Through the Eyes Of the Bold, Part 17

Today, I will expand yesterdays post where the dealer is concerned. So, this post is just for dealers and general managers.

When I am talking to a dealer (I prefer to talk with the dealer and general manager at the same time), the first question I ask them is, "what do you hope to achieve with this operation?" and "what are your goals?" The answers to this are eye-opening. It tells me their knowledge base and I can see clearly whether their goals are reasonable. I'll give you a real example of a conversation with a general manager. I explained our program in overview and some detail. Then, I ask, "what are your goals for this operation? How many units, or dollars are you looking to create?" He said he wanted 15 upfit sales per month. I said, "that is a worthy goal and we can help you to do this, but with your current method, it is impossible and even 5 per month on a regular basis would not be very reasonable." I said, "15 upfits a month is a strong goal and that kind of number would require a team and a complete operational plan." This GM had one person as a commercial/fleet manager with one other person helping out here and there. This person was not well suited for the job, and especially not well suited for strong commercial sales. The GM's goal is unattainable and very unrealistic. Still, he thought he could make it happen, and still he's waiting for it to happen and in the meantime is paying a sizable flooring bill every month. After two years, it is still less than 3 units per month with about 30 upfits in stock. A very poor plan and doomed to failure with no future.

Here's the best advice I can give you and its free:
  • One person is not a department and one person will not serve your needs when it comes to commercial. Anything more than 20 total units per month in production from an experienced person is a bonus, but the maximum percentage of commercial will probably be about 25% for someone focused on commercial.
  • Focus is everything. Having a fleet/commercial department or having a commercial/fleet department is very different. Commercial is a retail business, it is not fleet. Most fleet people don't really sell much fleet anyway, they sell "fleetail." Some call it business sales. If you focus on commercial, you will get all the rest, if you focus anywhere else, you rarely get commercial. The difference between fleet and commercial is purely profit.
  • Get a good plan. We can help with that, but you need a good plan. How will it get done exactly? Who will do the work? How will the work get done? How will it be followed? How will you know what is working or not working? You need systems, procedures, accountability--in other words, a good plan.
  • Keep your eyes on the ball. Execute and get going and watch closely as it unfolds so you know what is going on. Trust is built through demonstration and trust goes both ways. In other words, work the plan, adjust as necessary, back up if you have to, but work the plan.
  • Be fast to encourage and slow to criticize. That's the difference between controlling and guiding. You look for what is right and encourage more of it.
  • Integrate, don't segregate. Make this part of your whole operation, not a separate part.
  • Know what to do, so that if need be, you can step in or have someone else step in with little loss of momentum if someone leaves. You really don't want mavericks. This has to be part of your plan. What to do when. . .
  • Think big. Your operation will be controlled by your vision. A tree doesn't grow half way, it grows all the way. Maybe you could do 200 upfits per month. Maybe you could be number one in the country or the world. Keep growing your plan.
  • Don't mess with success. If it is working, don't fix it. A new GM comes in and wants to change it? Wrong. Make sure the GM does what you want.

Ultimately, you have the responsibility of the success or failure of your commercial operation. If a commercial/fleet manager comes in and orders too many units and then leaves you holding the bill, that's a shame, but ultimately, it is your responsibility. It's not really about control, but more about vision. What is your vision for what this department will do and how it will get done. That is really your part: the vision. Everyone else needs to follow that and help you achieve that.

The eyes of the bold are focused like a laser beam. Success is a given with the vision and the plan and the focus. Check out our website at www.commercialtruckdealersuccess.com and give us a call and we can help you make it successful from the start.

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