Category Archives: business

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.

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Loading Dock

I noticed that people tend to define themselves by the material things they hold and only assume that others do the same. These things are all temporary; all will lose worth and fade away, but our connection to God is eternal and His economy will never fail. So many times; when I am so filled and excited about God working in my life people ask, “How much did you get paid?” They don’t comprehend the value of the joy I receive from the opportunities God has given me to spread the Word He has sown in my heart. They think in a little box, abundance of all kinds could only come hand to hand, deed for deed and quid pro quo, but I must always explain that God is my accountant, business manager and financial adviser. Often the things I do for the Kingdom have very little to do with the way I get paid. It usually comes through the back door and my back door needs to be a loading dock because the Gifts are tremendous!

The other day I was involved in a conversation that started with me explaining that all things get taken care of in my life. God always provides for me and my family in one way or another. I decided to leave a job that was not a good fit for me. He asked what I was going to do to make a living and I answered, “Whatever God leads me to do.” He laughed and thought I was crazy. In his mind there is no God and only one way to be fruitful. Giving freely from your heart and using the Gift within to prosper was not included in his tiny package. I knew that my present position was no longer a good fit for me. The mission I had there was already finished. God was now answering my prayers and bringing me to my next opportunity to serve.

What ever I told him in regards to this seemed to fall on deaf ears. It was not getting through the thick liner of his tiny box. His God was money and he had a firm belief that the only way to experience steady abundance was to work harder for it. My saying, “It is better to work smarter than harder” had a negative effect on the situation. Even my visual analogy of picking up a book with two hands verse trying to do the same by balancing it on a pen failed to convince him. Working with God is working smarter! When we tap into His energy abundance comes to us quickly and easily.

He then pulled out a $100 bill and said, “This is what I believe in!” I responded, “Let me see that. What does this say?” It read “In God We Trust.” Most likely, the founding fathers never wanted us to forget that money should never be worshiped it must never be looked at as our god.

Several days prior, after taking a week to reflect on where I was and where I wanted to be; I began to contemplate giving my notice. I would come to say this simple prayer. “Father, I thank you that you’re causing me to be in the right place at the right time. You are bringing wonderful financial opportunities my way. I know there are no limits to what you can do in our lives. I ask you today to find me a career that is a better fit for me and that will allow me to use my creative talents and abilities to prosper in all ways. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.” Within a few days I was inspired to text a well know literary agent friend of mine about doing some contact work. He referred me to a publishing service company who in turn offered to contract my editing and proofing services. Next, the morning of which I intended to tell my general manager I would be leaving, keep in mind at this point I was leaving without knowing if another position would arise; I was going over a few points with the owner of a radio network in regards to my new monthly radio show “Being” when I was inspired to ask if there were any openings in their sales department. She responded, “As a matter of fact we have a sales manager position open.” I had not even left my job yet and was blessed with two opportunities which both lined up perfectly with what I had prayed for. That is working smarter!

I found out latter that the gentlemen who I was engaged with so deeply on the topic of God had submitted to another religion. Money was his God, doctors were his Pastors and prescription drugs would be his spirit within. He adamantly believed that the only way for him to be happy, stable and at ease in this world was through medication. Although he did make several good points about how many need to use medications to insure a balance of their body chemistry; he failed to examine the potential for diet, exercise and spiritual development to do the same. My mind is open on this subject and I am sure that medication has its place in the grand scheme of things. However, long term use always seems to create more long term problems and in most cases just covers up the root of the issue. If we fail to remove the root the weed will continue to grow, spread out over the field that is our lives and suffocate our Gifts within.

Invisible Fences

I was walking my dog yesterday by this farm across from my friend Ron’s house when I was blessed with an epiphany. You see the people next door have a couple of dogs who were trained by the Invisible Fence people. They get to a certain point in the yard and stop dead. It was the past experiences with electric shock that had convinced them that if they went any further they would get shocked again. Now they are free from the system but still believe they will get the same results if they move forward so they just stand at the invisible line in their minds and bark like crazy. They see what they want but have been conditioned to not even try to get it. It really made me think.

Funny thing is that I posted the idea before I saw the example of it. Is it coincidence or Divine revelation?

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.