Hank Aaron is not the home run king. His most significant achievement is that he was great every single year from 1955 to 1973. That’s 19 consecutive seasons. There really isn’t a record quite like it in baseball history. He was the king of consistency.
Breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record was merely a side effect of two decades of brilliance. But Aaron was more than a home run hitter. He hit the baseball as hard and for as long as anybody in the game’s history.
The balls that went off the fence were doubles. The balls that went over were home runs. It was all the same to Aaron. His job was to hit baseballs hard and whatever followed, followed. Two key commitments were consistent throughout his career and those same commitments will make any career successful:
1. He arrived at the ball park each day prepared, with a plan and a purpose.
Hank Aaron focused on the right thing. He admittedly never focused on hitting home runs; instead he spent all of his energy working to make every time at bat a success. He arrived at the ballpark each day prepared, with a plan and a purpose.
As an agent, you have the opportunity to ask a simple question of the F&I professionals you train: What is your purpose in the F&I office where you serve?
For many F&I managers, their mantra is “I have products. How can I sell them to my customer?” Working with masters of this process for over 10 years, I can attest to the fact their focus is completely different. Their mantra is “I have customers, how can my products help them?”
A great paradox in F&I is if you focus on producing the highest profits, you will do well; but you will never reach your highest level of success until you focus more on helping each customer make the best decisions in connection with their purchase. Just like with Aaron, record numbers will come when you focus on what matters most.
In a 2012 commencement address at Marquette University, Aaron said, “If you want something bad enough, you have to make the necessary sacrifices to get it. You learn to navigate the circumstances and accept the fact that failure is not an option for you.”
2. He was great year after year because he was committed to consistent improvement in his skills and practiced to make that happen.
Professionals practice and actors rehearse. It doesn’t matter how successful or famous they are. The truly great ones are always challenging themselves with new goals because they know it will demand working harder than ever and the effort to improve is as rewarding as the end result.
Champions are made in the training room! Every great F&I manager I know is committed to consistent improvement. When I walk into their office I am greeted with “I had a great month. Let’s get started. I have a couple of things I need help with.”
The best years in the F&I world are ahead of us, more customers are waiting to be helped and more records are waiting to be set. A great month or a great year is a good thing. A great career will make everyone around you be amazed at how you did it. We don’t need a home run king in F&I. What we need are more consistency kings! Batter up!