I recently finished "Extreme Ownership," by former Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, and while the book centered around the premise of taking ownership of what is in your area of control and accepting no excuses of yourself, there was another commonality among our nation’s elite warriors. That commonality is their desire to win. As I pondered the lessons learned in the book and sought to apply them to our business, it became evident that our industry is loaded with people who want to win. We want the most sales, the highest margins, the best reviews, the most likes, the most shares, and the list goes on and on. Whether this was bred from competition (motorcycle racers do not get participation trophies … just saying) or desire, you show me a successful dealership, and I will show you people who like to win. Let’s look at some of their attributes.
Accountability — Winning dealerships are accountable for their actions. There are no excuses. If the weather is keeping people out of their dealerships, then they are creating other opportunities to interact. If mistakes are made, they not only own the mistake, but learn and grow from it. Each department is accountable to the others. In the parts department, service and sales are your two biggest customers and need to be treated accordingly. Accountability is where is starts.
Drive — Call it motivation, drive or energy. Winning dealerships are driven to succeed. There are goals, and each department collectively drives towards those goals. Compensation plans are crafted to reward those who drive hard towards those goals. Wins are celebrated and losses are critiqued to minimize the chances of them happening again. Members of the team have the fire, and it’s up to management to keep that fire burning.
Simplicity — Winning cultures don’t have Google’s SEO algorithm in place to succeed. They keep things simple. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are in place to take the guesswork out: greet customers right when they come through the door; answer calls by the second ring; have upsell items next to the items they have in stock. SOPs are in place because they are proven winners across all retail. They don’t reinvent the wheel; they simply follow industry standards and hold themselves accountable to them. This sets their employees up for success with a formula that works. Their goals are simple, and their plan to achieve those goals are just the same.
When you read this small list, do you smile and tell yourself, “We do that.” Or are you thinking that it sounds like a good idea? If you are thinking the latter, start by being accountable yourself and take ownership of what is in your area of control and start affecting change. Your staff, your leadership and you all want to win, and it is up to you to do your part in that conquest. Set yourself up in an environment to win, and your staff will thank you later. I stole the phrase from the Navy SEALs BUD/S training because it is as true in this business as it is in theirs, “It pays to be a winner!”
Napoleon Tetreault is a sales representative with Tucker Rocky, an aftermarket PG&A distributor in the powersports industry. He works with powersports retailers on merchandising, profitability and management of the parts department as well as the education of dealership personnel. His experience includes being the GM of the largest indoor motocross facility in the US, owner/operator of a regional distribution company and current role with Tucker Rocky. He can be reached at: