Daily Podcast: Warning!

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
daily podcast warning

An investment banker once told me business isn't risky. People are risky. One guy can take a dumb as toast business plan and make millions. Another guy can take a slam dunk and forget to throw the ball. Divining where risk lives is a lot harder than it seems. The same biz brain said planning for failure is easy. If Cadillac's new sub-CTS doesn't sell, well, the brand has plenty of experience not selling small cars. But what if the mini-Caddy sells like hotcakes? Could the average Caddy dealer deal? What would it do to the Cadillac brand? Or Buick? Or Chevy? For GM execs who mutter "we should be so lucky," be careful what you wish for. Meanwhile, I wish governments would ease-up on the whole risk elimination business. Even global warming's most vociferous adherents will admit that the possibility of rising ocean levels flooding our coastal conurbations is a risk, not a dead cert. How far are we willing to go to eliminate that risk? Do we really need to force people out of their cars to do so? And who's planning for the potential problems that success would bring? No one. Until I see that kind of thinking on the issue, I'm staying out of it. Well, at least until Monday.

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  • Osnofla Osnofla on Sep 21, 2007

    the prius one would be: "SMUG ALERT!"

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Sep 21, 2007

    You guys have it all wrong about commission sales. 1. There is simply no such thing as a non-incented sales person. They are paid only if they sell. If no one reads a writer's work, they won't stay on the job long either. Sales people on any plan get tracked on volume and profit. Period. 2. Unless you eliminate trade ins, there will always be negotiation. Many so called "non-commission" sales shops are really just a new twist on the old "turnover" shop. If you don't take a profit filled offer, you get turned over to a professional negotiator. Enjoy. (BTW, these dealers are higher margin on both the average and the median if my sources are correct. They do well on customer sat surveys, but they are not high volume either). 3. Commissions are the only thing that makes the salesperson your friend. No sale, no commission. That is why the manager has to approve deals, it keeps the sales people from taking low profit deals and moving on to the next customer. 4. The sales people who are not commissioned will generally tell you what they are told to say. IOW, they lie. EVERY company I know who goes this route teaches the sales clerks to lie. They can do this because they generally are paying only enough to get people who are either too stupid or unethical to know better. In the end, you are treated EXACTLY like the management of the company wants you to be treated well over 80% of the time. It's not about commissions, it's about leadership, management, and ethics. A properly laid out commission plan will help a company give better service and get more profit overall because the sales people will learn to make good decisions about how to make customers happy. Lastly, I would love to hear about what business you think is fixed price. Nothing that is anything like auto sales is. There are always different prices for different buyers, groups, promotions, etc. Heck, Walgreens now gives you a lower price on a candy bar if you buy two. I suppose it's their plan to generate more diabetes and cholesterol drug demand in the future.

  • Tentacles Tentacles on Sep 21, 2007

    You know how Canadians are buying cars in the US and all that jazz? One of the major things that is making it difficult - Canadian safety regs require airbag warning labels in both English and French, something that USDM vehicles do not have. If you collect those things, now would be the time to cash out.

  • BlueBrat BlueBrat on Sep 24, 2007

    Landrover: Caution: Vehicle expires after 1 year from date of purchase.