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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Newest Hybrid

3-31-09 Apex, NC... The newest hybrid is one ugly ride. This crazy blend of White House strategy and Automotive challenge is turning this two door into a junk heap. You simply cannot combine politics and economics and see the headlights. For the first time since the 1970's I cannot predict what the heck will happen over the next 30 days and through the 2009 model year.

I know this though, the people running the government are not there for their business sense or their business prowess...

I am worried for our compatriots. I am worried about our middle class and our children. I am worried about the business I love. And I am powerless to stop the Federal decision making process as they pick and choose their targets...

I say keep plugging. Keep selling. And keep your chins up... you are a proud lot. Those of you in the business who voted on 11-4, is this what you voted for?

I think not... especially the union people; you have been let down...

Monday, March 30, 2009

What the %$#&????

3-30-09 Apex, NC

This will be brief. The White House has a brand new (old) scapegoat. Now it is playing tough guy and hardball with the car business. Out is Wagoner. Fiat better be obliterated into Chrysler...

It is so easy to walk across the playground and pop the 45 pound first grader. Hit 'em while they are weaker and littler. Now, after today, the President can look like a tough guy.

The White House hard ball strategy should slap the Senate Finance Committee. They should pop Barney Frank. Get the paddle out for the fiscal sector NOT the car business. Smack the G-20 while they are all at the same luxury hotel. They should take the Treasury Department to the shed. Whack the oil industry as they enriched themselves on the way to $4.00 gas...

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, anything in a full service MEGA-bank like Bank of America needs a whup on the side of the head. How about lining up all those goofballs who let people have credit when they could not even pay attention, let alone their bills. These people in these houses could not even BUY their Mama's love let alone their mortgage. We car people were born at night... just not last night.

I am furious. Wagoner? Come on... He was going to exit down the road anyway, but the timing here stinks.

Get your own (White) House in order. Clobber the bankers who pushed weak paper. Obama is calling this announcement today the Auto Industry's last chance.

UNREAL!!!! I do not think I can calm down. I have something to say to our President and it is not STIMULUS.

Until the people TRULY responsible for the economic mess are brought to justice, these automotive strategies are simply CRAP...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

THE BIG LITTLE

3-28-09 Apex, NC... We all want our businesses to grow, both small and large. But it is the LITTLE things done in a BIG way that often puts us ahead of the competition. How are your customers greeted? How are your front-line people dressed? How are your customers rewarded for their loyalty? Are your people paid enough? Are your products and services clearly priced and labeled? Is your inventory ever changing? Is your team awake when a customer is within 20 feet of your door? Are "issues" handled in public or private? How are your turnover and recruiting? Are your hours competitive?

These are the little things that add up in a big way when you put answers to them. I do not care if you sell cars or ice cream, or if you service air conditioners or HUMMERS; does not make a lick of difference.

Pay attention to your people and your customers in a positive, caring way and involve them in what you are all about. Your profit is the BYPRODUCT of your process.

This ain't rocket science. We are not brain surgeons, or Rhodes Scholar graduates. But we are doing the LITTLE things in a BIG way...

Happy selling!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tell Me Why?

3-27-09 Apex, NC

As a start-up training and recruiting small business, I have realized that the old school thought that we can save money by training ourselves still exists. Let's have the managers do it and save a few bucks. Here is the thing; businesses can't afford not to emphasize training today. My cold calls end up dry; prospects postpone sessions, and I sit wondering why? Just like when we make health care free and then soon realize how expensive it is, NOT having your teams motivated, rehearsed, and refreshed with new ideas and strategies to serve customers costs the business revenue as well.

For customers, it is all about the experience. Training experience is invaluable. If you have to cut, scrimp, and save your way into 2009, don't make training your victim...

Happy Selling!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Idle Thoughts (NOT) Again

Apex, NC 3-23-09

Sales of small cars are down drastically. No $%#& Sherlock. People do not want small cars. They want cars with good gas mileage.

