Throughout the tire and service aftermarket, the offices and sales counters and service shops are rampant with goals. Number of units for the month, various sales targets, volume targets and spiffs. We are all very good at telling our employees what the various metrics are that are needed to keep the business going. One area that needs improvement is providing the road map to reach the goals.
It’s all well and good that the business needs to sell $100,000 a month to make payroll, pay the overhead, and put cash into the business to buy the next load of tires. And most employees are well versed in that number. What they may not know is how to actually get there.
It seems obvious to all of us that who have been in the industry for decades that A, B and C lead to X, Y and Z. But for a newer employee, or someone who has moved from the shop to showroom sales, it may not add up in their head. Here’s an example.
We hold a meeting for our staff, and let them know that the sales goal for the month is $100,000. The aggressive sales person is going to try and hit that number as soon as possible. He may even be so forceful that we lose some potential return visits because the sales presentation was so pushy. Another employee sits back and thinks to himself, “How in the world are we going to do that? If I am one of the three sales people, that means I have to do $35,000 myself and I haven’t done that yet since coming on board. This makes me nervous.” Maybe there’s a technician in the meeting thinking, “This is about sales, it doesn’t concern me, so I’m going to start looking at my phone messages.As owners, as leaders, it is our ultimate responsibility to make sure our employees have all the tools necessary to do a good job. (Owners, at all costs, must protect the assets of the company. That is the people, the property, equipment and inventory). A map is one of those tools. How to get from point A to point B every month. We must all go beyond rattling off numbers and statistics and dig a little deeper.
An effective approach in a meeting is to ask what each employee thinks they can do to contribute specifically to reach your goal. You may be pleasantly surprised when given the chance to build the map how eagerly some offer their input. You may also be surprised at some employees’ silence. They aren’t necessarily being negative, they may not know how to take action on a goal. These are the ones who need a map. As an example, your technicians may not realize how important his or her thorough, accurate and honest inspections are to reaching sales goals.
For a short takeaway: Start with a need, identify the goal and then fill in the how.
For every goal that is set in a shop, there needs to be a map for how to get there. What specific actions or behaviors are going to contribute to the wind in the sails, pushing the ship toward its destination. Or should I say what actions contribute to the wind in the sales pushing the shop toward its goals.
We need to not only discuss the what (is the goal) but also discuss the how (we get there). If you have a really good team, you also can include in the discussion what is currently happening in the shop that is preventing you from reaching the goal.
For a short takeaway, start with a need (something the business must do), identify the goal (end result, what success looks like) and then fill in the how (what each employee must do and contribute to connect the need with the goal).
I can’t promise you with this advice that you will always reach your goal. I can promise you if you fill in the blanks and include your teams in the how’s, the plan Bs, and ask each what they will contribute, you will at least get closer to financial success than ever before. ■
Dennis McCarron is executive director of Dealer Strategic Planning Inc., a company that manages multiple tire dealer 20 Groups in the U.S. (www.dsp-20group.com). To contact McCarron, email him at email@example.com.
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