Know When to Trade Up Your Personnel
Just like many of your customers come in to trade up their car, it may be time to trade up your personnel. Customers come to the showroom floor for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s to buy their first car. Some have a need to buy a second or third vehicle for additional drivers in the family. Many people are trading perfectly good vehicles for something they don’t really need – but they want it. Also in the crowd of buyers in the market are a set number of people who are trading up. They have driven their previous car to the point where continued use of the current vehicle is no longer viable. Regardless of the reason -gas mileage, broken equipment, or just flat worn out- everyone “deserves to trade up.”
As dealers, we are always telling our customers to stop driving that “old jalopy” and trade up to a better vehicle. Why do we not practice what we preach when it comes to our personnel? Time and time again, I meet dealers and managers who continue to settle for worn out staff, then wonder why they get the same old gas mileage (production) that simply does not meet expectations.
As a manager or dealer, have you found yourself frustrated with your current performance, but resolved to the fact that you and your staff are doing everything possible? Year after year in professional sports, where athletes are paid far more than most of us in the auto industry, franchise owners make trades during the off season to improve their roster. These are some of the best athletes in the world and the people signing their checks are looking to trade up. Why is it so tough for many in the auto industry to make the hard decision to trade up?
We spend countless hours with all of the people we work with. Many times, that puts both managers and dealers in a very difficult position because the relationships that we have formed become an obstacle to our success. It’s time to break the bond. If you are struggling in your store, and have made every change you can determine to be a possible reason for your lack of success, it may be time to start trading up. Stop letting your feelings, relationships, and perceived obligations to your staff, affect your bottom line.
How do you know when it’s time to trade up personnel?
There are 4 key signs to knowing when it’s time to trade up:
- Your trackable results are no longer getting tracked. One of the first signs of complacency inside the store is when you or your team have stopped measuring your statistics. When the number of leads coming through your door is no longer a focus point of the daily duties of the management team, mediocrity has set in. I meet dealers every day that either don’t know, or don’t ask about daily and monthly traffic patterns in their dealerships. If your team isn’t counting, they just aren’t caring. Make a change!
- Your gross profits are less than what you deserve. There is no way for me to say what is fair in your store, but what I can say, is regardless of markets, DealerStrong’s top dealers are all over $3,000 per vehicle sold. Franchise or independent, it doesn’t matter. If you are hovering around $2,000 or less per vehicle retailed (PVR), it’s time to shop for a new star on your team.
- There is an air of gloom and doom about your sales team. Does it feel like the world is ending on your showroom floor? Has a manager or top salesman drained the life out of the rest of your team? There is no quicker way to bring the dead back to life on the floor than to put a perceived untouchable staff member on notice.
- Your salespeople are calling the shots when working with customers. Who runs your store? You or them? If the salespeople in your dealership tell management whether or not you have a buyer, it’s time to make a change. Everyone in your store is a buyer. The days of tire kickers are long gone. If your management team isn’t talking to every customer at point of contact, it’s time to start over.
Your team is your vehicle. If your vehicle is tired, worn out, or just a plain piece of junk, stop driving that old vehicle and trade up. People service their vehicles or they trade them in. If your car needs fixed, you fix it. Stop working with an unreliable staff and make the trades to your personnel to get you back in the game.