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Mad Marv

Getting Hot and Staying Hot

Sticking to your processes breeds success, and success breeds confidence. The magazine’s from-the-trenches columnist gets scientific to hunt down the key to keeping those hot streaks going.

January 17, 2012

Back in 1971, Jerry Reed released a funny little tune called “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot.” He was singing about shooting dice with some pals. He got on a hot streak and “could do no wrong.” His confidence was high, which somehow affected his play, and every roll seemed to be a winner. 

You’ve heard it before: Success is the result of doing the right things and sticking to your processes. And when you’re rewarded with the fruits of your labor, you tend to stick with doing the right things. But how do you explain those moments when things just don’t work like they did?

Well, I wanted to see if there was some scientific explanation for these “streaks,” and, if so, to learn how to keep the good times rolling. I came across an article about an experiment conducted by Earl K. Miller, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Using monkeys as test subjects, he discovered that the animals’ brains kept track of successes and failures. He found that the monkeys were able to learn from success, but they were thrown off by mistakes.

Miller concluded that success has a much greater influence on the brain than failure. He attributed the excitement associated with success to a surge in the neurotransmitter dopamine. And by telling the brain it achieved success, the chemical compels it to keep doing whatever it was doing that led to the achievement. That wasn’t the case when it came to failure, which is why Miller recommended that people pay more attention to failure by consciously encouraging the brain to learn a little more from each mistake than it normally would.

Think about how well you perform when you’re on a roll. You find yourself reaching deep down in your objection-handling toolbox, bringing out tools you haven’t used in a while and making that second, third or even fourth effort. It’s kind of like the oft-quoted saying: “Success breeds success.”

What success also breeds is optimism, which triggers confidence. And as you know, confidence sells. And that’s because confidence assures the customer that you believe in what you’re pitching. Remember, customers can sense negative vibes just like they do positive ones, so be aware of your mindset when working with a customer.

Nonverbal communication is vital in any setting, whether it be business or social interaction. The signals we send to a customer can reveal the confidence and enthusiasm within. It can also expose the storm of frustration. In essence, you could say the same thing to someone and they would likely perceive it differently based on your frame of mind.

Success is nothing more than a psychological phenomenon, a mental attitude that translates into tangible results. Think about it: How many times have you psyched yourself up before a customer walked into your office and, without much effort, the customer followed your direction and bought the platinum package? Yeah, I love those moments, too. Conversely, how many times have you been frustrated by a string of cash customers or something else and said to yourself: “They’re not going to buy anything. I’ll just get them out of my office so I can go to lunch.” I bet you weren’t disappointed.

We all face these things from time to time, and I’m not immune to it either. That’s why I can write about this from personal experience. Listen, success in the F&I office is as much a head game as it is a game of numbers. If you practice the right habits with the right attitude enough times, you can’t help but be successful. It’s just that simple.

Marv Eleazer is the finance manager at Langdale Ford in Valdosta, Ga. E-mail him at marv.eleazer@bobit.com.

Comments

  1. 1. klay kelso [ January 17, 2012 @ 04:34PM ]

    Great advice and timely.

    I recently had a conversation with a Finance director having one of "Those Months". In short, more than his share of cash deals and frustrating situations. One of the things we talked about was making sure that going forward in this month he didn't let the situation of the kind of month he was having interfere with his processes. Rather make sure his processes control his situation.

    A home run piece Marv!

  2. 2. JB [ January 24, 2012 @ 07:33PM ]

    Great writing Marv! One of your best; Good work!

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Author Bio

Marv Eleazer

Finance Director

Marv is no insider. He’s an actual F&I manager with more than 20 years of experience. Get his from-the-trenches take on the industry every month at fi-magazine.com.

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