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It is Monday evening and you are back from the 2013 NADA convention. You have travelled across the country to attend workshops and meet with vendors to review the latest and greatest products in an effort to improve your own business. At this point, you are happy to be back because you feel like you lost a few important days of being productive and running the dealership. Tomorrow you will be back at the dealership playing catch up and putting out fires. This process will take you through the end of the week.
In all this time, have you reflected back on what you have learned? At this point, have you retained any of the information that you sat through or did it go through one ear and out the other? That's right the NADA Convention is now over, so now what are you going to do next? Will you continue to go one more year facing the same challenges or are you going to make a difference?
As you read this and think, "what's with all the questions", think about the reality of what you deal with at your dealership every day. You have at least seven departments to worry about with a number of employees to take care of. Each department has their strong points while at the same time they have their flaws. As a dealer or general manager you need to be organized and prepare to address everything while continuing to operate a profitable business to ensure that production does not stop. You have managers under you who need to be capable of managing their people, processes, and internal issues. These managers need to be made aware of what new ideas or products you want to bring to the table.
This is where effective communication needs to take place amongst management every single day. Do not be that dealer principle or GM that just keeps to them and demand to see results. Today's successful dealerships need to have upper management involvement and ideas need to be expressed. It is important that everyone in the dealership operates with an open mind or at least gets trained to be open minded. The industry continues to transform ways that business is done. I look at companies like "IntellaCar" and I am amazed at how simple they made their tool in order to create a better, more efficient sales process for the modern sales professional.
Ok...you get the point but how do you get started? How do you put into place what you learned and experienced in one solid action packed three day weekend? In the 10 years that I have been working in the automotive industry I have come to learn that building success is no different than building a science project. It involves the will to improve, a solid action plan, a systematic process, and an open mind.
Here are some simple steps to help automotive dealership executives get started on building their future success:
1. Examine the problem that you are looking to fix
2. Refer back to your notes and discussions from the NADA convention
3. Consider how the things that you learned will benefit your operation (your people, your market, your expenses, etc...)
4. Address this with your management team and get input
5. Create a process utilizing what you are currently doing and adding some new ideas that you feel can make a difference
6. Implement this plan in the dealership
7. Measure your results for 1 month
8. Modify your process as needed for more efficiency
9. Work your plan without deviating from it.
10. Enjoy your success and move on
If this sounds crazy or does not make sense to you then think about how your sales team operates every day. The sales department follows a process driven road to the sales which have become systematic. Your plan of improvement needs to be systematic in the same way.
If you organize yourself and your priorities and put a focus on this for just 30 minutes per day for one whole 5 day work week that equates to 2.5 hours of solution building and laying out the foundation for success. These 2.5 hours will show you instant ROI for your trip to the NADA convention. Please do not get me wrong and think that this is easy. If it was easy then everyone in the world would be aiming to be more successful and profitable.
At this point, it is time to get started. Start with addressing your problems and concerns. Invest the time to review what you learned. Get with your management team and start building your success. Find what works for you and embrace it.