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    Thread: I'm the GM of a dealership. Ask me anything.

    1. Member
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      07-31-2020 09:25 AM #1851
      Quote Originally Posted by Pnuu View Post
      As someone who has managed personnel in the past, I laughed out loud at the bolded line. Dealership life seems like an entirely different world...
      Agreed.

      I work in a white collar world and manage a team of engineers. If someone says they want to leave, I assume they mean it and they're not bluffing for money. I tell them they should go where their heart points them, and that they will be missed, and move on. Because in the end, if his/her heart is not in the team I've built, they're not going to perform, and we should separate and move on. No need for bluster or confrontation.

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    3. Turtles walk slowly, but get angry fast! Smooremin's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 10:48 AM #1852
      Quote Originally Posted by chucchinchilla View Post
      Observer here, are you referring to financing/TruCoat/AudiCare/etc. sales on top of the unit being sold? If yes on average what is the buyer purchasing with that $2,600?
      There are a bunch of options available. We mostly sell Audi Care and Tire and wheel packages. Some of the packages include things like dent and ding removal and windshield. Without getting into too much detail, as I do it 100 times a week, but we dont do traditional leases, as Chicago taxes the **** out of them, so we do a lot of balloon leases. On a Balloon lease, GAP is not included, so we sell a lot of GAP too.
      Quote Originally Posted by patrikman View Post
      Asking OT for relationship advice makes about as much sense as asking TCL what car to buy.
      Quote Originally Posted by ChillOutPossum View Post
      About 5 oclock I realized I needed to go to Costco for some white people stuff.

    4. Learning New Things Every Day. GreenandChrome's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 11:00 AM #1853
      Quote Originally Posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
      Bolting it together, sure.
      Funding the R&D, it's not even close.

      All those optioned out C's do a great job funding the bottomless money vacuum that is MB R&D
      Quote Originally Posted by gmeover View Post
      I highly doubt that a Chrysler and a MB cost the same to produce now. All the fancy safety & infotainment systems and in-dash screens that you get on the current MBs are very expensive. Maybe the new Ram and Giulia are similar in production costs to a C-class or GLC-class, but I doubt a Charger or 300 is. R&D for a luxury brand is much different than a mainstream brand. Luxury brands want to be the first to use the latest and greatest technologies, and will source the first generations of it from the suppliers. More affordable brands will wait until the suppliers develop the second or third generations of the technology and have already paid off their R&D costs.
      Of course MB has a bigger R&D budget, the "excess" MSRP pays for it.

      The point was that MB was "excited" to figure out how to make cheap cars like Chrysler, only to find out they were already pretty close. Which you could probably extrapolate across the industry and figure that the cost of production is similar between like-OEMs (obviously the Yugo-style of OEM would be vastly cheaper and Lambo/McLaren/Ferrari vastly more expensive).

      So if a 300 cost $20,000 to build, an E-class $25,000 to build, assume a BMW 5-series similarly comes in at $25,000. MSRPs give a $15,000 edge to the luxury brand; ends up being $10k extra per unit that hits the bottom line/R&D/etc. With just 30,000 cars sold, that's $300M more than what Chrysler would earn. Since 2013, M-B has sold more than 300,000 vehicles a year in the US alone. That's a nice little sum to be able to throw into R&D, F1, etc.

      *also note that I'm not saying the vehicles are the same in terms of quality or performance.
      "Excluding the possibility that a female Scandinavian Olympian was running around outside our house last night, what else might be a possibility?"
      If someone you know is afflicted with Dunning-Kruger, please help. #knowthecure
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    5. Learning New Things Every Day. GreenandChrome's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 11:01 AM #1854
      Quote Originally Posted by Smooremin View Post
      There are a bunch of options available. We mostly sell Audi Care and Tire and wheel packages. Some of the packages include things like dent and ding removal and windshield. Without getting into too much detail, as I do it 100 times a week, but we dont do traditional leases, as Chicago taxes the **** out of them, so we do a lot of balloon leases. On a Balloon lease, GAP is not included, so we sell a lot of GAP too.
      I'm only interested in thigh GAP. I don't have any of that.
      "Excluding the possibility that a female Scandinavian Olympian was running around outside our house last night, what else might be a possibility?"
      If someone you know is afflicted with Dunning-Kruger, please help. #knowthecure
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    6. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 11:19 AM #1855
      Quote Originally Posted by GreenandChrome View Post
      Of course MB has a bigger R&D budget, the "excess" MSRP pays for it.
      i should add what i wrote applies to the MB of the mid 2010s. theyve massively cut back on engineering and R&D, and focused much more on outsourcing and supplier developed systems, the last few years.

