My job requires me to be in front of a computer for many hours a day. When I started PCG Digital Marketing in 2005, I remember many months where I would be at the computer 12-18 hours a day, 7 days a week. This lifestyle choice coupled with lack of exercise and a healthy diet resulted in some significant weight gains by January 2010.
During those first five years of entrepreneurial growth I told myself I didn't have time to go to the gym. I was convinced that I needed every hour to invest in the business. I was excited about how many opportunities existed and at the same time was buried with so many "things" to do. I rationalized that when things got easier I would invest in myself once again and get back to the gym.
During those first five years I was also challenged by a statement Grant Cardone; "CEO's of the nation’s largest and most successful companies read over 70 books a year". I laughed and said, “Who has the time to read that many books”. Once again, I was convinced that I didn't have time to invest in my intellectual health because I had some many things to do. I'm not the only one with questionable priorities.
It amazes me that when I speak around the country at 20 groups and conferences how many dealers openly admit that they are lacking the skills and knowledge to operate key components of their business. Overall, they are challenged to understand how to leverage the internet to grow their business. They have broken processes and business structure that make them inefficient. They have questions on lead management, CRM processes, social media investments, digital marketing strategies, and how to best leverage their website to increase conversion.
Yet when I encourage these same dealers to send their managers and key staff to educational conferences they reply just like I once did: "My team is too busy to leave the dealership". This is one of the most dangerous myths that any dealer could buy into. It's the belief in this myth that has put dealers behind other industries in leveraging the opportunities in a digital world.
My Wake-Up Call
In January of 2010 my doctor gave me a wake-up call. He told me that if I didn't change my lifestyle I would become a Type 2 Diabetic. My first reaction was "This is impossible. There are no people in my family with diabetes!" What I later learned is that diabetes is becoming an epidemic around the world as people refuse to educate themselves on the impact of poor diet and lack of exercise.
Unlike many other Americans that are presented with these facts, I listened. I changed my diet and invested in a personal trainer three days a week. Today I weigh 35 pounds less and my physical endurance, energy, and mental clarity has increased. In fact, when I was in high school, I was a cross-country runner. I thought that my days of running were over. Next month I'll be running a half-marathon at the Jersey Shore.
I'm also reading one book a week. It's amazing how much knowledge, power, and enlightenment you get by reading books from leaders in all fields of life. Grant's admonition was true; leaders who read can lead better. The investment to read is making my vision clearer, processes more streamlined, increasing customer service, and creating a better workplace for my employees.
More Time and Greater Success
The irony is that since I have invested in physical exercise and mental exercise I have more time and more success in my business. It's the exact opposite of what so many business owners, managers, and workers believe. I challenge dealers to desire the same success that I have found.
Dealers and general managers this is your wake-up call. Debunk the myth that you can't afford to send employees to educational conferences. Recognize it as a lie that will perpetuate mediocrity.
Dealership employees may retain more by getting them out of the dealership. By taking them out of the normal mix, they can focus on learning. They also benefit from learning and collaboration with their peers. Every time I train at a dealership, the minds of the employees are in work mode. Interruptions are common and often people are pulled out of a training session for an "urgent" matter.
The combination of live conference and online webinars and training tools is the key for dealership success. There are many great online courses, training systems, and whitepapers that dealers should leverage as well.
Success and change will only be realized when dealers understand that they cannot afford to ignore training and skills development. Investing in employee education should be considered a mandatory part of their employment experience.
Any dealership should be able to operate efficiently if key members are away for a few days for a conference. If you have to, consider it an educational vacation. If the business can’t operate smoothly for a few days, then there are larger structural issues at play.
Recommendations for Live Education
On April 16-18th, the Automotive Marketing Boot Camp will offer best practice advice from over 30 industry experts and specialists to assist dealers remain relevant and competitive. The Boot Camp experience starts on Saturday afternoon April 16th and ends on Monday night April 18th.
The conference schedule minimizes the time out of the dealership and maximizes the investment in education. The boot camp format includes inspirational keynote speakers, workshops, and hands-on labs. Get your team registered and stop buying into the myth that is undermining your success.
Follow this link to receive $100 off the registration for the Automotive marketing Boot Camp: Boot Camp Special Registration Offer
Brian Pasch is the CEO of PCG Digital Marketing. For more information, please visit www.pcgdigitalmarketing.com.
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