Get in your box, and stay there!

I’m very rarely shocked or “gob-smacked” but I want to share with you, something that took me by surprise at an event last week.

I was supporting a great group that were teaching groups of young school kids about Astronomy. Of course in the main, the youngsters were engaged and excited as it was about planets, space etc etc.

But then it came to the Q&A and a sea of hands went up. Several questions came, but then one little lad said (and I quote) “I don’t have a question Sir, but I do have some facts” – well, delighted, the presenter engaged the boy and a presenter / audience member dialogue ensued. I’m guessing the boy was about 8 years old.

After fact one (which incidentally was spot on and did help the presenter to add value) a young teacher interrupted and said – (and again I quote)

“please don’t give facts, you can ONLY ask questions”

To which, the boy (and I observed) several other children, meakly lowered their hands and retreated from the conversation.

The teacher then muttered under her breath to another teacher, “he’ll give loads of facts and we’ll be here all day!”

I wonder if that little, studious, inquisitive and engaged little boy will have that comment in his head as his “inner voice” as he grows, or will it evolve into an “I’ll show ‘em”?

How much of this drives modern day corporate behaviour?

This is why we believe in making learning fun, engaging and a good place for everyone!

The Role of the Modern Business Manager?



How does F&I figure in the sales process or more importantly, the Customer Journey these days – now that most of their research is done on-line, before the customer hits the dealership.


How does the traditional, dare I say, Pat Ryanesque BM process of Jamie sells the car and then Dave the BM picks it up at the end, still work? What about those sites where the BM takes an active role in participating sooner in customer interactions – is this still possible with time constraints? With increased legislation, admin burdens, the pressures to hit targets, the need to reach all the KPIs – is a clearly defined, documented and process oriented approach to being a BM actually fit for purpose?



What about the five main critical success factors, dealer processes, getting our heads round the customer experience / journey and even considering how we introduce some “sales wizadry”. How do we consider the huge levels of inconsistency across the piece. All of this is impacted of course by, attitudes of the sales staff, the attitude of the BM, how well trained they all are, how much focus there is on compliance and how well controlled the business is – and of course the main one – how committed to the whole thing (F&I) is the dealership management?


So, is a great Business Manager a tireless, commercially astute, results oriented, people developer with strong leadership, communication and coaching skills? Someone who can see the bigger picture who is just as much at ease talking to the Group MD as s/he is talking to the drivers and valeters? Are they an agile person who can follow process, produce and analyse reports and use them to make good decisions – when / how to coach, when / how to get involved with a customer, when / how to motivate the team, when / how to deal with less positive stuff?


Does that answer the question? Well it does if you agree with that viewpoint and your BM does all of that. But, there are BMs who do a quarter of that and get amazing results. Equally, there are BMs who do 3 quarters of that who produce OK results. Can we then, answer the question – what is the role of the modern BM? Let alone, how it’s evolving?


Oh, but back to the customer…….or more specifically, the Customer Experience?
One thing is worthy of note – since the BM model came to the UK many years ago, and even in the time many of us have been in the sector – the CUSTOMER journey has changed massively. Customers rarely need to “Just look” anymore – they do that on their iPad! Their sensitivity to customer service has been heightened and everything is required now in double quick time! When they do interact with a human, it’s mainly for affirmation and a smile, hospitality and a great experience. The way we make them feel will make a massive difference.


Mapping the customer journey identifies that the point at which the customer is at their lowest, emotionally, in the purchase, is exactly the point at which finance, products, px price and negotiation, typically are happening. So, having blamed the customer if they don’t buy, and then go on and repeat the same to the next one, we console ourselves with, Oh it’s September, Oh it’s because of “brand”, oh it’s because “all buyers are liars” (What??!!), oh it’s because Jamie hasn’t got a clue, or burns customers and even “well Dave the BM, is an idiot!” Meanwhile, the customer HAS bought a car –, £299 per month on a PCH, delivered to their door, job done!


A lot to consider then! And that’s without thinking about what’s coming next!


So, the role of the Modern Business Manager?


To be continued………..

Are you in your own Goldilocks zone?

goldilocksScientists often refer to the area our planet occupies in space as “the Goldilocks zone”. This is the area where the exact distance from the Sun is just right to sustain liquid water and therefore, life. I.e. Our planet (and its myriad species that occupy it) survives because it’s neither too hot nor too cold – it’s just right.

In the Goldilocks story, the little girl eventually settled for the “just right” – porridge, chair, bed – because the others were outside of her comfort zone. Too hot or too cold, too hard or too soft!

So, here’s my challenge! How often do we as individuals, businesses or employees get ourselves into the just right area or comfort zone but wish or wonder what it might be like if we just moved into the areas just outside it? The phrase “out of our comfort zones” is done to death on training courses and presentations – it’s a metaphor for change, doing something different, trying something new.

But, how far are we really prepared to get outside of our own Goldilocks zone – because that really does mean adapting, changing, looking in the mirror.

Imagine space travel – why have we only (so far) sent men to the Moon (assuming it happened of course!!)? Apart from the lack of resource, budget and technology and the distances, is it because we’ve not yet evolved or adapted the attitude to try it? I wonder what would happen if the Earth shifted and we were in danger of drifting out of the Goldilocks zone? The stuff of Sci-fi movies maybe, but what if….. what would happen then?

As a species our survival instincts would kick in and we’d adapt, we’d change and we’d want to! We’d need to!

Hmmm! Is that the issue? Our desire to move outside our comfort area is directly related to how much we “want” to or sometimes, how much we need to. In a compliance world do we adapt to change because we need to, in order to not fall foul of new rules. But, in our own worlds (or the business part of us) how much do we want to change?

So, if you’re happy in your Goldilocks zone, stick with it, keep doing that stuff. But, if you’re not………….