It's me again. Me who you ask? Stan Sher, founder and President of Dealer eTraining. Yes, I know it has been a while since you have heard from me. But I am still here. I never left and I never will. I just enjoyed my peace and quiet for 2 years while working and doing my thing. But guess what...
I am here to tell you that there is a huge possibility that in your dealership there are too many hands in the cookie jar. What do I mean? You really want to know? Well here it goes...
There are dealerships that operate in a very organized fashion with tight but effective processes while other dealerships operate under mass chaos. The chaos happens the culture of the store is not properly set and managed. So what happens is that you have an owner that does things without communicating with everyone. The things include giving certain people secret pay plans, signing up for vendors and letting certain managers know about it last minute or having multiple people involved in solving one basic problem. The other problem with this setup is that everyone has a brilliant idea that they want to try but no one wants to execute it properly. In fact if it is executed the person that set it up ends up no longer being employed at the store. I am talking about mass chaos to the fullest potential.
Why does this drive me absolutely insane? As a business consultant to automotive dealerships I often get hired into dealerships to find their problems and create a solution for them to follow. Sometimes I get hired to be hands on to solve the problem myself. The most frustrating thing in the world is when you try to fix something while other factors are working against you. This makes you wonder...
Is it me?
Is it the quality of people employed at the store?
Is it the processes or lack thereof?
Is it ego on the part of the decision maker?
Is it a time management issue on all sides of the store?
As you read this you may feel like this post is written in a very unorthodox fashion. If this is how you feel then GREAT because this is my whole point of writing this. I have been reading a lot of great posts on here about dealership culture because it seems that too many stores have a problem in that department. I talk about my old days at Teddy Nissan and how beautiful our culture was built in the first year of business. I look at dealer groups like DCH (where I started my career), AutoNation (where I sold many cars) or even how Brian Benstock operates Paragon Honda and I think back to a positive culture and how process oriented these stores have always been. The processes are all documented and practiced as needed. I am here to say that leadership in dealerships have to sit down and take a look at the chaos that goes on in the stores. The key to success is a simple sounding 10 step process that requires time and effort.
1. Evaluate the problems in the store.
2. Outline the problems.
3. Outline ideas for solutions to the problems.
4. Hire the right people and fire the wrong ones.
5. Get everyone on the same page.
6. Setup a process for everything.
7. Invest in ongoing training programs for Internet/BDC, Sales, Finance and Fixed Operations.
8. Manage the process and training.
9. Reevaluate how things are working every month.
10. Enjoy the profits and success. Repeat these steps.
The other thing that is most important for everything to work is that everyone treats each other with respect and professionalism. It is incredible how many problems and liabilities can be avoided when these steps are taken. Let's go out there and have some fun selling cars!