CommentaryAug 10th, 2020

The Profit Is in the Process


On a typical workday my alarm starts at 5:30 am. That means, I usually roll out of bed about 5:45 after the second snooze button goes off. I head downstairs, followed by the cat, who thinks she needs immediate attention. I read my daily devotional, meditate and get in a 30-minute workout. Then I hit the shower, put on makeup, do my hair and get dressed. That is my morning process and how I get ready to step out in the world. My commute even has a routine of its own via the same route every morning. When a wrench gets thrown into that routine, my entire day can seem off-kilter. Maybe I hit the snooze button one too many times and miss my workout. Perhaps I get sucked into social media instead of reading my devotional. Perhaps the clothes I wanted to wear are still in the washer from the night before. Perhaps there is construction or an accident that detours my regular travel route. One thing I know for sure is that my morning process dictates the productivity of the rest of my day.

The same principle exists in everyday activities. My husband is a contractor and builds large commercial rental properties. He starts with the foundation and follows the same process on every project. Imagine what a mess it would be if he tried to wire the electric in an entire building after the drywall was in place. The mailman, bus driver, hairstylist, or police officer also all have a specific process. Without the correct steps in the correct order, there would be chaos.

Now take a look at the dealership. Each employee has a unique set of actions to complete to create a productive and profitable end result. The Sales Person has a process - meet & greet, investigate, vehicle demonstration, test drive, and turnover. The Sales Manager has a process - trade evaluation, incentive inquiry, desk the deal, presentation, objection handling, and turnover. The Finance Manager has a process - customer conversation, gather credit information, secure financing, present products, objection handling, and document signing. When these processes are correctly followed, there is a flow to the deal that creates an ideal customer experience and maximizes profit. When just one of the steps in the process is skipped over or left out - chaos can ensue. Maybe the Sales Person neglected to get a driver's license or insurance information. Maybe the Sales Manager entered the wrong VIN number or incentives. Maybe the Finance Manager sent the credit application with an incorrect address or income. Now you have an extended wait time for the customer, incorrect documents, or a deal that is a nightmare to get funded. The entire process comes to a screeching halt, and the profit just keeps going down like water in a drain.

I've been blessed recently to spend some time on the Sales & Finance side of the Power Sports industry. At first, I was extremely nervous because I honestly did not know the first thing about motorcycles, ATV's or Side by Sides. It did not take long to realize that no matter what the product - there is still a process. Each employee still has a unique set of steps required to achieve the same result. Close the deal with a great customer experience and maximize profit. So whether you sell new or used cars, motorcycles, ATV's, RV's or boats - the process is still the same.

A consistent process can also build confidence. You know that anxiety that can creep up when multiple cash deals come in a row? Or the desk has given on the road numbers or buy rate without a turnover? Go back to your process. Even if the deal yields zero results, at least you know you followed the steps every time. I mentor several Finance Managers who struggle with the roller coaster of emotions in the office and possess zero to hero-to-zero mentality. The process can provide relief from the ups and downs of the month. We all get stuck in ruts and can often get discouraged, which leads to leaving money on the table. Go back to your process. It will never fail you.

When you find yourself eating lunch at your desk and spilling ketchup on your keyboard, pause for a second, and remember to follow it. Your profit and your paycheck depend on it.

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