Archive for August, 2011

Recently while I was loading clothes into the washing machine (yes I do laundry), my 7 year old son stood there talking about a little bit of everything. In between saying, “really,” and “ah-ha” he confessed to me, “Dad, I’m gonna to be famous and make my own shoes like Michael Jordan.” This struck a chord with me; when did we begin to put boundaries on our dreams? When did we cease to prophetically claim that we would be the most famous athlete, President of the United States, an astronaut, or ga-billionaire? Why did we stop building multi-million dollar mansions made from pine straw, 2×4’s riddled with nails, and jagged pieces of plywood? What happened to the 600 horsepower roadster sculpted from the old Sears refrigerator box? When did the world famous rich, chocolaty mud pie factory close? Are we now living a life as the best there never was?

When did we thwart striving and begin surviving? When did good enough trump excellence? When did we cash in our passion for a pension? It’s estimated that 1 out of every 3 Americans are living an unsatisfied life; if they never wake to see tomorrow, 100 million people will die with two 6 letter words tattooed on their heart: Excuse and Regret. When we live our lives making excuses, we will surely die with regrets; you cannot have one without the other. Excuses are reasons, justifications on why we are playing it safe. On the outside we are marching in line with life’s drumbeat, while our inner child longs to reveal its fiery desires and boundless dreams growing despondent and sorrowful along the way.

Instead of chasing our dreams, we’ve allowed circumstances of life to chase us. It’s as if the roles have been reversed; life is the greyhound and we are now the rabbit. Circumstances are the building blocks of character; it’s the mortar in between our bricks of life. One brick at a time, circumstance after circumstance, our wall becomes erected. Occasionally the calamities of life will sledgehammer into our wall; you cannot bring down walls with one swing of the sledgehammer-nor will one calamity bring down your life.

It’s time to push all of your chips in and play what is seemingly is your last hand. It isn’t though; two new 6-letter words, Belief and Action, will cause you to win this hand. With belief, you can either live up to other people’s expectations (if there is such a thing) in you or you can believe in yourself. Belief and Action are conjoined at the hip of successful people. Michael, Bill, Warren, Oprah, even Mr. 20 Car Monthly, have one thing in common; they believe in themselves and because of their belief, they put it into action.

Being defeated is often a temporary condition; it’s the belief in yourself that causes you to stand up, dust yourself off and get back into the arena of life.  Giving up is what makes it permanent, consuming you with a life of making excuses and fading into obscurity with regret- with the eulogy simply reading, The Best There Never Was.

& Then there were 3…

Posted: August 29, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Why are there 26 selling days in a month? In sales it seems we only need 3; the month’s success always seems to boil down to the final [3] days. Last night, as you locked up the dealership, tie at half-mast, sleeves cuffed, top button undone, you sullenly walk to your car wondering what you could’ve done different. Just because you have the title Manager under your name doesn’t make you any less susceptible to the feelings of doubt and what-if’s that try to creep into your thoughts and cripple your efforts.  Yea, you had 24 chances at a sale today and only delivered 1-now what? The odds you are facing are what separate the sayers from the doers; many talk a good game, but you can do what you say.  You are the Macgyver of the black top; you have matchless mental strength to take a mustard seed of faith in your ability and create a mountain of opportunity. You have the skills of will; you literally will a deal into existence-you want it worse than the next man. If this job were easy, you would’ve never been hired. You have the unique ability to stare unflinchingly into the face of adversity. It’s as if you and adversity are two boxers having a stare down in the center of a boxing ring, each fighter trying to mentally back down the other with their steely glares. You’ve learned to become an adversary to adversity; manipulating what is overwhelming to many as just another day at the office for you. You know what it feels like to hit the game winning shot-you also know what it feels like to miss it-never succumbing to the flames of defeat licking at your heals. Today is the 1rst of 3 days to show what you are made of.  The economy, the dealership, your employees, their families and yours need you to hit the game winning shot. You have too much riding on the line; 3 D. A. Y. S. (Don’t Accept Your Situation), make each second count.

If you’ve ever had the joy of potty training a toddler, you can appreciate how your emotions are strained to the extreme boundaries of patience.  I firmly believe potty training is God’s shout-out to your parents for all of the hell you put them through. Why does one child grasp the concept of potty training while another looks at you as if English is a 3rd language? As a father of 4, I have figured it out; some kids just get it quicker than others.  I’m going to jump out on a limb and predict that just because your kid is potty trained faster than mine does not guarantee him a future star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame; the same is true for salespeople. One salesperson may hit the floor looking like the next Joe Girard, while another new hire looks like….well let’s say the jury is still out on him.

We don’t give up on our kids when they are getting acquainted with the Porcelain Throne, nor should pass judgment too quickly on whether or not we got a winner. Children need 4 things when potty training: Instruction (by example), Consistency, Encouragement, and Discipline; sound familiar?  

·         Instruction: Regardless of tenure, salespeople need to be properly shown how to do their job effectively and efficiently; yes that means occasionally, a manager will have to demagnetize his rear from the big black chair and show your salespeople how it’s done. The greatest form of leadership is to lead by example. As a leader, uncork the vintage bottle of Vendeur de Voitures (car salesman in French), and pour a glass of your knowledge out to your students.

·         Consistency: Ah the kryptonite of every dealership, consistency. Consistency is the glue to your team’s success; they learn consistency by mirroring what you do or don’t do. Don’t like your team, go look in the mirror. When your team knows why they are doing something, the how is easier to manage. It’s easy to be consistent when times are good; erosion begins when instant gratification is chosen in lieu of long-term stability. Isn’t it ironic how consistency walks hand in hand with integrity?

·         Encouragement: As a parent, you celebrate the “almosts” as valiantly as you do a total victory. Catch your salespeople doing right, not just when they’re doing wrong. Salespeople are anemic to Attaboy’s; nothing will lift a salesperson’s spirit faster when you celebrate what they did right on a deal-even though they did not make a sale. You cannot give too many Attaboy’s out; a pass or fail mentality will demoralize your team.

·         Discipline: “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” says ancient script; though they will never admit it, your children salespeople need discipline. When they know there are consequences to their actions, it enforces accountability; accountability will invariably lead to the formation of good habits; bad habits are formed due to a lack of consistency and discipline.

Every kid will eventually learn how to make it to the porcelain playground-in the meantime there will be plenty of paper towels, carpet cleaner, and Fabulosa to clean up the mishaps; equally a leader must manage the mishaps through instruction, consistency, encouragement, and discipline in order for a salesperson to make it out on the black top…by the way put the lid down on your way out.