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   One of the greatest attributes anyone in sales can have is enthusiasm.  Energetic enthusiasm helps us power through even the seemingly mundane tasks so we stay on track to reach our goals. No one teaches this better than internationally acclaimed sales trainer and best selling author Thomas Hopkins.

   "The word 'enthusiasm' comes from the Greek words 'en theos' meaning 'the spirit within a person.' To come up with 'enthusiasm' we, of more modern times, added the 'iasm' to the end of the word. For me, that is a very important acronym that stands for 'I am Sold Myself'" said Hopkins in his recent YMU webinar "Achieving Business Growth Goals." "It is so important for us to sell ourselves on the value of our products, our services, and even our own skills, talents and abilities before we can successfully sell these things to others."

   So what is your team doing to build enthusiasm as we gear up for the upcoming boating season? Here are some practical ideas to consider.

Meetings are a must.

   Conduct dealership-wide meeting to clarify communication, departmental meetings to set objectives, and even one-on-one meetings to discuss individual goals and adjustments to job descriptions. One of the greatest ways to build enthusiasm in a meeting is to have an open discussion about how to make your business better. As the ideas generated from your meetings are implemented, you may quickly find your staff more motivated and willing to put forth additional suggestions for improvement.

Get close to your customers.

    When looking for ways to improve your business operations and generate enthusiasm, you should not only look to your staff for suggestions but also to your customers. It is more important than ever to know what is on your customers' minds. Are you offering the products and services that they want? Are there ways your business could make boating more fun or convenient for them? If you ask them these questions directly, you just might uncover new profit centers for your business. "It's so critical to survey your customers. You also need to make sure the information you learn from them is given to the decision makers in the dealership as quickly as possible. You might be surprised by what you pick up if you really listen to them," said Noel Osborne during a recent inventory planning webinar. "The recession has changed a lot of customers, and smart dealers are adjusting their businesses to better serve a new customer mind-set."

Ready, set, goals!

    Take a fresh look at your goals. According to Hopkins, the goals you set must be better than your best, but believable. This is why it is so important to build your dealership's goals with the people who are responsible for hitting them. " Put them down in writing and sincerely commit to them," said Hopkins. Doing this can help to give the goals a visual place of prominence so you are reminded of them on a regular basis. Also, make sure that the goals are in alignment with your overall mission statement and beliefs.

Take a tour of your dealership.

    Are you exemplifying your mission statement and selling your customers enthusiastically on the joys of boating in every aspect of your business? Online? At the parts counter? In the restroom? Every aspect of your dealership is part of your marketing, and should support your mission statement enthusiastically.

Brush up on product knowledge.

   The information age in which we exist gives customers access to a great deal of product knowledge, even before they walk into a dealership. Needless to say, it is absolutely critical for your staff to maintain an in-depth knowledge of the products you carry. Make learning fun by creating games and incentives to get team members to share information with each other. Feature and benefit contests, pop quizzes, and rotating who 'teaches' can create energy and enthusiasm. These types of team building exercises can be done anytime things get slow on the showroom floor, at the boat show or in the service department. Make sure to include staff members from all departments. Your tech may have some selling points you never considered in sales. Top dealerships create a culture of learning that allows everyone to grow and increase their industry knowledge.

   Enthusiasm creates positive energy and attracts customers. Plus, a dealership with an enthusiastic atmosphere is a fun place to be for everyone involved in making this year amazing for your dealership by reinforcing the 'iasm' acronym. If everyone in your dealership believes ' I am Sold Myself,' your customers, your staff and your business will most likely enjoy an outstanding year.

Are You Enthusiastic About the New Year?