Each of our 20 groups has a private e-mail system so they can discuss business issues with other group members. The other day I realized how negative the e-mails had become in one of the groups. The dealers were talking about how bad it was and had begun reinforcing it within the group. They were feeding off of each other and becoming increasingly negative. A couple of the dealers recognized what was happening and began working to counteract the gloom-and-doom e-mails of others. Soon, many of them responded and the e-mails went back to how to make it better instead of focusing on how bad it was.
You can't have a bad day...
If you are a general manager, department manager or an active owner of a dealership, you don't have the luxury of having a bad day. Your employees will look at you first thing in the morning to determine what kind of a day they are going to have. This becomes critical when times are tough. Your attitude will absolutely affect the ability of your staff to be productive. It doesn't matter if they are salespeople or technicians, if you have a "the sky is falling" attitude, they will inherit it. If the staffer is a person who makes customer contact on a regular basis such as a unit salesperson or parts counter person, customers will pick up on this feeling and they will often back off from making purchasing decisions. Poor attitudes are an excellent way to reduce sales.
As a manager in a dealership, I taught my sales staff they had to leave their personal problems at home. When they walked through the door of our dealership, they were required to be upbeat and positive, no matter how they might have felt just before walking through the door. I learned painfully that that went double for me too. If I came in grumbling, I could guarantee that my staff would be down and less effective. Since we were all on commission, this cost us all $$. It didn't take me long to get a grip and make the effort necessary to be cheerful and optimistic.
How many days do you walk into your store with a poor attitude? How often do you catch yourself saying: "This recession is killing us - we can't sell anything to anybody..." or "We can't get anyone financed..." or something similar? Say it enough and it will come true.
If you are to beat this thing, you have to be using positive reinforcement. Every time you hear a negative comment in your store, find a way to make a positive rebuttal. Train your staff to catch themselves before they make those negative comments. If they can't say something positive, you will all be better off if they don't make a comment at all.
I'm not saying all your troubles will disappear if you are positive all the time. However, I can guarantee that you will be far less likely to succeed if you infect your employees with a negative attitude.