New Year's resolutions for GM's

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“If we fail to change the world goes on. We just become increasingly irrelevant.” -Dr. Jim Davis

I’ve been spending some time over the holiday break working on content for our Sales Manager’s High Performance Boot Camp. I’m hoping that I can help the people joining us to understand that if our business is getting more challenging and we stay the same, we’re going backward. 

It’s true for all of us. Today’s C+ account executive is tomorrow’s D, as a more challenging business demands that we get better. 

General Managers are so critical to the success of our companies. So, I offer these thoughts for GM’s to reflect on as they, too, look at ways they can get better at serving their stations. Since we’re serving the industry to help grow sales, these comments reflect the role that today’s GM might play in the sales department. 

My proposed New Year’s Resolutions for GM’s:

  1. I will upgrade my one-on-one meetings with my GSM/DOS.

It's not enough to just talk about pacing or how we’re doing selling Olympics or other tentpole events. Today’s one-on-one meetings have to be more robust.

  • Look at the specifics of our new business efforts. Presentations, closing %, and average opening order by AE.
  • Recruiting efforts since the last meeting. Who’s in the funnel? How can I help?
  • KEY accounts you need me to meet.
  • What’s the plan for underperformers?
  • Any other key performance indicators besides… digital, tentpoles, AR’s?
  1. I will personally meet with all of our Top 25% accounts that have local decision makers.
  • Generals talk to generals. Are you talking to the generals at your clients?
  1. If I use a pricing tool like Share Builder, I will participate in one pricing call per month.
  2. If we have a training tool like JDA's Doyle on Demand, I will spend 20-30 minutes in the system each month and review the team’s usage reports.
  • Knowing the tools your department is using and participating as much as possible in the training your team is going through makes a huge statement about your engagement. And, you do have the time.
  1. I will ask to meet every client that is in our building if I’m available.
  • This makes a huge statement to your team and to your clients.
  1. I meet every finalist for every sales position. My meetings are more than a “nice to meet you” session. Avoiding bad sales hires is a critical success matrix.
  2. I'll make sure I’m aware of big sales and will look for opportunities to praise our stars. 
  • Stars crave recognition and applause. Take a superstar to lunch and say “thank you."
  1. I pay special attention to the larger owners of car dealerships in my market.
  • They need to be re-sold on the power of our products to help them in conjunction with their digital efforts.
  • Often this is a meeting that only the GM can get. But don’t make the mistake of making it a social call. These dealers need to be re-sold!!!
  1. I wander through the sales staff at least 1x each day, usually more.
  • Remember the power of MBWA - Management by Wandering About - to stay connected to your people.

Okay, I admit. I ran stations and sales departments during the easy days, so I hope this list doesn’t come across as arrogant in any way. I honor and respect how tough these jobs are today. But, having said that, I’m sure we all agree that the business we’re in isn’t getting easier. That means if we don’t do more and become more effective, we'll go backward. I talked about what GM’s should be doing. But it’s also valuable to spend some time looking at your “stop doing” list so you can find the time for the sales engagement these times demand. 

Because “if we fail to change the world goes on, we just become increasingly irrelevant.”


Do you have Sales Managers who need to get better? I promise, we can help. We’ve designed our Sales Manager’s High Performance Boot Camp around how leaders can create a high-performance culture, recruit and retain superstars, and motivate their teams for extraordinary new business growth. A combination of real-world skills and world-class leadership and culture speakers. January 26-28, 2020 in Tampa (www.jimdoylebootcamp.com)