Objects in the Rearview Mirror

If you’ve never seen Meat Loaf perform live, there is a small vacuum in your life. He is one of the greatest recording artists of all time. His music, lyrics, and powerful More »

The Big Talent Drain

I have been screaming it from the mountaintops for more than a decade now: “When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” Now it seems the so-called industry press is finally catching up More »

A Faster Horse

Whether he actually said it or not, one of Henry Ford’s most famous quotes is, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” When he was More »

Strangers in the Mall

I was sitting in a big comfortable chair in the mall just outside the second-level entrance to Macy’s department store. I was extremely lucky to have secured one of the big comfortable More »

 

Internet Battle Plan XXI in Atlanta January 2017!

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Objects in the Rearview Mirror

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If you’ve never seen Meat Loaf perform live, there is a small vacuum in your life. He is one of the greatest recording artists of all time. His music, lyrics, and powerful message have been a huge influence on my life since the ’70s. His stage presence is unmatched. All his songs evoke powerful emotions and memories, but “Objects in the Rearview Mirror” is the one that totally envelops me every time I hear it. If we are the result of everything we’ve ever experienced, then it’s fair to say we all look to the past to chart our way forward. Meat Loaf says objects in the mirror are closer than they appear, and for the most part, that’s true. But in today’s world, old

Harry’s in a Slump

Even the best of us can fall into a slump. But when my friend Harry, a top salesman at his General Motors store in small-town America, messaged me through Facebook a few months ago, I could feel his pain through his words. “Hey buddy, I am in the worst slump of my sales life. I need some Alpha Dawg help, as I am not sure what to do at this point,” he wrote. “I’m thinking of going to Walmart to try to ‘up’ some people in the parking lot. Jim, I cannot quite put my finger on it, and I would appreciate your tips and help.” Well, nobody — and I mean nobody — knows prospecting better than I do. I am the master of

The Big Talent Drain

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I have been screaming it from the mountaintops for more than a decade now: “When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” Now it seems the so-called industry press is finally catching up with me. I have read several recent articles talking about the ongoing talent drain in the retail automobile business. Qualified leaders are becoming incredibly hard to find, particularly for the general manager and general sales manager roles. These days, a GM with any kind of track record can demand stupid money to make a move. Some dealers are putting off buy-sell agreements and postponing acquisitions until they can find a qualified operator. You have to offer a substantial guarantee and a buy-in just to get them to talk to you. You family-owned dealers

Time to Pay the Piper

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Although more legend than truth, it’s based on events dating back to the Middle Ages, around 1284. As the story goes, the German town of Hamelin hired a piper who promised to solve it’s rat infestation by luring them into the Weser River with his magical pipe. As the story goes, the dastardly Mayor of Hamelin refused to pay the piper the gold he had promised. In retaliation, the piper used his pipe to enchant the children of the town. They followed him to Keppenberg Mountain, where they were magically swallowed up. One theory is that the piper was a professional rat catcher, and the children who disappeared were actually victims

A Faster Horse

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Whether he actually said it or not, one of Henry Ford’s most famous quotes is, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” When he was the president of Ford, Lee Iacocca and his staff played off that legend, finding equine names for new models such as the Mustang, the Bronco, and even the Pinto. The Mustang became the subject of the documentary “A Faster Horse.” Whether Old Henry said it or not, the philosophy permeated the entire industry for the next 50 years. The attitude of the Big Three in Detroit was, more or less, “The public be damned. We’ll build them and they’ll buy them.” That worked fine until the mid-’60s when the imports started coming ashore

Habits of Highly Paid Sales Professionals

In the past 40 years, I’ve interacted with hundreds of thousands of car sales professionals who work for thousands of dealerships in 49 states. Every month, they start over again at zero, with this month’s hero going back to the starting line as a new race begins. Regardless of pay plans and how they are structured, there are always those few who consistently make incredible money, often rivaling the income of attorneys and physicians and other highly paid professionals. It’s not uncommon for top producers to sell 25 to 30 units a month, every month. On the other end of the spectrum are those salespeople who make just above minimum wage. They perpetually whine and complain and make excuses. They can get by and live

Strangers in the Mall

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I was sitting in a big comfortable chair in the mall just outside the second-level entrance to Macy’s department store. I was extremely lucky to have secured one of the big comfortable chairs, because every last one of them was occupied. There was a family of five sitting on the sofa, an old man taking a nap, and, in the chair next to me, a well-dressed, middle-aged man playing with his smartphone. This is the place wives park their husbands while they shop. Most of us have that bored look on our faces that says there’s some place we’d rather be. I played with my own phone for a while until I had seen every post on Facebook and LinkedIn, cleaned up my emails, messaged

You Can’t Handle the Truth

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You’d have to have been in a coma since 1991 if you haven’t seen that clip from “A Few Good Men.” Tom Cruise is grilling Jack Nicholson in court. “I want the truth!” says Cruise, in the role of the smarmy lawyer. Nicholson, playing a battle-hardened Marine colonel, explodes. “You can’t handle the truth!” Classic. No matter what you think about Jim Ziegler, you’ll seldom find anyone who is neutral about me. … Although even my staunchest detractors will agree that my industry forecasts and predictions about the car business have, for the most part, been extremely accurate. I have often made the right call when every other expert and authority in our industry was saying the opposite. History has always seemed to vindicate me

To Lease or Not to Lease

Writing about leasing requires that I don several hats, as it’s important that I clarify the processes and move dealerships to a better strategic policy. When wearing my sales or desk manager hat, I need to know the best way to present my leasing vs. retail figures to a customer. I also need to know what considerations impact my decisions. I also need to know when to covert a customer to a lease. When wearing my general manager hat, I have to consider what is best and most profitable for the dealership. As a sales professional, I have to consider when and how to present the lease proposition to customers. I also have to know what to tell them. It amazes me when I see