I’m sure that every management team sits down on occasion to discuss ways to improve dealership operations. Whether that improvement has to do with sales goals, employee satisfaction, or simply lot appearance, typically what happens is that everyone is gung-ho about it and it kicks off great. Then, slowly that momentum dies and all of a sudden nobody is making an effort anymore. Sound familiar?
How many times has your dealership implemented a new technology, lead source, or any new initiative just to find that they don’t get used, or seem to fail? Sometimes we find ourselves scratching our heads in wonder. Perhaps it’s not the technology, but rather our team members aren’t following a process or using it improperly. It’s very easy to dismiss a new technology or process as ineffective simply because employees tell you it’s not working. In my experience, most of the time it’s not the technology or the newly launched process that’s the problem. The problem is usually that our people aren’t using it properly, are not practicing consistency or have just plain lost the vision of why it was implemented in the first place. That’s why it’s important to have a champion. And, it’s not always about the money. Sometimes simply the opportunity to be recognized as a potential leader who is passionate about a new initiative is reward enough for an employee to champion the initiative.
So, how do you go about finding or making a champion? Once you make the executive decision that this new technology or process is a path you want to go down, bring your team into the conversation and see if they share your vision. If they do, ask THEM for a champion. See who wants to and is willing to be held accountable and lead the initiative. Ask them to create a list of suggestions for winning, and take the time to share your experience and support. Give that champion extra attention - it will be well worth it. When the team sees management pat that person/champion on the back, when that person is getting all the recognition and accolades, and perhaps even a promotion, other champions will all of a sudden start coming out of the woodwork. And that is a win-win for the dealership, for management and for the employees.
There is no limit to the areas in the dealership where this can work. Champions can be lot attendants, in the service lane, accounting, or even in the showroom or customer lounge. The initiative they are in charge of can be something as simple as ensuring that the showroom stays clean and organized. You could even make someone a champion for any non-profits your dealership is involved in.
When you find a champion that is willing to be held accountable to monitor, train and assist other employees, and/or take charge of the initiative themselves, success rates skyrocket. I’ve seen it at my stores when a champion gets promoted and a replacement champion isn’t put in place. Success rates plummeted.
Let’s face it -- great employees/teams are the very core/foundation of our ultimate success. The need to train and nurture the staff you have into a group of people that thrives in their work environment; are engaged, care about you and are invested in your dealership and share a common vision, has never been more important. Discover your champions today and watch as your initiatives explode with success. I love this industry!