Best Practices

It’s Not the Length, But How You Use It

image of ruler of success

Let’s talk about quality, not quantity. It is the only true way to measure greatness.

No matter what position you were in, how good you were during it is more important than how long it lasted. It’s not the length, but how you use it. to flesh this out, before there are any misconceptions, I must say that how long you have been in your current role at your dealership is not important. It is what you have been able to achieve.

As I travel around the nation meeting Internet professionals, I’m am starting to see more and more people who are puffing out their chest and walking with a bit of a strut because they are the top dog at their dealership. They must be great because they’ve been there for so long. One individual recently told me “I’ve been doing Internet since 1995 so I must be doing something right if I’m still here.” No. No, you are wrong. If you have been exploring (and commanding) this space for 16 years and you are still in the same position, maybe there is still some room to move and improve. Stagnant water never thinks it’s a tidal wave.

A good friend of mine in the industry always said “Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. Just because someone has done the job doesn’t guarantee that they are any good at it.” In other words, if you want to walk around with that air of authority and confidence, you better have achieved some impressive results. You better have some statistical, documented data backing up the fact that you are as great as you think you are before you walk around high and mighty.

The longevity in a position does not prove that you have been successful at it. It just means that you are serviceable. Just because you have had your Internet title for 10 years doesn’t mean you are an industry leader and captain. It means you’ve been a dedicated soldier. Don’t go giving yourself medals because you have battle scars. You need to have been given them for all of your battle victories.

So, I urge you to be open-minded when you attend these upcoming automotive conferences. Listen and learn at these events the same way even the true industry experts do. The time of servitude at your dealership doesn’t play a role in how well you’ve performed during it. Your success cannot be quantified in years, but with accomplishments. Your 20 years spent in this industry at your desk might have awarded you the ability to come to a conference, but it doesn’t prove that you know all. For a few days in October, I ask you to become a student. There is always room to grow.

Well said Joe.

I enjoy being in "Sponge Mode" when I'm at the conferences. The listening and learning happens at every moment - over a cup of coffee in the morning, a quick intro in the hallways and especially the late-night chats. Seek out the info, it's there...
"Stagnant water never thinks it's a tidal wave" ~ I love that but what do you do when the 'powers that be' is living in a fish bowl?
  • J
    Jerry Thibeau
  • September 26, 2011
All I had to do was look at the title and read a few lines and I knew this was a Joe Webb production.  Good stuff Joe and so true. 
  • J
    Jeff Kershner
  • September 27, 2011
Nice article Joe. BTW - Joe of course gets credit for the article but I want full credit for finding an image to go along with the article!! :)

This is eerie timing actually but I'll keep that story to myself and just say that this is so true, and I just went through a similar situation at my dealer group.

Time goes by and people forget they still need to perform. They allow themselves to get too settled in their ways and somehow eventually think that their time served should be enough.

Your team is only as good at your weakest link. Get rid of the weak if you want to move forward. Or if your too nice of an employer or manager, move them into a position that better fits their incompetence. No time for underachievers!
Thanks for the comments.  And, yes, Jeff gets complete credit for finding the image.  When I went on to DealerRefresh to find the blog posted, and first saw that picture, I laughed out loud.

While traveling around the nation for Chrysler this summer, I met a myriad of people.  Throughout the south and southwest, I will say there was an abundance of old car dogs handling their store's Internet leads that all came with a wall up - as if there was nothing they were going to be able to learn from someone their junior.  Some fought Shaun Raines and I tooth and nail in the beginning with no desire to listen to us.  They'd question our "expertise" and then question our time invested.  They'd say, I've been handling Internet leads at the store for 15 years so I think I know a thing or two." And I'd have to respond... "How 25% high is your closing ratio?"  It's not?  It's still coming in at a solid 9% every month?  Then there isn't much improvement, it's just a lot of repetition."  
Dealers need to understand that unless they are trying to consistently better themselves and their metrics (through training, learning, pushing, and experimentation) that they'll always be behind the rest of the pack.

As I said, how long you've been doing it doesn't make you an expert at it.