A recent report from Deloitte comments, Trust is the new measure of success.
What builds trust is transparency. With relationships, transparency means earned reliability. You go where you say you’re going. Your cell phone is open to due diligence. Your promise or your handshake means a done deal!
As a reminder, let’s consider how transparency throughout your processes builds trust and, as the goal, sells cars and services and creates your public reputation as a business to trust.
With commerce like an auto dealership, trust with consumers is what brings them back. I see this as a three-tier obligation: Your sales process, F&I process and staff.
In the Wall Street Journal, Deloitte noted, “In the consumer sector, when the humanity signal is high — everyone is treated fairly — customers are 1.6 times more likely to purchase the brand over other brands. High marks for transparency.” The authors also noted customers are 2.8 times more likely to continue purchasing from the brand.
Perhaps the pivotal point to deliver transparency in the sales process is upfront, where most consumers today start their car-shopping journey, and that is online and the vehicles you display there. These online vehicle pages do an excellent job of answering buyers’ questions about the car — age, mileage, price and descriptions of options — all with nice vehicle pictures.
However, the zenith of this transparency takes all this further, also giving consumers details and descriptions of the reconditioning investment the dealer has put into that vehicle. When these facts are disclosed, they help build value in the used car, trust in the dealer’s processes and confidence in the consumer that their choice is carefully weighed.
It means how you do business eliminates the nagging wonder customers feel that they’re not being told something important or the transaction they do with you might come back to haunt them.
When processes provide transparency and accountability, so everyone knows what’s up and who’s doing what, staff stay informed and more productive. Where these trust factors are most required are in vehicle reconditioning. Why? Because as the engine room for sales performance, the reconditioning department and its productivity influence inventory flow, the ability to meet demand and the cost containment that otherwise erodes margin. As the market begins to right itself, perhaps margin compression may return as you are reading this. Whether this happens now or not doesn’t alter that keeping recon in control and under control is necessary.
If trust and transparency in internal and group reporting are essential, a dealer needs integrity, transparency and accountability in sharing performance data. With inventory down and demand continuing, the de-facto speed-to-sale metric is reconditioning time to line (T2L). Here’s why this tool brings transparency and trust:
• It provides a standardized responsibility and accuracy yardstick for the organization
• When applied to variable and fixed, guessing, exaggeration and intentional CYA are eliminated, replaced by clearly identified and quantified performance data
• As a standardized recon yardstick among all stores within a group (of any size), apples-to-apples performance measurement and reporting are generated from store to store and group-wide for honest comparisons and opportunity identification.
Whether your focus is fixed or variable, trust is the new measure of success. Evaluate how your dealership delivers evidence-based trust and value that your people practice and deliver to your buyers.