The root of the word “motivation” comes from the Latin word “motivus” meaning to move or take action. So what moves your people to take action?

From the time we are born, much of our motivation lies in gaining approval from those around us, and it often comes from our parents and family. As time goes on we seek out the approval and recognition of our friends, teachers and coaches. As adults, we often seek validation and acceptance from our peers and supervisors.

Your staff wants to feel as though they are making a difference. How often do you acknowledge those efforts?

When the team is certain of the rewards they will receive from their efforts, they perform at a higher level. The need for “certainty” is a powerful dynamic. Pavlov in his early experiments validated that a system of rewards can alter outcomes. Rewards are a strong motivator, so what rewards system do you have in place at your dealership?

While each person on your staff is a unique individual, there are common threads of motivation you can capitalize on to drive your results. Many F&I managers began their careers as salespeople. A natural competitive drive often explains why they were successful selling cars. When you have the desire to be the top salesperson in the store and are competing against eight, 10, 20, or even 30 other people, you have plenty of competition to keep yourself motivated. There is always someone to chase.

However, in the F&I department of many dealerships, the number of people to compete with is much smaller. In a smaller store, there may be only one F&I manager, and even in larger stores or groups, there are far fewer competitors to beat out to finish number one. This is where you may need to look outside your store for competition.

Many of your current F&I product vendors maintain and have access to production figures for the market area. If you are a dealer or general manager, request that your service contract providers assist you in creating programs that motivate F&I sales based on competition, recognition and compensation. Establishing target goals based on market benchmarks creates the competitive spirit needed to increase product penetrations.

Early in my automotive career with AutoNation they put together a sales contest for our stores. The prize was a new 20-inch television with a built-in VCR (it was 1997). The money that would have equaled the value of that TV would have been long gone from my memory by now, but that TV is still in our home in a guest bedroom today. The point is that money is great, but once spent, it may not produce the lasting effect you desire.

Many sales organizations promote a President’s Club or some equivalent for vehicle sales. Some dealerships even reward salespeople with a nice meal at a top-notch restaurant with senior management once a month, but does your dealership do the same for your F&I producers?

Compare the cash incentive you might provide as a result of achieving sales results with a $250 gift card for nice dinner at Ruth’s Chris or some other high-end steak house. The memory of the dinner with a significant other or spouse will stay with them much longer than the money.

Good luck and good selling. See you in Orlando at NADA. Stop by the booth (#3024).

Vol. 7, Issue 1