The Engine

The Engine

As we open the hood of a vehicle and look inside; what do we see?  What is the purpose of it all?  If it is a performance car its job is to produce horsepower.  As the horsepower increases so does the degree of satisfaction the driver experiences.

This does not take place randomly.  All engines large and small rely on a series of parts to achieve an ultimate goal.  There is no one part greater than another.  Some have an immediate purpose while others are installed to protect the engine from running inefficiently and wearing out faster.  When all parts are working together the engine runs at peak efficiency.

No matter how great the engine is engineered it really is no greater than the sum of all its parts.  If the water pump is leaking or the alternator is not charging the vehicle will not run right.  All eight cylinders must fire sequentially in order to turn the crank.  If one spark plug is fowled it will cause the engine to misfire and every other part of that engine will run inefficiently.

It makes little difference how great each part is individually.  We can install all the high performance parts that we want, but if one part is off the entire engine runs poorly.  A poor running engine will only contribute to a negative driving experience and create driver frustration and dissatisfaction.

Producing satisfaction is constant in all things.  Even our bodies, environment and the most profitable organizations rely on the sum of all their parts working together to produce an intended purpose.

The key to satisfaction is no one thing.  It takes a group working together and supporting each other in all ways.  There is no one person more important than another in any organization.  Position has no bearing, salary has no effect, and length of employment is not a determining factor.

Recently, I was speaking to a coworker about the customer survey situation in our organization.  The company places a lot of stock in customer satisfaction and these surveys are meant to measure how well or how poorly we are doing.  We can’t fix what we can’t measure.  These surveys are very important.  In fact how they come back totally effects the reputation of the sales consultant.  However, if the customer is dissatisfied with one experience with any other member of the team the survey will tank.  I have personally been the victim of the inability of another team member to satisfy a client on two occasions.  Both times I called my customers to discuss the issues they may have had and received very similar responses.  They would say, “Oh no Ron, you were wonderful.  This was one of my best experiences with a sales consultant.  It was just a problem I had with so and so.”  It would seem that regardless of how well we performed others were working inefficiently and ineffectively.  They were not satisfying our customers.  Often it was as simple as not being honest with them or making promises that we could not keep and other times it was a lack of common sense, but the majority of the time it was caused by customers having to spend excessive amounts of time at the dealership.

The bottom line is that we could not do it alone.  We needed an entire organization to accomplish our goal.  A team of people working together at maximum efficiency is the only way to satisfy our clients.

Sometimes it was coworkers trying too hard and other times it was coworkers not trying at all.  My initial survey came back at fifty percent.  I was astonished!  I remembered going well beyond the call of duty to satisfy my client.  In fact she even commented on how helpful and accommodating I had been throughout the process.  Her smile and handshake as I delivered the vehicle more than confirmed that I would be receiving high marks on the customer satisfaction survey.

What had happened?  Well, a well intentioned coworker had rescheduled the delivery date on my day off without me knowing.  His intentions were to get the customer her vehicle a few days earlier.  However, he was not aware of the client’s tight schedule on Friday’s.  I had scheduled her delivery for a Tuesday after discussing with her what would be the best time for her to pick up her new car.  I knew without a doubt when the paperwork would be completed, the car could be registered and the accessories would be installed.  He ended up making promises that we could not keep and in the process caused my client to rearrange her entire Friday’s schedule for no reason.  He tried to fix something that was not broken and in the process of failing to produce was caught lying to the customer and created extreme customer dissatisfaction.

As we hold strong to truth it is truth which we can always fall back on.

Never ever lie to anyone.  Honesty in all areas is the best plan for success in any organization.  Mistakes will be made, but if we own up to them and learn from them we are less likely to make the same mistakes again.  As we continue to lie we fail to resolve the issue and set ourselves up for continuous failure.  Besides, we can always fall back on the truth, but we will rarely recall the lie and dishonesty never produces satisfaction.

The second failure stemmed from a miscommunication between departments.  The management and receptionist continually patched a customer through to my voicemail on my day off.  The customer needed information that anyone could have gave her, but instead of helping our customer they decided to pass the buck to my customer.  In other words, they assumed that I was not handling my business, but in actuality I was not there to handle our business and the customer was not satisfied.  The customer only remembered that she left several messages on my answering machine and nobody returned her call.  This equaled poor customer service and was reflected in the survey.  If one person took the initiative, checked the schedule or simply used common sense the survey would have came back at one hundred percent satisfied.

My coworker’s issues were much the same.  Yet, in my experience excessive time spent at the dealership is the biggest issue.  We can always make more money, but we can’t make more time.  The key is to spend time wisely.