An Abu Dhabi investment firm bought 9.1% of Daimler. Can you say Abu Dhabi Benz?

The simplest way to fix the current economy is to put it in brackets. The Administration closely monitors those.

Retail gas prices are down a penny nationally. It is the first time a penny made the national news. What's next? Who said a dog eating cash?

Geithner announced the latest economy plan. Someone should tell him the emphasis is on late not latest.

U.S. consumer spending slowed in February. BUY SOMETHING PEOPLE!!

Unemployment will skyrocket in June. All those college seniors will graduate.

Denny's is adding yogurt and granola to the menu. That will fill the parking lot...

Airports now want to find friends on Facebook. Other big institutions are doing it already.... the POLICE.

Twitter has spam. Like everybody on Twitter wants "a cool new computer for cheap. That is a non-sweet cheap tweet.

Happy selling!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

TRAIN, COACH AND MOTIVATE

3-21-09 Apex, NC

I was recently in a store in trouble. When you sell just three new in a month and you are highly capable of selling 15-25, that's CRAP.

But training has lost focus in this retail store. Traditional training is not hammered 24-7. I say train your people. How about this to increase NEW sales...

"Mr. Jones, I realize that you want a used vehicle this afternoon. Great choice. But you deserve the opportunity to assess all your options. Do you realize that pound for pound you can get a brand new vehicle today, and stay within your budget? Many of our new vehicles have rebates, dealer cash, great terms and unbelievable rates. I bet you we can put your family into a brand new BLANK with a full warranty, road-side assistance and be competitive with your wallet. In fact, if you buy new today, I am throwing in your first rotation and your first oil change at no charge. Let me show you this one over here... Follow me."

Now, with some adjustments, this word track can be flipped to sell used... BUT...

HERE IS THE THING. Training is an investment. It is invaluable! You double whammy your people when you do not train on a consistent, same page, regular basis. They suffer and your customer suffers. I am a solid trainer. Great track record. But I am sitting home way too much doing blogs like these when I should be in YOUR store. (W.T.F.) And I am not the only trainer with this unbelievable plight. We talk you know. Your people need fundamentals, negotiation and closing skills, and that continual re-affirmation that grows them professionally. This whole 360 is CRAP. You need me at your Monday and Saturday meetings. You need me at the desk. I promise you if I can sit at your tower on a Saturday for only two hours, you will have tons of training opportunity that comes out of those 120 minutes.

Your people and your customers deserve quality, continual training.

Now go sell some NEW cars. Just because they walk in for that 12 G car, does not mean they walk out with one. Check me out at www.vtrconsulting.com

Oh yeah, I come with a money back guarantee... You don't like. You don't pay!

Happy selling!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Idle Thoughts- The Tutorial

3-19-09 Apex, NC... Saint Joseph's feast day is 3-19-09. He of course was a carpenter, and the husband of Mary... Yes, he was the one with the famous KID... Anyway, he is the Patron Saint of Workers. The Vatican declared Joseph the Patron Saint of (those needing) work as well. I am still praying to him...

The Prez is going on Leno, has his Final Four predictions off his plate, and will be starring in the new FOX sitcom, "They Voted for Me!" It is a comedy... He also will be nominated for supporting actor role in "Bring Back George!"

Congress is racing to push the bill through that will clobber the AIG bonuses. Pay attention here fans, I have Congress and racing in the same sentence.

The recession will be over the hump by August if gas stays under $2.50 a gallon.

A company paid $370 recently to put a half-page ad in a newspaper. The company paying for it? Google... The Cook Islands News is the lucky paper. Honest!!

Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, submitted a bill to give $5000 to people turning in Clunkers at dealerships. I LOVE IT... I heard Archie and Jughead are following Betty's advice! Veronica always has a new ride...

Madoff's auditor was charged with fraud... REALLY NOW???

Alexis Grace, the best female singer on American Idol, got the Fan boot and the Judge boot. OUCH!! She deserved to stay.

