Tag Archives: automotive training

Your own employees hate you!!!!

I know…….it’s a pretty strong title for an article.

BUT….it’s true…..

It pertains to a vast majority of car dealerships around the country!

Your own employees MUST hate doing business with you!

They take their own personal vehicles and get oil changes, tires, tire rotations, alignments, batteries and wiper blades at other places!

You have made it inconvenient for them to service with you. You don’t seem to value their business and your prices are too high!

They purchase New and pre-owned vehicles from other dealerships!

They feel unappreciated and they are scared to go through the “sales process” with your sales team!

Your own employees don’t feel comfortable doing business with your own dealership!


This scenario plays out at a LOT of dealerships across the Country!

Employees won’t or don’t do business with you!

The accounting office doesn’t trust the sales department. The sales department thinks the service department charges too much for service. The service department thinks that the sales department wants too much for the vehicles.

It goes on and on and on and on………does it sound like YOUR store???

You need to be a true leader and make sure your employees see AND feel the value you are giving them to do business with you!


After all, they are the ones taking care of your customers!

You have to make sure that you have a clear cut set of policies that are transparent to all your employees in regards to doing business with your own dealership!

Don’t just proclaim you have “employee pricing”! Make sure that you give your employees that “little extra” to make them feel good about doing business with their own place of work.

Are you willing to extend your “employee pricing” to your employees immediate family?

Are you willing to give your employees “special incentives” to pass along to their friends in order to get their business?

Do you, as a leader, convey these policies on a regular basis with ALL EMPLOYEES?

You HAVE to make your employee your BIGGEST ADVOCATE for doing business in your store!!

After all…..if your own employees won’t do business with you…..who will???

It takes a true leader with great communication skills to make sure that ALL EMPLOYEES feel special!

And when the employees feel special, your customers will feel special too!!!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital




Posted by on October 10, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Go ahead….Embrace FAILURE!

Baseball is America’s game. It provides thrills, strategy, suspense, heroics and athleticism all in one.

As of the writing of this article, (September 22, 2011) the batting average for ALL Major League players stand at .255.

That translates into 255 hits for every 1000 at bats.

The player that has the highest batting average is Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox. Mr. Gonzalez is currently hitting .340, or 340 hits for every 1000 at bats.

Adrian Gonzalez is also among the top ten highest paid players in ALL of Major League Baseball with an annual salary of $21 million dollars per season!

So the very best hitter in ALL of Major League Baseball…..FAILS 66% of the time!

Mr. Gonzalez gets paid $21 million dollars a season to fail 66% of the time! The rest of the players in Major League Baseball also make millions failing at an even higher rate!

If the average player hits .255, the average failure rate is 74.5%!!

I find it rather astonishing that these same figures translate directly into closing percentages on an automotive showroom floor!

Failure is part of the game whether you are playing baseball or closing deals on the showroom floor.

In order to succeed in either, you have to embrace failure!

Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently!

When Adrian Gonzalez does NOT get a hit, do you think he sulks and whines about it??


What Mr. Gonzalez does is analyze what just happened at that at bat.

  • He studies video of how the pitcher pitches to him and how he reacts
  • He studies his swing to see if there were flaws
  • He reads charts of what pitches the pitcher throws at certain times
  • He confers with coaches and mentors to help him get better
  • He doesn’t allow himself to get angry or upset
  • He practices, drills and rehearses relentlessly in an effort to get better

Mr. Gonzalez fully understands that he cannot get a hit every time he goes up to bat. He also understands he must embrace the failure and learn from it so the next time he goes to bat he does so with better knowledge and the correct attitude!

So now I ask the sales professionals in the room…..what is your batting average (closing percentage)???

Are you capable of raising your batting average to the highest in the dealership??

What will you do to raise your batting average???

