Comfort and complacency are the dealership’s worst enemies, and customers are quick to move on to competitors who meet their changing needs. That’s why continuous improvement in all dealership departments is crucial in order to achieve long-term success. Here to discuss some effective ways managers can help their teams set and achieve their goals year after year, is Glenn Pasch, auto marketing expert, and CEO of PCG Digital.
Jim Fitzpatrick: We’re so happy to have you with us today, Glenn. We want to talk to you about an article that you recently wrote.
Glenn Pasch: Appreciate it. Thanks for having me on again.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. So, then the title of the article, or I guess, the blog post was The Comfort Trap of Success. Talk to us about that article and the motivation behind it.
Glenn Pasch: Sure. This one came out of a project I’ve been working on for the last year with a dealership group. When I first went in, they had a lot of issues and we had to change some processes and build up some training. And God bless the dealer owner had a long-term vision. He knew it was going to take six months, seven months to really see a change versus it has to happen today, so I was very lucky. But what happened was, is after that seven months, we brought their performance up to a new level, everybody was happy. And so, what I started to notice was over the next four or five months, some of those same bad habits that they had when I initially showed up, crept in again, it was just at a higher performance level. They actually just… This was their new normal, and they started taking that for granted. And they would never dropped down all the way, but they were not continuing to move forward because they started getting comfortable at this. And so I thought, that’s an interesting topic of how we start to get bad habits again, just at a higher level of performance.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right happens to all of us, right?
Glenn Pasch: Right.
Jim Fitzpatrick: So does success dull the drive and motivation of a staff?
Glenn Pasch: It can. I think one of the few things as I travel around one of the topics that I work on with managers, especially, I think that what I see managers in, in dealerships or any business, it’s an interesting thing. The people leading teams, I’ve been noticing more and more and more. The people who lead teams are given the least amount of training in that company.
They’re just assumed because I put you in charge, you’re going to know how to do it. And, one of those aspects, people who are leading teams, we focus so much on when you don’t hit results, we all dive in. The key is to your point is, well, if we’re succeeding, do we understand why we’re succeeding? And, how do we now move the bar a little bit further to say, “Okay, now we’ve mastered this level, we have to move up.” So, almost if you think my son studies Taekwondo, you know, as you move belts, you’re given new things to learn on your path to becoming a black belt and beyond.
So I think back to your point, I think it does dull, unless you have a system in place of just moving the yardstick, so to say, so to speak.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. Talk to us about some of the pitfalls of complacency.
Glenn Pasch: Oh, good Lord. I think complacency… What happens is you forget what you did. You start taking for granted the effort that you, you need to do. You start from a leadership standpoint, if you’re running the team or even your own as a person, when you start assuming everyone has it, right. So for instance, you’re in the studio right now. There is… Your team around you to prepare for this interview has a checklist, and they have to make sure. Now you, as a leader coming in, would sometimes people will fall into… Well, I assume that they have it down. And then all of a sudden you go, “What happened?” Your job is to keep asking those questions every single time you’re there, whether they’re with you one day, five years, that’s your job to ask the question. The minute you stop asking those questions, it’s not important anymore. And that’s one of the pitfalls of just complacency is is assuming everyone’s doing their job.
Jim Fitzpatrick: How can dealers keep their teams focused on new goals each year?
Glenn Pasch: Well, I think that there’s two parts. One is short-term/long-term. If we have a long-term goal, we have to sort of reverse engineer down to small tangible things we’re doing this month, this week, this day that are going to lead us down that path. It’s really reinforcing the day-to-day and making sure all the little things are taken care of, so then we check in. Once we set a goal, right? Once we get to a certain level, if I’m communicating that this now is our new normal, this is where we were, you know, if 50 was where we were, and now we’re doing 75, well 75 is now, going below that’s not acceptable anymore. Now, what do we have to do in our behavior to change to get to 100? That’s the way. It’s always setting actions, not just, “Hey, we’re going to get to 100.” It’s what do we do to get from 50 to 75? Great. Do that same thing again, 75 to 100. It’s just replicating that effort all the time.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Tell us about the two different paths for the team’s managers to take inconsistent results and consistent results.
Glenn Pasch: So, inconsistent results. We see it all the time. A lot of inconsistencies in dealerships starts with the manager themselves weren’t trained. They were put in the position either they were a great individual performer, but they were never taught how to lead a team. I’m putting together in July a two-day workshop for this reason. I’ve done this before, but dealers are saying, “Can you put on a workshop and teach us, so I can send my people somewhere to teach them how to lead a team?”