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      07-31-2020 11:36 AM #1856
      Quote Originally Posted by Pnuu View Post
      As someone who has managed personnel in the past, I laughed out loud at the bolded line. Dealership life seems like an entirely different world...
      In construction supply, sales staff are usually treated like teflon coated gods.
      I'm not sure why as most rely on lower prices to sell, which any kid straight out of high school could do.
      Proper sales is about providing something other than being cheapest.
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    8. Learning New Things Every Day. GreenandChrome's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 11:38 AM #1857
      Quote Originally Posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
      i should add what i wrote applies to the MB of the mid 2010s. theyve massively cut back on engineering and R&D, and focused much more on outsourcing and supplier developed systems, the last few years.
      And the merger was in '98, so when you look at the late 80s and 90s cars, there wasn't a whole lot of difference between cars. Manual vs. electric motors for windows and seats, and dual-zone AC/Heat.
      "Excluding the possibility that a female Scandinavian Olympian was running around outside our house last night, what else might be a possibility?"
      If someone you know is afflicted with Dunning-Kruger, please help. #knowthecure
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    9. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 11:49 AM #1858
      Quote Originally Posted by GreenandChrome View Post
      And the merger was in '98, so when you look at the late 80s and 90s cars, there wasn't a whole lot of difference between cars. Manual vs. electric motors for windows and seats, and dual-zone AC/Heat.
      i dont think thats entirely true. the cost of those systems then (ABS, airbags, all of the interior control modules, etc) was pretty high, as was the complexity required to integrate them in the pre/early CAN days.

      i bet you could ballpark the relative development cost by just counting up the controllers in an early MB of whatever flavor, and the equivalent class chrysler. i bet its 2x in the MB.

    10. Member davewg's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 03:35 PM #1859
      Quote Originally Posted by Smooremin View Post
      There are a bunch of options available. We mostly sell Audi Care and Tire and wheel packages.
      Even I couldn't say no...

      2019 Audi A5 - back to the brand after 28 years
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    11. Member MontoyaF1's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 04:03 PM #1860
      OP, my cat has a yellowish discharge from his nose that tastes salty.

      What do you think is wrong with him?
      Learn what the bible really says about the End Times:

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    12. Member GTijoejoe's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 04:10 PM #1861
      Quote Originally Posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
      i dont think thats entirely true. the cost of those systems then (ABS, airbags, all of the interior control modules, etc) was pretty high, as was the complexity required to integrate them in the pre/early CAN days.

      i bet you could ballpark the relative development cost by just counting up the controllers in an early MB of whatever flavor, and the equivalent class chrysler. i bet its 2x in the MB.
      Based on my personal knowledge I imagine when MB found to be close to Chrysler for production, it means factory assembly, how much does it cost these people to take these parts and put them together and get the product out the door? This was the biggest issue with American companies competing with Japanese back in the day. There is an entire pod cast on this about GM and Toyota from an old GM guy. The Japanese were crazy efficient when it came to production at the time.

