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Did Somebody Say “Car Salesmen?” 

I once had the distinct pleasure of speaking to a room full of car sales managers.

And you think your job is hard!

Every sales joke known to man has featured the car salesman as the focal point at one time or another. Next to root canal or a lobotomy, spending time with a car salesman has to round out the top three of places where you don’t want to spend your Saturday afternoons.

So how would you handle this assignment?

After giving it much thought I decided to play the “leadership” card. After all, my audience were the “suites” of the dealership and not necessarily the men and women in the show room or out on the lot. I figured my audience would be a lot like managers and owners of the local travel agency or any other company in town for that matter.
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I thought I would remind them of the seven traits of a leader:

  1. Make others feel important:  I don’t care who you are and how successful you might be. All human beings need recognition and applause. Be the provider of both on a regular basis.
  2. Promote a visionWhen on an airplane, my eyes go to the flight attendants when I feel a bump or bounce I am not familiar with. When at the office, eyes shoot toward the leader. If they appear in control, I am just fine. Let people know you are in control by letting them know you have things under control and you know where you are taking them.
  3. Follow the Golden RuleTreat others the way you want to be treated. Better yet, treat them the way they want to be treated. This is known as the Platinum Rule. The Platinum Rule supersedes the Golden Rule.
  4. Admit mistakes.Don’t sweep your mistakes under the rug. Use them as learning tools. When possible, make light of them in a professional and caring way. Self-deprecating humor is a good thing. Let your people go to school on your mistakes.
  5. Criticize in private. Better yet, don’t criticize at all. Coach. Everybody needs coaching. A coach’s job is to make players better. Be a coach. Play dual roles. Be coach and be the head cheer leader.
  6. Stay close to the action. Know what is going on. Be visible. Be approachable. Be fun to be around. Get your uniform dirty.
  7. Make a game of competition.You are not going to win them all. Adopt Jimmy The Greek’s motto when responding to Howard Cosell’s interview question.  Winning was Jimmy’s favorite past time. Losing came in second. What became clear was that the Greekster enjoyed the action. He liked playing the game.

T-it up. Roll the bones. Take your cuts. Take a number. Be a player.


Mike Marchev Mike Marchev has plenty of stories, strategies and tactics to keep you on top of your game.
Mike will be conducting his 5th annual Travel Sales & Marketing Business Development Cruise, sailing the Freedom of The Seas from Ft. Lauderdale. Email him at mike@mikemarchev.com for complete details. Five cabins are still available.
Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.

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