Today’s Automotive Retail Management Crisis

Today’s Automotive Retail Management Crisis

Who is the best hockey player of all time? The leading scorer in NHL history, hockey hall-of-famer who still holds 60 NHL records and is the only player to have a jersey number (#99) retired league wide, is arguably “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky.

When Wayne retired from his impressive playing career, he took over as the head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. Unfortunately, his success didn’t translate to the sidelines. During his time with the Coyotes, Gretzky never led the team to playoffs and produced only one winning record in four seasons.

So why did Gretzky’s on-ice talent not translate directly into his role as a coach?

The reason is this: Being a great coach is a different skillset than being a great player. They are two completely different things.  Yet, what do we tend to do in the automotive industry? We take our best players off the floor and make them managers, we hardly train them on how to manage, and then we’re surprised when they fail.

It’s the equivalent of taking the best NFL player and making him a coach.  But, many of the best coaches in NFL history were NOT the best players. Consider Vince Lombardi, the man who many consider to be the greatest football coach of all time. Despite winning five NFL Championships — and the first two Super Bowls — Lombardi never even played football professionally.

Most of the problems that exist at dealerships today are a result of poor management. A lot of people in our industry that we call managers aren’t necessarily managers. They might be great on the desk—and they’re often strong closers—but they don’t all have management skills. In today’s industry, what managers are doing when there are no customers in the showroom is every bit as important as what they do when there’s a showroom full of customers. Managers who know how to manage activity and effectively convert business to the showroom are the managers who dominate in today’s business.

And these great managers are made, not born.

All great teams have one critical thing in common: great coaches. Teams don’t come together and win games without strong leadership guiding them. No team will achieve greatness despite poor coaching. If you want to be a great Manager and learn the playbook of the absolute best coaches, do what so many others have done and get to one of my Management By Fire events! It’s 2 ½ days of nothing but processes that are going to help you fill up your showroom with customers better, faster and smarter! For more information contact us directly at 480-659-4035 or visit