The McDavid Group

An Open Letter

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

The Man in the Arena

Theodore Roosevelt

An Open Letter


The past 24 months have been unlike any other two-year period our industry has ever experienced. Obviously, front end gross profits have never been better; F&I performances have likely exceeded expectations. With that stated, this open letter is not about the past, this letter is designed to look at the next 24 months… specifically, the reasoning as to my certainty that our dealer partners will continue their record-setting F&I performances and the strategy we employ to ensure their successes.

Over the next several paragraphs, I will provide greater insight to our processes and why I am convinced that there will never be a more critical time to utilize this strategy. First, in an effort at providing a little context to our strategy please take a moment and read one of my all-time favorite quotes above.

President Teddy Roosevelt’s Impact

It has now been nearly 45 years, and I still remember the first time I read the above quote from President Teddy Roosevelt. I was a 3rd Class Petty Officer (OS3) for the U.S. Navy, and I was aboard the USS Charles P Cecil. I remember how “moved” I became as I read Roosevelt’s words.

A little over twelve years ago, Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” would once again have an impact. This time the impact would come in the form of our business strategy. The Man in the Arena was more than a strategy to us, it became our Mantra. The McDavid Group would consist entirely of those individuals who possessed the rare combination of teaching and doing. In other words, our entire organization works (side by side) with your team, FULLY ENGAGED in The Man in the Arena mindset. Our rolling up our sleeve’s approach to development (by doing the F&I delivery) is not only the single most successful and credible way to impact productivity… it also happens to be the quickest path to greater success.

As I write this open letter; the date is April 1, 2022, and the Man in the Arena approach has never been more important. Over the remaining nine months of 2022, it is likely, if not probable we will begin to see inventory situations improve. As these inventory restraints are lifted, our industry will once again start to see a more competitive selling environment.

Exactly when our “re-introduction” to this more competitive selling environment occurs is anybody’s guess. What is not a guess, is this; a prepared dealership who takes a proactive approach to what is undoubtedly ahead will be far more likely to not “miss a beat” than those dealerships who will simply react and revert back to how they used to do things.

We are, in the midst of the single most profitable period ever for automotive dealerships. Those organizations who have made the choice to sit on the sidelines and train from afar have benefited from timing. In other words, the supply and demand challenges we have and continue to experience have created a unique set of circumstances. These advantageous circumstances have played a part in “MASKING” the reason for the successes many have experienced.


Allow me to provide an example by asking my audience one simple multiple-choice question.

QUESTION: Which of the following is more likely to have occurred as it relates to profits and the overall recent successes realized by the automotive retail industry?

The recent successes are largely due to the following:

  • Our entire sales staff have suddenly morphed into Zig Ziglar’s… and now I have an entire sales team consisting of the greatest salespeople ever.
  • An outside influence has impacted our ability to gain additional profits.

If you believe that choice “B” is at least partly responsible to the recent successes our industry has witnessed, then you and I are aligned in our thinking.


Finally, the figurative and literal MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION is this; “where have all the men and women who train/develop from INSIDE the arena gone?” When and why did it become a better approach to train and develop your sales department and your F&I team via ZOOM or GoToMeeting?

Sure, the OUTSIDE the Arena approach to training is certainly a more profitable venture for those providing the training… but the “OUTSIDE the arena approach” will never be as successful as TRAINING and DEVELOPING your team INSIDE the arena.

If you would like to learn more about our “Man in the Arena” approach, and the SAVINGS you will realize with our organization. I would welcome the opportunity to visit with you in person or feel free to call my cell phone at 727-480-2996.

Jim McDavid