I’m an optimist. I’m an optimist because optimism enables you to cope more easily with the trials and tribulations you encounter on a daily basis. It increases your faith in your abilities and helps produce positive results. More importantly, it creates hope for the future. Hope is critical when you’re in business. People want to do business with positive people. Just ask Warren Buffett.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to become a pessimist in an election year. Just turn on the TV. The candidates are continuously berating each other, and there’s endless negative talk about the economy, terrorism, the uninsured, the unemployed, and the massive federal deficit that just keeps growing. Crime is up, the stock market is down, and more people than ever are on food stamps.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it turns out even cheap gas is a bad thing. It allows people to buy the vehicles they want instead of what the government wants them to buy. So in addition to all the other things we’re accused of, it turns out car dealers are even responsible for global warming. Heck, we might as well close up shop and let people buy one of Google’s self-driving golf carts.
Yet every dealer I’ve ever met is an optimist. Any business owner knows that optimism and a positive attitude is essential, because you’re going to have challenges and setbacks along the way. It’s how you respond to those challenges and setbacks that determine whether or not you will become successful. So I always try to remain optimistic. But I am starting to get a little skeptical.
Like many Americans, I’ve been semi-following — and thoroughly disgusted by — this year’s presidential race. The candidates and their PACs call each other liars and hypocrites, then manufacture their own statistics or take a few lines out of context to deflect attention away from their own fabrications. Apparently, this is the best process we’ve been able to come up with for picking a president.
One candidate calls himself a democratic socialist, which is nothing more than a made-up ideology advocating a democratic political system alongside a socialist economic system. It sounds just like that nuclear diesel-electric, hybrid fuel-cell four-wheel-drive SUV convertible with all-wheel steering soon to be manufactured in North Korea. The college kids will all be up in their Uber app hoping for a cheap ride in one of those babies.
Another candidate, who went to a prestigious university and school of finance, has the vocabulary of a sixth-grader, the people skills of a schoolyard bully and the temperament of a North Korean dictator. But he has read “Two Corinthians,” and besides, everyone else on stage is a choker, a liar or “low energy.” Plus he’s “really rich” and he had his own TV show. So he’s a winner. And if you don’t vote for him, you’re a loser.
Yet another candidate, when asked if she’d always told the truth, responded with as much genuine conviction as a good lawyer and professional politician could possibly muster, saying “I’ve always tried to … always … always.” Everyone knows if you say “always” three times, it has to be true. Just like her husband always tried to remain faithful.
Politicians make promises they can’t fulfill because they know many people are gullible enough to believe in hope and change. A vote for them will move us forward, give us a future to believe in, and make America great again. And like your manufacturer, they really do have your best interest at heart … always, always, always.
Sorry if that sounds skeptical, but I’ve seen good, loyal, profitable dealers who believed in their manufacturer, then lost their dealership when the manufacturer decided to eliminate that franchise. Dealers are forced to inventory cars nobody wants to buy and they can’t make any money on, because of government Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements. And now dealers are seeing their business and income decimated due to deception by their own manufacturer.
So in these uncertain times, a little dealer pessimism is certainly warranted. Yet, when you talk to dealers, almost without exception they’re optimistic. Because an optimistic dealer is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. And no matter how badly they screw things up in Washington, Wolfsburg or Detroit, tomorrow is a beautiful day to help someone buy a car!
Ron Reahard is president of Reahard & Associates Inc., a training company providing F&I classes, workshops, in-dealership and online training. Contact him at [email protected]