Monthly Archives: December 2010

Be A Self Developing Leader In 2011

In 2011 there won’t be a lot of time to stand around because everything is faster.

If you are waiting around waiting for someone to tell you “Hey…you…yes you…get some new skills!” then you are about to get run over like an empty paper cup on a New York city street there pal.

This is part 5 in a series on Leadership for 2011.

2011 will be exciting and challenging, no doubt about it.

 Car sales are up, RV sales are up…and people are starting to recover from the past few years. All of this means is that not only will Sales be busy, so will Fixed Operations.

This means finding new skills for 2011 or polishing up your learned skill sets.

I mentioned in the other posts in this series how I conducted a seminar for a leading Transportation company and that there were posters on the walls in the lobby and training room and that I spend time reading those posters and awards to get a feel for the organization. On one of those posters happened to be these Leadership concepts.

I wrote them down and have been presenting them in a Leadership series these past few posts. This is the last of 5 in that series.

The concept is one that until a few years ago, I personally approached as important for my staff and not as important for me. Let me explain.

I found that scheduling regular training for personnel I was responsible for an important part of my yearly planning. However, I didn’t always have that same view for myself. I was the boss. I was supposed “to know it all.” Right?

Then Life happens and you find out very quickly how your current set of skills stack up with what is needed and what other people are doing in the rest of the world. Probably not the best time to find out, wouldn’t you agree?

What I am really saying is this…

Make Self Development A Priority!

Especially Self Development! This is the last concept of that Leadership model.

Self Development is one of the most basic processes in Leadership and one of the most neglected. Why? We begin to let circumstances dictate knowledge.

Think about that.

Everyday there are things happening…all of the events we call Life.

And that is just the start. Not only is Life happening… Customers are happening,  Service is happening, Sales are happening.

These daily events are going on all the time! The fact of the matter is that you   have every bit of knowledge you need to run your day-to-day Life and operations as is. Get it?

And, such as Life is, you get a curve ball instead of the regular old fastball. Something new happens. Could be anything. New regulations, industry changes, personnel changes, policy changes…heck…the Water and Air Quality Board could come by and tell you that it is illegal to wash the cars on the front lot and now you have take all of your new car inventory one by one into the wash bay to clean them for the front line. Change happens. 

And you find out that the Knowledge and Skills you had before will not work in this situation. Circumstances dictate Knowledge.

 Now you have to go get new knowledge or a new set of skills to deal with the new circumstances…and the wheel goes round and round.

Herein lies the problem. True Self Development does not occur because once you get the new knowledgeyou need to deal with whatever crisis there is…the learning stops. Right? What more do you need to learn? Nothing. “Got everything I need right here boss.” 

And everything will remain the same…until a new set of circumstances comes along and the wheel goes round and round…

Make Self Development A Priority.

Get ahead of the curve and stay there. Below is a scoring summary and plan to make 2011 a year for your own Self Development. You can also grade your Staff and make a determination of who needs what. 

  • Do a self-examination on the most important skills sets you feel you need in your particular Leadership position. Try to think of at least 10, but even 5 will do. Some areas to consider are Communications, Leadership, Strategic Planning, Information Analysis, Generational Differences, Social Media, Marketing etc… Now grade yourself on how well you think you know these subjects. Now ask someone you trust to grade you and see if those match. Use a scale of 1-10. Make a commitment to attend a seminar or class if scored less than a 7, read a book or study the subject if scored an 8 or 9 and if you scored yourself a 10, teach someone else or lead a Lunch and Learn at your Dealership. You’ll find out right away if you are truly a 10.
  • Become a Mentor to someone at your Dealership. There are at least 10 authors I can think of I consider Mentors and every one of those have said at one time or another that if you want to truly improve yourself, Mentor someone else.
  • Schedule Training RIGHT NOW! Don’t wait for the perfect time! There is no perfect time. There will always be 20 different reasons not to and all of them added together don’t equal the one reason you need to! When you schedule Training you demonstrate Commitment! Get Committed!

