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Thursday, April 30, 2009

The New New Chrysiat

4-30-09 Apex, NC

We will never forget this day. Ever. It is dark, cloudy and pouring rain in Detroit. And Walter Chrysler is turning over. The Dodge Brothers have tears running down their cheeks and are now the Blues Brothers. And everyone in the now defunct Chrysler LLC is on pins and needles waiting for the shiny shoe of the White House to drop.

Interesting it was done on the last day of the month and the last day of the quarter. Perfect timing to go bankrupt. Any car guy would have waited a day or two. But the spokesperson, the announcer, the gentleman with the shiny shoes, is no car guy. He is the President. Wow... No one from Chrysler announced this powerful change.

Over time this could be a good thing. But we are looking at 12-18 months from now. Allegedly Chrysler Financial goes away and GMAC walks in. GMAC? I would be careful with that too. Time will tell with GMAC financing Chrysler customers.

What happens to dealers, suppliers, employees, inventories, floorplan, warranties, and the success of all the local businesses tied to Chrysler? One in seven are directly or indirectly supported by the auto industry.

Bankruptcy can be messy... Does Delphi come to mind?

Chrysler as a company stops right now. It goes to bankruptcy court. Assembly plants close NOW. This impacts every aspect of the US economy and this will set back consumer spending.

I have family at Chrysler. I have good friends at Dodge stores. I just pray and hope everyone making this decision today knows what they are doing.

Godspeed and BUY AMERICAN.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

(Scarier) Idle Thoughts

4-29-09 Apex, NC

This is the time of month to go get a car; the deals have truly never been better for you the customer. The salespeople already know tomorrow is the end of the month. Hope both parties take advantage of it.

Pontiac going bye-bye does not mean your warranty and your service disappears. My daughter's Oldsmobile visits the Cadillac store on a regular basis.

Someone will buy HUMMER. Someone will buy Saturn. Saab will survive. The main companies will go to the Toyota model very soon. Toyota-Lexus, Honda-Acura, Nissan-Infiniti, Cadillac-Chevrolet, Ford-Lincoln, Chrysler-Fiat; oh this will happen sooner rather than later. Volvo, Dodge, Mercury, GMC, maybe even Jeep will go the way of nameplate heaven. Gosh I loved Ramblers.

Actually I want a big block turquoise 1964 Tempest coupe... The fastest pre-GTO type of car.

Now the fun stuff...

OctoMom the Musical started auditions today in L.A.

We now must time the washing of our hands to the tune of "happy birthday" twice... Sense the irony? Man, I cannot make this stuff up... In an aside, the President was filmed eating cake. Honest AND...

YES... You can eat pork. Just cook it to 160 degrees. Swine Flu has nothing to do with PIGS... dang I need a RED hot dog STAT. And a big fat juicy pork chop...

How can the Feds give big banks stress tests? I thought a human heart was a necessary ingredient.

Check out companies like Macy and JC Penney. They know the 4th quarter will bring buying consumers. Look at the stocks. Anticipate a strong holiday season. Retail stocks rise in recovery.

The President has been in office 100 days. I have seen situation comedies less crazy. Press conferences almost six days a week, aggressive agendas, stimulus and BIG spending, health care, energy, General Motors, Pelosi, Reid, nominations, re-nominations, re-re-nominations, education, whew... what is next waterboarding corporate bonuses? I have never, ever seen a more interesting administration. I have to get that list of campaign promises! Lots of things to keep my thoughts IDLE.

Check out tinyurl.com

Hockey Prediction... Red Wings win against the Canes in 6 games for the Lord Stanley Cup.

Baseball Prediction... The Red Sox will be strong all year.

Basketball Prediction... Cleveland needs to win something.

Football Prediction... The Detroit Lions will win four games!

Gas Price Prediction... We will not see $3.00 a gallon in 2009.

Social Media Prediction... Twitter will be off the charts by summer. @salestherapist

Automobile Sales Prediction... 12.6 Million in 2009

Happy selling!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Idle Thoughts Really Again

4-27-09 Apex, NC

Talladega needs to keep the cars on the ground. The catch fence did just that. Up to seven fans were hurt when debris blazed through the fencing. How long before we slow it down there?

You have to grab the book "How to Ask for the Appointment and Get It" by Chris Morrissette. No matter what you sell, it is worth it. Go to www.forfreeandforfun.com

The media and U.S. Health Officials have us all worried about Swine Flu. The cases here in this country are infrequent and mild in nature. And yes, you can eat pork. In North Carolina, where there are more pigs than people, the industry must communicate this fact.

What will save GM as it considers all sorts of options is growth. GM CHINA.

Twitter is growing leaps and bounds. A type of "text" Facebook, Twitter is generating all sorts of publicity. You can follow me @salestherapist.

