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Automotive Leadership

Do you have “Only Person in the World” Disease?

Recently I was waiting in line at an airport, along with hundreds of other travelers. A couple appeared out of nowhere, shoving their way to the front of the line and complaining loudly as if they were the only people affected by the long wait. When another traveler told them to get in line, the pair acted shocked, as if they had never seen all of us standing there. I call this syndrome “Only Person in the World” disease, and unfortunately, it seems to be spreading in our society. Apparently, this disease gives people the ability to block out the existence of everyone around them as they travel around in little bubbles of self-absorption. The scary part is, most people with the disease don’t even realize they have it! I don’t know what causes this disease, but I see the impact of it everywhere. It might even be hurting your dealership. If one or more of your employees have “Only Person in the World” disease, it could have a serious and negative impact on your customer relationships and reputation. If you’re a salesperson with this disease, your career is probably suffering. Here’s how to diagnose “Only Person in the World” disease: If you greet every customer and answer every phone call while saying to yourself, “I hope this person buys a car today, I really need the commission.” What you should be asking is “What does this person need today and how can I help to fulfill that need?” Trust me; if you help enough people, sales will naturally follow. When you encounter stressful situations or a wrench is thrown into your plans, you ask yourself “Why does stuff like this always happen to me?” News flash: Stuff like this happens to everyone. It’s called life. If you paid more attention to others, you’d realize the same stuff is happening to them too. The good news is, there is a treatment for “Only Person in the World” disease. It’s called mindfulness. I realize that’s a new-age sounding term, but all it really means is being aware and living in the present moment. I think this is rare these days. So many people walk around with their noses in their phones, completely unaware of their surroundings. They’re so afraid to miss a single text or Facebook update, yet they’re missing opportunities to connect with real people around them. It’s also common to spend too much time ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. The fact is, you can’t change the past and the future will take care of itself as long as you execute on your plan today! However, this takes awareness. Many experts say that the best way to develop mindfulness is to meditate, but not everyone has the time or patience for that. Here are a few tips on how to develop more awareness while at work, that require little time and effort. Observe Once or twice a day, take a five-minute timeout and simply observe your surroundings. Observe the environment, your customers and co-workers. Do this without an agenda; you’re not looking for something. Look and listen without thinking or judging, but if you notice something that strikes a chord, jot it down. Observation is a developed skill that allows you to spot opportunities. Empathize To build trust with customers, you need to connect with them. The best way to do that is by tapping into and validating their feelings. Practice this skill with your co-workers. Start a conversation by asking someone what’s happening in their life. If they seem stressed, ask them why. Most people welcome the chance to talk about themselves to someone who cares. You don’t have to try and solve anyone’s problem. Listening and validating is enough. You might even be surprised at how this helps to strengthen bonds with your co-workers. Now imagine how effective this will be with your customers. Focus We all have a million thoughts, memories, ideas and dreams running around in our heads. Buddhists call this “Monkey Mind.” Most of these thoughts don’t serve any purpose other than to distract us from the present and from what we should be doing. Do you know how many hours of the day you are actually productive at work? If not, try tracking your time. How many of your CRM tasks do you complete on a daily basis, versus re-scheduling or finding an excuse to delete? What would happen if you actually completed all of your tasks on a daily basis? If you want to be successful, it’s important to find a way to focus your mind, become productive and do the things you know you should be doing, no matter how much you really don’t feel like doing them. Whether it’s music, meditation or another productivity technique, only you can find the best method for you. If you suspect you have “Only Person in the World” disease, try following these tips. Developing mindfulness will make you more aware of—and more responsive to—opportunities, customers and prospects. Not to mention, you won’t be annoying to others.

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