      In terms of cost of components based on technology it isn't even going to be close, however, its also going to depend on what your perspective is. $1 in a mass production high volume condition is a BIG deal.
      There are technologies that one car has the the others don't, so clearly there are costs of components that just don't add up on one side apples to apples instead of comparing a brake disk of one vs the other.
      The reason why a Ferrari for example cost so much, is not because of the R&D, its because of the components of low volume production. A forged arm is a forged arm weather it has Ferrari or VW stamped into it, however, the tooling required to make the component is going to add up when its amortized over 5000 vehicles vs 500,000. This is why low production vehicles have more hand work in general.
      The reason why an S8 is 2.5x+ the cost vs an A4 is because they can sell you value for money, its not because it cost 2.5x more to produce, or for the components, or for the R&D. At a point there is certainly a gap for component costs and maybe even development in some cases, but it doesn't fill the void the customer spends, there is a marking perspective of what's available to you and what you're willing to spend to get what that vehicle can offer. A great example of this is upselling options by providing base components they know you don't want for the majority of buyers. BMW is famous for this for almost all options, and Audi likes to do this with wheels (I heard this specifically from someone who worked for VW that is now retired). A wheel you want and like more than the base maybe only cost +$20/wheel more but they will charge you $1500, knowing you'll likely pick it cause 1500 isn't a lot to get the wheel you want when spending $50k
      Last edited by GTijoejoe; 07-31-2020 at 04:16 PM.
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    13. Planters (fasciitis) peanuts. Dang dogg Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 04:36 PM #1862
      Quote Originally Posted by MontoyaF1 View Post
      OP, my cat has a yellowish discharge from his nose that tastes salty.

      What do you think is wrong with him?
      Sounds like a bacterial infection. Please stop eating it.
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    14. Member Captain Yar's Avatar
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      08-01-2020 11:35 PM #1863
      OP I've thoroughly enjoyed reading through this 4 year old post. I do hope you vote this year, one way or the other.

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      08-02-2020 02:22 AM #1864
      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      Adjusted for inflation, Alec’s $80k BMW he drove in is more expensive than my Lotus, so I’ll defer to his excellence.
      I have to explain to younger people today how this meant a 12 cylinder BMW at the time, and what a Hyundai was in 1992. And the reason I have to explain it to younger people is that I quote this scene like I quote Full Metal Jacket...
      Quote Originally Posted by Broduski View Post
      TCL would suggest a Bi-Turbo to a single mother of 4 just for sh*t's and giggles.
      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      Here we can all drive like Colin McRae in his prime, earn $25k a month and bang super models. We can also text and drive.
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      You only live once, and you can file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy every 8 years.

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      08-02-2020 02:33 AM #1865
      Quote Originally Posted by Pnuu View Post
      Have you dealt with a Lexus dealership before?

      At the ones I've interacted with, you're paying sticker price for their certified cars or you're free to shop elsewhere. Literally zero negotiation by policy.
      Weird... I realize a twenty year old article isn't exactly germane to the current market, but: About 20 years ago Car and Driver printed a letter from a dentist named Dr. Chew. Yes, they looked him up with his city's Chamber of Commerce; he really was a dentist named Dr. Chew. Based largely on Car and Driver articles, Dr. Chew cross shopped the C5 Corvette, BMW 540 (manual and automatic), and Lexus GS400. The Chevy dealer wouldn't let him test drive any Vettes; as for as color, he gets what he gets when it comes in. Hard pass. He went to the BMW dealer. They had a manual 540; he test drove that and an automatic. He decided C&D was right; the 540/6 was basically a different car vs the auto. But they wanted a "market adjustment." He'd think about it. Dr. Chew then went to the Lexus dealer. You want colors, we've got colors! Drive 'em all! He bought a GS400 for considerably less than sticker.

      #csb and all, but sad to hear Lexus sales have changed that way.
      Last edited by TJSwoboda; 08-02-2020 at 02:52 AM.
      Quote Originally Posted by Broduski View Post
      TCL would suggest a Bi-Turbo to a single mother of 4 just for sh*t's and giggles.
      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      Here we can all drive like Colin McRae in his prime, earn $25k a month and bang super models. We can also text and drive.
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      You only live once, and you can file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy every 8 years.

