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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jim Radogna

Jim Radogna President

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You Can’t Fix It If You Don’t Measure It

If your sales staff told you that they had a 50% closing ratio, would you take their word for it? I suspect not – you would probably track all of their opportunities to determine the true percentage. Most dealerships measure a vast number of items on a daily basis. After all, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, right?

How about the level of compliance and ethical behavior in your dealership? Is that something you measure or do you just take everyone’s word for it? Have you really thought about how your staff is conducting itself in these areas? Is it possible that some of these thoughts are floating around?

“We’ve always done it this way – haven’t been caught yet”
“Hey, if we get sued, that’s what insurance is for.”
“Compliance is not in my pay plan. I’ll do whatever it takes to make a decent paycheck.”

Sure, you can bury your head in the sand and hope for the best, but is it really worth finding out the hard way that you were mistaken, or that your customers are not being treated the way you expect?

Instead, why not follow a few simple steps?

1. Audit your operation to determine where you really stand.
2. Have your staff properly trained in all aspects of legal compliance.
3. Once trained, have them sign a code of ethics which will not only help protect the dealership, but let everyone know that the organization is serious about compliance and ethical behavior.

These steps are easy and far more affordable than the costs associated with lawsuits, regulatory actions and, most importantly, hits to your valuable reputation. Don’t find out the hard way that your operation isn’t as clean as you thought it was.

JD Rucker
Jim, Are there any resources that you would recommend to dealers to get this information? It all makes sense but I personally wouldn't know where or how to start if I was in the situation.
Jim Radogna
There are several excellent firms that deal in auto dealer compliance, such as Dealer Compliance Consultants, Inc., Hudson Cook LLP, Gil van Over & Associates, etc. Many times dealer principals and GMs are well-versed in compliance matters because they have attended seminars given by dealer associations, NADA, etc. That's great but I think it is equally important to make sure that staff members are trained and held accountable as well. The people talking to customers, preparing and disclosing paperwork and writing ads on a daily basis need to understand the myriad regulations that affect auto dealers.

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