Have you noticed all the gardens popping up in the backyards of America? It is no wonder, I paid way too much for tomatoes from Fresh Market.

Things are coming together for Fiat and Chrysler. But, by the time you read this, Pontiac, Saturn, Saab and HUMMER should be GM orphans.

Things are getting better in Michigan. My brother Mark goes back to his job today after months of unemployment. Things are getting better...

Happy selling!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Shutting Detroit Down

4-24-09 Apex, NC

Oh boy. It is serious now. It almost looks inevitable that Chrysler is going into Chapter 11, and that General Motors will become Gen Mo... Cut in half with elimination. It is a very scary mess. That Kangaroo station down the street, that local grocery store, restaurants across America will be affected. When Gen Mo closes factories for NINE weeks this summer, the ripple will be felt everywhere. This single act alone will set the economy back again.

The new song, "Shutting Detroit Down" rings true. I have never seen it in my lifetime. To think that Fiat SpA will save Detroit is cutting edge crazy. This is way bigger than that. If you are thinking of buying or leasing a vehicle do it now and only buy Detroit. Sales will save the Big Three. Oh Baloney! I hear you out there.

The quality and MPG of Detroit sheet metal rivals and exceeds that of Toyota and Honda and that is across the board. Jump in a Malibu. Drive a Fusion. Most Detroit trucks get 20 mpg highway; and that includes the infamous HUMMER. The H3 can go 400 miles on a tank of gas. The illusion still exists. Take a gander at what manufacturers lead in recalls. It is not Detroit!

I hear you again. That is bull too. Detroit built what people bought for years. There have been 17.5 million vehicles sold in a year very recently. Until May of 2008,since 1992, every year was a record year in sales. People were buying and buying big. When Detroit and the economy take a step back AGAIN this summer, look in the mirror!

Detroit needs you right now. In WWII, it was Detroit who built the tanks, planes, and jeeps to keep us free. It was Detroit who created the Middle Class in this country. And it is Detroit who needs you now!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Life on Earth 1970

4-22-09 Apex, NC...

Well it is Earth Day again. I remember the first one. As a high schooler, we had projects and presentations. It was a big deal. The next year not so much! But it does symbolize how far we have come as a "global" community.

Here was 1970 for my generation... The Beatles and the Supremes broke up. Computers were the size of small rooms. To call someone you had to find the chord. Bob Hope and Vietnam partnered together. Dick Nixon was president. I discovered a new comic and started reading Doonesbury. There were still World Fairs, this one was in Osaka. Paul VI was the head of the Catholic Church. The Vega and Pinto rolled the streets. Hippies and Frats existed.

It was a simple time actually. Gas was still 23 cents a gallon. I had a V-8 Comet that I ran hard and put away wet... My first car... Vinyl roof and two doors. AM radio played cool stuff 24-7. Working for the car companies was fairly simple, if you knew someone on the inside. I did. They were hiring like crazy especially in the salaried white collar arena. Globally, Ford had somewhere near 70,000 salaried employees. In fact, 8.4 million passenger cars sold in the US in 1970. The industry was strong and muscle cars cruised on a Saturday night, or parked at the drive-in.

Today Earth Day actually still has purpose. The people who exist today conserve water. They recycle. And they at least know what a hybrid is. I smiled this morning when I found out that a Toyota Camry hybrid will pace the Coca-Cola 600. This in a sport that still runs carburetors and just changed last year to unleaded fuel.

NASCAR is going green... Me, I still LOVE the rumble of a V-8 so don't take my HUMMER away... where are my bell bottoms? I still love the feel of jeans!

Happy selling!

Monday, April 20, 2009

IMPORTANT MESSAGE

http://heavens-gates.com:80/usworkers/

salestherapist is a very proud Native Detroiter.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Domestic Please, with All the Fixins!

4-18-09 Apex, NC

Most of these thoughts apply to everyone in any business. BUT THIS is...

An open array of fixins for all my car brothers and sisters, from Fritz to Detail...

If you are not passionate about fixing the car business now, or if you are staying in it for money first, please feel free to use the restroom on the way out.

Do not loan money to customers who cannot pay it back. Remember the last time you loaned someone a buck?

Know your product like the back of your hand. And put that knowledge into solution-based common sense that your customers will understand.

Let your trainer train. He or she cannot hold 10 other positions that no one wants to do. Training happens all the time until it is interrupted by a customer.

DO NOT let the White House and Congress tell you how to operate your business. They would go bankrupt if they did not have our tax money.

Dealers, manufacturers, and suppliers must sing on the same page. That would be a historic first.

Our business learns from mistakes. It never learns from profit.

Pay employees a salary when they are learning, not a draw. Groom them into commission.

On your busiest day, typically Saturday, spiff your first deal. In fact spiff every deal. Pocket money is a great morale booster.

