Successful Employees Starts With You


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I was teaching a workshop the other day at an Automotive Digital Marketing Event on building a successful team. As the audience filed out, a GM of a dealership pulled me aside and asked if he could ask me some questions. We found a few seats in the hallway of the hotel and proceeded to chat.

He asked me if I could explain what the difference was between successful employees and an unsuccessful ones.  I looked at him and said, “You are.”  At first he was slightly put off and said, “I understand what you are saying but I can’t do everything.” I thought for a moment and then went on to explain to him what he was responsible for. This is a paraphrased conversation.


First you have to decide what type of dealership do you want to be. This is not simple and easy or to be taken lightly. This impacts everything else that you do. Successful employees need to know what this vision is and understands what is expected of them so they can support it. It must be simple, clear and concise.

Are you a low-key casual dealership or are you high tech, sleek upscale looking dealership.  Are you process driven or allowing salespeople to “Do their own thing.”?

As my brother would say, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”


Next you need to decide about process. Every little thing must be thought out and documented so you can train your team on what needs to happen. From dress code to greeting customers to phone scripts to delivery of the vehicle, everything must be thought out, every step documented so each part works together for a unified customer experience. In my opinion, you cannot have successful employees if you allow people to do things their way, especially if they come to you with experience.

I worked for years in the restaurant industry for some very highly successful restaurateurs. Do you think any of them would just let someone come in and wait on tables without following their processes just because they had experience?

But yet that is what happens in many unsuccessful dealerships today. We take short cuts because we hire on past experience instead of educating them on your process.


This is one of the most overlooked areas in unsuccessful dealerships. Too often unsuccessful dealers look at training as an expense versus an investment in their success. They assume that employees have experience or, “Should know how to do this” versus demanding excellence of their process.

I remember George Steinbrenner of the Yankees and reading how he had a dress code and facial hair rules and many other rules he believed in that represented how he expected someone on the Yankees to act. If you did not want to follow those rules he was very happy to trade you so you could go play for someone else

Very simply, if you want employees to act a certain way and perform the best they can for you then you must invest in training both in the short term and the long term. Never stop training.


This is the most important aspect of success. If you hold your team accountable to a certain result and then continue to refine their execution of their responsibilities, then you will create successful employees.

As soon as you stop holding them accountable, results will drift off course. Accountability does not have to be time consuming if you have developed the other three aspects I have listed. Once a team understands what is expected, they have been trained to do it then following up can be simple and quick.

Accountability allows you to refine and tweak performance. It allows you to go deeper into being more efficient but ultimately it keeps everyone focused on the goal of success.

The GM and I shook hands, he thanked me for my input, honesty and in some cases my “tough love” approach. I will be following up with him in the next few weeks to hold him accountable to what we agreed he should do.

Success takes planning, training, consistent execution and consistent follow up. Are you willing to invest correctly? If you are not sure, we should find a few chairs and have a chat.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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