How do You Motivate Your Team?   (continued)
    Involve Them in Setting Goals
    Most, if not all, dealerships establish quotas for their sales teams but, surprisingly, few actually involve their sales
    people in the process. Excellent managers know that involving their team members will generate a higher level of
    buy-in. Effective sales managers give their team an overview of the big picture and what the company needs to
    achieve. Then, they work with each person to establish individual targets that will meet or exceed the corporate
    objectives. Powerful goals follow SMART guidelines:
    Specific; Every goal must be specific. The more specific and detailed a target is, the more your people
    (team) can visualize its outcome and the more realistic the outcome will be.
    Motivating; Is the goal important or realistic to the person who is responsible for achieving it? If not, they
    may lose interest, particularly if it is a longer term objective. Once again, this reinforces the concept of
    involving the employee in the goal setting process.
    Achievable; Goals should have a 95% chance of accomplishment while still challenging the individual to
    push themselves beyond their existing comfort zone.
    Relevancy; Each goal must be relevant to the main objective of the corporation. Obviously, sales are
    relevant to the overall success of the company, and the overall performances of all who make it happen
    become a reality.
    Time Effectiveness; Set a time frame and deadline for each goal. Ensure the deadline is realistic but, at
    the same time it becomes challenging for each individual.

    SMART goals help people stretch themselves and achieve more. Work with your team members to help them
    determine the goals that would be most appropriate for their development and growth and help them develop the
    appropriate action steps to achieve these goals and you will see a noticeable improvement in their performance.
First, you must recognize inconsistencies within your individual team members performance.

Second, you must see the individual as a stand alone person
in who, with proper training and motivational
trigger points
, you can bring out greatness.

    As I stated in my last article, nobody comes
    to work to fail, it is the responsibility of
    each team leader, that’s you the Manager,
    GM, and Yes, you the Dealer Principle, to
    “Inspect what you Expect.”
    Tell Your Team What's Going On
    And for goodness sake, set realistic goals that are achievable. Keep
    them informed of the progress and, is the progress (goals) being
    reached? And are they reaching an achieving target? People are
    naturally curious and want to know how they are doing. I'm not
    suggesting you reveal confidential information but I do recommend you
    share information about the overall status of the department. If sales
    are down and you need your team to focus on customer satisfaction,
    retention or natural work flow then tell them. If costs are climbing then
    advise your employees that they need to be aware of their individual
    expenses. I always suggest posting individual performance in the break
    room, Set goals and demand excellence.
    Communication MUST be Clear and Concise
    I remember questioning a manager about his expectations and if his said goals had relevancy in the overall
    progress on the company. He stated that “It was not important to question his goal setting practices and
    that he knew what he was doing” I could not have disagreed more. Set realistic goals that are gathered from
    previous years MTD numbers and from there set a percentage of increased sales as your objective and
    ultimate goal.

    Employees want to know where they stand and, all but a few, want to do a good job. They want to know
    how, you, as their manager, view their performance. That's why it is critical that you give them direction and
    feedback on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many managers are hesitant to provide feedback on negative
    performance because they are afraid of the potential conflict that may arise. Yet, most employees can
    accept constructive criticism, providing it is delivered in a professional manner.
Until my next article, stay forever connected to your team, Give them positive feedback and make it a professional habit
to not become belligerent and take your focus off the big picture. As a Manager, you were hired to make a difference.
Your #1 objective is to protect your dealer while retaining an honest and sincere relationship with your customer data
base. Stay ever connected.
    Sales people are hungry for information and my experience has taught me that, in all but rare situations, can be
    trusted with corporate details. Unfortunately, too many organizations and their managers' feel that people should
    only be given information that is relevant to their specific job.

    I had once worked for a dealership that established some aggressive sales and profitability targets and created a
    bonus program based on the percentage increase of profit from the previous year. The idea was excellent! After
    all, why not compensate everyone in the company for sales and profit other than just top level executives and
    sales people. This would allow all target employees to contribute to the profitability of the organization.
    Unfortunately, the company wouldn't divulge the previous year's profits which meant that the employees had no
    idea what they were striving to achieve. Many employees saw this as a way for the company to avoid paying
    bonuses at the end of the year and, as a result, stopped working on their goals and objectives.
    Recognize their Effort
    I often hear managers grumble when I suggest they praise and recognize the efforts of their team members. I
    hear comments such as, "Why should I praise them for doing their job?" or "They'll think I'm soft." My experience
    has taught me that people will work harder for someone who recognizes the effort they put into their work.
    Praising an employee is not a difficult process. Here are four steps to follow to provide effective positive
    Be Specific
    Most people make the mistake of saying something like, "You did a good job today." Although this is better
    than no feedback, it doesn't recognize the specific behavior you want reinforced. What exactly does it
    mean? How will the employee interpret it? A more effective method is to say, "Steve, you did a fantastic job
    satisfying that irate customer."

    Be Sincere
    Ensure that your body language and tone of voice is consistent with the message that you want to give.
    Carefully consider what you say and how you say it  Keep it brief and to the point, be clear and concise.
    Too many people don't determine beforehand what they are going to say and the result is a garbled,
    unfocused message. Ensure that you are sincere; if you don't mean it, don't say it.

    Acknowledge their Effort
    and/or energy. When you praise an employee's performance, acknowledge their effort and commitment. In
    other words, how hard they worked and/or how involved they were with it. For example, "Mike thanks for
    helping out John today. I appreciate the extra effort you made to ensure that everything was taken care of."

    Ensure it is Timely
    Praise the employee's performance as soon as you become aware of it. If too much time elapses the
    individual may perceive the praise as an afterthought and it will have a small overall positive impact. Also,
    make sure the reinforcement is given in an appropriate place. The general rule of thumb is to praise in
    public and reprimand in private. However, not all employees want that recognition in front of their peers.
    Therefore, you must know your employees and be aware of the best place to provide positive feedback.
    Promote Two-Way Communication
    Your sales people are a wealth of information and can often contribute valuable suggestions to improve the
    business. Many managers say they have an open door policy but, in reality, will only listen to an employee if his or
    her ideas are in sync with their own. If you truly want to create a team of highly motivated employees take the time
    to listen to their comments and ideas. Foster an environment that encourages the open sharing of information.
    Great leaders are always open to new ideas and methods of improving business and some of the best ideas come
    from the front-line staff.
    Lead by Example
    This last point is the most important. If you want a highly motivated team YOU must set the example. You must
    demonstrate enthusiasm, energy, team cooperation, honesty, integrity and commitment. Treat people with respect
    and dignity. Give them the tools to excel, grow and develop. Encourage them to participate and get involved.
    Solicit feedback, listen to their comments, and act on suggestions that will help your business succeed. Set and
    communicate high standards, provide positive reinforcement when your team members perform and involve them.
    You will soon see a team that will do almost anything to help you succeed!
    Schedule performance update meetings, email correspondence, broadcast voice mails are just some of the ways
    you can communicate with your team. Another effective method is through casual discussions. On one particular
    day when I was in my office, I found an informal discussion taking place that was around the lunch table, I also
    found the conversation invaluable; because they helped me catch up on what was happening in the company.
Copyright© 2008-2009 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved.
Jim Bernardi has held such positions as; Dealer, General
Manager, Director of Operations, District Operations
Manager, Parts & Service Director, Service Director,
Service Manager, Service Advisor and is President of
AutoPro Training & Marketing Solutions. A National Fixed
Operations Training Company which guarantees
increased GP or their training is free.
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