You are going to need all of your skill sets and knowledge to make it through 2011. You are going to need additional skills and knowledge to make 2011 a PHENOMENAL year. Which sounds better to you?

Make Self Development A Priority.

In case you missed any of the previous Leadership concepts here they are in order.

Create A Compelling Vision.

Model The Way.

Lead More, Manage Less.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

Make Self Development A Priority.

To Your Leadership Success In 2011. Cheers.




Lead By Communicating In 2011

2011 promises to be a challenge for all of us.

One of the biggest you’ll face (if you have not already) is becoming more effective as a Communicator.

This is part 4 in a series on Leadership for 2011.

The Leader in 2011 is a vastly different Leader than one from 1991 or 1981. The changes in personnel, technology, training, communications and knowledge DEMAND a Leader that is a better Communicator than one from those eras.

When I came up through the ranks as a Service Advisor there was not an emphasis on Communication. In fact, in some stores, there was an outright neglect in Communications.

If you have worked in those stores in the past you know that the only way you found something out or learned something new is when  someone got fired! After they were fired, there would be a meeting, remember?! It might have sounded like this.

“Ok, as some of you know, we had to let Sam the Service Advisor go yesterday. I  am not at liberty to tell you what Sam did, I can only say that everybody needs to be on their toes right now. Make sure that you have your house in order, if you get my drift.”


Today, if you are still having meetings and Communications like that with your personnel, my friend… you need to come out of the dark ages.

In previous posts I have mentioned how I was tasked with a Communications Seminar at a national Transportation company and how I spend time looking at what organizations put up on their walls.

I found this organizations Leadership poster so compelling, I wrote down the concepts and am sharing them with you here.

The fourth concept in this Leadership model is…

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

In todays Dealership, Communication remains the number one problematic issue every single Leader in every single department faces every single day.

There never seems to be enough time or it never seems the be the right time or things are happening too quickly…and your personnel are getting the wrong message or in some cases, no message at all!

Lets have a little test and see if you have fallen into that category.

1. You have weekly meetings and when you are done, no one thinks the meeting pertained to them.

2. Your last meeting started late, was poorly attended and you felt that you did not get your point across.

3. When you schedule meetings, everybody assumes something bad has happened.

4. Your meetings ramble like a monkey grooming another monkey. One second your picking nits from the head, the next from the butt.

5. You don’t spend any time with your staff one on one. In fact, when you try to, they assume they are getting fired.

Ok, score yourself. If you answered YES to 1-2 questions, you in need of a Communications tune up. If you answered YES to 3-4 questions, you are in need of a Communications overhaul YES to all 5, time for a Communications trade in.

So, how do you change your Communication style to meet todays Communication challenges?

  • Start reading. Here are 3 recommendations. 1st, Patrick Lencionis “Death by Meeting” 2nd, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and 3rd, “The Bad Attitude Survival Guide” by Harry Chambers. These three books will get you started to better Communications.
  • Start planning. Start planning your Communications. One of the best things I learned to do was write down the top topics of the day or the week on a 3×5 card and carry it around with me. Next to the topics, if there was something particularly pressing that I wanted to emphasize, I put a star. If there was a particular person that I wanted to talk to about something, I put their name next to it. Then as I was out and about (LBWA), if something interrupted me or got me off track when I was speaking to someone, I could go right back to my notes and pick up where I left off. (This does not mean you cannot be spontaneous. And I am sure some of you will put the notes in a pda and carry it around. Do what is comfortable for you.)
  • Start asking questions. Learn to become inquisitive. Ask the right questions. A great book to get you started asking the right kind of questions is Dorothy Leeds “Smart Questions: The Essential Strategy For Smart Managers.” The Manager who asks the right questions will never have a boulder fall on their head because they didn’t know it was raining boulders.

The last part of Communicate, Communicate, Communicate comes from understanding WHO is working in your Dealership from a Generational standpoint.

3 True Statements.

 1. Everybody who comes to work in your Dealership needs their job but does not necessarily want the job they have.

2. Because every human has essentially the same Communication devices and capability does not mean they process the information they receive the same way.

