Claiming Or Blaming? The Proof Is In The Results, Pt 2

Some people really like yesterday's post with ideas of moving old inventory. As I thought more about it, I remembered something that happened that will illustrate how attitude is the most important thing.

I've learned this truism, because I have seen it over and over again in action: Once an employee leaves a place, he or she can do no right. They could have been the best ever, but once they leave, they never did anything right. Interesting thing, don't you think?

I left my first commercial truck dealership to go to another opportunity. At the new location, I started a new commercial truck department. I maintained communication with the people at the old place and developed trading relations and sharing of inventory reports. The manager that took over used to "joke" with me on the phone about all the "minion-mobiles" that I left him holding the bag with and how he just couldn't seem to get rid of them. I thought that was strange since I ordered them on purpose and I thought they were awesome trucks. Well, I heard this a few more times and finally I said, "okay. I will buy every one of them from you right now." I don't remember the exact number, but it was somewhere between 8 and 12 as I recall. Nonetheless, I bought them all and got them to the new store, cleaned them up and sold every last one of them with great profit too.

I used to have fun with people's ideas of what is "sale proof." I remember one manager I used to trade with and he would only take a 4x4 White Extended Cab PU with Gray interior as a trade. Another would say, "Brown, brown, stays around. I don't want no brown trucks." It's really comical to me to hear that stuff. My first two years in the car business, I was at a Chevy dealer and it was the end of the model year. Back then, when the factory would run out of a color of interior, they might just put in one that wasn't previously available. So, I ordered this nice yellow Chevy Nova with black interior and it came in with medium blue plaid cloth interior. You would almost laugh at it when you would look at it. I thought, "this thing is sale-proof!" Well, I learned quickly and early in the game because it sold in a week and the customer just loved it! Everything sells.

I had fun one day with a dealer. He wanted a really hard to get convertible from me and didn't have one to trade back right away. Most would have said, "forget it." I said, "okay, when yours comes in, we will trade you something reasonable for it and right now I will trade you the convertible and I'll tell you what I want right now." He said, "okay, sounds great! I appreciate the help." I said, "no problem. Here's what I want. I want the morphidite that is on your lot that you just can't figure out how to sell. I want the ugliest, most sale-proof vehicle you have. I don't care what it is." He got a kick out of that and was laughing. I said, "I'm serious. Send me that thing you can't wait to unload." He said, "okay. I'll give you this 3/4 ton pickup with the V-6 and the 5-speed manual with A/C and nothing else." I thought that was for sure a problem vehicle, but I said, "no problem. I'll take it." He just thought I was nuts, but was so happy to get rid of the truck. By the way it was brown.

So, I get the truck and at the sales meeting the next day, I told the staff that I had a challenge for them. I said that this dealer had a vehicle they said nobody could sell, and I said that we could, so I took it from them. I want you to get to know this truck and I want to see you show them they are wrong! I want you to show them who the sales people really are! Guess what? It sold in less than three weeks at a profit! I couldn't wait to tell the other dealer that news! It's all attitude.

When you are trading old unit for old unit with another dealer, it is good to not be very concerned about what you get back. The stranger the better in some ways because it will challenge you to think a little bit outside the box that you are used to thinking in. Sometimes I would just tell a dealer to surprise me. Everything sells. You might just get that solid gold piece that was tarnished on their lot and after you polish it up, you see the golden shine and maybe even your best profit.

Beware of comfort zones. A lot of dealers are so timid when it comes to unusual things, but I tell you those are where the gross is. The standard things--the safe things--are all around and bring no premium. The rare things are much more valuable in gross and in display value, demonstrating value, etc. I've created my own bodies by mixing and matching and I tell you that is just plain fun--and profitable. Two questions I learned to ask myself: 1. What am I really afraid of? and, 2. What's the worst thing that could happen? Better to have some fun and take things a little less seriously. Everything sells. I've struggled a bit with a couple, but they all go eventually.

Your idea of the ways things should be is good. Your prejudices are okay. If you want to grow, it is good to allow other ideas in and let them mingle with yours for a while. You might find some new ways that will make all the difference. As Zig Ziglar used to say, "your attitude, not your aptitude will determine your altitude."

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