The Biggest Peril Facing Auto Industry

New Yorker Cartoon

The single biggest danger facing the auto industry isn’t quality, competition, or over-capacity, although these remain high on the list, it’s underestimating the power of good leadership and a strong sustainable sales team. Dealers reluctant to address their leadership problem are essentially driving recklessly in the dark with their headlights off. The only significant difference between dealer A, dealer B and dealer C on Main Street, USA is the leadership and talent in the store. Similar vehicles, selling processes and facilities make for an homogeneous shopping and working experience, regardless of the brand or location. But a staff of intelligent, engaged, value-focused employees with the right kind of leadership will crush the competition down the street with poor leadership every month, year-over-year.

Seismic Shift in Power

Thanks to the Internet we live in a world of transparency and connection. This is either really good or really bad for business because massive power has shifted from dealer to consumer and word-of-mouth spreads like a virus around the globe with the click of a mouse. By all accounts, turnover in the auto industry is shamefully high and retention is ridiculously low. On first glance this appears to be a recruiting problem, but it’s much deeper.

It’s about the dealership environment itself. And like a car with a transmission problem, it demands immediate repair. No longer can employers afford to underestimate the power of good leadership and a strong sales team. This means they need to face new realities. Not too long ago, many business owners scoffed at the Internet, considering it nothing more than a passing “flavor of the month” phase. Businesses that waited to take the Internet seriously lost businesses to those that didn’t.

Then along came the Millennials

Millennials changed the game, flipping it basically on its head. Millennials have become the largest new dynamic in the workforce, causing companies to become millennial-friendly — or perish. (Now that’s power!)


Today’s work environment requires a different kind of leader with the audacity to win among other things, the war for talent.

This war, like others, can’t be won with timid, un-engaged leadership. Treating salespeople poorly, or worse, with irrelevance may have worked in the past. It certainly damaged the auto industry’s reputation. According to a 2015 Gallup poll on Honesty/Ethics in Professions, Car Salespeople continue to rank at the bottom, hovering just above Lobbyists, equal to Members of Congress and Telemarketers.

With unlimited options for job seekers, no one really needs to work for a jerk anymore. Good leaders, on the other hand, attract and retain talent. They promote behavior that gets results; behavior that elevates the Customer Satisfaction/Loyalty, Employee Retention, and “Best Places To Work” Barometer.

Steve Farber
“Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.” ~ Steve Farber

My friend and colleague, Steve Farber, author of The Radical Leap, offers “Extreme Leadership” workshops to help fix this ubiquitous leadership problem. The LEAP philosophy rewires and “supercharges” leaders. Farber has explored the qualities and practices of Extreme Leadership, and he teaches people from all walks of life the undeniable elements of Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof that sets new standards for what it means to really lead in today’s world of transparency and connection.

Fix the leader, fix the environment; fix the environment, fix the turnover. Fix the turnover, everyone wins.

If you’d like more information on Steve Farber’s services, or mine, please email me or message me here. My email:


Hey there, I’m Michael, I’m a dad, writer, sales & marketing consultant, recruiter, life-long learner… oh and passionate Growler too. You can learn more about my services by visiting LinkedIn, and crawl into my stories right here on

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