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Choosing Honesty (7th in the Choosing Series)

Posted by John Fuhrman on June 24, 2011 at 6:43 AM

I want to talk about honesty among those of us in the profession. Before you get all hot and bothered, I'm not referring to how you do your business. We all know that the vast majority of auto people conduct their business with honesty and integrity. Those who don't aren't going to change because I wrote an article calling them out. This is about internal honesty.

As a sales trainer, my concern and goal is to leave every client, every attendee, better off than they were before they met me. I work hard to live my life the same way. Honesty plays a big part in this ongoing effort. When things don't work out as planned, or the results aren't up to my standards, I have to be honest about it. That's the honesty I'm talking about.

I have to look inside and give myself an honest appraisel of my performance. Was it really my best? Could I have handled a particular situation better? Should I have taken a student aside to work with them rather than have that situation impact the class dynamic? These are the questions that need asking. But the only way to insure a constant improvement in performance is in choosing to honestly answer each question.

Whether you're a new salesperson or a seasoned manager, choosing honesty is the first step in planning to do better. After a bad month, blaming any or all outside factors, especially the ones that you don't have the power to change, will not give you the guidence to improve in the coming months. In fact, focusing on the things you can't control will prevent you from even asking the right questions. And, without the right questions, there's no possibility at arriving at the best solution.

I always recommend making a list of things to evaluate moving forward. Being honest about what you put on the list will go a long way to helping you improve much quicker that simply relying on market swings. But, the list should not be all about faults and mistakes. You need to be honest about what you did well so you can keep the good stuff and adjust the rest.

Even if you only sould a few cars this past month, ask yourself what you did well on those particular deals. Then, after you can see what you need to do more of, it's okay to start asking yourself what could you improve. Do it in segments. For example: What could I improve in greeting customers? How could I improve on talking to more people? Or, as a manager: How could I improve on getting more involved with a deal? How could I get better at sharing tips with my sales team?

The bottom line is, it's your bottom line. If you can't be honest in developing a plan to get the results where you want them to be, you'll be totally relying on luck. If it's luck you want to play with, buy lottery tickets. The results will be similar to your job.

It's your choice.

John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. Currently, he is training new sales people for dealers through his cutting edge programs. Learn more at http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.webs.com and see the previous "Choosing" series and other articles. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.

Categories: Dealer Operations, Sales Management & F&I, Sales and Sales Training

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