Well September is done for another year and, although new car registrations are down slightly, considering we are in a little bit of schtuck globally – and all the good news is confined to the welsh rugby team – the motor trade is certainly doing its bit in encouraging a feel good factor.
The thing is that in car sales we are used to being challenged, we live in a world where targets mean something where you are only as good as your last month, and as a sales manager recently said “we are in the results business”.
You pat yourself on the back on the last day of the month if you hit target, you may even take the team out for a few beers and a curry but come the 1st of the next month the conveyor belt cranks into life and here we go again.
This may be why, over the years, the car business has suffered with a reputation for hard selling and intimidating environments, simply because of the pressure put on sales execs to deliver. Is it any wonder that pressure is applied to customers when the reality is that not hitting your target can mean not paying your mortgage or, worse still, a trip down the job centre?
The car business is resilient but full of paranoid people who would rather blame others than take responsibility themselves and it really is a case of “who you know” if you want to get on.
I heard a story recently where an MD was ranting that his business had to make a certain amount of money as he had pledged it in a directors meeting, the same meeting where he was told if you can’t deliver the result we’ll get someone who can.
That kind of pressure will resonate through the ranks (or the more popular idiom “shit rolls down hill”) and heap more desperation onto sales execs that will, in some cases, cut corners and that could (and often does) mean customers getting a raw deal.
Whilst it is important to acknowledge that, while it is not a perfect business, in the main many dealers and dealer groups will achieve a profitable outcome despite the tough economic climate, however along the way there is likely to be many casualties from all sectors of the business.
The truth is workers with great track records and success will find themselves surplus to requirements during this seemingly never ending downturn.
As we all know if we can’t make money the next best thing is to save money and the biggest saving is…you guessed it, people!