The Appointment Culture Light – PART 3

The Appointment Culture Light – PART 3

TRANSCRIPT: Let’s talk again about the ‘clock bias’, right? Stephen Covey explained it as “Have you ever been too busy driving to stop and get gas?” In the dealership world, this sentiment is often relayed to me like this, “We don’t have time to manage our confirmations”. “We don’t have time to get cars ready for appointments.” “We’re too busy selling cars.” “We don’t have time for (blank), we’re too busy selling cars.” The fact of the matter is, that ‘blank’ (whatever that ‘blank’ is), is usually something that is going to drive long term gains in both sales and profit by training, or process improvement, or holding people accountable.

Now, while I understand that time is finite and that the average dealership sales manager already works upwards of sixty to eighty hours a week, the fact remains that the appointment culture will increase efficiency and effectiveness to the point where time no longer becomes a barrier to improvement. For example, if every customer accepted our first pencil, right? And we completed every deal in under ninety minutes, dealership sales managers would suffer from too much free time.

Likewise, let’s take something routine. If something routine, like the process for appraising vehicles in our dealership was improved; was streamlined and could be completed in half the time with double the accuracy, which is happening today (by the way), in thousands of dealerships who properly leverage the available technologies; wouldn’t that free up the used car manager to tackle something equally as important that would drive more long term successes?

See, there is NEVER enough time.

Let me be clear: marginal sales managers NEVER have enough time to do all the things that we expect of them, while great sales managers always have plenty of time to do more. Over a hundred years ago, somebody wrote, “If you want something done, ask a busy man; for the other kind has no time”. That saying holds true today for Americas new and used car desk managers. Greatness takes far less time than the alternative.

Alright, let’s talk about the last bias, the ‘satisfaction bias’. This is probably the most dangerous bias. It keeps dealers not only from changing their culture but also from making even just a few minor changes that can and do separate the truly great dealers from those who spend all of their time treading water.

As I said earlier, this bias basically says, “Good enough is good enough”, right? The belief being that incremental improvements; small improvements, if you will, somehow require exponential increases in workload and they pose equally exponential risk of complete disaster. So, “We’re just not gonna rock the boat right now.”

The problem is that being satisfied with the status quo is often the most damning trait in an individual manager. ‘Good enough’ never is. Getting beyond ‘good enough’ often requires perceived heavy lifting that most traditional managers and even some with equity positions (those with some ownership in the company), are just unwilling to move forward with improvements. When the ‘satisfaction bias’ infects an entire organization, as it frequently does in Americas car dealerships, these lack of accomplishments multiply. Everyone is so satisfied with average that no one ever lifts a finger to improve.

Like I said earlier, do you ever wonder what makes one dealership grow exponentially while the average dealer muddles along with the constant ups and downs of their market share?

The one word I would use to describe the leaders of every fast growing, successful, organization I’ve ever studied is simply this: they’re dissatisfied. You’re dissatisfied with your past successes, and, often embarrassed to be number two or three at anything. Conversely, dealers that hover below the middle seem to celebrate every 42nd place finish in their respective region or district, right? “We’re good enough! We don’t like to push…” It’s a fear of conflict, right? “We don’t like accountability. It puts everyone on edge”. That’s a fear of discomfort. These both come from satisfaction bias. Another fear that comes from the satisfaction bias is the fear of loss: “We don’t want to rock the boat. Everyone may quit”.