The title of this article comes from the book “An Enemy Called Average” by John Mason. The purpose of his book is to get you from where you are currently to where you dream to be. Mr. Mason says “Break the chains of mediocrity and then live the life you dream of.” This of course can apply in your personal life as well as your professional one.
Far too often in our industry we have Dealers, General Managers, Service Directors, etc. who focus on and measure themselves in terms of the “average” dealer. Here are some examples:
“The average dealer is grossing $700 PRU in F&I income”
“The average salesperson sells 11 units per month”
“The average Service Advisor sells 1.4 HPRO”
“The average CSI for my region is…..”
“The average …….for my 20 Group is ………”
Does this sound familiar to you?
Additionally your manufacturers also provide composites and reports showing the average this and the average that so you can compare yourself to what’s average.
Here‘s a simple exercise for you complete after reading my article. When you get up tomorrow morning ask your family to sit at the kitchen table for a brief family meeting before you go off to work and before the kids are off to school.
Stand up in front of your family and say the following: “It looks like it’s going to be an average day here in Hometown, U.S.A., and your average Dad and your average husband is going to his average job to put forth an average effort to maintain my average paycheck so I can support my average kids and my lovely average wife.
By the way kids, at school I want you to focus on getting average grades and you don’t really need to put forth the effort to be a great student so a “C” will be just fine.”
Does that work for you? How’s that average wife comment going to work out for you? Are you excited about holding that meeting?
If you are a manager how about you ask to meet with the Dealer and say the following: “Boss I just wanted to let you know that I think you are an average Dealer, so I’m going to give you an average effort today so I can produce for you some average results and manage my average department.” I bet nobody is taking notes on this one!
Let’s not forget what average really is. It is nothing more than a reference point.
Average means you are the “Worst of the Best or the Best of the Worst!”
Is that where you really want to be? I hope you answered NO WAY!
Well if that is true then why is it that when I speak to hundreds of dealers across our country I hear comments like “Well Don the average HPRO for my 20 Group is 1.4 and I’m averaging 1.5 so I’m doing a pretty good job.” No Sir-you are still hanging around with that “Best of the Worst crowd! Why do so many of you use the word average like it is a good place to be? Do you really want to be a straight “C” Dealer? Does the term mediocre Dealer appeal to you? I think not.
So how do you go from being average to becoming a Top Performer?
It all starts with one word-Commitment.
Are you committed to change? Are you committed to leaving your comfort zone? Are you committed to achieving different results? Think of it this way—when it comes to making “Bacon & Eggs” the chicken was a participant but the pig was totally committed.
If you, the Dealer, are not totally committed then nothing is going to happen differently. As Zig Ziglar says “You have the perfect processes in place to get you exactly what you got last year.” Get committed to change.
Next you must establish SMART goals. Specific-Measurable-Achievable-Realistic-Time based.
Here is an example: “I want to increase my retail HPRO by .5 over the next 6 months”
Specific: Yes it is—retail Ro’s only—increase .5 HPRO (Don’t forget to calculate how much specific gross profit you will produce on parts as well as labor with that extra .5 HPRO)
Measurable: Yes it is—your DMS can print a Service Advisor Performance Report DAILY showing the HPRO for each Advisor
Achievable: Not sure—what are my Advisors going to do differently to achieve different results? If they could sell the extra .5 HPRO why haven’t they already done so? Do they have a good menu to sell from? Do they have the proper communication skills and processes to make a feature benefit presentation to your customers? Are they willing to leave their comfort zones? Are they committed to change? (Chickens or Pigs?)
Realistic: Yes it is—since the average dealer is averaging 1.4 that means a lot of dealers are doing much better than 1.4 and since there is a multitude of dealers out there averaging 2.0 to 2.5 HPRO then another .5 is very realistic.
Time Based: Yes it is—you have 6 months to decide what you are going to do differently, what new processes will you implement, how will you train everyone on new skills that will increase their sales performance and provide the customer with a higher level of service?
Once you achieve your SMART goal then move on to the next one. Long term success is a journey not just a destination. That first SMART goal is just the first leg of your journey. Do not allow yourself to become complacent because you will gravitate back toward mediocrity.
John Mason in his book “An Enemy Called Average” states: “Mediocrity is a region bound on the north by compromise, on the south by indecision, on the east by past thinking and on the west by a lack of vision.”
Every department in your dealership must be a profit center for the dealer who wants to thrive and not just survive in this very competitive industry of ours. The aftermarket service providers currently have over 80% of all the parts and service business in America. Don’t you think it’s time we started taking it back?
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