Industry experts predict U.S. new vehicle sales will fall by 700,000 units.This is about a 4% decline. If your dealership’s new vehicle unit sales decline by another 4%, what does that mean to your bottom line? If your franchise is also losing market share, then the decline is even greater. Chances are your bottom line is heading in the wrong direction. So, what can you do about it?
Here’s the answer: Become Differently Better!
Is that a catchy phrase or what?
Differently simply means that you are willing to change. Change for the better. All of us have probably heard the definition of insanity: “I’m going to continue to do what I’ve always done, and I expect to get different results.” Obviously if you expect to achieve different results this year versus last year then you must start doing different things as well as doing things differently. Agreed?
OK, so how are you going to get started becoming differently better?
Do You Need a Turnaround Coach?
To better understand this concept, let’s consider the strategy that is used in most professional sports. Recently, a professional football team fired their general manager and hired a professional coach to assume that position. That professional coach then fired the team’s coach (big time losing record) with the premise that he, the new general manager, intended to “turn around the team and needed a turnaround coach.”
What does a turnaround coach do that his predecessor didn’t? First of all, he evaluates his team’s past performance as well as the performance of every player on his team. Then he evaluates the talent (weaknesses and strengths) of each and every one of his players and coaches. Now it’s time for him to become differently better by getting rid of the underachievers and start recruiting top performers (talent).
He then installs new plays and new strategies, both on offense and defense, that he believes will turn around the performance of his team. Many of these new plays and strategies come from his past experience and he knows they are successful. Others come from observing (scouting) the most successful teams in the league and copying what they do. More often than not, the turnaround coach or general manager will succeed in turning a losing team into a winner.
Build a Winning Team
Do you see any similarities here in your dealership? Is your team winning or losing? Simply put, winning would mean your profits are going up and losing would mean your profits are going down. How does your first quarter of 2019 look so far? If your profits are going down, shouldn’t you consider doing something about it?
If your showroom traffic is down and your service traffic from warranty and customer pay is down, here’s a news flash — your customers don’t like you very much. Maybe they don’t like your product or your people. It could be your location or your hours of operation or maybe they just don’t like your processes (or lack thereof). In other words, they might not like the way you treat them, or they feel unappreciated since you don’t follow up with them regularly to give them reasons to come back.
Wouldn’t this be a great time to become differently better and turn around your dealership’s performance through process improvement (training)?
Here are some differently better process improvements for you to consider implementing in your service department starting today:
- The dress code for service advisors is the same as your salespeople.
- The dress code for service managers/directors is the same as your sales managers.
- Service advisors should not eat in front of their customers.
- Service advisors should not answer the phone if they’re with another customer.
- Service managers/directors should greet all customers during the morning rush.
- Service advisors should review the 3 C’s with every customer.
- Delivery of the customer’s vehicle back to them should be done in the original write-up area.
- Set the customer’s next appointment before they leave this one.
- Require all salespeople to introduce every sales prospect to a service advisor after the demo ride.
- Ask all used car buyers for their service business (all makes and models).
- Have your service manager/director inventory all equipment for needed repairs.
- Require all service advisors, appointment coordinators and BDC personnel to offer an appointment to every incoming service call every day.
- Phone shop every service advisor once a week.
- Require your service manager/director to call all no shows.
- Measure the performance of your technicians – DAILY.
- Measure the performance of your service advisors – DAILY.
- Hold every employee accountable for their performance.
- Have a consequence for poor performance.
- Stop tolerating underachievers.
- Start recruiting top performers.
Now, let’s tally up how much all of these new differently better processes are going to increase your expenses: uh, how about – ZERO!
You will, however, have to invest some courage and discipline or maybe even “roll a few heads” out the door to make your point that you mean what you say (consequences). These Top 20 differently better processes are available to you starting today.
Wouldn’t you agree these processes can help turn around your service sales performance, CSI, ESI and owner retention? I hope you said “yes” because all of these are being used every day by the most profitable dealers in our industry. How does the best in the business get that way? They recruit top performers, learn from their competition and at one time or another, probably hired a turnaround coach.
All you need to get started is your commitment to turn around your attitude toward servicing your customers…and holding your employees accountable to higher performance. Become differently better starting today and develop your winning game plan for greater service sales!
Don Reed, CEO DealerPRO Training