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An Enemy Called Average

Far too often in our industry, we have dealers, general managers, service directors, etc. who focus on and measure themselves in terms of the “average” dealer. But “average” is nothing more than a reference point. Average means you are the worst of the best or the best of the worst!

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Don Reed is the CEO of DealerPRO Training

Far too often in our industry, we have dealers, general managers, service directors, etc. who focus on and measure themselves in terms of the “average” dealer. But “average” is nothing more than a reference point. Average means you are the worst of the best or the best of the worst!

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Is Average What You Really Want to Be?

The title of this article comes from the book “An Enemy Called Average” by John Mason. He says, “Break the chains of mediocrity and then live the life you dream of.” This of course can apply in your personal life as well as your professional one.

So I ask you: Do you measure yourself against these kinds of statistics?

  • The average dealer is grossing $1,000 PRU in F&I income
  • The average salesperson sells six units per month
  • The average service advisor sells 2.0 HPRO
  • The average …….for my 20 Group is ………

Does this sound familiar to you?

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We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us

We are conditioned to compare ourselves to the “mythical” average. For example, your manufacturers provide composites and reports showing the average this and the average that so you can compare yourself to what’s average.

Here is a simple exercise for you to complete when you get up tomorrow morning. Ask your family to sit at the kitchen table for a brief family meeting before you go off to work and before the kids are off to school. Stand up in front of your family and say the following:

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“It looks like it’s going to be an average day today. After all, I’m just going to my average job to put forth an average effort to maintain my average paycheck so I can support my average kids and my lovely average wife.

“By the way kids, I want you to focus on getting average grades. You don’t really need to try harder to be a great student because a “C” will be just fine.”

Does that work for you? How’s that average wife comment going to work out for you? Are you excited about holding this family meeting?

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If you are a manager, how about you ask to meet with the dealer and say, “Boss I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to give you an average effort today in managing my average department so I can produce average results because, after all, you are just an average dealer.”

How do you think all this is going to work out?

Average is Just a Mediocre Reference Point

It’s nothing more than that. Like I said above, average means you are the worst of the best or the best of the worst! Is that where you really want to be? I hope you answer, “No way!”

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Well if that is true, then why is it that when I speak to hundreds of dealers across our country, I hear comments like “The average HPRO for my 20 Group is 2.0 and I’m averaging 2.1, so I’m doing a pretty good job.”

No, you are still hanging around with that “best of the worst crowd. Why do so many people in our industry use the word average like it is a good place to be? Do you really want to be a straight “C” dealer?

Does the term mediocre dealer appeal to you? I think not!!

How to Get Out of the Average Rut

Make a commitment to do something different … starting today.

How do you go from being average to becoming a top performer? It all starts with one word — commitment.

Are you committed to change? Are you committed to leaving your comfort zone? Are you committed to achieving different results? Think of it this way, when it comes to making bacon and eggs, the chicken was a participant, but the pig was totally committed.

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If you, the dealer, are not totally committed then nothing is going to happen differently. As Zig Ziglar says, “You have the perfect processes in place to get you exactly what you got last year.”

Get committed to change and decide what processes you need to improve upon or add in order to improve the performance of your service and parts operations.

Set SMART Goals

You must establish SMART goals.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-based

Here is an example of a SMART goal:

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“I want to increase my shop productivity from 65% to 90% over the next six months.”

Specific? Yes, it is. (Don’t forget to calculate how much specific gross profit you will produce on parts as well as labor with that 25% increase in your technicians’ productivity.)

Measurable? Yes, it is. Your DMS can provide a technician’s performance report daily showing the hours produced per technician.

Achievable? Not sure. What are my technicians going to do differently to achieve different results? If they could produce the extra 10 hours per week to reach 90% why haven’t they already done so?

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  • Do they have all the equipment they need?
  • Do they have the proper tools they need to be more productive?
  • Are they willing to leave their comfort zones?
  • Are they properly compensated for putting forth the extra effort?
  • Are your service advisors properly trained how to sell the additional work needed to achieve your goal?
  • Are your service advisors properly compensated for selling the additional work?

Realistic? Yes, it is. Since there are many dealers already averaging over 100% shop productivity, that means a lot of dealers are doing much better than 90%.

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Time-based? Yes, it is. You have six months to decide what you are going to do differently, what new processes you will implement, how will you train your technicians and service advisors on new skills that will increase their productivity and sales performance respectively and provide your customers with a higher level of service.

Take the Next Steps

Once you achieve your SMART goal then move on to the next one. Once you hit 90% why not go for 100%? Long-term success is a journey not just a destination. That first SMART goal is just the first leg of your journey. Do not allow yourself to become complacent because you will gravitate back toward mediocrity.

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In “An Enemy Called Average,” Mason states, “Mediocrity is a region bound on the north by compromise, on the south by indecision, on the east by past thinking and on the west by a lack of vision.”

Every department in your dealership must be a profit center for the dealer who wants to thrive and not just survive in this very competitive industry of ours. If you are not willing to change you are doomed to living in the past.

Don Reed, CEO DealerPRO Training

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