Time to make the donuts!

Meet, Greet, Test Drive! Over the years I have seen the simplest tasks we do become our biggest success or biggest failure.

Who remembers the commercial from years ago (circa 1984) when the Dunkin Donuts guy would walk in and out of the door repeatedly saying, “time to make the donuts”, “time to make the donuts”. I live next door to a gentleman that has been doing just that for over 40 years. He and his son own one of the first Dunkin Donuts and only Baskin Robbins franchise in town. It is almost a guarantee my neighbor is out of his house by 3:30 AM everyday (7 days a week) to be at his store to help “make the donuts”. Their pride has always been to make sure they are ready for that first customer who gets there at 4:30 AM and wants fresh hot donuts and coffee.

Although most of us who sell automobiles have not actually made them. We can make sure our cars are ready to be driven off the dealership. If we are prepared with clean, mechanically sound cars, ready for a test drive then we know we have done all we can to prepare to be successful.

The Meet, Greet and Test drive are our fresh donuts and coffee:

Meet – Acknowledge your customer. Welcome them on your dealership.

Greet – Introduce yourself and ask for their name. Most people appreciate when you remember their name and use it.

Test drive – It’s another way you can get to know your customer and they will get to know you as well.

Doing these three simple tasks increase your opportunity to turn that prospect into your customer. It’s not necessary to be the first one open at 4:30 AM, though it is necessary to be prepared to Meet, Greet and Test Drive. Happy Selling!

-Bill Elizondo, June 15th, 2018

What’s The Problem?

Lightbulb on blackboard idea bubble

Some days it’s more like “what’s NOT the problem”! Of the many hats we wear daily as owner/operators or managers, the Problem Solver hat often occupies much more of our time than needed.

Consider the following questions:

  • Do I have the right associates in the right positions?
  • Are my associates adequately trained considering their tenure?
  • Have I empowered them to make decisions within the boundaries set for them?
  • Have I created a culture in which my associates aren’t afraid to make a mistake (customer service withstanding) without fear of reprimand?
  • Can my business function smoothly if I am unreachable for one week?

If you answered no to any of these questions, then you my friend are the problem. As your business grows, so does your staff, inventory, customer base, and sometimes your facility. When you feel that you must make all the decisions, or at least be in control of the outcome of decisions, you become a bottleneck that slows associate productivity and stifles associate growth.

There are problems that only you can solve; decisions that only you can make. Those belong to you and no one else. But train your associates to handle the problems that are inherent to their position, establish the boundaries within which they can freely make decisions. Then provide routine follow up.

As owners or managers, we can get in our own way and make things more difficult than necessary. I can’t speak to their validity, but I want to close with some humorous but very real examples of how management can allow a problem to become much larger than the solution.

In the early days of our space program, NASA discovered normal pens would not work in space. They subsequently spent years and millions of dollars developing a pen that would write on any surface under any condition. Russia simply chose to use pencils.

A rather sizable Japanese cosmetic company received a consumer complaint that a couple of the boxes purchased contained no product (which happened to be bars of soap) inside the box. Management demanded immediate action and the engineers implemented a high definition X-ray machine monitored by two associates, to see inside the boxes as they passed by on the line.

A rank and file associate questioned the need for such an elaborate and time-consuming process and asked he could have a crack at it. He returned with a pedestal fan, plugged it in, faced it towards the production line and turned it on high. A $40 fan accomplished the same thing as the X-Ray machine for a fraction of the cost. I can list a few examples that relate directly to your business, but you get the idea…

  • Train your associates
  • Establish boundaries
  • Empower your associates
  • Get out of their way and allow them to do their job, so you have the time to do yours!

Training and empowering your associates will!

-Eddie Hight, June 8th, 2018