Would you rather have a team of greats or a great team?

Ok, let’s be more realistic. Would you settle for a team of “goods” in place of one crab-in-the-bucket rock star and his prey?

Many dealers find themselves on the receiving end of frantic phone calls from salespeople who’ve been “wronged” or suffered some perceived injustice due to a lack of equality in treatment. Every dealership has a superstar. The salesperson who outsells all the rest every month. For the sake of brevity let’s call him “Tank.” So Tank shuts down deals left and right. He’s a closing machine and is often called in to lock down other agents’ deals as well. He’s great. He knows it and everyone else knows it too.

What could possibly be the problem with Tank?

Yeah, you already know. Tank’s a massive jerk and everyone at the dealership hates him. Tank thinks the animosity springs from jealousy, lovingly referring to his co-workers as “haters.” In many instances its true. It is very easy for a sub-par salesman to form a distaste for a more successful co-worker and in-turn decide that he’s just not a good person. Buuuuuuut Tank also actually IS a jerk. He’s rude to his peers, short with managers, doesn’t follow the rules, and has an abysmal personality.

Does it matter? Tank’s closing deals and bringing in the money. Does it matter if he never uses the CRM? Do we care if he never parks his trade in the appropriate lot, instead of leaving it for someone else to handle? I mean, he is understandably very busy with all the success.  What about Saturday morning training? They’re mandatory but Tank doesn’t show, isn’t reprimanded, and no one seems to care. Is Tank above the rules? Should he be?

Historically we’ve subscribed to the philosophy that cash is king and he who brings in the most can do whatever he wants. We’ve given little concern to the emotional effect on others because “it would take 10 of them to equal one of Tank.” So, the cancerous person reigns and all others are expected to get over it or move along. The mistrust for management brews long and strong. Good salespeople leave and find a home elsewhere. Bad salespeople stick around until they’re asked to leave. No one is happy. One day Tank leaves and in his wake are left nothing but grumpy, uninspired underperformers.

New Work Force

With the new generations of more strongly emotionally-driven individuals crowding out the older models this strategy simply cannot continue. Dealers must cultivate a great team. A group of individuals who work well together, who help each other, and who have a mutual respect for their peers and superiors. My least favorite expression in the workplace, as in life, is “that’s not fair” because, frankly, life is not fair and this is not kindergarten. Millennials, however, disagree with me. They value equality and fairness tremendously more than preceding generations. In addition, work-life balance and reasonable hours rate higher in importance than unlimited income potential. Whatever our personal opinions, the times they are a-changin’. The question is, are dealers ready to make concessions to appease the new class?

Are dealers going to make 40-hour work weeks the norm? Will we adjust pay plans more heavily towards salary/hourly and less performance-driven? Will we evenhandedly enforce rules and requirements (Will you actually fire Tank if he misses one more training?) Do you believe that dealers can continue to thrive without making these kinds of adjustments?

I’d love to hear feedback from dealers.  How are you handling the shift and what are your future plans for making a great team?

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