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      08-02-2020 02:51 AM #1866
      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      One threatens to quit, so I let her know that at her average, I could replace her with a minimum wage employee, and an iPad and have better PVR.
      She quit. She's going to take her top talent elsewhere. Ok cool. Remaining guy gets his attitude realigned after keeping in touch with her. Turns out she can't break $1,000 PVR at any other store, and bounced around getting fired or quitting due to low pay.
      Quote Originally Posted by Pnuu View Post
      As someone who has managed personnel in the past, I laughed out loud at the bolded line. Dealership life seems like an entirely different world...
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      In construction supply, sales staff are usually treated like teflon coated gods.
      I'm not sure why as most rely on lower prices to sell, which any kid straight out of high school could do.
      Proper sales is about providing something other than being cheapest.
      The way I look at this, and I'm almost certainly not 100% correct: In most jobs, if you tell the boss this they're going to you to get the hell out of here. Or in my cushy public sector job, call the bureau commander into the office and document it for the union. A 100% commission sales job, or F&I which is somewhat similar is going to be different. Brenden's patience with this F&I person makes sense to me, but at that point she clearly still wasn't listening. Bye, Felicia.
      Quote Originally Posted by Broduski View Post
      TCL would suggest a Bi-Turbo to a single mother of 4 just for sh*t's and giggles.
      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      Here we can all drive like Colin McRae in his prime, earn $25k a month and bang super models. We can also text and drive.
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      You only live once, and you can file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy every 8 years.

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      08-02-2020 04:08 AM #1867
      Quote Originally Posted by StressStrain View Post
      Agreed.

      I work in a white collar world and manage a team of engineers. If someone says they want to leave, I assume they mean it and they're not bluffing for money. I tell them they should go where their heart points them, and that they will be missed, and move on. Because in the end, if his/her heart is not in the team I've built, they're not going to perform, and we should separate and move on. No need for bluster or confrontation.
      Not surprised that you're surprised. My background is engineering; I've managed engineers and sales teams, and when my career added the later it was a major adjustment for me. Thing is, in the engineering world, most of the motivation comes from what is being created, so managing has a lot more to do with keeping the staff focused, on-time, and making sure they have the resources to see their effort realized. In the sales world, there's no gadget or gizmo created to focus on, the goal is helping someone to get a product they want and earning money doing it. If unsuccessful, it implies that your competitors are successful, so for many it boils down to winning and losing. So you typically end up with a lot of competitive Type A personalities, and like an F1 driver who collaborates and competes with their teammate at the same time, there is bound to be some level of internal strife.

      That's not to say undermining a manager and threatening to leave in an attempt to negotiate a raise is an acceptable behavior, just that it's something that happens. Best engineering analog I can think of is a perfectionist that is habitually late with their designs. It's a personality trait that comes with the territory, and while the essence of it may be desirable, taken too far it will get in the way.
      Last edited by ghost03; 08-02-2020 at 04:11 AM.

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      08-02-2020 09:46 AM #1868
      Quote Originally Posted by ghost03 View Post
      Not surprised that you're surprised. My background is engineering; I've managed engineers and sales teams, and when my career added the later it was a major adjustment for me. Thing is, in the engineering world, most of the motivation comes from what is being created, so managing has a lot more to do with keeping the staff focused, on-time, and making sure they have the resources to see their effort realized. In the sales world, there's no gadget or gizmo created to focus on, the goal is helping someone to get a product they want and earning money doing it. If unsuccessful, it implies that your competitors are successful, so for many it boils down to winning and losing. So you typically end up with a lot of competitive Type A personalities, and like an F1 driver who collaborates and competes with their teammate at the same time, there is bound to be some level of internal strife.

      That's not to say undermining a manager and threatening to leave in an attempt to negotiate a raise is an acceptable behavior, just that it's something that happens. Best engineering analog I can think of is a perfectionist that is habitually late with their designs. It's a personality trait that comes with the territory, and while the essence of it may be desirable, taken too far it will get in the way.
      Yeah, I take your point. I manage the engineering team that works very closely with the sales team. The engineering team is mostly motivated by creating or perfecting our widget, while the sales team is motivated by making money selling it. Very different motivations. That motivation is what sent the engineers to engineering school many years ago, and the sales people to whatever degree they could finish first.

