There are two perspectives that we can take away from this pandemic. We can grow from a positive opportunity or succumb to a perceived threat. Whichever one you choose will dictate the end result for you personally and for your dealerships. Dave Anderson, Author of a bestselling book called Unstoppable, put it best when he explained mindset: “Thinking determines your behavior and your behavior determines your result.”
It’s Time to Adapt and Grow
Think back to the first waves of information and shutdowns created by COVID-19. How did you react? How did you respond? What example did you set for your employees? Did you succumb to the threat and throw in the towel, or did you adapt and grow? As leaders in the automotive industry, your next moves are critical in determining your success navigating these unprecedented waters.
I’ve seen many dealerships hitting record sales numbers and finance profits despite having a closed showroom. Working with limited staff and resources, they still succeeded. How? Mindset! They took a negative situation, changed their thinking and behavior. Which in turn, changed their results. They revised processes and procedures. They learned how to navigate an uncertain world with increased transparency and customer service–shifting the focus from profit and commission to taking care of the customer. I’ve also seen many dealerships closing their doors, not just temporarily because of the Governor’s orders, but for good. They refused to adapt to a changing world by using the same familiar methods that were unsuitable to a new way of doing business.
As an industry, for years, we have been challenging the possibility of online sales and off site deliveries. The overwhelming fear of change and losing profit has created a stagnant environment. Throughout my career, I have been to numerous conferences addressing these exact topics. More recently, I’ve watched more webinars than I can count on how to adapt and grow. Some dealers have taken the advice and changed processes and procedures that have driven success. Others have constantly complained and thrown in the towel.
Your Customers Are Online
Technology companies have tried to convince us time after time, that the future of automotive sales revolves around the online customer. These theories have always been countered by dealership employees with a “never gonna happen” attitude. Then all of a sudden – BAM! An unseen, unpredictable virus has forced our hand. Very few have embraced the changes that customers have wanted all along. Aren’t we supposed to be serving the customer instead of refusing to change?
Are Your Staff Focused on Customer Service?
Our “normal” way of doing business has taken on a new look. So take this time to re-evaluate and clean house. Start with your own mindset. Which did you choose? Are you leading or following? Then look at your employees–what behaviors are they displaying? Many people will not want to come back to work after layoffs because they are making more money staying home. These may not be the employees you want to bring back.
Do you have underachievers or staff members that are considered bad seeds? One bad apple can ruin the bunch, and you now have a fresh opportunity to start over. Recruiting new people can transform the future culture and success of your dealership. Hire people that go to work with a positive and encouraging mindset. The talent pool is larger than ever right now, with people who are ready, willing, and able to get back to work; even if that means making changes and possibly starting over.
Navigating Uncertain Times
The next few months are still in an unpredictable state. No one knows what will happen to the market once we are allowed to fully reopen. I’ve read articles that state we will experience a boom for the automotive business. While others are still speaking of fear over the uncertainty. Despite these two opposite opinions, one thing remains: the traditional way of doing business has changed.
So I challenge you to re-evaluate your employees, processes, and, most of all, mindset. Will you come out on the other side as a success or failure?
That choice is up to you and starts with the power of a positive mindset.4