Imagine if you will a well-built timepiece.
Every gear within that handcrafted timepiece was meticulously created for a single purpose. Some gears are big while other gears are small. Some gears turn left; others right. Some fast, some slow. There are springs, screws, even different materials used. Every tooth interlocks perfectly together within a thousandth of an inch to function as one single unit. The ultimate goal? Precision.
Timepieces are not unlike sales floors.
Just like precision timepieces, sales floors are filled with moving parts. There are receptionists, salespeople, sales managers, sales teams, general sales managers, used car managers, business managers, personal assistants, business development managers, internet coordinators, porters, detailers, office personnel, and even someone who handles obtaining new license plates for customers. These people are the gears and springs of your dealership.
One question will be posed as you read this:
Are all these people within your organization functioning as precisely as the timepiece depicted here?
Chances are that the honest answer to that question is no, they are not. But why are they not functioning as one unit? Is it poor leadership? Maybe it is a negative employee bringing down morale? Were the wrong people hired? Perhaps your bonus plan is too low? While one might be able to justify why a sales floor is not functioning as one unit by any of the preceding examples, not one of these examples is the correct answer.
Chances are your dealership is not functioning as one precision unit because there is no uniform educational system in place. Informal training from managers is the most common form of education given to dealership personnel. The problem with managers training the staff (or worse – the staff training the staff) is that all the managers have their own individual ways of doing things, and they all teach their direct reports their own individual ways using their own individual methods. Now multiply these individual teachings by all the various managers that are employed within your organization. We now have dozens of people following dozens of different directions and methods.
In some organizations the General Manager tries to be proactive by teaching his or her entire staff so everyone can be aligned on the same page. While the GM might have good intentions, the dealership is now set up for potential disaster. What happens next is the photocopy effect: The General Manager teaches the General Sales Manager who then teaches the Sales Managers who quickly turn around and teach their individual sales teams. And who teaches the new hires on the sales floor? New hires are usually taught by the salesperson with the least bad habits (not zero bad habits) or worse: they are taught by salesperson with most spare time on his or her hands and the least amount of units on the board. The end result is nothing like what was first taught because the information gets skewed, shortcuts are taken, and processes are changed along the way by the various people involved.