Will you:

  • Study your own product knowledge?
  • Study the competitions product to know what they offer as compared to yours?
  • Practice rapport building?
  • Practice the steps on the road to the sale?
  • Practice overcoming the objection you have a hard time overcoming?
  • Know what your batting average is with all customers, i.e. first time customers, be-back customers, referral customers and repeat customers?
  • Practice your presentation skills?
  • Practice your demonstration drive route and conversation?
  • Choose to have the correct attitude every single day?
  • Not allow yourself to get down on yourself, angry or upset?
  • Allow YOUR coaches to help you get better?
  • Practice, drill and rehearse every single day without fail and no exceptions??

As you can see….failure is part of the game…..EMBRACE IT!

Learn from the failures and know that they are surely going to come!

They say you don’t drown by falling in the water… drown by STAYING in the water!


Don’t wait to get started on raising your batting average!

Only YOU can control your own outcome. Don’t wait for anyone to help you or get you started.


Only YOU know what your strengths and shortcomings are!

Attack your shortcomings like Adrian Gonzalez attacks the baseball!

You will see your batting average rise and your income soar!!!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Your customer appraising their own trade via KBB!

Kelly Blue Book, the self proclaimed “The Trusted Resource” is used by consumers every day!

According to KBB’s own site stats, “Over 13+ million visits generate more than 35 million pricing reports every month”

THAT is a lot of visits!

Have you ever had a customer come into the dealership with information from KBB in regards to their trade-in that might not be accurate?

Did the customer choose the wrong model, the wrong equipment or the incorrect condition for their trade?

What if you let the customer appraise their own vehicle using KBB with your assistance?

What better way for your management team to build rapport and trust with your customer, than to let the customer be a part of the trade appraisal?

Your Salesperson, Sales Manager and your Pre-Owned Manager can all be a part of this process!

Instead of doing a “silent walk-around” of the trade, get your customer involved in the process!

After all, if the customer appraises their own vehicle, it would be difficult for them to disagree with the results!

Here is the process that I have used thousands of times to perfection.

  • Utilizing a clip board, have blank copies of KBB’s “Quick Condition Quiz” (examples shown in this blog) attached
  • Escort your customer to their trade-in vehicle
  • Ask the customer for assistance by handing them the clipboard to fill out the “Quick Condition Quiz”
  • Do a full and complete “walk around” of the trade with the customer
  • Get the customer interactive by checking all of the equipment on the trade.
  • Check all lights, (headlights, tail lights, flashers, back up lights…etc)
  • Check tire tread depth and pressure
  • Check all interior equipment, i.e., power windows, power locks, audio equipment, navigation, DVD….etc…..
  • Check all exterior body panels
  • Check all interior seats and carpeting for stains or wear
  • Invite the customer to go on the “operational drive” of their trade to make sure the vehicle performs correctly

Utilizing this process allows you to ask the customer questions about their vehicle. You can ask the customer about all of the service records of the vehicle and when was the last time they had the vehicle serviced and what was performed at that service.

Upon the customer filling out the KBB “Quick Condition Quiz”, invite your customer to input the information themselves into

NOW….let KBB determine what “condition” the vehicle is in!!

Here is where the customer proceeds to fill out exactly what was checked off on the sheets on the clipboard. There are four sections to go through. Exterior, Interior, Mechanical and Miscellaneous.

Now you have let KBB determine the condition of the customers trade-in!

By utilizing the “Quick Condition Quiz”, the dealership AND the customer have a trustworthy and transparent way of determining the value of the trade-in.

The Dealership can then use the “KBB” value less any reconditioning costs that you and the customer have reviewed in the walk around of the trade-in, i.e., tires, brakes, body work, services and detailing.

Letting your customer appraise their own trade builds instant rapport and trust so that you have a better chance of closing the deal!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Why are you “Laboring”?

First of all, Happy Labor Day weekend to everyone!

Now…..why are so many of you “laboring” so hard out there?

Why is it that so many managers today have to do more with less, and get better results from limited resources, more than ever before??

