Fail to Plan? Plan to Fail

Fail to Plan? Plan to Fail

Many factors will determine our dealership’s success. Some are certainly outside of our control, which makes it all the more crucial to take charge of the factors within our control.

With goals to direct our path, we will stay on the path to success

Energy, aptitude, dedication, work, perseverance….

All these attributes are necessary when we want to reach the heights others only dream of, but there’s a critical element missing from this list — an element that, if lacking, will render all the rest pointless.


Where Are We Going?

We can spend all the energy we want, dedicate ourselves and work as hard as possible, but if we’re trying to go in a hundred different directions at once, or perhaps worse, going straight down the wrong direction, we’re not going to hit our targets and achieve our dreams.

My Theory of 5 mentors have trained and coached each other on the importance of having goals and vision when it comes to building our careers in sales, as well as developing sound financial and business foundations for ourselves and our companies. When people run into problems in these areas, the reasons generally are a lack of planning, action, effort and good daily habits.

The best way to avoid these pitfalls, we have found, is to make sure we have sat down and developed the vision we have for our lives, both in the short term and the long term. Once we have this vision clear in our minds, the next step is to map out goals that will harness our efforts and put them into action.

It’s not enough to think about goals and visions, though. As my mentors have told me many times, “It’s crucial to put goals in writing.” Once we do, they become real. Abstract concepts become specific targets, and they challenge us in a way vague notions can’t.

“I’d like to sell more vehicles in the coming months,” isn’t a goal. It’s a start, to be sure, but if that’s where we leave it, this yearning doesn’t have the power necessary to become real. It’s not specific enough.

It’s the difference between saying “I want to go on vacation” and “I will to go to Paris for two weeks next summer, visit these particular museums and dine at these specific restaurants.”

The first is vague notion. The second conveys direction and scope. It’s the difference between a lightbulb and a high-powered laser. We know what we want to do and can start planning what it will take to make the trip a reality. The simple truth is this: We can’t hit a target we haven’t clearly defined.

What Are We Doing?

Let’s take the example of selling more vehicles. “More” is far too vague. How many more do we want to sell? What is the time frame we’re giving ourselves? What actions will it take to make this a reality? More prospecting? Better presentation skills? A more comprehensive knowledge of our inventory? Do we need to ask our peers or leaders for support and guidance in honing our skills?

Now we’re starting to get somewhere. These are the questions we need to answer in order to start developing a plan.

My Theory of 5 mentors and I have found that goals offer us valuable tools on our quest to achieve our desires:

  • Goals provide daily focus on the actions and “behaviors needed to succeed.”
  • Goals enable us overcome procrastination.
  • Goals assist us with time management.
  • Goals give us a sense of daily purpose and vision.

I’ve been writing down my annual goals since I was 12 years old, and it’s been a driving force in much of the success I’ve enjoyed in my life. While we’ve been discussing business and financial matters here, our goals should include all our personal dreams and ambitions of what we want for our short- and long-term future. Finances and success at work are major factors in this, but it’s all part of the whole.

Our goals could be as small as losing five pounds or as large as building a multibillion-dollar business. Some we can achieve in a week; others may take a lifetime. The benefits of having a clear vision, however, remains the same, no matter the scale.

What’s Our Plan?

There’s an old saying that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Our dreams are too important for us to leave up to chance. That’s like saying playing the lottery is our retirement plan.

There are a lot of factors that will determine our success in our dealership. Some are certainly outside of our control, which makes it all the more crucial to take charge of the factors within our control.

Those who complain endlessly about their bad luck, the economy, their dealership’s inventory, management or other factors that are “holding them back” will never reach their full potential — or come anywhere close to it. They’ll have plenty of reasons why, of course, but at the end of their career, or their lives, that will be cold comfort.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We have it within our grasp to take charge of our lives in a way that makes the difference between failure and unquestionable success.

By charting our course with our vision and goals, we can get to where we’ve always dreamed of being. Make it a reality and enjoy the journey.

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