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The Proactive Service Manager

Fixed Ops Strategies to Prevent Chaos in Your Service Department A few months into my new role as the service manager at a large metro-area dealership, it became obvious to me, that having the title, didn’t necessarily mean I was the one in charge. Crazy was becoming my new norm and my days were filled with putting out fires and fading heat. The questions, concerns and complaints were virtually unavoidable. They came from all directions and every source imaginable. In a moment of clarity amidst the chaos, I had a revelation. If I could figure out a way to prevent the fires from starting, I wouldn’t have to run around putting them out. I knew in order for things to change, I would have to put some foundational processes in place. Having received no formal training, and no real guidance, I didn’t have all the tools back then. Over the…

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3 Ways to Improve Your Training

In a recent survey of sales people 95.4% of respondents indicated that training plays a big part in their career development, however, 18.4% of them said that it never happens in their dealership.  Oh, dealership do meetings, but most them are housekeeping ones.  Managers want to make sure trade-ins are parked, lost keys are found and appointments are set for that day.  In some rare cases  they throw few motivational items into the mix.  Hey, everyone needs a little motivation every now and then, and there is nothing wrong with housekeeping items.  Yet what sales people need the most from their managers/coaches is skills development training.  Think about it, if you make your sales force better your life will be easier and you might have to pay more taxes as a result of it.  Here are three things you can do to improve your training offering.   Get it on…

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Will VR Solve the Learning Riddle?

Imagine you are a new employee in the industry where your success depends on memorization of multiple processes and scripts.  You have never done this type of work before and now have a monumental task in front of you to memorize pages upon pages of different conversation scenarios.  If you are in the industry that relies heavily on face to face sales you might be able to relate to this.  Now imagine you were given this task and were told you need to practice and then role-play in-front of your sales coach or worse yet, in-front of a group of your peers.  Oh, you forgot about role-play?  Sorry to remind you about this form of public speaking.  Just like speaking in front of a crowd, there are very few people out there, who feel comfortable being publicly humiliated in front of their peers. Often times simple script memorization can be…

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Car Business in the Middle East

I had a great privilege to visit to Abu Dhabi and Dubai of UAE last year. I was invited to facilitate a luxury car buyer experience training. The participants were from ten countries in the Middle East primarily from GCC or Gulf Cooperation Council. They ranged from frontline sales people to managers, marketing and distributer personnel. During the sessions and brakes I was able to get a glimpse into their world. I found out that the two biggest automotive markets of the GCC are Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Let’s take a look at those two starting with UAE. UAE It’s hard to imagine, but even in the places like Dubai economy goes up and down. Naturally, UAE’s economy attached to prices of oil or petrol as they call it there. During the last few years the plummeting prices of oil had an effect on local economy….

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Develop Great Habits in 2017

For two years in a row the US market reached over 17 million vehicle sales. Experts predict 2017 will be another record setting year for franchised dealerships. Good times in the auto industry have become the new norm. Yet many newer, less tenured employees were not around during the bad times of 2008/09. The veterans in the business know, that everything is cyclical. They also know that in bad times one builds good habits. The opposite is true as well – bad habits can be easily developed during good times. In many cases those habits can be well hidden and ignored in lieu of good results. In order to dominate during good and bad times here are five things you must focus on continuously. 1. Employee development. Great companies are created by great people. In many cases those companies raise their own talent. Talented people will not stick around if…

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Take Control of Your Activities!

The “time management” concept has been around for a very long time. There are deluge of books, seminars and podcasts regarding this subject. Someone once said, “You cannot manage time”. Without getting into semantics, this point is correct – time cannot be controlled. Instead, what you can control are the activities you perform at any given time. In sales your world can be a chaotic. There are multiple interruptions that can distract you from your goal. Here are four principles that will help you stay focused on your activities to produce better results – awareness, choice, discipline and commitment. Awareness. Have you ever been in a sales situation and totally missed it? You were going through your process and were totally unaware that your potential client checked out. Now, think about the time you were physically lost because you were distracted and took a wrong turn. What made that feeling…

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F&I in Portugal

The 2016 World Shopper Conference Iberian was conducted on May 13th on Lisbon Portugal.   Over 500 participants from Portugal, Spain and Brazil had come to gather ideas that would help  improve automotive world in prospective countries.  I had a privilege to share the stage with some of the top notch Automotive speakers from the United States, Canada and Portugal.  The focus of the conference was on improving customer experience both online and at the dealership.   The F&I is fairly young in Portugal.  It was introduced there about 10 years ago.   With that in mind it represents a huge opportunity for dealers and manufacturers.   Here are five opportunities.   The primary focus of the F&I is on arranging financing. For as much as it is a great service to the consumer, since it represents a huge profitability for dealers it is still very much self-serving approach.  Reliance on rate markup…

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How Soft Skills Define Your F&I Results

Dealerships have become more adaptable to new technologies that help improve both internal and external processes which have created unprecedented growth in F&I in the past few years. With so much emphasis on high-tech, it can be easy to lose focus and forget about the importance of a high-touch or personal experience your team creates for your customers. Research indicates that even the most technology-savvy block of Millennials, the Digital Natives, yearn for the high-touch in their automotive experience. Winning with today’s and future buyers, dealerships have to strike a healthy balance between high-tech and high-touch. Delivering this top quality experience in F&I requires a greater focus on your team’s soft skills. In their career services study, Davenport University defines soft skills as “a cluster of personal qualities, habits, attitudes and social graces that make someone a good employee and compatible to work with.” These soft skills have a great…

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3 Ways to Improve Online Training for Millennials

According to some predictions by 2025, 75% of the US workforce will consist of millennials. This shift in employee population requires new approach and method to training and development. Corporations are scrambling to figure out how to cater training to this younger population, who grew up with technology and the internet. The easy access to the abundance of information and societal changes created a different type of learner. Millennials are curious in nature. They are eager to discover what will help them advance to the next level of their gamified life. Information overload is not part of this generation’s vocabulary. Their ADHD will keep them away from that. It is no wonder that they are prone to changing tasks as some say up to 27 times per minute. Good luck trying to keep their attention with a 27-minute e-learning module made with PowerPoint slides. Oh, they see value in training…

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