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Building a Winning Team: Why a Recon Playbook is a Must

Bill Belichick, Vince Lombardi and John Wooden all have one thing in common (and it’s not just that they’re championship-winning coaches): They know that winning requires teamwork. And a winning team doesn’t come from just winning a game or two.  It requires repeated wins with a team who practices over and over to achieve excellence.

So how do you get to that greatness?

It all starts with a rock-solid playbook that your team, including the coaches, know inside and out.  And the best coaches are those who can develop a winning plan no matter who they have available to field a starting lineup.

The same is true at your dealership. It may not always seem like it but think of your dealership as your team. In that team, the General Manager, Used Car Manager and Service Manager are the coaches who inspire the players. So, when it comes to reconditioning (something all used car dealerships must do), having a playbook is crucial to motivating your team to success. Otherwise, a poorly defined reconditioning process that is left up to your players to execute, which might mean the players will do what they think is best in the moment (even if it unknowingly hurts in the long run).

Aside from the playbook, knowing who your key players are in the reconditioning process is crucial. A lazy coach might say “I’ve got a guy for this” but making one person the sole point of responsibility is a recipe for failure. Salespeople sell cars first, service techs repair cars first. Put the right people in the right positions and hold them accountable to the play. If you let the players call the shots, don’t be surprised when you need to start over because nobody knew what play was being run.

A good coach can diagnose a poor system quickly and develops a playbook to address the problem areas. To build your own winning game plan, first take-a-look at your process.

You may need to re-think your reconditioning playbook if:

  • You can’t identify who does what and when
  • Your team lacks discipline and accountability
  • Reconditioning is a reactive process
  • Your brand being sacrificed, sometimes evidenced by few repeat customers

Does any of the above sound familiar? Don’t worry, a team can always rebound. If you don’t believe me, just ask the 2016 Chicago Cubs who snapped a 108-year drought to win the World Series.

Developing a winning playbook for your reconditioning process can be simple:

  1. Establish a strategy and determine the steps to be done
    • Determine what reconditioning steps are must haves and then outline a plan for your team.
  2. Identify the players you have and the players you need
    • Perhaps you need someone dedicated to reconditioning to help balance internal and customer pay work? Fielding a full team can be hard, but when you develop a plan, you can move around key pieces to get desirable results.
  3. Coach to understand how the play is run
    • Your team doesn’t consist of mind-readers. Train them on the process, clearly define responsibilities, and compensate accordingly.
  4. Accept that flexibility is key and not everything will go to plan every single time
    • Trust that your players can think on the fly and when needed, can make something out of nothing.
  5. Review what’s working and what isn’t
    • Don’t be afraid to call an audible and adjust how your team does things. There’s always room for improvement.
  6. Cross-train your players
    • Remember, one person cannot carry the team – this is why depth, at any position (including within your dealership), is important.


When these elements are put into place, a reconditioning process can go from good to great. That improvement can mean all the difference in not only the efficiency, accountability, and productivity of your team, but also increased profit for your business. Better yet, having a great playbook means that it can be repeated even after a coach or star player departs – setting the dealership up for long-term success.

Remember, even great reconditioning plans can run into some bumps but if you to stick to the plan and “trust your players” then you’re bound to win.