One of my favorite shows is CNBC’s “The Profit.” Who doesn’t love a good redemption story about a failing business? They spotlight the players in the business to let the audience see what brought them down the path of destruction. Sometimes the drama is pretty thick and things heat up, especially once Marcus Lemonis arrives with a big check to get the business back on its feet.
It’s fascinating to see the processes (or lack thereof) and decisions that these people made that got them into trouble. It’s also just as fascinating to witness the outcomes once Marcus Lemonis dives in.
If you haven’t seen the show, Marcus uses his own money to save struggling businesses but they must turn over 100% of the operation to him. Over the years, he says he’s made hundreds of millions of dollars with his business partners. He’s also lost millions on some of the businesses that chose to ignore his advice.
“Money is the by-product, it is not the purpose.”
Marcus has a blueprint for success in business. He focuses on People, Process and Profit (which are three components near and dear to my heart). It’s those components that allowed me to run successful dealerships throughout my career.
There was a special episode of The Profit recently that outlined Marcus’ blueprint for success. It revisited the biggest triumphs and the total fiascos – wow, some were pretty crazy!
10 rules for dealership success I learned from Marcus Lemonis.
I’ve taken Marcus’ rules and interpreted them for dealership success. Let me know which ones resonate with you the most.
1. Don’t be an ass.
You must know how to treat people.
The goal is to get your people attached to the organization, not to run as fast as they can away from it.
Anger, yelling and screaming don’t make anyone want to come to work early and stay late.
2. Make your employees number one.
The old adage that, “The customer is always right,” isn’t exactly true. The customer isn’t number one, your employees are number one.
If you treat employees right ultimately they’ll interact with your customers. Those customer experiences will be remarkable.
Make your employees more attached to the organization, not less, by motivating and incentivizing them.
Employees like to know you have their back. Everybody’s worked for someone who didn’t have their back. So this one’s easy: don’t do that.
3. Know what you don’t know.
As a leader, you have to know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. When you know what you’re not good at, you find people that are good at it and make them part of the team.
Not all of us possess the skills to do everything, and if you can’t recognize that about yourself, you’re going to end up with a big pile of poo.
4. Accept the crazy.
If you’re going to work with family or close friends, you’ve got to recognize and acknowledge the issues and work around them.
It’s possible to work through family drama. It requires open, effective communication and a willingness to come together for the sake of the dealership’s health.
5. Be vulnerable.
People like to do business with people that are real because it gives them the sense that they’re not hiding anything.
Vulnerability isn’t easy.
Stick to your original mission. It takes a lot of courage to open up and own your story.
6. Be authentic.
There’s a big difference between telling your authentic story and creating a story in order to convince people you’re authentic.
Customers embrace believable, authentic stories. When telling your story, make sure it’s a work of nonfiction.
7. Be transparent
Earning customer trust with honesty and integrity is not a new practice. It’s the ways in which we’re able to convey those principles to customers that have changed.
If information is relevant to what you do, then the people who are affected by it have a right to know about it. Let customers decide whether it’s important or not and don’t filter it out for them.
8. It’s all about follow-through.
Lack of consistency and follow-through will kill any business.
Creation and implementation of even the best process is useless if your team isn’t executing. You’ve got to follow-through with an outline of your expectations and specific components to hold people accountable.
Trust your process and follow-through so that your efforts turn into rewards.
9. Know your numbers.
Numbers don’t lie.
Regular financial reporting and analysis is like a health report on the dealership.
You’ve got to review expenses, receivables, asset management, gross profit margins, and net profit. In order to make operational decisions – and to grow the business – you need to know the current status of the business.
10. Quit whining, start winning.
Running a successful store is not for sissies. Challenges happen every single day.
When things get dicey, and you’re looking for who to blame, get a mirror…because it’s always going to be you.
Quit whining and start winning. If you want people to respect you, take responsibility for your mistakes and your actions.