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Jason Unrau

Jason Unrau Freelance Contributor

Exclusive Blog Posts

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Demonstrate a Culture of Giving Back

Can I be honest here? Nobody works to give it all away. The expectation is that you work hard to make a living; to support your family’s needs and, hopefully, have a little extra at the end of the month to kick back and relax a bit.

When it comes to a culture of giving, it’s understandable that you might scoff at a community outreach event or a giving your time off to charitable events. But like many things in business, it’s about perception by others of your actions and an opportunity to refocus, not about the event itself.

What Good Comes of Community Outreach?

Your dealership may be involved in an annual visit to a soup kitchen, or a drive at Christmas for kids’ toys. Your actions, no matter how you feel about it, benefit the people on the receiving end. And that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

But there’s more to a culture of giving at the professional level than that. When you’re involved in charitable activities, two things happen.

You Give Your Dealership a Good Name

It doesn’t directly put money in your pocket. It costs you valuable time and a few bucks as well. When you contribute to a culture of giving back to your community, your sacrifice is less about you, only partially about your community, and mostly about improving your dealership’s perceived standing in the community. Yes, that sounds callous.

What’s in it for you? It’s alright to ask what you’ll get out of a community outreach event, especially if it’s work-related. When your dealership takes part in a public event that benefits your neighborhood or a specific cause, it boosts your social media presence, your visibility in the community, and puts a positive spin on your store.

The benefits are most important if you’ve been plagued with negative issues recently. Have you been slammed on Google reviews or Yelp? Is your Facebook page littered with negative comments? It’s time to do something positive and uplifting to change how your store looks.

You Receive a Change of Perspective

It’s that warm and fuzzy feeling, but at a professional level. Doing something good for people in need, or simply a good deed in your community has a profound impact on your outlook on life. What has been fully self-centered (that’s not a horrible thing, necessarily) gets shifted to let other people become the focus. You’ll begin to see how good you really have it, from a great work environment, a cohesive team, a consistent and substantial income, and even your health.

That simple change of perspective may not last long, but it can have an effect on your work life. For that brief period of time, you may begin to change how you do business. You might consider going above and beyond in your customer service, you may take an extra moment to ask a distraught service customer if you can help. It might only be a small thing like looking customers in the eye and smiling.

It’s All About You

Again, it might sound callous, but at work it is all about you. If you’re manning the barbecue for a Saturday sale, flipping burgers, it’s a chance to make contact with customers and drum up some leads. If you’re answering phones at a Radiothon in the mall, wear your work name badge so people know where to find you.

 

This applies to every position in the dealership, none withstanding.

  • If you’re the GM or the dealer principal, you should be involved visibly. You should make sure your dealership’s branding is all over the promotional material and you have demo vehicles displayed at the event.
  • If you’re a salesperson or a sales manager, have your cards with you. You never know when someone is ready to buy a vehicle, or knows someone who needs a new car.
  • If you’re in the service or parts department, wear your uniform and nametag. Look the part and engage people. Remember, if they are visiting your store in any capacity, there’s a good chance you’ll run into them in the service drive.
  • If you’re a lot jockey, a lube tech, or a wash bay technician, greet people and smile. Be outgoing – this could be your opportunity to show management your true colors and possibly move up in the world.

 

Great things happen when a whole dealership gets behind a community outreach event or sponsors a charity, a food drive, or a toy drive. It benefits the recipients, but don’t forget to make the event benefit you professionally as well.

 

Center for  Performance Improvement

The time and effort invested here is invaluable; longer lasting than this weekend's ad campaign. And it begins with the Dealer Principal's visible engagement. Actions speak volumes. Great article!

No one can touch Darling's on the state of Maine for what they do for the communities we do business in, and where our customers live. We are involved with numerous charitable organizations and events, from United Way, Susan G Komen, Our local Cancer Research center, local businesses, after school programs, donating vehicles to businesses and people in need, and the list goes on and on. We also run a number of events here at the dealerships, we sponsor and run the waterfront concert series where some of the biggest names in music come and play and we have a VIP tent for customers and special community events. The company is dedicated to giving back and it has become a culture for us here from the top down. In the end it makes you feel proud, and it also adds to the bottom line because people want to shop local and support their local dealer when they know that some of the profits are going back into the community. We are so visible in this arena that it has become a close of mine, just reminding people that by doing business with myself and Darlings means support to their hometown. Makes a HUGE impact for/on everyone. 

Tori Zinger

This is a really great article. Today's generation of buyers are more likely than ever to look at a company's community contributions as a factor in deciding where to place their brand loyalty.  As a dealership (or any corporate entity, for that matter), it's worth whatever investment is required to volunteer and contribute to bettering the community. You may not see an immediately measurable ROI, but the benefits over time will be great.

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