Turning training into trophies

Dec. 20, 2011

Last month, I challenged you as an owner or manager of an independent tire dealership to deal with the hardest part of the people-side of your business: implementing real change in your team’s behavior. How do you coach each employee to perform at a higher level where they tap into new insights and maximize talents — and then generate higher results?

This article is an extension of those ideas and was sparked by a conversation I had with Bob Ulrich, editor of this magazine. We were talking about some key ideas that readers were really responding to, and he said to me, “I saw something very interesting out in California. When we did the photo shoot of Mountain View Tire and Service Inc. at their headquarters for the Tire Dealer of the Year edition (September), I went into Mike Mitsos’ office — one of Nick’s three sons — and he had some quotes of yours up on his wall.” I asked Bob to tell me more — and then I remembered — Mike himself had told me about this in February. His story is about making the “big transfer” of ideas into actions (the actions and habits of your employees) and what real impact that has on the business.

Transfer ideas into actions

Mike and Chris Mitsos attended my SalesMind session at the Goodyear Dealer Conference in January of this year.

I can remember these two eager guys — Mike and Chris — coming up afterwards and saying to me, “Man, we got some great ideas — and we’re going to go back and apply them at our business.”

Now, there were hundreds of attendees at these sessions, so honestly, I kind of said to myself, “Oh sure, everybody says that, but only a few do it (apply the ideas). We’ll see.”

Well, I followed up with Mike in February. This is when he told me about his bulletin board (see photo in sidebar) — and how he posted quotes on it pulled from the detailed notes he took at my session in Dallas. And that at Mountain View Tire, they were already digging into and teaching the ideas at their leadership and sales meetings. Wow! This is the whole key — I’m going to call this “training into trophies.”

Here’s what I want you to take away from this discussion:

* Lots of people go to seminars, enjoy them, and even take notes. They then go back to their tire dealership, put the notes down, and “get back to business.”

* The power they put into the “training file” and miss in those notes is the same power they need to transform their business — but the notes become out of sight, out of mind. That’s actually normal, but I don’t write this column to share ideas with you so your tire dealership can be normal. “Normal” to me means under-performing.

* Occasionally, you have special (SalesMinded) business people who hold onto those seminar notes, and then publish them to really deploy with their store teams (like Mike’s board), incorporate them into their training and coaching, and then expect them to be put into action for that store or facility to be the best it can be — to maximize sales and profits. These kinds of businesses understand the power of shaping people (and helping them change) to be the best — second-best is simply not good enough.

 I’m going to leave you with this question: Does the habit that an attentive and focused seminar attendee — a leader — displayed with the valuable information he gathered (training) generate a clue for us of some of the kind of traits it takes to be the best in the tire business (trophies)? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

SalesMind gold standard

Chris and Mike Mitsos of Mountain View Tire and Service Inc. based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., attended a seminar offered by Doug Trenary earlier this year. Upon returning to their dealership, they posted some of Trenary’s quotes on an employee bulletin board.

One of them (on the right side of the board) is “Deliver the lines under pressure when money is to be gained or lost.”

“This applies to all tire/service salespeople, whether retail or wholesale, vendors, suppliers, anyone,” says Trenary.

“I call this ‘the SalesMind standard for verbal communication,’ meaning the most trained and skilled SalesMinds, when interacting with a buyer (which always has a natural pressure), have practiced so much that they are able to speak concisely and calmly to their buyer, close the sale, and capture the money, not lose it.”

Doug Trenary, president of Doug Trenary’s Fast-Track Inc., is an award-winning author, speaker and teacher who has helped companies of multiple sizes, including independent tire dealerships, increase sales and productivity since 1985. His book, “The SalesMind,” focuses on how to establish strong positions with yourself, your buyers-and your time. For more information, email him at [email protected] or call (404) 262-3339.