I’ve heard coworkers say, “Why are you doing his dirty work?”  I’ve also seen coworkers spending time talking about how others are not doing their jobs properly while gaining joy from witnessing their mistakes.  I’ve seen them standing around in groups doing nothing while watching others juggling responsibilities.  Short sightedness was prominent on the sales floor.  It seemed as if some coworkers were just thinking about themselves and when they had nothing to do they did nothing but complain about others.  The reality is that the time belongs to the customer; not to us!

As we help our coworkers our coworkers are better able to serve our customers.  This is a recipe for customer satisfaction.  Time is being freed up for everyone and after all aren’t we all each other’s customers?

If we help our sales managers with their customers won’t they have more time to help us with ours?  As we help those in other departments they will be able to serve our customers more effectively and efficiently.  This allows clients to spend less time at the dealership.  Less time at the dealership produces more customer satisfaction.

We are the engine!  Every one of us plays a crucial role in what the engine produces.  The engine is only as great as the sum of all its parts.  It is our job to keep the system lubricated and running smoothly.  We must filter out the dissatisfaction and maintain a constant air flow.  By working together for a common goal we will run at peak efficiency with less effort and ever increasing results.

Team Work Seminar

 

Begin by having the sales consultants gather around any performance car on the lot. Have a sales consultant open the hood and ask them to explain what they see.  Have them talk about the engine.  What is its function?  How much horsepower does it produce?  In what way does the performance of the engine effect the driver?  How do all the parts affect one another?

After they are done explain how the organization consists of a team and relate it to how an engine works to create horsepower by the sum of its parts which in turn delivers driver satisfaction.

Be Appointed

Be Appointed 

Accept the appointment and “dis” the disappointment. 

Remember to always concentrate on what we love and see and feel what we want as if we already have it. No doubts. 

One of my tenants reminded me of a little problem I rarely consider. She was afraid of being disappointed so she would not allow herself to feel it as if it was already here. That is DOUBT for sure. 

The fear of disappointment really stops us from moving forward. It stops us from acting as if.  I think the fear of dissappointment really stops us from moving forward. It stops us from acting as if. 

Acting as if…If I just got a new job; what would I do first? I may take a ride there and see how long the ride will be so I know what time I need to leave. I would shop for the right clothes to conform to the dress code. Maybe I would buy some supplies that I would need for the job.  The only thing that would stop me is the fear of disappointment.  This fear would cause me to concentrate on not getting the new job.  I would worry about wasting my time and other resources by taking these steps.  In my mind I would be affirming the “not have” rather than experiencing the “do have” and would in fact begin to create what I do not want. 

Wanting is also an affirmation that we can’t or don’t have something. Be careful. The secret is to convince your subconscious that you already have it….as if it is already here. 

Matthew 21:20-22 (King James Version)

And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Gone Fishing

Gone Fishing 

You can’t catch a fish if you don’t cast out your line. 

When I was a child I loved to fish.  In fact during the spring and summer months there was rarely a day that went by when I did not fish.  I fished on the hot days, the rainy days and everyday in between.  Whether I caught a fish on one day or the next had little relevance.  Some days I landed big ones and other days I landed small ones.  Funny thing is that the ones I remember the most were those that got away. 

Well, I tried several different ways to catch fish.  I used shiners, worms and lures depending on what I could get my hands on.  Sometimes I would fish from my canoe and other times I would just walk along the shore line and cast out from wherever I could.  There were times when I would catch a whopper on the first few casts and there were other times when I would land that trophy fish of my dreams just when I was ready to call it quits for the day. 

The thing is that I would have never caught anything if I was not out there trying. 

My goal when I first started was pretty simple; catch the biggest fish possible in the shortest period of time by casting my line out as few times as possible.  Soon that philosophy would change.  Remember, there are always a product and a byproduct. 

As I became more aware of the little things and the bigger things in the scheme of it all I gained more satisfaction in the appreciation of my surroundings.  My intended goal of catching fish became less and less essential to the purpose of my mission.  You see, I began to experience joy and solace in experiencing my surroundings.  The quality of my cast, the sound and pace of every turn of my real and even the occasional seemingly unproductive adrenaline producing tug at my line became beneficial to my experience. 

