Maintaining a sense of purposeful optimism helps top performers reduce idle time and focus on the important tasks at hand. - Illustration by BlackSalmon via Getty Images

Maintaining a sense of purposeful optimism helps top performers reduce idle time and focus on the important tasks at hand. 

Illustration by BlackSalmon via Getty Images

Some days the daily grind really feels like a grind. Anyone who is paid on commission knows that it’s hard to stay motivated. Sometimes we just want to stay in bed. Dragging yourself out of bed and showing up isn’t enough. We have to be more than just a warm body.

Horace wrote poetry 2,000 years ago and immortalized the phrase “carpe diem.” It literally means “seize the day.” How do you seize the day every day? Show up, do your job, and do it well. It’s all about attitude.

Starting the Day

Finance managers don’t usually have deals first thing. That usually means we stroll in with a minute to spare, assuming we’re on time at all. While the computer turns on, we’ll amble to the coffee machine to fill the tankard and check out the donuts and granola bars in the service lounge.

Once the computer is on and we’re sipping some caffeine and digesting carbs, we check the internet for scores and stats, political news, or celebrity gossip. We’ll scan social media to see who’s doing what, post comments, and upload pictures. About an hour after we drive onto the lot, we’re ready to work.

Or are we?

What do you need to do each day to start your day with a good attitude? If you need two cups of coffee, drink them. If you need a 45-minute workout, go to the gym. If you need a huge breakfast, get your griddle hot. If you need prayer and meditation, get up early enough to have your quiet time. If you need time with your pooch, rub that furry belly until the tail thumps fast enough to power a small town.

Whatever you need to do to get your head in the right place and believe that you can, make the time to start your day right so that you’re halfway there.

Beating the Midday Blues

We’re in the car business. There are going to be frustrations. Dig down deep inside yourself and show that you’re tough, resilient, and a positive role model. You may be on your 10th cash deal in a row. So what? You’re good, aren’t you?

Stop grumbling and taking an extra half hour to get the customers into your office. Stop doing a print-and-sign without any attempt. Instead, thank the salesman for doing his job and giving you an opportunity. Then think about the two products you really believe in — and sell them!

The desk is penciling deals below buy rate? No problem. First, educate them that rates are at a 10-year high. Suggest a rate matrix if they’re not already using one so that they’re not guessing incorrectly. Second, educate the customer. This is an opportunity to build credibility by speaking knowledgably about banks and their programs.

It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with rough credit, a rash of cash deals, or a sales manager who has more arrogance than talent. What matters is how you conduct yourself. Your attitude will dictate the outcome.

Ending the Day

Very few of us are born with a perennial cheerfulness. Most of us have to learn to be positive. Self-awareness is part of a creating a good attitude. At the end of each day, check in with yourself. Ask yourself what went well that day and examine why it did. Ask yourself what you could’ve done to improve.

What separates good F&I managers from great ones? It’s not our abilities; it’s our attitude. How’s your attitude?

About the author
Lori Church

Lori Church


Lori Church is an experienced F&I manager, a graduate of the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, and director of compliance for Holman Automotive.

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