The Showroom

Create The Best Team

January 2007, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by George Dans - Also by this author


Could your dealership sell more cars if you had everyone working as a team? Looking at the people you have right now, is it possible to win with what you have? Let's do a quick review of the salespeople and managers you have right now. First, would you hire them again knowing what you know now? Are there some people who just need to go away? Have you ever drove to your dealership and said this: What in the heck do I have here? These guys look like they couldn't close a door with a spring on it or sell a dying, thirsty man a bottle of water?

It happens doesn’t it? The best time to fire someone is before you hire them. We find these loyal underachieving no-good salespeople in some weird places. I have found some in my classes.  Have any of these in your dealership?

  • Funeral home – business was dead
  • Construction – couldn’t hit a nail with a sledge hammer
  • Teacher – couldn’t stand the noisy kids
  • Policeman – tired of being shot at
  • Fireman – couldn’t stand the heat
  • PHD – parents own a dealership
  • Retail stores – couldn’t stand customers complaints
  • Actor – couldn’t find work
  • Waitress – tired of taking orders
  • Real estate – tired of bricks and mortar
  • Pro hockey player – was looking for different checks

Most of these people have previously worked in a team environment. They are used to working together and accomplishing tasks together. Why is it in the car business, most people don’t work together? Is it the money or the culture? I think its both. Do you have some salespeople you are keeping because you can’t find anyone to take their place? If you do, shame on you. What kind of a coach are you? Cut ‘em or help ‘em. No sugar needed here, thank you.

You are the head coach and what you have to realize is, that this might be the best lineup you have.  I know what you’re thinking:  Dans, are you crazy?  Maybe the team you have is the best you can recruit for now. Lets be real here, you might need to turn lemons into lemonade. You might need to build a team and then develop your team to reach new profit levels. It takes work, but it turns into good work that breeds great work and results. So, let’s look at the word TEAM and what it means. Yes, I know one definition is Together Everyone Achieves More.

I’m not sure who invented that, but it really does seem like common sense, doesn’t it? Here are several other acronyms from TEAM.

Tell  Train  Today   Teach
Everyone   Educate  Everyone  Everyone
About    Act   Achieves  About
Mission   Motivate  More   Mistakes
Teach  Top Together Try
Effectively   Employees  Everything   Energizing
And Are Affects  Another
Move Motivated  Management  Member

Wow, TEAM, as an acronym, has many different meanings? Is your team working in sync right now? I know some dealers who like to have an atmosphere of tension, competitiveness, chaos and miscommunication and have different rules for everyone. You won’t ever be able to build greatness with that kind of atmosphere.

Haven’t you ever coached a little league team before? Then why can’t you get them to work together? You are handed your little league team from the league, and you’re told, “Here you go; now make a team.” Your line-up looks like this:  One kid can’t hit a beach ball, one looks like he can run (right to the fridge), one girl in the group and one has never played baseball.  You also have a Babe Ruth (but it’s a candy bar), a child that is here because his parents are making him play this dumb sport and one that looks like his parents dressed him up to go to church, not to play baseball!

The kid that looked good was my kid. He had played hockey since he was four and had never played baseball. Although he looked good, he threw a baseball like he was scooping ice cream – and I mean that. He ran like he had ice skates on and tripped constantly, the coach called him Toe Pick.  After the first practice, we got a call from the baseball coach. The coach said, “Your kid is a hit and miss kid. He can’t hit and we won’t miss him. We need him to move down to the minors.”

No problem, I have coached kids for years. I asked the coach, “Is there a chance he can stay if he works his butt off and is taught and coached?”

Coach said, “Yeah, but he won’t get much playing time.”

The short version is he worked his butt off, made it to a starter position and collected the biggest hits in the playoffs to help his team become champs.

I use this story, not because it was my kid, but because a great coach can help a player develop the skills to win or, at least, to improve.  In the dealership, it takes work, and it takes commitment from the dealer and management. Maybe the team you have is as good as it gets for now, but there is room for improvement through education and training. Put your heart into your people, and they will put their heart into their work.

According to Lou Holtz there are three modes to building a team:

Start Up Mode   This is when people start new together.
Progress Mode This is when people stay together.
Success Mode This is when people work together towards a common goal.

 What mode are you in?

Here’s an exercise for your dealership:  Challenge your team to come up with as many TEAM acronyms as they can.   Send me yours, and the team to come up with the most will win The Best of George Dans Live Training CD. E-mail me at

Vol 3, Issue 12

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