Almost all news you hear or see today is about the downward economy. People are losing jobs, the price of gasoline is skyrocketing; and then there's the dreaded "R" word, Recession. As a leader, you are supposed to be upbeat and optimistic about the current economy. No matter where you go someone will ask you how the car business is because it can be one of the barometers for the economy. You try to explain that you have no crystal ball and you have no idea how the market is relative to your community, and you do this all with a happy face. After all, they may be a potential buyer. You then casually ask how their business is and they may say, reluctantly, they wanted to buy a car today but the economy feels sluggish and, they're just not sure about anything. Perhaps they will just save their money. They have a look on their face like they did you a favor by not purchasing a car today! As they walk away they say thanks for your insight into the economy, you may have saved them from investing in a car, of all things. No sale today, maybe after the elections.
In that very moment you wish that conversation had never come up and long for the good old days when the news was lighter - when people felt confident enough to want and purchase a new car. How can you not talk about the economy? How can you keep a positive attitude when the economy stinks?
Sound familiar and painful? You know you need a positive spin to rev up your sales team who are wondering how to meet their goals in such a dismal economy. After all, they've had the same conversations with each other on your showroom floor. You may even have a little doubt in your own mind. If only you could just avoid the whole situation, maybe it will all be different tomorrow.
STOP IT NOW! Stop talking about the economy! Stop telling people that business is slow. Stop all the negative whining about the economy. JUST STOP IT! The more you dwell on your perceived observation of the economy the more you look for proof you are right. STOP IT NOW!
Below are four keys to creating a positive and prospering market around you.
1. Focus on what you want. If you focus on the potholes while you are driving, you're going to hit the potholes. Instead, focus on a way around the potholes. When you're talking to your staff or customers, indicate business is great and now is the perfect time to buy. Never talk about how tight money is for you (or anyone else, for that matter). Words trigger pictures that create emotions. How do you think people will feel if they hear the boss talking about how bad things are? You, as the leader or a team player, should talk about success and how great it is to work in a winning dealership.
2. Create a perception of value. Would you trade me a one-dollar bill for my twenty-dollar bill? It may be a good deal for you, but is it a good deal for me? It is if I perceive the value of a one-dollar bill is worth more than the twenty. Let's say I'm dying of thirst and the bottle of water requires a one-dollar bill. Then yes, it is a great trade. Your job is to create value now that helps customers feel good about their purchase.
3. Create a positive environment. The only place you talk about the slow economy is with your competition. Let them believe that the market is bad if they so choose. However, you want people to feel good when they are in your house. So, take charge and a build strong belief in your people and yourself that you can prosper in any economy because you have the best team, the best product, and the best location.
4. Plant encouraging and positive ideas, discard negative ideas. Read positive material or listen to inspirational CD's - in other words, work on putting positive thoughts in your head. And, if you must watch the news, the second it is over say to yourself (out loud is even better), I am thankful that business is great at my place.
You might argue that I don't know how tough it is for you or what its like where you live. You're right. But, I have traveled all over these great United States and I have seen hundreds of people just like you, and they are winning. Every day I see people who know that no matter what is going on in the marketplace, there are many ways to win in this economy. You have a choice each day as to how you will face that day. Your choice is either one of adversity or prosperity. People who start the day with a prosperity mindset automatically think of creative ways to outsmart the market. People with a prosperity mindset look for ways to inspire people to go where they didn't think they could go. Leaders with a prosperity mindset see the obstacles as an opportunity to win when others might see only doom and gloom.
How do you want to feel when you go to bed each night? You can believe you may not survive this economy, or you can believe you can outsmart the economy. Dread or excitement. The choice is yours each and every day. Use it wisely, it is a gift.
Jim Jackson works with businesses to develop high expectations and becoming the exception to the rule. To book Jim Jackson call 800-403-8326 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with inquiries.
What a great summer of learning. I just got back from New York where I attended the National Speakers Association Annual Convention. Each year this is my time to hang out with and learn from the best of the best in my profession. This year, I got to hang out with Kevin Cronin, the lead singer of REO Speedwagon, and Robin Creasman of Rock Star Speakers. This year's theme was NSA Rocks.