3. Every Generation working in the workforce today thinks that their Generation is the “right” Generation.

All of this means that the Leader in 2011 needs to have an understanding of WHO is working in their Dealership.

By this, I mean knowing the difference between an X’er and a millennial and a Boomer and the Communication styles each needs in order to hear what you have to say.

This is not a new strategy folks. It’s been around for a while. You can attend one of many seminars on Generational Differences. If you cannot attend a seminar there must be at least a zillion books and papers on Generational Communication differences.

Heck, give us a call. We will put together a Communications Seminar for your Dealership and do it in-house.

The point is, in 2011, the key to becoming a better Leader starts with Communications. Get started on Communicate, Communicate, Communicate NOW!

DealerPro Announces NADA Convention Seminar Schedule

Don Reed, CEO of DealerPro Training Solution is scheduled to present “Implementing The Four Essentials To Service Absorption” at the NADA Convention in February 2011.

There are four seminars to choose from.

Friday February 4th@1:30pm in Room 2018 West.

Saturday February 5th@1:00pm  in Room 303 South Esplanade.

Sunday February 6th@11:00am Room 2016 West.

Monday February 7th@8:30am Room 2016 West.

Don has been a Top 1o NADA Convention Speaker since 2007. He recently completed a seminar schedule in England where he delivered workshops and seminars on The Four Essentials To Service Absorption to Dealer Principals and Service Managers.

You will leave with Action Steps you can take to start increasing your Service Absorption right away.

For more information send an email to

DealerPro Announces Phone Training Schedule For 2011

Once in a while a great deal comes along. Your friend has tickets to the game at half price…you find the golf clubs you want on sale at 40% off…the caterer for your daughters wedding throws in two bottles of champagne for the wedding party… great deals come in all shapes and sizes.

This is a great deal.

DealerPro Training Solutions is sponsoring 10 Training Sessions covering topics ranging from Increasing Your Service Absorption to Overcoming Objections starting January 5th, 2011!

All you need is a phone and a workbook…the seminars are FREE! It’s simple to register! Just send an email to so we can send you the password for the workbook.

It’s That Easy!

Each Training Session will last approximately 1 hour with a rebroadcast later in the day. These seminars are for Dealership Management Personnel, Fixed Operations Personnel, Service Advisors, Parts Advisors and anyone that has a Customer Service role in your Dealership.

All of the material is from DealerPro Training Solutions extensive Training Library and includes our most popular  subjects from Training Manuals, Articles written by Don Reed the CEO of DealerPro Training Solutions, DealerProVT, Blog Posts and other Training Modules.

And the best thing is…it’s FREE!

Just send an email to so we can send you the workbook password and seminar schedule. We will do all the rest! All you have to do is call in on the designated day, listen, complete the workbook and implement the Training!

Of course, DealerPro is ready to help should you need or want additional Fixed Operations Training. You can tell us about that at your convenience. We are a full service Fixed Operations Training Provider and NADA University Partner. Go to or for more information about us.

If you miss the start time, don’t worry! We will rebroadcast the seminar later in the day.

Send an email to and get signed up!

Lead 2011, Not Manage 2011

In the Dealership we can find ourselves in a position where we are Managing more than Leading.

Typically, as the level of responsibility grows, so grows the level of administrative duties. These administrative duties include responsibility for how much to spend on light bulbs for the showroom floor to changing the shop supplies vendors.

Everything in the Dealership somehow manages to come across your desk, right?!

This is part 3 in the Leadership for 2011 series.

I came across this model for Leadership while conducting a Communications seminar for a large transportation company. I found the concepts so in line with what I had been taught over the years, that I wrote them down and am now presenting them to you.

The third concept in this Leadership model is…

Lead More, Manage Less.

I think the reason I identify with this particular concept so strongly is that as my positions changed in the Dealership, from Service Advisor to Service Manager, that I found I was not ready for the burden of administrative tasks that come with increased responsibilities.

In fact, Managing the day-to-day operations completely took me out of my Leadership role. I found myself more as an administrator than as a Leader.