It was not long before the byproducts became more important to me that the product.  I began to develop a keen sense of my surroundings and developed an incredible sense of awareness.  The sights and sounds of the pond played an ever more important role in making my experience worthwhile.  In the early morning hours I looked forward to bearing witness to the dancing rows of fog appearing as angels which gently glided over the glass like surface of the pond.  I could appreciate the awakening of the vast variety of indigenous creatures and was excited to see how they all began their days.  The quiet and noise of the pond mixed together in a peaceful rhythm that calmed my heart and energized my soul.  Needless to say, I began to fish less and less as I began to watch, feel and experience more and more. 

Often it is the mundane which introduces us to the spectacular. 

Even in our careers we must keep in mind that those things which seem to be fruitless could be the beginnings of that which will bring much fruit.  Most recently, in a morning sales meeting a coworker voiced his opinion about his perceived benefits or lack thereof that would be derived from a car show we were holding at the dealership.  He stated, “Every year we have this show and we rarely generate any sales from it.”  Keep in mind the “product” and “byproduct” philosophy I mentioned earlier.  I responded, “This is a great opportunity for us to build relationships.  What we need to do is get out there amongst the people capitalizing on the opportunity to sell ourselves.  All things being equal; customers will buy from the person they like most.”  You see, every person who has a classic model at that show will most likely have a quality well maintained low mileage late model vehicle at home.  They are brand enthusiast!  Not only that, but they could be our greatest promoters as long as we give them our time and lend them our ear.  This is not the only show they are going too.  The relationship we start today will be that hash mark on the sales board sooner or later.  When they or someone they know needs our services they will be our walking talking billboard.  I guarantee that the enthusiasm we place into developing our relationships will correspond directly with how quickly and easily we achieve our career goals. 

 Looking back at the overwhelming success of my own businesses I can pinpoint the precise factor which contributed most to the effectiveness of my sales consultants.  It was one of my first statements in the beginning of the sales process, “Our goal is to make friends with every person that walks through that door.”  Relationships build business! 

Landing the sale is not going to be the only thing that gives us joy.  Although it is the intended goal and purpose of our careers we will soon discover that the unintended product will place a powerful role in how much is actually produced.  As we find joy in the process and generate pleasure from the experience we become buzzing with incredible energy.  We become a magnet for customers who want to buy! 

One of my most successful affirmations for sales has continually produced almost instantaneous results.  Every morning I will repeat, “I am a highly desirable salesperson.  Sales come to me quickly and easily.”  Give it a try.  Keep it to yourself at first.  You don’t want anyone messing with your mo-jo.  Let the results speak for themselves.  When your coworkers ask, “How did you get to the top of the sales board so quickly?” tell them, “I did it by seeing, feeling and experiencing the sale as if they had already been made.” 

What we envision today will bring us what we will hold tomorrow.

What we loved

Don’t forget to remember to do the things you loved doing.  Usually when we are not feeling like ourselves it is because we stopped doing the things that make us who we are.  These things are our passions; all those things that gave us joy.  So, now is the time to look back to our time of peace.  It is there that we will discover the things that gave us joy.

Ron’s “Will the World End in 2012” Review

Will the World End in 2012 

Will the world end in 2012?  There are many theories as to what exactly will end.  Over the centuries there have been many times of transition; entire civilizations have gone extinct.  The way of life for millions of people has changed time and again.  In the United States alone; being one of the youngest countries in the world, we have experienced major shifts in the way we earn our living, raise our children and even worship our God. 

So with all this in mind we must look at what will be the next transition in our infinite ascension through a looking glass full of many possibilities.  Raymond C. Hundley closely examines many of the possible scenarios claimed by various experts in a vast array of fields.  His book Will the World End In 2012 takes us on an intriguing journey through the many theories revolving around this critical question.  Although it is billed as a Christian guide to the questions everyone’s asking Hundley remains neutral through the majority of the book and lets his research pretty much speak for itself. 

He starts out with an overview of the Mayan’s and the fact that their calendar ends in 2012; one of the most well know initiates of the end of times controversy.  The author further examines the possible effects of solar storms on the planet and how they could cause multiple catastrophes throughout the earth.  Everything including possible scientific blunders; philosophical predictions; the reversal of magnetic poles; a collision with an unknown planet; eruption of a super volcano; galactic alignment and religious theories are expounded upon. 

I found this book to be educational and somewhat interesting, but I also found it to be very easy to put down.  It seemed as if the publisher could have done more to push the entertainment envelope.  Will the World End in 2012 is a book that begs to be elaborated upon.  However, I would recommend it as a book to read in between the must reads.  It is a tasty treat that is more palatable when served a bite at a time.

In certainty,

Ron Ash

Unintended Purpose

Unintended Purpose 

Often a greater purpose is discovered via the byproduct of an intended objective. 