All of this while many companies are maintaining or increasing their levels of productivity and quality with fewer people, but with people who are better selected, better organized, and better managed??

It all comes down to 2 simple principles.

Rule number one: Your life only gets better when you get better.

Rule number two: Your people only get better when you get better.

How can you lead anyone till you first lead yourself?

How can you motivate someone else till you first motivate yourself?

How can you inspire someone else till you first inspire yourself?

Stop “laboring” around and start making yourself someone that people want to follow, get motivated and inspired by!!

If you don’t get yourself better every single day, without fail with NO exceptions, you and your team will “labor” your way through life!

STOP “laboring” and take ACTION NOW!

And……make sure you grill enough hot dogs for everyone on the team!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Knock yourself Unconscious!!

When we all first started our careers in the automotive business, we began to learn the basics of our jobs.

We all learned different skills such as, greetings, fact finding, product knowledge, the steps to a sale, word tracks, phone skills, prospecting and networking skills, closing skills, follow up skills and so on.

We all got better by practicing, drilling and rehearsing each and every day, without fail and no exceptions! This is what makes us the professionals that we are today.

When someone new comes into our business, I always try and break down the “4 steps of learning” to help them better understand what is ahead of them. By understanding HOW a human being learns a new skill, a person that is trying to understand all of the ingredients it takes to be proficient in their new job, can break it down a bit easier.

The traditional view is that learning a skill is divided into four stages. The four stages are;

Unconscious Incompetence

Conscious Incompetence

Conscious Competence

Unconscious Competence

First there is unconscious incompetence. Not only do you not know how to do something, but you don’t know you don’t know. Never having driven a car for example, you have no idea what it is like. So you start to learn. You very soon discover your limitations. You have some lessons and consciously attend to all the instruments, steer, coordinate the clutch, and watch the road. It demands all your attention, you are not yet competent, and you keep on the back streets.

Next is the stage of conscious incompetence when you grind the gears, over-steer and give cyclist heart attacks. Although this stage is uncomfortable, (especially for cyclist), it is the stage when you learn the most.

This leads you to the stage of conscious competence. You can drive the car, but it takes all your concentration. You have learned the skill, but have not yet mastered it.

Lastly, and the goal of the endeavor, is unconscious competence. All of those little patterns that you learned so painstakingly blend together into one smooth unit of behavior. Then you can listen to the radio, enjoy the scenery and hold a conversation at the same time as driving. Your conscious mind sets the outcome and leaves it to your unconscious mind to carry it out.

These are the 4 steps of learning a new skill.

In order to become a true professional, we ALL must go through these 4 steps.

That is why I encourage you to “knock yourself unconscious”!!!

Practice, drill, rehearse and knock yourself unconscious every day!!!!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital




Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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A gift wrapped box of Personal Development!!!

For most organizations…the process of interviewing…hiring…and training a new employee…doesn’t last long…

Most organizations feel that they have hired a competent individual…and the individual will inspire themselves to learn and grow…

The sad part is…organizations expect ALL employees to come out of a pretty little gift-wrapped box…with all of the knowledge and discipline…to go forward…

All the organization needs to do…is to take that individual… out of that gift-wrapped box… and put them in place…

This is why a lot of companies fail to develop talent…and are constantly searching for the next… pretty little gift wrapped box…

Organizations need to personally develop all of its employees…

Not just on the skills that are needed for performing their jobs…but skills that help them expand their lives…

Skills that help the employee become a better all around person…and an asset to the company…

Does your organization inspire its employees…to expand and grow their lives??

After all…what are the employees working toward??

What are there personal aspirations??

What kind of life does the employee want to live…outside of the workplace???

Here are 7 steps…that you can present to your employees…to help them get a better understanding of how to enrich their lives…

# 1 – A desire to see or do something new…

We are all looking to break out of the doldrums…to go somewhere we have never been before…or do something we have never done before…

Take some time to experience something new….

