The Showroom

The True Measure of a Manager

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Dave Anderson - Also by this author

What is the greatest measure of a manager? Personally, I think one of the fairest and most effective ways to gauge the worth of a manager is by whether or not he or she is helping make people better. Based on this criterion, how would you rate yourself? (Hint: if it’s tough to measure your people’s progress because of heavy turnover, this in itself speaks volumes about your lack of ability.) At this week’s meeting, discuss the following measurement metrics, and determine how you can use them to measure your team—and you.
1. Production measurements: This is normally the easiest to quantify. Use ninety-day averages and determine if the people you are responsible for are on the way up or the way down. You may argue that traffic counts have declined, thus measuring tangible outputs is not accurate. If this is the case, measure their closing ratios based on opportunities given, the increase or decrease in gross profit per sale, customer satisfaction scores, etc. If you think it is o.k. to let yourself off the hook and not measure improvements because traffic is down, go back in history and determine if your people improved their ninety-day averages when business was better—or did you simply employ more salespeople to sell the greater numbers. Until you face reality about your people’s progress—or lack of—you will never feel the urgency to improve them.
2. Skill measurements: How many more closing techniques are they fluid with now than they were six months ago? Has their product demonstration ratio gone up or down? Do you even measure these things and if not, why not? You can’t improve them if you don’t know where they are! Are they setting more or less appointments than six months ago, and what are their percentages of “shows” versus “no-shows”? If you aren’t tracking these areas, you have serious work to do because you’re leaving development of your people to chance rather than creating a focused plan for their development. Your job is to lead them, not maintain them.
3. Repeat and Referral Sales: Do you measure what percentage of their sales comes from fresh ups and which comes from repeat and referrals? Even brand new salespeople should be tracked for referrals they obtain and sell. The idea should be to make people less dependent on fresh traffic and to focus them on working their customer base: the people who pay you the most, give you the highest CSI and are four to five times easier to close than a fresh up. If you are not focusing your people on mining this base of customers and measuring their progress—or lack of—it won’t get done. Quite frankly, this is part of your job.
These three areas will give you a good start in measuring improvements in key areas and also provide a clear look in the mirror for you to evaluate your own effectiveness at helping your people grow in these areas. Too many managers don’t lead anymore. They simply preside, maintain and administer. But they can’t hide it forever because once they are measured by whether or not their people improve, they are seen for what they really are, for better or worse.

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