes, EVERYONE can benefit from coaching, even your business. Coaching can improve current performance and help move dealerships to their Next Level. A third party, a coach, will see things others do not see, or things that are seen but overlooked, or worse yet, tolerated. A coach can help efficiently maximize an organizations effort.
Many of the dealerships we visit lack structure and processes. Structure is like the golf swing, you need to START correctly in order to finish up where you want. Processes relate to the mental aspect. If a dealership has procedures that are followed as designed, the thought process becomes easier, EVERYONE does the same thing, EVERY TIME. The only time one needs to improvise is when the situation is not clearly defined by a process. When that happens, get help immediately.
Let’s look at each of these elements individually. Proper structure needs to include economic balance in every aspect of your business. Are you selling the right products, are you stocking the right merchandise? Are your grosses in line with others in your area, region or the nation? Are you spending more than you should to generate the sales and grosses you are currently generating? Do you have guidelines for your new and used inventories? Are you paying your people TOO much, or TOO little? Are your pay plans fair to your employees as well as the dealership? Are your goals in writing? Did your management staff have the opportunity to give their input when establishing those goals? How often are the goals reviewed? The more frequent your review of your goals, the more you tend to move toward those goals.
Processes reflect the mental aspects of your business. Everyone needs to be doing the same thing, every time. When a customer walks on your lot, they need to be greeted in a professional and courteous manner, every time. After the customer has been greeted, they need to be escorted to a place where the salesperson can conduct a thorough, fact finding interview, every time. When a customer walks up to your service or parts department, they need to be handled the same way, every time. When a salesperson sits your customer down to negotiate the deal on their new purchase, they need to follow the same process, every time. Simplify the mental parts with processes and improve the score. No one can be exempt, everyone needs to follow the processes, every time.
Processes require ongoing training and discipline. Speaking of training, who does your training, your managers, your top producers? If they are not training, who is? Here is a scary thought, if your sales managers or your top producers are not doing the training that means your BOTTOM producers must be handling it. When you hire new people, what are they learning and who are they learning it from?
A Coach can help an organization with these and other opportunities. When was the last time your dealership had a check up? Is your business on solid ground? How are your processes? Are regular, ongoing training sessions being held? Are ALL employees required to attend? Is your dealership selling what sells, and stocking what is selling. Are your managers involved at all levels, including forecasting? Are your forecast and goals written? Are the forecasts achievable? How frequently are your forecasts reviewed? Do you have a coach, and if not, why?
Dugan Anderson operates Profit Solutions, a Division of RVMax. Dugan is a former dealer and for the past 8 years has been working with RVMax and dealerships across the country, dealing with all aspects of Financial Analysis, Expense control, marketing, training and consulting.