I speak from personal experience as a former owner of 104 stores in the auto repair and tire industry and as a vocalist with 28 years experience. Exactly what do the two have in common?
When I started singing at the age of 40, if you had told me that I had to perform the National Anthem in a week in front of 40,000 people before a baseball game and the performance would be a capella, I would have literally freaked out! It would have made me crazy because I had no idea how to do it and one week is simply not enough time to prepare. Another example of enormous stress most people encounter is when you are required to give a speech in front of a large group about a topic you don’t know much about and you have a few days to prepare. It can be nerve wracking as well as physically and mentally debilitating. Then when you get up in front of the room, you sweat, your hands shake and your voice quivers. Ouch, extreme stress! What are you going to do? The stress in each case can make you crazy!
The moral of this story is that one of the most stressful situations for us occurs when we must do something we are not competent or skilled at doing. Imagine if you have to do it every day and you don’t know how. Who wants to go to work under those conditions? But that’s exactly what most multi-store operators do, day in and day out, year after year after year.
Most dealers, especially multi-store operators, find themselves under enormous stress every single day because they are responsible for driving the numbers. You study your numbers from last month and compare them to last year and have a strong desire to grow some of the numbers (sales) and a strong desire to reduce other numbers (expenses). But how do you steer the numbers effectively or consistently? Good question, right? How do you steer the numbers where you want them to go? Especially the top line numbers?
So here’s what I want to leave you all with to think about. Let’s assume that every result in your business is tied to communication (which it is.) For argument’s sake, you have 500,000 conversations occurring in your business each year and it’s those conversations that generate all the numbers (which they do.) Well, it’s clear to me that you need to change how you communicate as an organization in order to steer the numbers in a meaningful way. Intuitively, people know that what I’m saying is true. We all know that communication is the engine behind every result. But how do you do it? How do you change the way a 50-year-old communicates? How do you coach a 25-year-old to communicate with passion and power? How do you teach a 35-year-old who brings a miserable mood to work every day, to change? How do you teach an old dog ‘new tricks’?
This is the game that you’re in by default and you must to play it – it’s simply not optional. Developing the communication skills of your team and developing their competencies and power as human beings are two games you are in every day by the fact that you’re in business and by the fact that they are on your team. If you chose not to play, well guess what, you’re still playing; you’re just not going to score that many points. The numbers aren’t going to move that much.
The truth is that no one ever taught you how to coach and train your employees, and by trade, you’re a ‘car guy’, you’re an ‘old wrench’ who happens to be running a company. And here’s the kicker; the fact that you must play a game you’re not skilled at everyday produces enormous stress. It will rip you up inside. It literally can’t be any other way.
The answer to this conundrum is simple; you must find someone who can teach you and your team how to communicate more effectively. You must set clear and measurable standards for effective communication inside the business. And you must be able to measure it and track progress. When you have done so, stress will disappear and results will improve dramatically.
Dan Molloy is President and CEO of Molloy Sales Development Group. He is a Contributing Editor for Tire Review. You can learn more about growing your business in a Stress Free manner here: https://www.molloysales.com/gift-annual-growth-2