An Enemy Called Average

I read a lot and from time to time, I will forward things to others that I find especially interesting and that I think will be relevant to my recipient.

The following article, An Enemy Called Average written by Don Reed for Auto Dealer Monthly is one of the greatest that I have ever read.  It should be read by every single employee, manager or executive of every business in this country.  That is why I have posted this on our blog.

Reading it was like an epiphany and it gave me an entirely different perspective on my work and my business plan.

Please take the time to read and, even reread, this important article before you do anything else today.  I guarantee that it will make you re-think how you look at your goals and business plan.

Just my two cents worth!

An Enemy Called Average

The title of this article comes from the book, “An Enemy Called Average” by John Mason. The purpose of his book is to get you from where you are currently to where you dream to be. Mr. Mason says, “Break the chains of mediocrity and then live the life you dream of.” This of course can apply in your personal life as well as your professional one.

Far too often in our industry we have dealers, general managers, service directors, etc., who focus on and measure themselves in terms of the “average.” Here are some examples:

• The average dealer is grossing $700 per retailed unit in F&I income.
• The average salesperson sells 11 units per month.
• The average service advisor sells 1.4 HPRO.
• The average CSI for my region is __.
• The average __ for my 20 group is __.

Here’s a simple exercise for you to complete. When you get up tomorrow morning, ask your family to sit at the kitchen table for a brief family meeting before you go to work and before the kids go to school. Stand up in front of your family and say the following: “It looks like it’s going to be an average day here in Hometown, U.S.A., and your average dad and average husband is going to his average job to put forth an average effort to maintain my average paycheck so I can support my average kids and my lovely, average wife. By the way, kids, at school I want you to focus on getting average grades. You don’t really need to put forth the effort to be a great student, so a C will be just fine.”

Would that work for you? How do you think that “average wife” comment is going to work out? Are you excited about holding that meeting? If you are a manager, how about you ask to meet with the dealer and say the following: “Boss, I just wanted to let you know that I think you are an average dealer. I’m going to give you an average effort today, so I can produce for you some average results and manage my average department.” I’ll bet nobody is taking notes on this one.

Let’s not forget what average really is. It is nothing more than a reference point. Average means you are the worst of the best or the best of the worst. Is that where you really want to be? I hope you answered, “No way!”

Well, if that is true, why is it that when I speak to hundreds of dealers across the country I hear comments like, “Well, Don, the average hours per repair order (HPRO) for my 20 group is 1.4 and I’m averaging 1.5, so I’m doing a pretty good job.” No sir, you are still hanging around with that best-of-the-worst crowd. Why do so many dealers use the word “average” like it is a good place to be? Does the term “mediocre dealer” appeal to you? I think not.

So how do you go from being average to becoming a top performer? It all starts with commitment. Are you committed to change? Are you committed to leaving your comfort zone? Think of it this way; when it comes to making bacon and eggs, the chicken is a participant, but the pig is totally committed. If you, the dealer, are not totally committed, then nothing is going to happen differently. As Zig Ziglar says, “You have the perfect processes in place to get you exactly what you got last year.” Get committed to change.

Next, you must establish SMART goals, which stands for Specific-Measurable-Achievable-Realistic-Time-based goals. Here is an example: “I want to increase my retail HPRO by 0.5 over the next six months.”

Once you achieve one SMART goal, move on to the next. Long-term success is a journey, not just a destination. That first SMART goal is just the first leg of your journey. Do not allow yourself to become complacent; you will gravitate back toward mediocrity. Mason’s book, “An Enemy Called Average” states: “Mediocrity is a region bound on the north by compromise, on the south by indecision, on the east by past thinking and on the west by a lack of vision.”

For the dealer who wants to thrive and not just survive in this very competitive industry, every department in your dealership must be a profit center. The aftermarket service providers currently have over 80 percent of all the parts and service business in America. Don’t you think it’s time we started taking it back?

Don Reed
CEO, Fixed Ops Solutions
DealerPro Training Solutions



About the author
Dick Hassberger, of Lake Orion, Michigan is a veteran of over 50 years in the Automotive Financing and Leasing industry, starting his career with the former Wayne Oakland Bank in September 1960.  Dick is National Sales Director for VOISYS.  He has held executive positions with Major Banks, Lending Institutions and Leasing companies and has accumulated a vast store of knowledge in the automotive financing industry, which he regularly shares with his client dealerships as well as readers of this blog.  Dick was a regular author for World of Special Finance Magazine.