Wednesday, August 31, 2011

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 the Grand 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:

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

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 

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Automotive Digital



Monday, August 29, 2011

Can you balance work and life???

Balancing work and life…..

This is a hard equation for some people to handle…

There are some that believe… you need to work 80 hours a week to advance your career…

And while working hard… is a trait that we all want to be associated with…you have to maintain a work - life balance…

Here are some startling facts:

Health care expenses are almost 50% higher for workers who report high levels of stress…

People who experience work/life imbalance…are three times more likely to suffer from heart problems…infections…injuries…mental health problems…and back pain…

And they are five times more likely to suffer from certain cancers…

Workers who have to take time off work because of stress…anxiety…or a related disorder…will be off the job an average of 20 days out of the year…

These statistics show…that work/life balance is an important…and costly issue for both the organization…and the individual…

So…how do you balance this work/life thing???

First of all…the leaders in your organization… need to take the time…to fully engage the employee…on exactly what the responsibilities…expectations…and goals of the organization are…

Then give the employee constant feedback…and a complete review…so that he or she knows exactly where they stand and how they are doing…

Without a clear cut…black and white playbook…most employees… do not fully understand what needs to be accomplished…

When an employee does not clearly understand…it can lead to high stress…and an imbalance in their lives…

Some employees choose to deal with this stress…by just not showing up to work…

They will call in sick…or take additional personal days…just to deal with their stress…

In these days of companies…leaning out…or working with shorter staffs…absenteeism…can be a problem…

These types of employees…show the most dissatisfaction with their jobs…have negative views about the organization and it’s leaders…and generally…are not an asset to the organization…

And although an individual must take responsibility for their own actions…are YOU…as an organization…helping the employee attain… a work/life balance??

And let me emphasize…its stress management…not stress reduction…that an organization needs to help an employee deal with….

It is not possible to remove stress from your life and business…because stress is a natural by product of change…and change is constant…

This is why it is so important…for your organization…and your leaders…to provide the employees with all of the tools they need…not to eliminate stress…but to handle stress more effectively…

If you give your employees…a clear cut…black and white playbook…and engage in communication and feedback…

You will have an employee… that has a full understanding… of not only their own responsibilities…but the goals and aspirations of your organization…

A confident and engaged employee…will have more satisfaction at work…which will lead to increased satisfaction at home and in life…

Believe me…most employees already know what to do with the own time…

By making their time at work…less stressful…they will have a chance to enjoy that time with family and friends…

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

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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Winning Attitudes!!!


"The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don't define them, learn about them, or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them."
Denis Waitley

"The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win."
Roger Bannister

"Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even."
Muhammad Ali

"Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."
Vince Lombardi

"Nobody remembers who came in second."
Charles Schultz

"If winning isn't important, why do we spend all that money on scoreboards?"
Chuck Coonradt

"Ever notice that people never say "It's only a game" when they're winning?"
Ivern Ball

"There are only two places in this league: first place and no place."
Tom Seaver

"It's not whether you get knocked down: it's whether you get up."
Vince Lombardi

"If you'll not settle for anything less than your best, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives."
Vince Lombardi

"Winning isn't everything, but the will to win is everything."
Vince Lombardi

"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
Dwight David Eisenhower

"Your ability to be a winner 100 percent of the time is based upon giving up the notion that losing at anything is equivalent to being a loser."
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

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

Friday, August 26, 2011

Change the World......

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.

I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.

When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town.

I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself.

Suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family.

My family and I could have made an impact on our town.

Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”

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

Thursday, August 25, 2011

“From 1 customer to 10,000 customers in 60 seconds or less!”

Networking and prospecting. It’s something that is a lost art in the Automobile business today.

Back in the 1980’s, when I began my career in the automobile business, I used a “tickler file”. A “tickler file” was a series of 5X7 index cards that I used to keep track of my customers. I separated them using three different files. One file was sorted January through December. The second file was sorted by the number of days in the month, 1-31. The last file was sorted alphabetically, in case I needed to look up a certain customer quickly. It took a lot of time and effort to set up and sort these cards on a daily basis. I made my follow up phone calls based on these cards and I also mailed flyers out to these customers on a regular basis. It kept me in contact with my entire database of customers and allowed me to prospect new business. I spent several hours a day sorting, searching, calling and mailing these customers in an effort to generate additional business from the people that I had already done business with.

With the advancement of computers in the 1990’s, the computer generated “CRM” was born. These Customer Relationship Management tools were and are great for doing the daily tasks of sorting, calling and mailing current opportunities along with keeping in touch with your database of “sold” customers. In today’s automotive climate, one would be lost without a “CRM” tool.

The problem with the “Tickler file” of old and the “CRM” tool of the present, was and IS utilization of the information to network and prospect to perspective new customers. The Dealership relies on the Salespeople, Sales Managers and BDC’s to contact, call, mail, e-mail and text on a regular basis to generate more business. And while it is imperative that you do all of that activity, how can you market and advertise to all of your client’s relatives and friends? Sure, your client can talk about the great service or sales experience that they had at your dealership at a family and friends gathering. Your client can tell all of the people they work with about their great experience. But how can you impact ALL of their friends and family with a positive and lasting message??

What’s the answer? Social media!

Now let’s talk about one person’s, “circle of influence”. Your “circle of influence” is all of the people you speak with and interact with on a regular basis. Your “circle of influence” can be your family, your friends, your co-workers or even someone you do business with on a regular basis. You “influence” ALL of these people by relaying your experiences, good or bad, on what transpired in your life.

Let’s say you had a great meal and great service at the new restaurant that opened in town. The food was fantastic and the service was unbelievable! You would then tell all of the people in your “circle”, thus “influencing” them in a positive way that they should go to this restaurant. What if the opposite type of experience happened? You had a terrible meal and the service was lousy. You again would tell everyone about your experience in a negative way.

