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Choosing Change (8th in the Choosing Series)

Posted by John Fuhrman on July 5, 2011 at 7:25 AM

In all of the training programs I attended as a salesperson, there was one question that was always brought up. Can you guess what it is? Here's a hint. Every trainer who ever talked about it, called it the stupidest question you can ever ask. Have an idea yet? It's the age old - "Can I help you?" How many of us had that pounded into our heads at every training session we ever attended? And yet, the reason it's still talked about is that too many people are using it as a greeting.


There are reasons that things we know should change somehow never do. Whether it's a question that shouldn't be asked or a practice that should be discontinued, the reason for its continuity is just as awkward as the previous question. It's a statement that has caused many talented people to quit the industry as will as put quite a few dealers out to pasture.


I hear it most often when I visit a dealer for the first time and explain what I do. After sharing all the benefits dealers can enjoy by bringing in outside experts to handle hiring and training, I get told that te dealer is all set. When I ask why they aren't looking at this opportunity, the answer is one of two responses that I rank right up there with, "Can I help you?"


The first is, "This is the way we've always done things."


Now, before you think I'm going to get all negative, give me a second. You see, I think this statement is perfectly okay. Afterall, it is their dealership. They made the investment in time and money. They suffered through the tough times and took all the risks. If they are totally happy with the way things are, more power to them. They earned it. Throw me and any other vendor right out the door. I have absolutely no problem with that. As long as they understand the rights they've given up.


They lose the right to complain when things get slow. They also give up the right to expect sales, profits, and other things to improve. As long as you continue to do things the way you've always done them, congratulations. You can now predict your future. That's because it will look exactly like your past and your present. If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep having what you've always had. If you're happy with that, great.


The second response is one that really gets me going. "We tried that once it didn't work."


Can you really say that and mean it. Suppose your parents reacted that way when you got up to take your first step and then fell. You'd be crawling around your dealership right now. Suppose you invested all your money and time into building your store and the first customer said no. How would you use the empty dealership today?


Look, I'm a trainer. I know the value of what I train. I also know that not every dealer needs or can even use my services. What makes my company successful is that we're willing to walk away when we're not the right fit for the dealer. We've also learned to make adjustments for our trainers and for our dealers to fit current market conditions as wellas for growth. Most of all, we understand that without dealers, we're just a group of old car people with nothing to do. So our focus is on making the right changes to maintain and increase our relationships with our target market.


By choosing change as a specific strategy for our future, we make adjustments to better serve our clients, handle the changing market, and improve on the quality of our offerings to each of our dealers. It keeps us fresh and more importantly, let's our dealers know that we are constantly changing to always serve them at the level they've come to expect.


The Choice Is Yours.


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 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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