Doesn’t happen out there. So, inconsistent results come from the manager or leader of that team just does not know what to look at. They just mimic what their previous manager did, which could be, as you know in this industry, a lot of yelling.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.
Glenn Pasch: A lot of pressure. A lot of word phrases or word tracks that don’t do anything. “Hey, pick up your numbers, Jim. Hey, come on, you got to work harder.” Frustration.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And that approach is what could have led to the manager no longer working at that dealership.
Glenn Pasch: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Jim Fitzpatrick: So if you come in behind them as a salesperson, now you’ve been promoted to manager, and you do what he or she did prior to you, you could find yourself in hot water pretty quickly.
Glenn Pasch: Of course. And there’s that expectation, even from dealer principals of, “Oh, well this person’s going to turn it around right away.” He doesn’t. So inconsistent results come from leadership not being clear, people not understanding what they’re supposed to be doing. There’s no training, no accountability. Now, on the flip side, consistent results come from that. There is a structure in place. I call it the Four Pillars. Everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing because it’s documented. And then we have the right people in the right positions. There’s consistent training and inspection, and accountability. But it’s this mentality of coaching, like a sports team. Coaching people to success. We’re playing the game of sales or business and we’re coaching and we’re watching, and we’re getting better. And we’re watching films, so to speak, meaning listening, always looking at the CRF. But it’s day in, day out. That’s where we get consistent results.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And a dealer is able to rely on the numbers in the forecast of a consistent team. Not, you know, you’re a hero one month and zero the next month, and that manager sometimes takes the team all over the map. You know?
Glenn Pasch: Right.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Give me the nice steady leadership team and a dealership that you can bank on so that you can move on to grow your dealer group, and not have to be babysitting this showroom concept, right?
Glenn Pasch: But, to your… And that’s great. Now, tying into that comfort trap of the success, a lot of times managers or leaders of teams will say, “Well, Jim, I can always… I can bank on that Jim’s going to sell his 10 cars this month, so I don’t have to worry about him.” The fallacy of that is, or the incorrect attitude toward that is, I should be saying, “Jim’s good for 10. How can I get him to 12?”
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right. Right.
Glenn Pasch: Right? But, you’re right, I got this person over here who’s selling six, and ah. And I got this person who’s selling 20 or 25, but they’re a complete diva, and we’re dealing with that.” And, you’re dealt a lot. So that yes, that’s part of why this article came about was, so many people stopped worrying about really that middle 60% of their team that is consistent, does a good job, because they’re worried about the ends.
And really, if you want to make your business, back to your question, “How do I increase my sales every year, year-over-year?” If I could get all those 10-car people to do 12, now I just chunk on some more with not too much drama, I just… Now they go, “Okay, I’ll do 12.” You’re not going to take a 10 to make them a 20, but man, if I could take that middle 60% of my team and get everybody to sell two more cars, for a lot of dealerships that’s another 25, 30 cars without much effort. But we’re worried about the wrong things.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. I love that fact that you’re doing a management course. It’s not done enough in this industry.
Glenn Pasch: Yep.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Most managers will tell you that they’ve gotten no real professional training to become a manager or leader in a dealership, which is very, very unfortunate when you think about the millions of dollars that they are responsible for retailing each year.
Glenn Pasch: Right.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Or, in retailing, I should say. And yet it’s just a tremendous area of opportunity because so many managers out there will tell you, I just have not been given those tools.
Glenn Pasch: Right. Which leads to what I think that’s one of the main reasons why we have such high turnover in the Sales division as well.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Absolutely. Absolutely. The managers that don’t know how to properly train and work with their Sales staff and keep their Sales staff.
Glenn Pasch: Exactly.
Jim F.: And, we’ve got to at some point-
Glenn Pasch: Yeah, so I’m excited for it. I’ve been planning it for a while, and enough people asked me to do it, and so it’ll be in July, end of July, in New Jersey. They can go to my own website glennpasch.com- And there it’s listed there, as well as ours, and they’ll see it all through social media.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Perfect.
Glenn Pasch: Right.
Jim Fitzpatrick: For those dealers that are watching, you guys know Glenn. It’s going to be the real deal. I highly suggest if you’ve got an opportunity to get out there and attend that workshop, you will get paid back 100 fold.
So, Glenn Pasch, I want to thank you so much for joining us on CBT News. It’s always a pleasure, always enlightening, and I know our viewers and subscribers get a lot out of it, so thank you.
Glenn Pasch: Thanks, I appreciate it. And again, thank you for everything you’re doing. It’s really nice to have a place to come and chat too, with just the focus to help dealers.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Great. I appreciate that, and that’s what we’re all about, so thank you.
Glenn Pasch: Great.