In your deals, be as honest as a boy scout, as frank as a traffic cop, and as understanding as your Mom.

The fixins have not changed. We just need to focus on the ball. Sell people a product they want and they need. And be realistic if they trade.

Happy fixins!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Idle Thoughts NOTTAGAIN

Apex, NC 4-17-09

Interesting that this past week there was nary a mention in reference to President Lincoln's assassination or to the sad tragedy of the Titanic.

The same economists who did not predict the October collapse are hinting at the recession being over by third quarter. This time I hope they are right.

In 1907, Henry Ford needed salespeople. The best ones did not want to get into the car business; did not trust the new venture. What did Henry do? He paid them more than they were getting selling whatever they were selling. He got his salespeople.

In 1930, in the depths of the recession Ford was holding its own. Ford was always blindly optimistic. He did not care about economic conditions. He knew his optimism would win out. He was right.

You want pink slip protection? Do your job.

Southwest Airlines lost money again. Why? They are the best example of success. Well no one is flying. How do I know that? Because no one is driving. How do I know that? Gas is still two bucks...

Google's growth has slowed. People are searching BUT not buying. One gets fussy with wallet and purse when there is not much in them.

If you are owed a tax refund in the State of North Carolina it is coming by turtle. If you paid on the 15th, North Carolina already cashed your check.

Hero... It is spelled Captain Phillips.

The administration has recommended that GM shelve GMC. Allegedly the President just is not impressed with the GM plan. See what happens when you are forced to take money. Now everyone is a car guy. What goes away next? Sedans?

Today's newest trends: smart phones, social marketing, tiny burgers, Wii, Chapter 11.

There are career fairs out there charging people who are out of work. Huh??

Finally, Limbaugh had a great point today. When capitalism is challenged, government gets stronger. BUT it never works the other way.

Monday, April 13, 2009

See the Business!

4-13-09 Apex, NC... I sent a friend of mine to the dealership over the weekend. He wants a Trailblazer SS. I suggest that he go see the HUMMER H 3 Alpha as well. It too is a V 8. It is fun, unique and very high profile to ride around in. There are not a lot of these around. It is different. He likes that. Plus you can climb anything in the truck, from an ant hill to Grandfather Mountain. The MPG is the same as the Chevy.

He shows up at the dealership I sent him to. Now remember, this guy is a buyer. He is ready. The salesperson tells him that there are no Alphas in stock . The salesperson does not take his name or his number. He does not suggest driving a used one. He does not ask him if he would be interested in anything else? (Like the Trailblazer SS)!!

My friend leaves. He calls me and tells me the story. I hang up, go over to the wall, and I start beating my head. Because I know there are plenty of salespeople out there who walk their customer. Management never knows. Lost business in this economy simply should not be tolerated. Look at the time wasted.

But I do not blame the salesperson, well not completely. He did not see the business. I blame the training or lack of training this guy has got recently. I mean recently too. Unless training is regular and reaffirmed by management, it goes POOF after a few days.

Now, I am a sales trainer, not half bad; and I am not as busy as I was six months ago. Dealerships are saving money right now. Training ain't cheap. Let the managers do it. Here is a personal message to that salesperson and the manager responsible for results... TRAINING IS AN INVESTMENT. You lost a sale that day. My friend will probably not buy the HUMMER, and he won't be buying the Trailblazer, at least from you.

Oohh. He is a buyer. And he will be buying. Too bad too. I wanted him to buy from you...

I can help you... All you have to do is call.

Happy selling!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Customer, Profit is Your Fault!

4-11-09 Apex, NC... Holding gross for salespeople is the same as giving the store profit to the customer. Many customers often want something for nothing and are way out of whack with what they believe their trade is worth. Many salespeople want to make as much money as possible as the deal gets structured and want three of those deals a day. This creates a head banging scenario with the customer leaving and the salesperson bruised because of the non-results and time spent.

First be competitive. Your price presentation had better be marketplace driven. DO NOT present price until you have created value. Fair price and profit go hand-in-hand.

Partner with the customer as you assess the trade. Do it together. Assume the trade is a problem. The sales manager knows what the vehicle is worth. The customers have an internet-driven number in their heads that is often an issue.

Ray Kroc once said, "Look after the customer and the business will take care of itself." So listen to your customer. Customer... do not pretend you are in the car business. The Internet is full of creative disinformation. So do your homework as well. Times are getting better; sales are up. Salespeople expect to be paid, that is the profit part. And customers expect a fair and honest transaction. So give it to them. The profit will fall out. If done right, it is the byproduct of the opportunity.

Remember, the $3.49 hot dogs you bought at the grocery store did not cost the store $3.49. The $4.49 salad at the restaurant did not cost it $4.49. Expect profit. The lights will not stay on long if the dealership is breaking even. Profit means a pay check. I know many of you get your paycheck in the normal way, same amount every time, 15th and 31st. That does not happen in the car business. Then add 12 hour days and seven days a week sometimes.