Back to St. Joseph... Dear Saint Joseph, I am willing to work for money. But people are saying they do not have any. Who are they praying to?

Happy selling!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Greenest Salesman

3-17-09 Apex, Ireland... Good ole' Saint Patrick, he was a great salesman. After getting his can kicked as a youth by Irish seamen, he converted an entire country to listen to his message of Peace and Hope. Born in Britain, and probably Scotland, he was first a priest and then a bishop, he lived until 461 A.D.

He was so good a salesperson, and left such a huge customer base, that his referrals from 460 A.D. drink to his memory centuries later.

Wished he sold cars... The green ones are the cheapest at auction!!

Happy(St. Patty's Day)Selling!

Have a cold green one on me, and thanks for buying!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Turn Turn Turn

3-16-09 Apex, NC. I feel it. I really feel it. We have rounded the corner of Recession Blvd. and Wallet Ave. No, we are not home free. But the times they are a changing. To everything, turn, turn, turn...

I see the light, maybe it is six- nine months out but we are getting to the light.

It is extremely exciting. People are getting ready to spend again. Consumer confidence is tied directly to the Dow Jones. And the Dow had a solid week. I think people will never go back to their free spending, rack up the charge cards, frenzy spending.

That is good. People will go back buying what they need very soon. And beyond the grocery list.

Automobiles are next on the buying agenda... I feel it!

Happy selling!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Perfect Service

Apex, NC 3-15-09... I have to tell you I was impressed last night. Many restaurants and appliance stores are suffering. These two examples are not. We had a great dinner at Carrabas last night. The key is value. You get great food, and a lot of it. They now offer small $2 desserts... virtually every diner had one on the table. Love the strategy.

HH Gregg was next last night. Great store and again great value; wide aisles and major appliances. They do not have a little of everything like most appliance stores. They carry just mainly appliances and televisions. That is about it. You want a fridge you have 20 to look at. Both businesses were BOOMIMG last night.

Give customers what they want and guess what? You have traffic. The lessons are simple. Offer great stuff. Offer value. Offer what you are good at. That is it. Every wait staff member and every salesperson had one thing in common. They all were polite, friendly, and smiling... Gotta love it.

Happy selling!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Idle Thoughts AGAIN

3-12-09, Apex NC

Wall Street Journal still has a full Money and Investment section... Why?

Obama signs an imperfect bill. Tons of PORK. A veto would have sent the message he has been preaching since early last year. Words and actions must mirror each other.

Big story yesterday. National debt is falling. Duh... who in the %$#& is increasing their personal and professional debt table...

Maytag is recalling 1.6 million refrigerators. Rumor is Budweiser is taking them to court to stop it...

Auto Sales in China have increased 25%. Yeah... They HALTED TAXES to stimulate the growth. Because of it, China will see an 8% increase in car sales through 2009. EARTH TO WHITE HOUSE. EARTH TO WHITE HOUSE!

President Obama has been in the White House 50 days, seems like 50 months...

That new strategy on American Idol to save or not to save is worse than waterboarding. NOW we see the singer rejected and embarrassed TWICE on national television. It actually HURT to see the kids destroyed like that. Ouch Simon. That had to have been your idea.

Mini Coopers are still selling at sticker. Sales have fallen double digits. Looks like Mini Coopers should be selling NOT at sticker.

Happy selling!

Monday, March 9, 2009

It Must Be In Our Hands

3-9-09, Apex, NC...

Since January 20, gas has gone up 20 cents a gallon and the stock market has gone down 20%. Is this Inside the Beltline's version of 20-20? What is next, Dancing with the Stars?

Let's start CRAP... CITIZENS REVOLT AGAINST POLITICS...

I like it; are you with me?... I bet there is already a www.crap.com out there. No way am I googling that.


I know this much... If my training and recruiting business is any kind of signal, we have to fix things fast.

With the global economy shrinking for the first time since WWII, this fix needs to come from us. It has to come from within.

