Structuring an agency’s service and product offerings to create recurring revenue is something every leader is constantly thinking about.
Do we offer the right F&I products that are appealing to consumers? Do we offer training programs to develop F&I dealership talent? Is our advertising bringing in dealership leads? Does our website present our agency’s vision and purpose in a way that segregates us from the competition? Does our backend system support a positive client experience?
But out of all these questions running through an agent’s head, the most important product to be considered is your personality.
Power of Personality
Your personality — and the personality your agency projects — is your greatest asset or your greatest liability. It’s the thing that can either attract talent (i.e. team members) and clients to you or push them away. It strengthens or weakens your relationships with each dealership client you serve and everyone you meet.
High-end business success requires agents to have a pleasing personality, as it impacts productivity, customer satisfaction, team turnover, and bottom-line profit. Those with a positive personality are able to market themselves and their ideas successfully — resulting in sales.
Those with a disagreeable personality most often have weak relationships. Nobody wants to listen to them, let alone do business with them. Which personality do you want representing your agency and which personality would you yourself like to have and display?
Traits to Have
Having a pleasing personality is all about developing traits that are attractive to others. Many are the things most of our mothers tried to teach us as children. Honing just a few of these fundamental habits will reshape your interactions with others and make other traits a natural part of your personality.
Showing respect and interest to others, regardless of circumstance, is the most profitable trait available to you, free of charge and given freely to all. Showing courtesy disarms those who may disagree with you and speaking tactfully — saying the right thing at the right time — can build cooperation, which creates sales.
Having patience and controlling your emotions when in conflict can often smooth over even the most explosive situations. Speaking with a pleasant tone and with a smile helps relax yourself and those around you.
Most of what we communicate comes from nonverbal cues. You can show kindness by the expression on your face and your tone of voice, and that’s what people will remember.
Clients may forget what you say or what you do, but your clients will never forget how you make them feel. So, make them feel good! The greatest personal compliment you can offer is to focus your attention on someone else. When you like people, you are interested in them. You listen to them, take time for them, and do what you can to serve them.
Another powerful pleasing personality tool that comes with practice is the habit of being decisive, a natural result of knowing what you want. Decisiveness doesn’t mean being dismissive. Having flexibility to understand someone else’s point of view before you offer your own often leads to new ideas.
Last but not least, is to communicate with sincerity. When you are genuine and authentic in every interaction, people notice. Sincerity develops self-confidence and builds trust.
Characteristics to Avoid
After taking inventory of the positive traits you possess, don’t forget to analyze characteristics you may have that push people away.
Are you known for always adding a sarcaustic comment? Do you find yourself listening for faults when others are talking and then making a point to challenge their ideas? Those who interrupt the conversation are not truly listening and volunteering unsolicited advice only serves to isolate yourself.
Your personality is your trademark, unique to you and what you are known for. It encompasses everything under your control: body, mind, and soul. In your interactions, both professionally and personally, it’s all about how you make people feel — and that’s when your personality becomes the most valuable asset.
Make sure you are the best asset your agency has to offer. This alone can keep clients loyal and referring others to your services. And when you develop an agency culture around these positive personality attributes, you will achieve success beyond your wildest dreams.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Ibarra is a managing director for Portfolio, a leading provider of reinsurance and F&I programs, and a nationally recognized leadership consultant, entrepreneur, speaker and author.