Does this scene above look familiar? If you’re a dealer owner or manager, look around your dealership right now. What are your employees dedicating their attention to? My guess is it is the device in their hand. Like a superpower, our cell phones should be used for good, not evil. As I visit dealerships to train month in and month out, I see the majority of salespeople and BDC agents with their heads buried in their cell phones, not using them to profit, but to pass time. When I see this, I am well known for touching my index finger against the middle of their touchscreen and say “This is costing you money, not making you money.”
Clearly, calling customers is part of any salesperson or BDC agent’s job, so I am all for the (proper) use of their own personal cell phones. The device alone should be a revolutionary tool to make dealerships money. Yet, they don’t use it for that reason. So here is a simple rule I urge you to enforce at your dealerships.
When at work, cell phones are to be used to either communicate with clients or create content, not consume media.
If you are at work, during work hours, and passing the time on your mobile device by scrolling away on social media or watching TikTok after TikTok, you’re costing yourself and the dealership money. Educational content is the one small exception, but regardless how much they say they’re learning, if it is not uniquely relevant to their job description and duties, then it is not worth their work hours to waste on it. If a team member is so addicted to their phone that they simply are compelled to consume from their phone, send them educational, industry-related blogs and videos that can help them grow in their position, but you try to load them up with the right material.
Once when visiting a dealer group in Texas, I came upon a BDC of 8-10 agents, each one very obviously addicted to whatever it was on their phones. They seemed to easily be spending half their day’s time texting family, watching Netflix with one earbud in so they can listen to their show (another MAJOR problem I have), checking Instagram posts, or watching videos. All to keep them distracted from THEIR CORE JOB RESPONSIBILITIES. So at lunch, I went out and bought cups and velcro. When i returned, I fastened the cups onto their cubicles’ walls, just out of their reach. Then I made a rule that everyone had to place their cell phones in the cup, and if they wanted to use their cell phone, check a message, update a post, or anything else, they would need to stand up to get it and stay standing while they used it. Needless to say, they all hated me, and I don’t think they ever had done that much calisthenics before. However, the amount of times they had to stand up made it very clear to management there just how much their team was one their phone for personal use.
This is a problem! And it is happening in YOUR store, I promise you. Sorry for the rant, but this has gone on too far. We cannot allow this. Put policies in place to prevent it. Write up those that disobey. Stop letting others be a distraction when they take their hour long lunch breaks at their desk and catch up on the most recent episode of Euphoria right in the middle of the showroom. Again, cell phones and one’s personal mobile devices can be such a tremendously valuable tool, a profit-making magic wand, but only if they’re using it to communicate with clients or create content for their prospects. Not to consume media or send personal texts in group threads all day long. Your team will get mad at you for enforcing these changes, because I do believe we’re addicted to our phones, but it is in the best interest of both your store and their pocketbooks.
In the end, I implore you to teach your team the value that exists within their cell phone, along with the hidden evil that lurks if they use it on company time for the wrong purpose. Help your team sever the media umbilical cord from their phones and you will have a more productive workforce. Simple as that.