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An Outline for Success

The Actions, Behaviors & Attitudes to Lead a Winning Team

The results you see in any area of your life — career, health, relationships, spirituality and others — are directly influenced by our mindset, our behaviors and our actions. We are not judged by what we say we’re going to do; we are judged by what we do. We are 100% accountable for our results.

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This truth was instilled in me by my Theory of 5 mentors, and it has served me well in all aspects of life. 

We recently hired a pre-owned vehicle manager at one of our dealerships and, as part of his orientation, he was presented with the list I’m going to share with you here. Clear expectations, ambitious goal setting and having the support, tools and authority necessary to be held accountable for and to achieve what is expected are crucial to success. 

Some of these goals are specific for our group; the numbers might vary depending on the size of your organization. What doesn’t vary, however, is the mindset that it takes for success. 

Core Actions, Behaviors and Attitudes for Pre-Owned Vehicle Success

1. As, leaders, we must believe a 15 to 20 annual pre-owned inventory turn is achievable. 

2. It’s important that all managers — especially the general manager, pre-owned vehicle manager and service director — share a common, united vision. They constantly communicate on how to improve their processes. They treat each other with respect. They recognize that a successful pre-owned vehicle department drives the whole dealership.

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3. We strive to have no pre-owned vehicle in inventory more than 60 days, with the average around 20 days.
• Faster turns equal more overall gross for all departments. Reconditioning should take, on average, one day for mechanical turn, one day to clean and one to two days for appearance work.
• Paint, bumper and dent vendors should be on site at least three times a week.

4. For online success, we take a good set of photos that display the entire vehicle and write a vehicle description that explains what makes it special — equipment, pedigree, reconditioning, guarantees, etc.
• When reviewing pre-owned inventory, it is crucial to review the vehicle’s history to write better descriptions online that build value with the desirable options and pedigree to increase online leads. (“This King Ranch was sold new, serviced by our dealership and has the lowest mileage within 700 miles….”)
• We price the vehicle to market on Day 1 based on the day’s supply, rarity and uniqueness.
• We will make our largest gross profits on vehicles that are unique, special or hard to find, with high demand and low supply; we price and sell easy-to-find commodity vehicles at market value to move quickly.
• We keep our inventory fresh by selling and replenishing daily.

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5. Sales managers understand that they play a large part in generating traffic.
• They manage the internet leads with a core group of sales consultants focused on pre-owned vehicles who are responding quickly, sending out personalized videos and reaching out to customers to bring them to our dealerships or taking the vehicles to the customers.
• They do as much of the sale ahead of time as necessary.

6. It’s imperative that our sales managers consistently conduct one-on-one meetings with their sales consultants for follow-up, manage daily activities and continue to grow their sales consultants’ skills, habits, attitudes and choice of customer. The best managers understand a key aspect to their continued success is to train and coach their teams daily.

7. The best dealerships have an established core sales team — one that has worked at the dealership for years and is focused on referrals, owners and prospects.
• These are sales consultants who invest in their own marketing — they never wait for customers to walk through the door. 
• These are sales consultants who know our inventory inside and out and who share the dealership’s unique value/benefit proposition and pre-owned “story” with every customer every time, without fail.

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8. Daily bullpen meetings and daily pre-owned vehicle lot walks are taken to audit appraisals, inform the sales team of new trades and check on the condition of the inventory.

9. Sales consultants and sales managers have a plan, process and tools to prospect and sell customers from our service department every day, both to grow volume and to acquire rare inventory.

10. Outstanding sales managers continually work to improve and grow their dealership’s brand and reputation with exceptional customer reviews.
• Service advisors and the overall service experience sets up a continuous trade cycle of sales. This is key to customers returning time and time again.

11. Sales managers strive to uphold admirable, consistent marketing and branding of the dealership’s pre-owned vehicle “story.”

Nothing in this list is a trade secret or an earth-shattering revelation. What it is, though, is a guide to the mindset it takes to rise above average — to escape the noise of the companies who don’t hold the customer experience as sacred. By displaying the correct actions, behaviors and attitudes, leaders not only achieve their goals, but they inspire and lead their teams to ever-greater heights.

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