It was not an overnight thing either.

It is a slow, gradual process, much like the branches of a vine climbing a trellis in the garden. It takes time. Inevitably though, without careful gardening, the trellis and the walls of the garden become covered in leaves and the original shape becomes obscured by vegetation.

If you sit in your office tending to administrative duties, before you know it, just like the garden trellis, you become  “covered with vegetation.”   

And the business does not stop. The “Managing” does not stop. The need for Leadership does not stop.

Hey, you, yes YOU!… your phone is ringing! There is a pile of “Urgent” Dealership business (read “crap other people don’t want to deal with”) sitting in your “in basket.” Your personnel are darting  in and out with the latest “heater” expecting you to deal with it. Sound familiar?

After awhile, you might begin to wonder, “What the heck am I doing here?” or “How do I get back to Leading and not Managing?”

Ok. Here are 3 Things you can do to start Leading More and Managing Less in 2011.

  • Delegate. That’s right. Give some of this away to other people who are competent. They will complain. They will tell you “I’m too busy.” Deal with it. Tell them “I need help.” Tell them how they can help you. Tell them the reward for helping you is dealing with all of the stuff that is not getting done now. The key here is not to have them do just the “crappy stuff.” Give away the good stuff to do too. They will appreciate the confidence you have in them and it will help you grow your team.  
  • Prioritize. Learn the difference between Now, Right Now, Never and Forget It . The best way I have ever heard prioritizing explained was from  Earl Nightingale on his CD titled “Lead the Field.” In  it he tells the story of an engineer hired to increase efficiency and what was accomplished when that engineer helped the CEO implement a simple daily review and action plan. Get the cd and listen. (You will find a whole bunch of Leadership in it as well)
  • LBWA. Lead By Walking Around. Get out of the office. Have a day or two per week that you do not go into your office for anything except an absolute bona-fide emergency…  and I mean calling the fire department type of emergency. Spend that time (all day) in the Service Drive or on the Sales Floor or at the back Parts counter. Talk with everyone including Customers, answer the phone like an advisor or parts counter person, write an RO, do a Trade Eval and Sales write-up on a Customer…you get the idea.


If you want to Lead More and Manage Less you must be where you can Lead.

That is in the trenches. You don’t see winning Superbowl coaches sitting in an office chair answering the phone during game time, do you? Nope.

They are right there where the action is.

Leaders want to be visible. They are accessible. They make decisions when needed to help with implementing the plan. They guide when necessary. Leaders also cheer  like mad men and mad women when their team gets it right.

You don’t do that sitting in the office becoming vegetation.

Lead More and Manage Less in 2011.





DealerPro Guarantees $200K in Added Service Gross Profits!

COLUMBUS, OHDon Reed, CEO of DealerPro Training Solutions and an NADA Top 10 speaker since 2008, has announced an increased Service Gross Profit Guarantee for automobile dealers nationwide.

This applies for dealers who implement DealerPro’s In-Dealership Performance Driven Training program. This 13-month program installs new policies and processes guaranteed to increase customer pay hours per RO and CSI.

 The results from this No-Risk program are so dramatic that DealerPro says a typical dealer will increase Service Gross Profits at least $200,000 within the program’s 13 months. Dozens of dealers have hit this mark and become proud members of the DealerPro $200K Club.

 More important, dozens more dealers have exceeded the $200K mark, earning more than $300,000 … and $400,000 in additional Service Gross Profits. One dealer is currently on track to make more than $900,000 additional Service Gross Profits in his first 13 months on the program.

 Because dealers are enjoying such tremendous success under the DealerPro Performance Driven Training program, Mr. Reed is providing a Performance Guarantee … and a Money-Back Guarantee as well. “We do the job, or we don’t get paid,” says Mr. Reed.

 DealerPro trains Service Advisors to sell, and provides them with the tools for success. The result: 40% or better Increases in customer pay sales … Increased RO count, Increased sales per RO, more incoming calls converted into appointments … and more.

