As we visit with our dealership partners and their teams, we have the opportunity to have a positive effect on the mindset that drives success. When F&I professionals are fresh from a seminar or training event, their presentation is energized, and their customers are usually responsive to the new strategies. But over time, the effectiveness of the lessons learned begins to fade. Why is that? Well, it has to do with the law of entropy. If you do not remember the concept from your high school physics classes, entropy, in its simplest definition, is the “inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society.” So, how can you help avoid this in the dealerships you work with and turn a deteriorating atmosphere into an energized one? Let’s take a look at an energy plan you can share with your team.
Go to Bed Smarter Than You Woke Up
Warren Buffet has made this the mantra of his companies. A learning person is an earning person. Every day should be a scavenger hunt for knowledge. The path will take you through books, industry periodicals, to the offices of other managers, and even into the service department. Information is hidden there. However, few will go to these areas regularly to learn. Things that have been learned will then allow you to transfer that information to your customers. Your customers will learn something they did not know before they met you if you are consistently learning as well.
Throughout the year, periodically provide a book that will motivate and instruct your managers to be more customer focused, increase communication levels in their discussions, and raise their level of passion about their process. Ask them to read an assigned number of chapters before your next visit and let them know you will discuss the principles exposed in those chapters. This, of course, will require that you be reading with them, and it can be a learning experience that will create valuable discussions and a renewed value of your visits. When you have fresh information that builds value in your offering, you are excited to share it and confident that it will move your customers. That is an energized process looking for a customer.
Celebrate Minor Milestones.
Everyone is looking for the big breakthrough, the record-breaking month, or the outstanding accomplishment that everyone thought impossible. However, it is the minor milestones that are the most often events in our careers. Many times, these milestones go unnoticed and uncelebrated, which leaves people feeling unappreciated. Multiple research surveys show that recognition for accomplishments is the number one reason for great work among our ranks, it also shows that 79% of people leave their jobs because they feel unappreciated. Surprisingly, I have found among F&I managers in the field that verbal recognition is valued equally with tangible rewards.
Every time I enter a dealership, I usually have challenges I must face and at times a lack in effort or production with some. Most visits have challenges. I also arm myself with multiple things I can praise and congratulate each person on. It is hard not to find something they did well recently. The manager that struggles the most with production expectations also has done some things well. Many times, the things they do well are overshadowed by the things they failed to do.
An energizing agent will walk into every dealership with specific information to share of accomplishments and then the challenges they deal with will receive a better reception. Dealerships need someone to visit regularly and energize them when they are down or struggling. That is exactly what an energizing agent provides and those that do are an invaluable resource.