Customer understand your salesperson. Salesperson understand your customer.

Nothing happens until you sell or buy a car...

Happy selling and happy buying and most of all Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Idle Thoughts Yet Again

4-09-09 Apex, NC

With Southwest Airlines flying in and out of LaGuardia now, there is unusual activity happening at the airport, on-time departures.

GM and Segway unveiled an electric two seat, two wheel vehicle. With GM soon to be cut in half, two wheels seems appropriate.

The land of Facebook has 200 million people. That makes it the fifth largest country in the world. Its motto? What's on your mind.

The G-20 tackled a number of key issues last week. They were also credited with two assists, a pass defensed, a sack and a safety.

The President refused to discuss the Pirates this morning. I think it is because he is a loyal White Sox fan.

Seriously, the Pirates off the African coast can pirate because no one is stopping them. Now we have an American Captain help hostage. Yes Navy, that is a hint.

With consumer confidence slowly growing, oil is going up. Man, I was just about ready to start putting beans with my rice and bologna with my mustard sandwich. Darn.

Locally, because of budget, our school children needing summer school will be denied unless they are graduating next year. I tried to check on this but there are two people saying they run education in North Carolina. And one of them is a Czar.

Ford and GM have started offering payment protection for people who are losing their jobs. Most of the eligible are Big Three employees.

Last night on American Idol, Frankie Avalon sang Venus in honor of Simon Cowell's birth year, 1959. The biggest hit that year was the now little played, "Rude Englishman in a Black T-Shirt" by the Idolettes.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Don't Leave Me a Voice Mail!

4-5-09 Apex, NC... Things have changed so much since I sported that neat looking gadget on my belt back in 1999. I had the coolest pager on the planet. I could not wait for it to buzz my belt. I would pull over and run to a pay phone, or wait until I could get to a free one to call the number back; "You paged me?"

I loved it... Then I got this HUGE cell phone for my belt. It was so big that I almost had to put it on a two wheel cart to carry the dang thing. I merged to a weather proof one, then a "state of the art one", then one that I was "always over on my minutes", but it had a very neat number pad.

I upgraded again to what was called a BlackBerry.. It was the size of a table calculator. But my boss payed for it so I really loved it... No bill!

I learned to communicate in e-mails to get things done. It was much faster than any phone call. Times being the way they are, last summer, the boss giveth and the boss can taketh away. I had to get a newer nicer BlackBerry on my dime, the Curve.

And now as a small business owner, I now have the right communications' tool.

Now I SMS people, BB messenger people, e-mail and tweet...

If you want me you text me. I react very quickly to this medium. I communicate with my two kids almost 100% in the SMS mode...

I react to e-mails quickly too.

But if you call me at the home office, or leave a message on my Crack, er, BlackBerry, I might not respond for 24 hours.

I tell people, especially my new contacts to "drop me a text first"...

I am knee-deep in the social business networks. If someone in one of those networks needs me, they send me a message from that site. I get it on my BlackBerry, and return the message that way.

My BlackBerry has killed the business telephone.

It has crushed voice mail.

I am deluged with messages. I spent awhile cleaning out the Curve yesterday and I still have 329 messages.

Do not take this wrong; I will return your call. I am in sales for gosh sake... but even my Mother who is 76 knows that texting is the way to go...

See ya voice mail... you are on the way out!!!

Happy selling...

And Happy Palm Sunday, may you stay on HIS good side...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Idle Thoughts (NO NOT) Again

4-3-2009 Apex, NC...

The number one issue for the FBI is political corruption... Really now.

The President of the United States is considered a rock star by the people in Europe. Nothing new, we consider Elton John a rock star here.

The G-20 protests in London are against capitalism. Here we need to gather and protest against socialism.

North Carolina will probably win it all, but for Detroit's sake and really for the state of Michigan, you have to be at least pulling for Michigan State in the Championship game. They need something. The last feel good story for Detroit was so long ago, I forgot.

That cash for clunker bill better pass in Congress. Now, if I can just get the heap started.

Love him or hate him, Bill O'Reilly's favorite fan is himself... by a mile.

Dave Letterman dislikes Rush Limbaugh... another, really now!

GMAC is financing sub-prime customers again. Bernie Madoff can stop that... Let him out.

General Motors will soon be parted down the middle like the Nile. The "Good" GM stays and the "Bad" GM goes bankrupt. Now, which is which?

Jeff Gordon will win for the first time in Texas,in the NASCAR race on Sunday.

March car sales are way down, but compared to last month, way up... Talk about March Madness...

Look at the market... things are turning the corner. The market has to go way up before my wallet does!

Have a great weekend!