Being in the motorcycle business, you know that a governor is a device intentionally limiting acceleration. I submit that dealership managers are restricting their own acceleration (although not intentionally).
Below are five of the most common ways in which managers are holding themselves back.

1. Sales managers are selling and closing every deal.

Because of high turnover and a dearth of salesperson ability, sales managers are answering every customer question and navigating each step of the sale. On occasion, sales managers will boast “I touch every deal!” When I hear that, I think: Well, that’s one of the reasons your store’s sales are down 30 percent.

Sales managers should only get involved with the problematic sales conversations. Because they’re spending all day answering questions about interest rates and monthly payments, the real work of sales management – talent development, marketing efforts, process innovation – goes untended. Like a shoreline ceaselessly pounded by waves, this quickly erodes your foundation.

2. Sales managers are taking on new challenges with old approaches.

Sales are down so you run a “Retail for Trade” promotion or a “Used Bike Blowout” sale. But today’s customers are numb to these efforts. There is real skepticism about the veracity of the actual savings, and such tactics greatly diminish your revenue and profitability. Unfortunately, today’s real-world situation of older, fewer and less financially able riders won’t be sorted out by another tired promotion.

3. Sales managers are breathing their own exhaust.

Are you still doing the same workout you’ve been doing for the last two years? If so, you’re probably not experiencing fitness gains. The same challenge holds true intellectually. Look at your inbox. If it’s filled with all the same people with whom you typically interact, you’re probably not growing your ideas or your perspective. Just as we need new and different exercises to grow physically, we need new and different perspectives to improve the way we do business.

4. Sales managers are transactional rather than transformational.

If you’re in a dealership leadership position, every person you interact with should feel as if they have improved in some way after spending time with you. The business manager who tells the salesperson to get the odometer statement on the trade and then simply records that number is doomed to repeat this loop for perpetuity. That’s transactional.

On the other hand, if you ask the salesperson to get the odometer statement on that trade and then show the individual where and how it should be electronically recorded (and why doing so is legally required), you’ve improved that salesperson’s condition and made him better at his job. That’s transformational.

5. Sales managers make ego-driven decisions.

Dispassionate, objective disagreement between intelligent people is a path to success in business and life. I’m starting to hear more and more lines that sound like this: “Here is the way they want us to do it, and they don’t want it done any other way.” When you hear that and other similar lines — “Because I’m the boss that’s why!” or “We follow the golden rule; he who has the gold makes the rules!” — as justification for a process or policy, run. Run quickly. If someone can’t justify a decision with a cogent argument, that is a business destined for ruin. Politics, personalities and ego can be blamed for a lot of organizational dysfunction. I can’t tell you how many terrific ideas or programs never see the light of day because of this human frailty.

Are you making one or more of these mistakes? Overcoming them will be crucial to your success in 2019.