# 2 – A desire to see or do something grand…

Do you think anybody would go and see the “Tiny” canyon??…NO WAY…

But hundreds of thousands of people go see theGrand Canyon…

What GRAND thing do you have planned for your life…

Make it big…you only go around once…

# 3 – A desire to learn….

Are you involved in anything that causes you to continually learn and grow?

Are you reading any books…listening to any audio…watching any video?

How can you possibly go forward in life…using the same skill sets you learned years ago?

# 4 – A willingness to be spontaneous…

If life feels boring or the same everyday…you aren’t willing to just sometimes…go with the flow…and do something completely out of character…

Now…I’m not talking about anything that is illegal…immoral…or unethical…

I’m talking about just letting yourself go in the moment…and feel uninhibited…

It could be liberating…

# 5 – An expectation that there will be breakdowns…

In the movie Forrest Gump…Forrest says it perfectly….

“life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you are going to get”…

Not everyday…or every situation is going to work out perfectly in your life…

Know this going in…and it won’t wreak havoc upon you when it happens…

When you hit the wall…don’t splatter…learn to bounce…

# 6 – Focus on fun….

Whatever the adventure is…we usually expect to have fun…don’t we?

Your entire life needs to have that same feeling…

You have 2 choices when you get up every morning…you can either engage life and have fun…or let life run you over and be depressed…

What do you choose???

And lastly…you need to have a clear destination…

Ultimately…our adventure usually has a clear destination…

It may be the top of the mountain…or it may be getting the entire family together at a resort…

Whatever it may be…have a clear destination…a clear goal…it’s what gives us all… a little purpose…

Personally develop the people in your organization…it will inspire them…

And if you have inspired people…your organization will go far…

To view a video of this blog, please go to the following link:

Personal Development – Jim Kristoff video


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Are you SERIOUSLY kidding me??????

One of my mentors and fellow member, Mr. Dave Anderson, started one of my favorite articles with this paragraph;

“This article will offend far more than it inspires and quite frankly, I could care less. Political Correctness has gone too far. It’s run amok. It’s draining our country’s soul and debilitating corporate cultures. It’s time for leaders in business, religious and political sectors to dig deep, find their nerve and reverse the onslaught of political correctness that is creating mediocrity in business and feigned tolerance in society. In other words, it’s time to start telling it like it is again, to stop dancing around the tough issues and meet them head on. It’s time to worry less about offending and pandering to those in the minority and focus more on what gets the job done.”

In the name of “political correctness”, our culture has lost its way!

Isn’t it time we simply started telling the TRUTH again? STOP being “P.C.” and let’s get the job done!

Mr. Anderson goes onto say;

“The sham of P.C. is that it is done under the guise of tolerance and sophistication, when in fact; it’s simply the coward’s way out. It’s easier to let people play the victim, to allow them to blame the world and to shirk responsibility for their miserable lives. But the hard fact is that not everyone has earned nor do they deserve the same opportunities, recognition or resources. While all have equal value as human beings, there are some people who add far less value to society and business than others yet they fight for more in courtrooms and boardrooms based simply on the fact that they belong and think they are owed more, not because they accomplished and earned more.”

Are you serious about life and your future?

STOP making excuses for your own shortfalls!

You can either LEAD YOURSELF….or you will be led by others!

If you don’t like your current situation in life, whether it is work oriented, politically oriented or personally oriented……CHANGE IT!

You HAVE to make yourself accountable for:

  • Investing in your own personal development! Because if you don’t invest in yourself….no one else will…..
  • Holding YOURSELF accountable for your own situation! The ONLY one holding you down is yourself!
  • Doing everything in your life, legally, ethically and morally correct! Just simply do the RIGHT thing!!!
  • Drive yourself to be the BEST every day! That’s EVERY DAY, WITHOUT FAIL, NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • Winning! Stop making excuses…..excuses are just a “reasoning of failure”




About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital




Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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