We cannot depend on politics to fix economics. When have those two things ever gone hand-in-hand?

The real sadness is that a ton of talent will leave sales, the car business in particular, and head to "safer" pastures... Sales always drive growth. Yes, we have to GROW out of this. But can we wait?

I will soon will be teaching part-time again; sometimes income trumps passion.

But I will always be in the car business.

I still think we need to start some CRAP!!

Happy selling!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Did It. It is Me.

3-8-09... Apex, NC, I had to take the boy kid to the dentist early last week (I have a girl kid too) and when we left DDSville, the kid wanted lunch. With a Cookout close, it was a natural thought. My wallet fought back. Two Washingtons do not cut it for lunch. "Hey, I will make you a sandwich when we get back to the house." "Okay"... was the meek reply.

Right behind the dentist is a Fresh Market. Usually I would hit it for a few things while the kid was in the chair and then high tail it back to pick him up. Remember hitting Fresh Market for a few things is always $35.

Then it dawned on me. I am the crumb bum messing the economy up. That Cookout should have grabbed ten bucks from me, Fresh Market thirty five... That was $45 I did not spend. These two fine establishments were short $45 that day. The taxes the government would have grabbed went AWOL too.

I am the one messing things up. It is me. NOW multiply me times a few million.

Honestly, I have not spent much money at all this past week. Now, when my lease is up in December, I will get a new vehicle. But that is nine months away.

If we do not spend, businesses and the government receive no revenue. Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'. So...

I PROMISE I WILL SPEND MONEY EVERY DAY THIS WEEK. Look for me, I am coming!

Happy selling.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Idle Thoughts Too

3-6-09 Apex, NC...

Remember when bankrupty was considered a bad thing?

How come the only Americans guaranteed their jobs with great pay and benefits are elected officials?

Arrogance and greed started this recession. The banking system was number two.

If you are really honest, no matter who you voted for in November, did you vote for this?

General Motors stock is cheaper than a gallon of gas. Can you smell the irony?

The same experts who tell us times are very bad are the same experts who told us that stocks were solid investments.

If we own the banks now, are we socialists?

My 401k changed to a 301j.

Money was set aside for manure research in the stimulus package. Dang, I really want to be honest here but you stopped me...

Happy selling!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Crisis in Confidence

3-05-09 Apex, NC... I know the old saying well... Time heals everything. And you know, that saying is correct; no matter what major issue we have personally or professionally experienced in life, over time we accept the event and move forward knowing that life by definition has its share of sadness, tragedy, and things we do not understand.

The problem with time is that we are not very patient. How many of us need to lose weight and want that first five pounds off in 24 hours. Or when we have to sit at a red light for three minutes and that seems like forever. We can think of a lot of things.

We all want a healthy economy. We all want to see the car business succeed. Not just the Big Three, Toyota was down 40% in February.

The majority of Americans want to WORK, have job security, health benefits, and good pay.

All of us who are affected by the recent tank of the economy, and I mean all of us, wants things to go back to "normal" tomorrow.

Here is how to do it. BUY SOMETHING. If you hold back and delay purchases of both product and services you are making things worse.

Quite frankly, my small business is very challenged by lack of confidence. The dealerships I can support just are not paying for training or recruiting right now. Every time I talk to them, whether it is here on the East Coast or in the Midwest, General Managers are just making do without. They would rather let the less successful leave and keep the survivors. They will go with less salespeople rather than pay for training.

This mind set is not 100% their fault. Sales have dived. Profits have dived. And NOTHING happens until you sell something. For every potential sale there needs to be a buyer. And at 2009 sales projections, we have not seen numbers like we are seeing since 1981.

The only way my business and all the other small businesses will survive is to sell enough vehicles to support process improvement for the troops. As the larger businesses improve, the smaller follow suit.

I just hope my personal and professional confidence outlasts my patience. Because right now there are many of us running slightly faster than the bills...

