Masters of Change

There is one thing that every century has agreed upon; the one true constant in life is – Change!

Ok, so we are Dealers; we are used to having to think on our feet, and YET – we are the ones to resist “change” the most. Go figure. We are comfortable at “change” in OUR Arena of Expertise.  Some of us are “stallions” at buying units, some at selling them, a few of us are great at customer relations or promotions . . . and the list goes on.

So, where does that Expertise come from?

Practicing whatever skill or action “it” is, and doing “it” a gazillion times until we do not have to even think – we just DO “it”.

So it seems that the “change” we fight most is in the arenas of our life we know little about.

Follow along with me while I explain – If we know little in a certain area of our business and we find a “work around” that gets the job done, we do not “change” it – we depend upon that work-around.

Hey, we are cool with it; the work-around is good and functioning correctly, so we go about doing everything else in our day, right?

Well, what if our “work around” catches a flat or blows a head gasket? (so-to-speak) –if that were to happen to us on any given day; most of us go straight into either panic or piss-off.


Why is this? – we are busting our butt to keep the dealership making money and moving forward and NOW this situation blows up in our face and the only way that you know how to do it doesn’t work; it just got a flat / blew a gasket (remember).

Now we have to stop our day and try & figure out how to “fix” the situation; so who do we have to call to get the knowledge and then implement it?

Here is an example:

 Jim has a 7-year old business, he turns 20 units a month; the lot holds 38 units and is usually full.

 He has 1 full time salesman, a part time porter, a woman that keeps his books and answers the phones (she is 9am to 3 pm Monday through Friday).

 Jim is the one buying and running the units between shops to get them ready. Jim’s typical day starts online at auctions, then at the shops, then at auctions in the afternoons, then back at the shops, a stop or 5 at the dealership, all while fielding 157 phone calls and making 3-4 thousand decisions (is this the right unit/can I make good gross after Recon/which one to the garage first/which is best for the lot in 3 weeks, small SUV’s or Gas Sippers /  Pick-Ups . . . etc.) You all know the drill.

 In the very middle of this normal chaotic routine, Jim gets a call and is informed that the 6 units he bought last night at auction have to be out of the gate by 5 pm today.

 It seems the auction has a special sale and in order for them to have the space for the special inventory, Jim’s units have to get gone. After all, the auction does have 40 rigs in the parking lot right now waiting to unload and 25 more rigs on the way – or at least that’s what the gal from auction told Jim!

 Now, Jim has used the same 2 transport companies for 3 years now and the have never let him down. NOW neither one can send drivers or pick up the units and here it is 1 pm.

What is Jim going to do? – probably call a buddy and get some phone numbers to other transport companies or maybe he will call the auction and see if they have one or – or – or .

 The point is that Jim has to go WAY out of his comfort zone to “call-in-a-favor” for information or help.  So it is natural that Jim falls into either piss-off or panic. After all that is what you or I would do – right? Guess what PEOPLE – it does not have to be that way! We have to get our head around the concept of CHANGE and become Masters at adapting-on-the-fly!

“The most flexible element in a given situation is the one that controls the situation”

In other words – you learn how to “bend” in the windstorm.

Those dealers that have become really adept at their business and seem to constantly grow – are Masters-Of-Change.  They KNOW change is coming – maybe not which direction it will blow in from and yet they are ready for it.

So how does a person get ready for change?

Stay loose – look for the lesson – make the very best of the situation and MOVE ON!

Sounds so simple – yea right!

It is not simple, it takes scads of practice and a supertanker full of patience and time (something all dealers have extra of – right?).

Gee, that situation really sounds familiar – sounds just like Expertise:

To practice “it”, doing “it” a gazillion times until we do not have to even think – we just DO “it”.

At that point we become experts at “change”.

Just like you learned how to buy cars, just like you learned how to sell cars – you have to take “change” at face value.  When you were learning how to either buy or sell it is not like you did not have your fair share of set-backs and mistakes and just rolled with them.

Do not pass judgment on “change” – it is neither good nor bad.  Change is what it is – inevitable.  So something goes awry in your already hectic day – no need to blow a cog or have a melt down. Handle it the VERY best you can, and then get back to your day. It is when we make judgment calls on ourselves, for how we handled the situation that become so destructive to us and our business. Being a master-of-change takes a lot of work and will constantly put you in areas you do not have solutions for – get used to it.

Expect it!

There is a key to all of this – relax, breathe and THINK. Life will not end on this planet if you “mouse-up”. That is not to say there will not be consequences, (bad or good), for the way you did implement the “change” you had to deal with in that situation.  Get the situation handled & get back in the saddle. Finish your day, and keep your goals in sight while you are doing all this.

There will be a course on Masters-of-Change starting in July (dates and pricing to be posted on our webpage). It will be an online class and be specifically aimed at the skills you need in order to truly Master “Change”.  It is going to be somewhere around a dozen classes and each one will be about 90 minutes (enough time to cover the material and answer some questions).

EXPECT homework!

This material is something that I have been teaching my dealers and entrepreneurs for over 2 decades and IT WORKS (when you remember to use it – you know that practice thing)!

OK I have said my peace and my sales pitch.

You guys get out there and create a great Tax Season for yourselves and remember – “change” is waiting out there just for you.  “Change” is stalking you, hunting you and just waiting to “eat your sack lunch” and there is no way you can stop it. You can however be ready for “change” when it strikes.  You are capable of dealing with “change” after all YOU built your dealership and are already a master-of-change in certain areas of your life – remember that fact and be gentle with yourself especially if the situation you were “changing” goes sideways.

The sun will rise tomorrow and “change” is in the air!  Make the best of it – and I look forward to working with you in class!

Tom Hampton




Off to a Great Start

Linares Auto Center_Jan2014Class copy

Well, this year is off with a bang!

Just got back from a Sales Training Seminar with Linares Auto Center. If you’re in the McAllen area, drop by their location & check them out. Good People!

We’re heading out again to the first DMV Dealer Training Seminar of the year, on the 16th. It’s going to be at Norris Conference Center in San Antonio. There’s still room available if you’d like to attend. Check out our Upcoming Events page for the Sign Up Link.