In the waning months of 1939, war in the United Kingdom was imminent. The Ministry of Information went into a full-court press getting Tommy ready to enlist, while at the same time getting an empire ready for the most fearsome war machine created. The ministry created three propaganda posters for its initial run. The first two were titled “Freedom Is In Peril. Defend It With All Your Might” and “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory.” Although 2.5 million of the third posters were printed, only a few were distributed. It was rediscovered sum sixty years later. It was titled “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
Long before it was a Facebook meme, “Keep Calm and Carry On” carried a profound message. In the typically stoic British manner, it’s a simple reminder to persevere in the face of perceived doom. For post Edwardian Britons, panic was not an option. It shouldn’t be for you, either.
In the dealer world, there always seems to be a sense of impeding doom. How can you blame them? On a weekly basis an article is published stating that traditional sales are dead. TV is dead. Radio is dead. Newspapers are dead. Incentives are dead. Domestic manufacturers are dead. The middle class is dead. The Walking Dead. Although we know these things are sensationalized, or may take place in the distant future, it’s not hard to imagine some dealers feeling like an elderly person staring at a photo album filled with deceased friends and relatives. Damn, that’s sad.
We need to be more British in our approach, and be prepared for what lies ahead. Our world is going to change, but it is not going to end tomorrow (sorry, Doomsday Preppers). Retail automotive is in a state of metamorphosis. Fight hard to protect your dealership, but be ready for when those changes finally do come. Make a commitment to understanding the disruptions that can change your dealership, and consistently train your people to be the best they can be. Stand tall. Keep calm. Carry on.