Creating a Dynamite Environment in a Depressing Economy

Do you wake up every day excited to go to work? No matter what the local or national news is reporting, is work a place for motivation? Is it a place that makes you feel good? Do you work with dynamic “can do” people?

Obviously, the news and national economy have not had a lot of “good news”. Through all this “fun”, the one place that makes me feel “great” is work. All the time we get people that come into the store and say, “Wow, you have a lot of activity. How is business? This looks like a fun place to work.”

Why do they say this? I would attribute it to five things. Those five things are people, goals, education, rejuvenation, and all out FUN!

First, hire people that want to be the absolute best at what they do. I used to play basketball and we would call these gym rats. They are the people that love what they do and want to be the very best! One of our managers coined the term, “love it or leave it”. People sometimes say the car business is in your blood. Surround yourself with people that are crazy about this business and could not fathom doing anything else.

Give these go getters something to go get! A lot of people say they set goals but do you really set goals? Do you set monthly goals? Get to the ridiculous … set daily goals. Not only do you set them, but put those goals on posters right in front of your people. Make it so they have to look at it on a DAILY basis. There is nothing better than when people come to work and they know what they have to achieve for THAT DAY!! It also gives them little victories along the way.

Times are tough but it is NOT a time to stop educating people. This business is changing at an alarming rate. Show people what is out there. Find stores that do something really good and take your people to visit those stores. It’s one thing to say, “At ABC Motors they are doing $3000 a copy. In my 20 Group, ABC Motors is writing 2.5 Hours an RO.” Do you really think they believe you? Our best motivator is to take our people and show them ABC Motors. Let them meet the managers at ABC Motors and see how that store is achieving the results.

How about NADA or an occasional training seminar OUTSIDE the dealership? I know … it’s not a good time to leave the store. In my opinion, there has never been a better time to learn outside the store. Find a way to expose your people to the best in the business. Pay all your bills with AMEX and then use the points to send your best managers to NADA. Do you want your Service Manager to bond with your Used Car Manager? Send them both to NADA or send them both to a training seminar outside the store and make them sit through each other’s portion of the class. Get them to understand where the “other guy” is coming from. They will bond and that will be worth thousands of dollars to your bottom line.

Give your people a chance to live! They do not have to be there 80 hours a week for you to sell the most vehicles. In fact this tends to make them stale. Give them a Saturday off every month (in addition to their day off). Put them in shifts so they get some early evenings. We need them to go to work to work and then get out of there. When they are rejuvenated, they are much happier people and the customer will be able to sense this energy.

Most importantly … HAVE FUN! Have contests that make the place a fun atmosphere. Some big hits have been contests for Limo and a dinner. Cash drawings for old age units, top gross, and best F&I have all been hits over the years. We have tried to mix it up so it is not the “same old thing” at any one point in time.

Part of having fun is exposing them to what is out there. A few weeks ago we told all our salespeople to get on Facebook. They looked at us like we were crazy. Now some of them have great networks and there is nothing better than having 250 “friends” that know that you sell cars.

While the media might make a living on depressing news, we pride ourselves on making work a place where people have hope. It should be a place where one not only feels a sense of personal accomplishment but also a sense of team accomplishment. We want our people to be able to say, “This is a great place to work."

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Comment by Stanley Esposito on November 16, 2009 at 3:02pm
Great blog! I think you should go on tour and talk to all of the dealers. I would love to work for you I'm sure.
Comment by Greg Goebel on March 2, 2009 at 6:46pm
Atta girl, Courtney. Thanks for going ahead and posting this. VERY WELL WRITTEN!
Comment by Curtis A. DeGroote on February 27, 2009 at 12:28am
Well finally someone has a started a positive drive and outlook. You and your team are winners Courtney. Anyone else have a positive drive they use? Tired of hearing the doom and gloom, more fighting american ideals please.
Courtney thanks for sharing. I know you and I know you are living exactly what you are saying,
Comment by Harlene Doane on February 26, 2009 at 9:37pm
Well said Courtney! Wish more dealers had your outlook! We often spend more time at work than anywhere and we should all enjoy it.

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