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Income Generation vs. Expense

Why is it when it snows we have our Income Generating Team/Salespeople get out and remove the snow from the cars on the lot? This is a practice maintained by nearly all the dealerships in the snow belts across North America and beyond but does it make any sense? What you are saying to yourselves as dealers let's take one of potentially your highest revenue generators and get them out on the lot moving and removing that white fluffy stuff that costs you income from being inoperable. Now, I can see the method to this madness as the more people out there the faster it gets done and the quicker we are back to being available for business. On the surface this makes perfect sense and why wouldn't it but in reality it's a practice that falls under the category of "this is the way we've always done it" and it's both horrifically wrong and inefficient.

First, let's delve into why its a burden that is laid upon the Sales Team. The mentality is that it's their lot and inventory so they should be responsible for it. Thus is the reasoning why you rarely see the Fixed Ops, Accounting, Body Shop, Rental, Accounting or any other team out there participating. This in addition to the fact that most Sales Teams are commissioned so there is no expense to have them out there while they are not selling so it's a win-win for the dealer.

So get the Sales Team out there. Make use of them. They are FREE when they are not selling this is the thought process of many. Again why? It's their lot and their inventory but is it really? The dealers own the lots, the inventory and the management makes the control decisions. So is it the Sales Teams? No. Further with regards to the maintenance of the lot we don't ask the Sales Team to cut the grass, prune the hedges, tend to the gardens nor sweep the lots so why do they clear the snow? It's a pure cost/expense calculation. When it's sunny out we want our Income Generating Team at the ready, available for all opportunities to earn INCOME for the dealership. Yet a few flakes fall and this thought process goes out the window and becomes "All hands on deck... We must get the lot ready for mad rush of potential customers that are coming in as soon as they can see the windshields and colours". This is a fair weather mentality which should be carried through to the Winter Season.

Let's look at the opportunities that could prevail if we regigged the system. Let's envision a Nor'Easter like what was just experienced in the U.S. The snow is coming down and heavy. The dealers, have planned and have an advance team to clear the snow. The Income Generating Teams are on the inside where they belong generating business opportunities. These can be as simple as working the phone, internet leads, service and lease portfolios or if you really want to get creative engaging on social, training, coaching and development. The opportunities that a team has are purely created amongst those who wish to elevate them further upwards. So why waste their time shoveling snow?

Does Sidney Crosby drive the Zamboni between periods? No. Why? Because he is inside preparing for the game. Whether it's getting ready for the big game or just a practice he's on the inside preparing for the next opportunity to utilize his training. As such, how much does it cost to send a team member to training? Factor in the time, potential loss of sales, travel and should it be from an outside source direct monetary cost. Now reflect on the expense of hiring a team to clear snow. Is it worth it to have your team outside being unproductive when you could have them inside honing their skills, building and managing opportunities. This is where revenue get generated.

How about down time in the negative manner and this is rarely factored into the equation. Sales people don't come to work to be maintenance personnel, they don't dress for it. Going outside to shovel snow opens them up to getting sick, hurt or worse. According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, more people die of heart attacks from shoveling snow than any other activity. This is shown by the dramatic uptick in coronary events after a snow storm. As a dealer sending your people outside to shovel this could be a huge liability issue. Another reason to have an insured snow removal team.

So with all this risk why do dealers still send they Sales Teams outside. My humble opinion, they are playing the short game (Expense) whilst I believe in the long game (Income Generation). A dealership is an investment. An investment of capital and people. This investment to mature has to be maintained, cared for, curated, and promoted. The gains come from within. Train and Coach your teams to greatness, develop cultures, promote opportunities, reward successes, challenge them to rise above. Changing one simple dreaded thing in this business will elevate above the rest and have people noticing. This awareness will reap huge benefits and your Sales Team will be glad to show you.

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