I know things will get better; but how many of us will survive in a land of doubt? No Pastor is successful without a congregation...

Happy selling!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Idle Thoughts

3-03-09 Apex NC...

Is 6500 the population of Carlsbad, New Mexico or the present number of the Dow Jones? I am guessing Dow Jones.

Is 10 million really how many new vehicles will be sold in 2009? I think 10 million is the number of McDonald's hamburgers we ate today instead of a real lunch.

Is Rush versus Barack on HBO Saturday night at 10 EST? Quite the match I hear.

How can taxpayer and money have any connection? I am hearing taxpayer money all the time in the same sentence.

"Google" jobs and shovel and tool sites pop up.

Staycations will be the norm this summer.

Everybody and his mother will dig an awkward looking patch in the backyard and try gardening as soon as the ground is warm enough.

They are putting plug posts in downtown Raleigh for hybrids. What if I don't want a plug hanging out of my bumper?

Did you notice gas prices and oil prices are now unrelated?

How many of us were born at night; just not last night!

Who is lonelier? Someone stranded on a South Pacific Island or a HUMMER salesperson on the curb?

Notice how no one complains out loud about work anymore?

No matter how mean your boss is, are you not secretly thinking you are so lucky to have one?

Does AIG really stand for absolutely ignorant and greedy?

Remember when going out meant a restaurant?

And finally, don't you long for the good old days... AUGUST!!!

Hang in there; actually accolades must go to the HUMMER professional... I have trained quite a few, and one half of my garage houses a gorgeous H 3 Alpha... wish I could afford to drive it!!

Happy selling!

7062.93

Monday, March 2, 2009

Short and Sweet

3-2-09 Apex, NC...In the things could be worse department, 26 years ago I was a victim. They did not even call it carjacking then; they called it stolen car. I had a sawed off shot gun put in my face about 11:30 at night on Tuesday March 2, 1982. In an instant, gone was my car, my wallet, and any illusions of my mortality. I thought I was done that night. I gave him everything I had. I laid down in the wet snow like he told me to. And I did not look up until he was a half block away. !982 was much like 2009 is today for the car business. Times were tough. When things got real bad job-wise that year, I just counted my blessings.

No matter how bad things are, remember to count your blessings. I sure did that night...

Happy selling.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

7062.93

3-1-09 Apex, NC... Much of the U.S. is seeing March come in as a lion... We sure could use a little lamb... Where is Mary when you need her?

Seriously, the above number in my title reflects the Dow Jones... What will this new week bring? The economy just cannot get it together; and we can't send it to Betty Ford, it just is not that easy to rehab.

The President thinks he is the winning combination of FDR, JFK, LBJ and Reagan; on the other side we have Rush Limbaugh throwing F bombs... Failure, feud, fiasco, fear and flop.

Not surprisingly, we have so called experts using the term "massive restructuring" instead of what it really is... bankruptcy... Meanwhile we average citizens are still struggling to pay monthly bills. The alleged playmakers are in better stead. I do not think Rush or Barack fly coach, eat ramen noodles, or dig for change to put gas in the family car.

Let's get real...

Here is what we need to do. But again who am I?

Lower taxes. Lower interest rates. Help small business. Create incentives to purchase items that we have avoided purchasing since September.

Putting more money into an employee's paycheck. It is the only answer.

The car business has to survive. Period. Saving Detroit is critical. It is ESSENTIAL. It is not just General Motors or Chrysler here; the local grocery store and dairy queen go bye-bye along with dealers and suppliers.

Small businesses, like mine and so many others, MUST survive. The majority of our commerce in this country comes from small business.

WE can help ourselves if the politics let us. Put money where it needs to be, our pocket books.

It is never any good when political parties fight. I thought these leaders had more brains than this. Whose side are they really on?

Putting the economy back in our hands is just the start to increase sales and profits for everyone.

Let's see the fallout of Rush's speech and the administration's reaction. Maybe POSITIVES will come from it.

Happy selling!