Many times in our lives we have and will experience the joy which comes from blessings which were indirectly connected to or related to our intended goal or purpose.  There exist a product and a byproduct.  What we set out to find may never be discovered, but what we do find is often put to use.

 When I first began to search for ways to expand my business I never dreamed that a magazine publication of mine would become any more than a means of advertising my products.  Back then I did not expect “Auto Sports Magazine” to develop out of a four page product display advertisement.  Before I knew it a fully fledged automotive rag came into existence. 

You see, after the first few runs people started to ask for “The Magazine” and soon after I began to give them more of what they were asking for.  Articles began to appear throughout the publication.  Special interest pieces which reviewed customer’s vehicle began to materialize.  This created a certain buzz in the local market and contributed to exponential sales increases in all three of our stores.  To have your vehicle featured in the magazine began to carry a certain weight amongst enthusiast.  People began to shop at our stores just too possibly be featured in the magazine and a competition to be the best on the streets launched our stores to number one in the region.  We even began to sell advertisements in the magazine. 

Funny thing is that when I look back to the beginning and reflect on what I intended I somehow missed the mark.  If you could see what the original store looked like you would immediately see what I mean.  The entire merchandising of the store was geared toward performance parts and accessories.  It was the customer that would decide what the store would be. 

Back then there were very few stores in the area.  It seemed like the 1980’s had pretty much swallowed up many of the smaller performance shops.  Only a few truck accessories stores and speed shops would survive.  However, there was one business that was different.  They carried boutique items which added visual value to vehicles rather than performance enhancements.  It was a market that I was relatively unfamiliar with.  Yet, I knew enough to listen to our customers and to find what they wanted.  I refused to say “I can’t get that” and fueled my sales machine with whatever I could sell. 

The concept of turning ordinary vehicles into extraordinary vehicles came to me during my third month of business.  Initially I had three or four display wheels prominently displayed in the window of my first store.  They were nothing too fancy; just a few old and new designs from American racing.  The presence of those wheels seeded the market and soon became the staple of my business. 

Wheels became the principle product that would escalate our stores to new heights and swiftly make us a major player in the industry.  Back then we sold wheels and tires over the counter like there was no tomorrow.  Soon I began to be known by my vendors as “The King of the East” because of the amount of wheels and tires we moved on a daily basis.  I became addicted to success in the industry and in a very short time opened three locations and became the first store to stock custom wheels and performance tires in New England.  People knew that they could now get what they wanted today! 

The second key to our success was customer service.  With the opening of our third store we added installations to the mix.  It was an incredible operation the catered to customer satisfaction.  The company slogan came from the words of one of our best and most difficult customers of that time.  Guaranteed to make you feel it! 

After our first six years of business we achieved what few ever achieve.  We purchased a nine thousand square foot building on a busy main highway and created the areas first and only automotive accessories superstore.  Custom wheels and performance tires were stacked to the ceiling and there were accessories from wall to wall.  Here we began to cater to high profile sports professionals, musicians and area professionals.  Local car dealers even began to have us redesign vehicles that would enable them exclusivity in the market.  We became known as “Automotive Redesign Specialist” and our clients quickly realized double profits on every vehicle we created for them.  Our stores were at the top of the game and our clients were at the top of theirs too. 

This brings me to the next unintended purpose in my life.  Remember, we bought our first property?  Well, that property continued to increase in value.  It seemed to double every year.  This led me into the next leg of my journey.  I began to buy more properties!  Soon I drifted away from the retail business operations and went whole heartedly into buying properties.  My plan was simple; acquire, renovate and rent.  Everything I bought was to hold.  In my mind I had come to know that real estate is a long term investment.  There is only so much land and God is not making any more of it. 

I really enjoy being a land lord.  Although it was never a dream of mine it did turn out to be a byproduct of my intended purpose.  As all of our life experiences create opportunities for us that we may or may not have ever considered.  They bring us to places we never thought we would be.  Today I am an author; you know I never considered being one.  It was only by chance that I began to write a little blog that developed my platform and not so coincidentally became my first book.  Now I actually get paid for helping others by doing something that I never thought I loved.  Does that make sense?  Finding my Gift was in fact a byproduct of my original intentions. 

Even today as fate rights my next book this still holds true.  I know that God sends me to certain places for particular reasons, but it usually takes a little while to know what those are.  My plan is to continually move forward; never give up and never surrender.  His plan is often a double edged sword.  In it we gain sustenance.  Through experience we gain knowledge and through applied knowledge come wisdom.  Where will the next story come from?  The ideas of tomorrow are conceived in the experiences of today.