December 2016, Auto Dealer Today - Feature
As I write this several weeks before the election, not knowing who will be our next president, the depth of our discontent with the country’s economic system and political establishment is clear. Our high-stakes decision comes down to experience: experience in business or experience in government. The voters will choose. Either way, numerous citizens will be unhappy at the outcome.
Stakes are high in dealerships as well. We understand how to find innovative ways to overcome obstacles, and 2017 will bring more than a few. But whatever happens, and whoever is in charge, there is one problem we all need to face together.
There is a gratitude gap in this country. Many Americans feel grateful and think that gratitude is important, but few of them express it on a regular basis. Do you share the gratitude you feel with the people in your sphere of influence? Why not, I ask? And what would happen if we abandoned our reticence and expressed appreciation more often?
As a finance manager, I listen to my customers patiently and empathetically. I gently steer the conversation from my professional experience and knowledge to their good judgment. Some customers appear to be more successful or more fortunate than others. I don’t assume anyone can learn nothing from me or vice versa. I am grateful for our time together and I tell them so.
Whether you are a dealer, a salesperson or an F&I professional, closing the gratitude gap will improve your performance in at least three ways:
1. Gratitude Will Pull You Out of That Hole.
A positive mental state will last longer than good times do. Can you incorporate expressions of appreciation in your day-to-day activities? It could be a sincere “thank you” or a sincere compliment. Think of positive things to tell people. Once you get used to focusing on things you appreciate, you can do it in all situations, whether good or bad.
2. Gratitude Will Change Your Mind.
Create a folder on your smart device and, every night or every morning, write down one grateful thought. It could be as broad as “I’m grateful for my marriage” or as specific as “I’m grateful we did the dishes last night.”
I visited the doctor yesterday for a routine checkup. Before I left, the nurse told me how much she appreciated my positive spirit and energy. She said I was a “blessing” in her life! She was so sincere in her appreciation that I smiled all the way home.
You can guess the grateful thought I added to my folder last night. Just think what a positive impact you can have on people’s lives by sharing gratitude regularly and letting more in.
3. Gratitude Will Make You Healthier.
Gratitude will reduce your stress, lower your blood pressure and help you sleep better. It will have a positive effect on your relationships. Reframe the relative position at the particular moment to focus on the aspect you, your loved ones and your customers can be thankful for.
By the time you read this, the election will be decided and this crazy year will almost be over. Look back at 2016 and be grateful. No matter how overwhelming the landscape becomes, with gratitude on your side, you will remain confident in your ability to achieve desired outcomes.