 Mr. Reed has more than 20 years experience as a dealer and more than 10 years as a trainer.  As a Twenty Group Advisor and consultant, he has helped hundreds of dealerships dramatically improve Service Gross Profits.

 “The real growth in Service Gross Profits comes from monthly monitoring and refresher training built into the DealerPro process,” says Mr. Reed. “That’s how we can guarantee success.”

 For more information visit, call toll-free at 1-888-553-0100 or email Don Reed:

Be A Model Leader In 2011

The personnel in your Dealership are looking to you for direction. They are in need of someone to emulate and follow.

This is part 2 of a series on Leadership for 2011.

In the first post I told you about a training visit and seminar I conducted and how I found a Leadership module hanging on the wall that I thought was one the best I have seen.

The second concept that was written on that poster was…

 “Model The Way.”

What it means is that as a Leader, if you want your personnel to behave in a certain manner or respond in a certain way to daily work situations then you must behave and demonstrate what that looks like to all of your personnel.

I’ll give you an example.

I was a Service Advisor in a Dealership and one of our Customers had a problem with the car jack. It seems that she had a flat tire and had pulled over in an area that caused the car to be slightly off angle.

They put the car jack under the car and due to the circumstances of the car being on an angle and the Customer not properly using or understanding the procedure or… who knows what happened, one thing led to another, and during the tire changing process, the jack became damaged. Into the Dealership she comes and of course “Sorry ma’am, not covered” and poof…we need to have someone from the factory look at the failed component and determine if they will pay for a new jack.

The meeting is set, in comes the Customer, here comes the factory and the conversation went something like this.

Customer “I would like to have my jack replaced at no charge because it failed on me and I could not use it to change my flat tire. I had to call a tow truck and it cost me money not to mention the down time. I just want my jack replaced. I think that’s fair.”

Factory “No.”

Customer “Why not? I just explained the circumstances and although we certainly had something to do with it, the jack did not work properly. It failed and I had to call a tow truck.”

Factory “No.”

Customer “I have been a loyal Customer and I really think that consideration should be given to the circumstances we were in. We could not move the car to a better location. The jack did not do what it was supposed to do.”

Facory “No. You did not follow proper procedure and the jack failed because of your negligence. I will not pay for a jack.”

Customer “I would like to ask someone else.”

Factory “No. What do you want me to do? Pay for it out of my pocket?” At this point he took out his money clip and threw it across the counter at her. “Why don’t you just take that money? Right? You won’t acknowledge that this is not a factory defect and I guess you just want my money now, is that it?”

Luckily, another factory rep broke into the exchange and pulled his guy from the counter (grabbing the money clip) and moved away. The Customer was in shock (as I was). During the exchange she never raised her voice or spoke in a derogatory manner. She really believed that there was some sort of design or manufacturing defect.

It gets better. This same factory rep later chastised the Dealership personnel for “not taking care of the Customer.”

As a Service Advisor, what behavior was just Modeled for me? Can I assume that it is ok to be uncooperative with a Customer merely because I am in a position of authority? Is it ok to be confrontational with a Customer? What about the judicious use of discretionary spending? What did I just learn about taking care of the Customer?

When you are the Leader and you are on point, everything you do is looked at by everyone below you and is constantly being examined, dissected, analyzed and ultimately judged by the standards and values the people you Lead have.

These standards and values come not only from their own life experiences but also from the learned behaviors and habits they have from working in the industry, their previous mentors and Leaders and the current policies and standards of the Dealership they are employed at now.

If you as a Leader want your personnel to behave in a certain way then you must Model The Way for them to behave.

You can’t ask someone to do something completely contrary to what you just did and expect them to do follow through. They will either say “Ok” and do nothing or say “Ok, but what about you? I just watched you blow up Mrs. Jones there and now you want me to take care of the Customer, but not the way you did? What are you smokin’ there bud?”

Make a committment to yourself that as a Leader in 2011 you will Model The Way and behave towards everyone exactly as you expect them to behave and watch what happens.

Your personnel are watching. Do the right thing.

Model The Way.