Success is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” That should tell us a lot about the value of goals and how we should approach them. Some of us never reach our goals, because we never set any. We may want to be successful, but without goals and purpose we really don’t have any way to measure our successes. That being said, even when we set real goals, there are many things that can stop us from achieving them if we don’t take them seriously.
Probably the most important element of success is passion. Without passion, our goals are just ideas and not likely to be accomplished. Passion shows that we really want what we say we want. Coaching legend Vince Lombardi knew how important this is when he wrote, “You don’t always get what you want, but you must always want what you get.” This is great advice for anyone desiring to make a mark in life and accomplish something great.
In our business, there are a lot of things to be passionate about. In fact, many people get into the retail automotive business because they have a passion for cars. That’s a good thing, but it doesn’t mean they will thrive selling them. Success is not based on the object of your passion; it is about the passion you have for accomplishing certain things that drive success. The fact that you like what you are doing is important, but it is the passion and desire you have for the results of your efforts that will truly make a difference for your success.
Knowledge is also an important factor in the pursuit of success. When we truly believe in what we want to accomplish, we will put forth the effort to learn everything we can that will help us reach our goals. Too many in our business rely primarily on their personality or ability to be persuasive. These can certainly be important factors for any salesperson, but things like product knowledge and professional sales strategies are just as essential for real and lasting success.
A true professional never stops learning. Today, this is especially important as the landscape of our industry is changing so dramatically. Staying on top of your game is more critical than ever before. Not only have automobile technologies become more sophisticated, but with the Internet playing such a large part in everyone’s life, today’s car shopper has different expectations that must be met. Understanding your customer is a critical part of the knowledge you need for success.
Having the right perspective is another important factor when it comes to mapping out a successful career. No matter how positive your words are, if you have a negative attitude these same words become meaningless. You can’t expect to get positive results if you speak negatively about your industry. In the same way you can’t expect to have success if you have a poor perspective of those who pay your bills. Get rid of any old adages like ‘buyers are liars’ that put negative thoughts in your mind about customers. They have no value at all and are truly unprofessional.
The car business still has a lot of hold-over issues from the old days. Many issues that were so detrimental to our public image are still out there trying to grab hold of another generation of car salespeople. The more you distance yourself from these, the better off you will be. They not only undermine the efforts that are being made to change that image, but they will do the same for your personal success.
Ask yourself this question: would you rather spend tens of thousands of dollars at a business where they made fun of you when you weren’t there? Or, would you rather go where your business was not only appreciated, but was earned through hard work and customer care? There won’t be a test, but you get the message I’m sure.
Success comes in steps. You don’t have to reach the highest peak on the first climb. Working your way up not only develops your skills at a more reasonable pace; it also helps to prepare you for when you become successful. Our business is unique in that you don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to make a good living. Some of the best in the business earning over six figures have never been to college or even finished high-school for that matter. What they did was build their business steadily and by learning how to get better with each and every deal they worked.
They learned how to set goals and how to accomplish them one step at a time. They weren’t afraid to say “I don’t know, but I will find the answer” when they came upon something that was challenging. They listened to those who had already become successful about what it takes to be successful. They valued their customers and understood that by doing so they were investing in their own future success.
Success stops when we don’t follow-up on the achievements we have already experienced. Selling a car to someone is great, and we are in high spirits when the happy customers drive away in their new car with a friendly wave. Selling one to them and to their family and friends and then selling another car to that same customer when they return to us for their next purchase is success.
When we do not invest the time to nurture and grow our business with follow-up and continued customer care, we are left to depend every day on new customers who walk through the front door. You may have an occasional successful day when that happens, but when no one is coming success stops.
Success isn’t the result of writing ‘20’ on the board at the monthly sales meeting when asked what you will do next month. It’s the outcome of working every deal as though it was the most important thing you could do for your customer, your dealership and yourself or your family. It is seeing every day as another opportunity to march toward the ultimate goals you have set for yourself.
In an industry where anyone who really wants to have a great career can do so, there shouldn’t be anything that can stop success for those who really want it. It is just a matter of doing the same thing every day. No matter how you feel, do what you know works and it will work for you. Make your plan and work your plan and your plan will work for you.
Success stops when we lose the passion to invest in ourselves and our personal growth. Success stops when we stop caring for our customers and only care about the next sale. Success stops when we stop looking for new ways to get better at what we do and start thinking that the business or the customer owes us a living.
There are a lot of things that can stop success, but only one that can make it come to pass: that thing is you! You are the secret to your success. You may buy all the right books and listen to all the right training CDs, but only when you put them into practice day after day will they produce success.
Life doesn’t have to end up being a should’ve, would’ve, could’ve experience; it can be would’ve could’ve, DID! No matter where you are today in the process of building for success, if you start doing the right things now you can expect a successful outcome and a great and fun career along the way.