In this age of transparency in our business, let’s take some of our own medicine. It’s time to practice what we preach. (I can’t believe I’ve surpassed my quota on clichés this early in the article.) I want to take this opportunity to take a closer look at our job titles and descriptions in the dealership. Let’s look at the different positions at the standard, ‘old school’ dealership. Then let’s have some fun and rename them based on what they really are in this traditional setting. Finally, let’s figure our what they SHOULD be called if they really made the most out of their influence. I’ll begin by saying that some of these are original and some are not. When you’ve been in the business as long as I have, you can’t remember which ones are original, or who said it in the first place! (I wish I had a dollar for every ‘original’ idea I’ve heard in the last few years that I first heard in the 80’s!)
More Accurately: The Phone Nazi or if you ask the veteran salespeople. The Antichrist.
Usually wondering why they left the sales floor for less money. Got this position because they were pretty good on the phones and had a Facebook account.
Should be called: Handshake Procurement Specialist
They should be converting distant connections to personal appearances with honesty, integrity, and transparency.
More accurately: Out-of-Touch Number Cruncher
Sometimes referred to as the “No it All”, because all they do is say “No” to it all. Drives the cool demo, works bankers hours, and is really out of touch.
Should be called: Resource Provider or Head Servant
aka, Head Cheerleader. Their job is hands-on, and should be to provide the managers with everything they need to succeed.
More Accurately: Wizard of Oz
Often too busy for their ‘lazy’ salespeople. Real cool until their asked to actually put their talents on display in front of a customer.
Should be called: Offensive Coordinator
They should be planning, teaching, tracking, encouraging, scouting, executing, recruiting, motivating…..Did I mention teaching?
Used Car Manager
More Accurately: Lowballer
Emphatically explains why your trade-in is suffering in current market conditions….err, oh you’re selling it? “These are hard to get, bringing top dollar!”
Should be called: Asphalt Real Estate Investor
They should be investing the dealership’s funds in the parking space rather than the vehicle. Fully understands return on inventory investment and quick turn.
More Accurately: Clean-Up Hitter
One more swing for the fences….no matter how long it takes.
Should be called: Security Guard
Protection, period. Protecting the customer with viable products while securing financing. Protecting the dealer with accurate, compliant paperwork.
More Accurately: Traffic Cop
Perfected the rehearsed greeting, 1000 friends on Facebook (personal), and a legendary pointer.
Should be called: Director of First Impressions
More Accurately: Stretch Armstrong
Pulled in many different directions. Does everything, just never when you really need it.
Should be called: Merchandising Director
Taking ownership and responsibility for the way your vehicles are merchandised for all to see.
More Accurately: Management Critic or Baby Bird
Doing the best they can with the traffic YOU provide, even though you’re not advertising enough, you’re stealing trades, and you’re giving house deals to others, and the internet department is stealing all of their leads.
Should be called: Reputation Reversal Specialist or Experience Overhaul Director
Differentiating themselves and the dealership from what most people have come to expect from a typical salesperson. Just makes it fun to buy a car.
If anyone reading this article still refers to this group as salesMEN or salesMAN, please listen closely. The Cold War is over, gas went over $1 per gallon, we’ve landed on the moon, cell phones are no longer in bags, and we no longer refer to this, or any other group as anythingMAN. Give me a second…..OK, I’m better.
More Accurately: Culture Assassin
Tries unsuccessfully to contain their total in the overwhelming incompetence of the human co-workers.
Should be called: Nutritionist
Making sure that the dealership stays financially healthy by ensuring profitability through cost controls and record-keeping.
More Accurately: That New Clean Up Guy
It’s hard to remember anyone’s name in this department when the average length of employment is 14 days. This average depends on whether you pay once a week or twice a month.
Should be called: Delivery Set Director
Has the important job of setting the stage for a spotless and memorable delivery.
The truth is that all of these may look funny on a business card. But wouldn’t it be cool if the essence of what we expect was represented in their job title.
Who’s your Danny?
I wish I had a dollar for every corny fishing analogy used when talking about customers in our business. Ok, so I wouldn’t be rich, but I’d have, like, seven dollars. But who can resist a blog with cute kids in the picture?
I recently took a fantastic striper fishing trip at Lake Texoma with my two boys Cooper and Carter. I decided to hire a fishing guide for a couple of reasons..one, more fish..two, my A.D.D. kicks in pretty quick when having a line in the water for more than 10 minutes.
I started thinking about why people hire guides when heading out on a fishing trip. Simple…they seem to have more success catching fish.
The Guide understands the behavior of the fish. He studies them. He knows what motivates them. He knows what is important to them. He knows that certain things bother them, makes them uneasy. He is patient, calculating, and pays attention to the smallest of details. He prepares.
He knows where they are going to be. If he miscalculates on their location, he wastes little time adjusting his plan.
He knows his business. He doesn’t operate on hunches.
In the digital landscape, we need to understand the behavior of our customers through research. We need to know what information moves them in the direction of our products and services. We also need to know where they are going to be in the digital space and set up camp there. On the clearest of days, with the most talented fishermen and the best bait, all is for naught if we drop our lines where they aren’t. We have to beat them to where they’re going and welcome them when they get there. Otherwise, we miss the boat. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Why do we treat this like a game of chance? Like no other time in history, we have great bait.
It’s called data.
Without it we’re casting a bare hook.
Who’s your Danny?