You may ask: what does standing out like a rock star have to do with the business? Well, I thought the same thing as I was preparing to attend the conference. Boy, I learned quite a few things from these real life rock stars. First, let me set the stage for what was an eye-opening experience for me and then I'll follow-up with the points that could make you into rock stars too.
Prior to the conference, I had been asked to speak at the conference before a panel representing four of the most well known professional speaking bureaus. I arrived at the auditorium for my presentation - it was set up just like the American Idol stage including a panel of four people (judges). Any one of these panelists could launch big opportunities around the world for me as a keynote speaker. There were eleven other speakers and an audience of 500. Each speaker had one minute to describe him- or herself and why the panel should book that speaker. You knew you were successful if they asked you to send them additional information. They were permitted to give you feedback as to why they did or did not want your information.
The first speaker presented and he was good - the panel all asked for his information. By the way, I was number four to present. The panel was not so kind with next two presenters, mainly because when asked they could not define their target audience and market. Then, it was my turn. I knew what I was going to say and I was prepared for their questions. I'll admit, I was a little nervous; after all, no one wants to get rejected in front of their peers. But, I was prepared and I knew who my target audience was and the benefits for them. After my presentation, I was asked by three out of the four to send information. The fourth said he liked what I had to say, but his clients were not a good fit for my keynote.
My first instinct was to try to overcome his objection. But, what I learned from watching the other presenters and from the rock stars was how imperative it is to know who your audience is. Every one of the presenters was asked this same target audience question. The speakers who responded "everyone," did not get asked to send their information - they were too general. One of the panelists put it this way: "I have 16,000 speakers on my Rolodex; what makes you any different?"
Even if the speaker argued that it applies to everyone, that speaker still lacked a unique brand or a particular market that would separate him or her from the rest of the pack. My brand as a keynote speaker is "The Harley Attitude Guy....it's all about sales." I speak on The Awesome Power of the Harley Attitude which makes me stand out as being unique and different. To me, this is a lot like your business - you are not in the business of just selling cars nor can you be everything to everyone. The successful dealers know their market and how to successfully promote to that niche. Think of it this way: you wouldn't play a ACDC or Rolling Stones CD for a quiet, romantic dinner for two, just as you wouldn't play Nora Jones(or even Tom Jones) music at a bikers' bar. It is the same for you. Do you know who your customers are and how to reach them? Or do you take a shot-gun approach to advertising and hope something works.
I work with several successful new car dealers, sub-prime dealers and buy-here-pay-here dealers. These dealers know their market, and when and how to say no to advertising and marketing that may be too high or low a level for their target audience. They even pick locations for their business that make the target customer feel comfortable, not for comfort or convenience of the dealer.
So, what I learned from my time in New York and from these rock stars were three keys that you can apply to your business.
- Know your audience. Play to and cater to those customers who are going to buy from you because they feel you meet their needs. Make your business location and surroundings comfortable for them.
- What is your brand? How do you differentiate your business from all the other dealers in town? If price is all you have, then you will get some business but you will also lose some to price. But, if your brand is unique then you will stand out like a rock star and not be a one-hit wonder.
- Train for success and then practice. All the great speakers and rock stars that spoke at this conference said they practice and practice. Kevin from REO Speedwagon said the band may practice six months to a year before they go on tour. You must practice being the best at what you do so when it is show-time you stand out like a rock star, not a wallflower. Training is the key and not just any training - seek out the best to develop your team.
Have confidence in who you are and why you are an asset to your business and your team. Confidence attracts successful people, which in turn will grow your business. If you doubt yourself, your team or the market, chances are you will become the best doubter in your market. You must believe in yourself, your people, product and brand. Belief is the best marketing tool I have ever seen that can grow a business. People love to work with people who believe they are the best.
Last, all this makes no difference if you do not go out and perform. You can start or reinforce your success by taking these keys and turning them into action. If you are waiting for someone else to try it first, I promise you someone else will and then you might find yourself sitting on the sidelines. Go be the best right now. Become the trendsetter. The phrase I like hearing is: you're so successful, what makes you different. Confidence, Belief and Performance.
Learn more about top motivational speaker, Jim Jackson.