The size of an individuals “circle of influence” can be wide ranging. It can range from a small circle of 50 or so individuals to well into the 1000’s of people that one interacts with on a regular basis. It all depends on the size of someone’s family, the amount of friends they have or the size of the Company they work for.

For the sake of this article and “easy math’, lets use a total of 100 people that an individual has in their circle of influence. (How many “friends” do you have in your Facebook account?). If each individual has 100 people in their “circle of influence’ and each of those 100 people had 100 people in their “circle of influence” you have the ability to touch 10,000 people, (100 x 100 = 10,000) consistently.

By using Social Media to market and advertise, you can go from one customer to 10,000 in an instant!

The power is YOURS to engage these people! 

This article is from my contribution to the publication, "The Social Dealership"
Here is a link to the article in the publication:

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Vision......

To be able to hold yourself and your team accountable for any situation….you first have to get everyone… TO SEE THE VISION…..

What is the vision??

It is what the ULTIMATE outcome of any project or goal….looks like…

You have to be able to put everyone’s egos aside….including your own….. and see what has been successful and what has failed….

Now…..this… is not an easy task for most people.

The first step to getting your team to see the vision…. is to make sure that the project or goal has been THOUROUGHLY discussed…….. and EVERYONE knows WHAT the ultimate goal looks like.

Let me repeat…..

The first step to getting your team to see the vision…. is to make sure that the project or goal has been THOUROUGHLY discussed…….. and EVERYONE knows WHAT the ultimate goal looks like.

Sounds simple huh???

Most of the time people don’t make common sense….common practice.

To see the vision….. you have to remember……there are always two sides to every story…..but just one set of facts….

So put the facts on the table. You have to get the entire team… to see what has worked well… and what has failed.

You can’t allow someone… to NOT see… that they may be… the cause of the situation…..themselves

If there is joint accountability and joint teamwork……the project or goal is headed on the fast track….

But the first step….. is for everyone to see what that ultimate goal looks like.

Everyone needs to know what resources are needed…

Everyone needs to see what kind of timeline the project needs to be completed in…

Everyone needs to understand their individual responsibilities.

Everyone needs to know what budget constraints they need to follow….

And everyone needs to understand that there needs to be constant communication throughout the entire project….

It all starts with the vision….

But the vision needs to be explained,…. laid out,…..thought out,…..talked about,…and above all…..thoroughly UNDERSTOOD by ALL members of the team…

If you have one person that doesn’t see the vision thoroughly……..the project will stall or possibly fail…

Most times when a project fails….it is because not everyone understood what the ultimate goal looked like……

To hold people accountable throughout a project….you first have to make sure that everyone understands what that ultimate goal looks like….

People only see what they are prepared to see….

Vision without action….is a dream

Action without vision….is a waste of time….

Action with vision…..makes a positive difference….

Make sure the vision is clear before you start to hold anyone accountable….

To see a video of this blog, please go to the following link;

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Customer retention starts at....hello....

When you begin to speak about customer retention…..when does it all begin???

Customer retention…. starts….. at hello……

From the very first time we greet a customer… whether it is in the service drive…..on the lot…..or on the showroom floor……customer retention starts at….hello…

You have to first put yourself in the customer’s shoes….

When the customer walks into your store for the first time……they are most likely a bit confused and have a bit of uncertainty about what is going to take place….

In simple terms…..the customer walks into the store…. a little scared…..

If they walk into the service drive….they are not sure… exactly what is wrong with their vehicle…..and….they certainly want to pay a fair price for the service…

They don’t want to be sold services they really don’t need…..and…. they are unsure if they actually need them….

If they walk into the showroom…..they are scared that they might not get what they want for their trade….

They might be scared of paying too much for the vehicle they are going to purchase…

They might be scared they are making too high a payment or have too high an interest rate…..

Our first task….is to make them feel comfortable…..this is where customer retention starts…..with the initial greeting and handling of the customers wants and needs….

If the customer feels comfortable from the onset of the visit….sees that we are genuinely concerned about them…….and listen to what they are saying…we have laid the groundwork into not only making a sale….but retaining this customer for life…..

Let’s face it….the automobile industry doesn’t have the best public perception out there….

Some customers come in with a bit of a chip on their shoulders….

Some come in and are scared to death to listen to any presentation we give them…..fearing that they will be misguided or even worse…taken advantage of…

How do we break this perception???

It all starts with…..hello……

It starts with asking the customer questions about their visit to the store….and what they hope to accomplish….

Asking the questions with a concerned and sincere tone……

And after we ask the question….and the customer gives us an answer….we clarify what that means to the customer…

Let me give you a quick example….

Let’s say a customer comes into the showroom looking for a vehicle…

One of the questions we ask is this….

What is the one feature… you are looking for… in purchasing a vehicle???

The customer replies…..I am looking for a “SAFE” vehicle….

Thinking that we know what the customer means by “SAFE” vehicle…we go into a fantastic walk around on the safety features of the vehicle…

Safety belts….air bags…crumple zones….crash test statistics…..just an unbelievable great job on showing the safety features of the vehicle….

But…the customer isn’t listening…

The customer seems inattentive and bored…


Maybe we didn’t ask…when you say you want a “SAFE” vehicle….what do you mean??

Then the customer answers…..I want a vehicle that retains its value more than my last vehicle…

In other words…the customer wants a “SAFE” investment…

We can never assume what a customer means….we always need to clarify what the customers answer is to better serve them…

THIS….is the beginning of customer retention….

Customer retention??

It starts….with hello…..

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

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