Article

Tough Times Never Last

October 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Sean V. Bradley - Also by this author

In this month’s article, I want to change direction a bit and help you understand that life is what you make it. Due to my training schedule, I am on an airplane two or three times a week traveling to dealerships all over the United States. As a matter of fact, I am typing this article on a flight back to Philly. You might recognize the title above, as I borrowed the headline from the book “Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do!” by Robert H. Schuller. I thought it was appropriate for what we are going through these days.

Understand that I teach and preach a process that holds excellence in performance as the end goal, and it personally frustrates me when I see dealers, managers, Internet directors and sales consultants making excuses for mediocre results. I hear all kinds of excuses such as, it’s the election; or it has to do with gas prices, the mortgage crisis, the weather, their franchise and their dealership.

In truth, it has nothing to do with Barack Obama, John McCain, gas prices, the mortgage crisis or the weather. Believe it or not, there are automotive professionals making great money right now in this economic climate. I see sales consultants making $100,000 a year, managers earning $250,000, GSMs and GMs making $400,000, and dealers making millions of dollars right now.

Are you skeptical? I assure you, I see it first hand and they are indeed earning great paychecks. In addition, many of these are not dealerships with Toyota, Honda or Hyundai franchises. I have dealers who own Chrysler, Chevy, Ford, Mitsubishi and Suzuki stores that are on a solid sales path today.

As my very good friend, Sean Stapleton, says, “Why don’t people lift weights?” His reply, “Because they are HEAVY!” Exactly! There are a lot of people who want to be successful but aren’t making the efforts needed to succeed. They talk about making money and working harder and smarter, but never do. They talk about wanting this or that for themselves or their families, but do absolutely nothing to make it happen. They spend so much time focusing on why they can’t do something and why their dreams aren’t coming true that they never actually start working on goals to obtain those dreams.

Just because you say you want to be successful or rich does not make it so. The world does not owe you a thing. You need to take control of your life. You need to want success. I mean really want it, not just for you, but for your family. Failure is not an option.

You know what really boggles my mind? I always wondered how salespeople or managers in the dealership – you know, the ones who are lazy and think of ways to avoid work rather than embrace it, the complainers who make excuses for everything – go home to their spouses and kids and look into their eyes with their heads up high.

There is so much opportunity in this business to be successful, to earn a great income and provide an amazing life for your family. I just never understood how someone can work these long hours at a dealership, bell-to-bell for some of us, and still just slide through the day and really not accomplish anything.

I sold cars for over five years on the front lines every day. Because I hustled, I wasn’t a 10- or 20-car guy. I was a 30-car guy. I love and get excited about this business, so I speak to you from my heart when I tell you the opportunity is there for all of you if you choose to do what it takes to achieve success every day.

This business changed my life. I went from being a college dropout to being the CEO of a multi-million dollar training corporation. My story is not unusual, and there are success stories all over our industry of people who saw an opportunity and ran with it. I can’t tell you how many dealer owners I have had the pleasure of working with who started out as lot attendants or salesmen and now own a dealership. It is truly amazing. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity in this industry for the people who can see it and want it. You simply need to make the conscious decision that you want to be successful. Choose to be great, not just mediocre. This is both the hardest part and the easiest part.

Our industry is not rocket science. You are as good as the effort you put into it. I have been through a lot of training in my career including workshops, watching videos and reading the top books or articles by some of the legends in the car business like Paul Cummings, Joe Verde, Grant Cardone, Jim Ziegler, D.J. Harrington and Danny Alkasmi. I have been through manufacturers’ training and certification, and much of my on-the-job learning has been by an incredible amount of self-education. I read business books constantly—ones like the “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, “Good to Great” by James C. Collins and “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin. I have been through multiple training courses from SkillPath and Franklin Covey. What I am saying is, if you want to learn and get better at something, you can always find a way to do it.

Read auto industry publications. Ask your manager to pass them on to you. Most of the publications are also available online, and you can read and print out any of the articles you find of value. Visit the blogs and see what is happening with your peers. Try to attend major and regional events in our industry, and in addition to the seminars at these events, take the opportunity to introduce yourself and network with others in your position. Attend classes which offer immersion and/or certification recognition. Don’t do these things to impress others; do them to help you perform at higher levels.

I don’t care about being better than anyone else in the world. I care about being the absolute best I can be. I learned long ago that you can always make money if you are great at what you do. I hope this information helps to inspire you to work a bit harder to achieve your goals. We work in one of the most exciting industries in the world, and whether you succeed or not is up to you. Be extraordinary; make it happen.

Vol 5, Issue 9

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