Article

The Three Overlooked Rs Of Achieving Goals

September 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Harlene Doane - Also by this author

Have you ever tried to walk a mile from point A to point B blindfolded? Sound silly? This happens more often than we care to admit in dealerships. We have all sang the song and danced the dance. Set goals, make a plan. We jump in at the beginning of our year and meet with all management personnel in the dealership to set our goals for each department.

We even think to plan what it takes to achieve those goals. Four hundred sales per month at x gross will get us there. Then we put them away until the end of the year. At the end of the year, we look at them and find we have areas in the Z zone, not B. You started off on A, but each time you took a step, you were slightly off course. By the time you have traveled the distance to B you find you aren’t at B at all, you are somewhere out in Z where you don’t want to be. It is hard to achieve goals if you are aiming at them blindly.

Somehow you still missed the mark. How did it happen? What did we miss? What you missed was the three R’s-- Review, Revise and Revisit. Regardless of which position you hold in the dealership, these three items apply. They happen after the goal setting and planning of how to get there. It’s also where most of us miss the mark.

First of all, set a few minutes aside regularly, it may be each day, week or month depending on the goal, to review your progress. Every goal should be reviewed at least monthly. If my goal was to attain an 85 percent acceptance rate on all initial warranty submissions, review your numbers to see if you met it. If it was 90 percent, pat yourself on the back and then review it again to see if you set your goals too low the first time. Goals are supposed to be achievable but not easily obtained. If your acceptance rate was 70 percent, why was it that low? Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the tough questions. Did I take the time to review the claims for errors before I submitted it? Did I key everything correctly? Am I getting incomplete information from the service department? What was the cause?

If, after the review process, you determine your goal was too high, too low or just too unrealistic, don’t be afraid to revise it. Revision means if you did indeed achieve 90 percent acceptance rate this month, you set it for 92 percent for next month. If it was 70 percent, decide what steps need to be taken to get us to 85 percent. Sometimes we have to revise our goals based on circumstances out of our control. For example, a new hire may be unable to achieve our goals due to inexperience. Accept that you need to revise this portion of your goals and review other areas that could help compensate. Revision is not an excuse for poor performance; it is a tool for enhancing future performance.

Last but certainly not least is revisit. You need to revisit your overall goals for your position or department often. If just one item piece of your plan is off by even a small amount, it can make a huge impact over time. Warranty acceptance rate may not mean much to you but it makes a difference to the dealer whose cash is tied up longer than it should be. If your sales closing ratio was off by 5 percent, would you know it and why? Do you know what two tenths of an hour on every repair order would mean in revenue in a year? The point is that every position from the porter to the dealer needs to apply these principles to what they do. Every position in the dealership has an impact on the bottom line. If you are using the three R’s regularly, I would imagine you are at the top of your industry and your bottom line shows it! If you aren’t, don’t you want to be?

I challenge you to take a few minutes this month and review your goals set at the beginning of the year. If you didn't put them in writing, it's not too late. How are you doing?

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