While two friends were camping in the mountains, their conversation went something like this….

Friend 1 – Did you hear that??

Friend 2 – Sounded like a BEAR!!!

Friend 1 – Get ready to Run fast!!!!

Friend 2 – It’s not really that big a deal…

Friend 1 – Not That big a DEAL!!! We need to outrun that BEAR or it will EAT US!!

Friend 2 – I don’t really need to outrun the bear….

Friend 1 – YOU DONT NEED TO DO WHAT!!!

Friend 2 – I just need to outrun YOU!!

Friend 1 – (perplexed look on face) Hmmmmm

As I now approach the end of my 3rd month this year with at least 20 travel days jammed in each, I have been fortunate enough to have visited, met and trained with nearly 90 stores of a publicly traded automotive dealer group. During these store visits, I am thinking I might have learned more than I actually taught. In fact, It seems that most of my trainings focus on remembering my past mistakes and trying to teach others from them… So many times in the car business I hear those often used dreaded words… I, we or us will be the King of (Your text goes here)!! I also hear things like… I, we or us are the Best (Your text can go here too) you have ever seen or been around. In most cases, these words are generally right on the money… In fact, I have found that statements like these generally mirror the financial statement of the store…. The only problem is.. If the person who made those remarks has a higher perception of self-worth than the reality suggests… Well, let’s not go there….

I would like to step away from these words for just a second and share an interesting phenomenon with you. As a tenured 16 year Ice Hockey Coach, I see the “we’re #1 finger” after every game we won or lost by at least one player if not more on both teams. Now… I’m not talking the same “#1 finger” that the driver you just cut off on the highway flashed you… I talking about that “WE ARE THE BEST”…. Finger. As a Coach, we are driven and built to constantly raise the bar… Winning is never good enough… In fact.. No matter where we turn… I think it is safe to say that there will always be somebody bigger, faster or want it more than my players somewhere. When we win… I guess those people or that team that was better just wasn’t present. Now don’t get me wrong….. I like winning and love success even more!! I have always told my players… Until you lift the Stanley Cup over your heads…. There is plenty of room to improve…. Now follow me here… Ask any player that has won that cup and they will all tell you the celebration was short-lived. The reason why is this.. The next season starts the day after the old one ended… A team that gets to lift that cup suddenly realizes… a team that lifts it twice or 3 times would surely be better than one that just got to win it once…. Hence we begin a chase that has no end and contains an absolute certainty for disappointment…

Now how does that transfer to the car business…. It really is quite simple… Dealerships tend to only think in monthly increments. Each and every report we run always seems to have a field that pulls a date range… Year over year gain, Current month over last year’s same period gains and so on and so on…. Why does it have to be so complex. Why can’t we simplify the business to its easiest form..

Every day I wake… will have a clear easily attainable goal… To be better today than I was yesterday!!!

Whether that is business or personal, it is attainable. In fact, making that goal, that simple, will generally guarantee the results of those first reports we spoke of.

While not naming names!! (To protect the innocent of course) A dealer during one of my sessions made an absolute astounding statement… There was 30 or so dealership managers in the room and we were discussing Reputation Management. A gentleman from a tremendously respected online company was speaking and providing incredible information on managing a dealers online reputation… When I heard this come from the back of the room…

“Here’s a concept…. Take care of your customers… Do it ALL the time… and you won’t have to worry about your online reputation!!” It was a moment that aligned the moon and the stars for me and shaped my sessions going forward and truly changed my outlook…

This was a General Manager of no other than a Lexus Store.. Now looking back, it made so much sense. I will also add that several others in the room still missed the point. In fact, here came the Broad Objections… Sure, we could easily do that if we made 5K on every car we sold like you do… Then it dropped on me like a ton of bricks…. For months if not years.. I have been making statements like “The car business hasn’t changed, only how a customer finds you has.” Another that stuck out was, “Car dealers don’t sell cars…. They deliver a customer experience.”

The only answer to these Broad Objecting statements targeted at the Lexus GM was…..

WHY NOT!!

It really was that simple… Now these words are surely easier to type than accomplish in reality, this blog entry, and those that come after, will be dedicated to that simple philosophy.

“Becoming better today than yesterday” Then REPEAT!

You don’t have to be the BEST!! You just have to be better than the people you will be compared to!! Or simply…

You don’t have to be faster than the bear…. Only faster than the others running from it!!

Thanks for reading and please write me back.. Add to this or just tell me I’m crazy!! Tell me you like it!! Tell me I’m Stupid!! Just tell me something!!

Running from the BEAR,

Mark

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