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      08-02-2020 10:20 AM #1869
      Quote Originally Posted by StressStrain View Post
      That motivation is what sent the engineers to engineering school many years ago,
      Absolutely right there. I was one of very few at my high school that spent all my time making gadgets in my parents basement. I went to RPI (probably 80% engineering students), and was thrilled to find out it that among my classmates, that wasn't the exception but the norm.

      Quote Originally Posted by StressStrain
      and the sales people to whatever degree they could finish first.
      Lol, I wouldn't discount the "people person" aspects of it though. I know our staff truly loves meeting and helping customers. At tradeshows for example, when I'm bubbly and happy and chatting with all of our customers and leads, my emotions aren't fake, but it's also just part of the job as opposed to something I look forward to it. Whereas the sales pros are loving every minute of it and don't want it to ever stop. E.g., "Oh wow, last year I sold that person _____ and it helped them to make a ____!!!!" Or, on one eventful occasion, "I JUST MET AN ASTRONAUT!!"

    21. Member Pnuu's Avatar
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      08-02-2020 01:19 PM #1870
      Quote Originally Posted by TJSwoboda View Post
      Weird... I realize a twenty year old article isn't exactly germane to the current market, but: About 20 years ago Car and Driver printed a letter from a dentist named Dr. Chew. Yes, they looked him up with his city's Chamber of Commerce; he really was a dentist named Dr. Chew. Based largely on Car and Driver articles, Dr. Chew cross shopped the C5 Corvette, BMW 540 (manual and automatic), and Lexus GS400. The Chevy dealer wouldn't let him test drive any Vettes; as for as color, he gets what he gets when it comes in. Hard pass. He went to the BMW dealer. They had a manual 540; he test drove that and an automatic. He decided C&D was right; the 540/6 was basically a different car vs the auto. But they wanted a "market adjustment." He'd think about it. Dr. Chew then went to the Lexus dealer. You want colors, we've got colors! Drive 'em all! He bought a GS400 for considerably less than sticker.

      #csb and all, but sad to hear Lexus sales have changed that way.
      I could see Lexus doing whatever was required to make a sale in 2000, but they have such a strong market position in 2020 that there is no benefit for them to discount their product at all. Different times, and effectively different companies after 20 years of success.

    22. Planters (fasciitis) peanuts. Dang dogg Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      08-02-2020 01:26 PM #1871
      Managing salespeople is a unique beast. I’ve managed different types of teams in my career, and they have vastly different styles to get the best of out the team.

      Team of account reps: I’m a super friendly guy who has the answers, who wants to train you to be more effective so some day you can have my job. Are you trained and equipped to do your job? What else can I do to make your job easier? Let’s keep on top of your accounts together so we know where we are at to keep them healthy and grow them. It’s leading by sharing.

      Team of developers: here’s the scope of work. Here’s the deadline. Here’s MVP. Is it possible? Let’s set milestones and eat the big elephant one bite at a time to make sure we’re on track. You know how to do your jobs, so keep me posted and make sure we’re on track.

      Team of salesman: here’s your goal. You have the opportunity. You have the training. You have the product. It’s on your to hit the goal. I can only be a cheerleader and offer a carrot, or if you need it, whack you with a stick. Some salesmen need to be verbally beat about the head and body and then they perform. Self motivated guys I forecast and check in with. Guys who need to be whipped like a race horse I dig into their CRM, track their actions (how many calls, emails and texts did you send today, how will you have to do tomorrow to stay on pace etc). And then there’s the egos. It’s a room of Type A people. You have to be the King of the Type A’s otherwise people start to walk all over you. I called it being a benevolent dictator. If you stayed in line I was laid back. Got out of line and I’d put you in your place so fast that the rest of the team would feel bad for you, and also not want to step out of line.

      Managing developers, which I’m doing now, is so so much easier.
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    23. Member whalemingo's Avatar
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      08-02-2020 06:13 PM #1872
      Quote Originally Posted by MontoyaF1 View Post
      OP, my cat has a yellowish discharge from his nose that tastes salty.

      What do you think is wrong with him?
      That's the 'Rona for sure. The answer is to break two of his legs and put on a mask.
      Lower all the Things.

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