Avoiding the Pitfalls of a “No” Environment in Your Dealership


Dealership “life” can be hectic. You find yourself putting out one fire after another, and it seems as if great chunks of time are devoured by customers, industry demands, product issues, meetings, management decisions and yes, even technology. How you and your management team choose to spend your time is critical; it sets the tone and the culture of your dealership environment.
Back when business was booming and sales were double what they are now, it was easy to make excuses and come up with reasons why things didn’t get done. Even now, however, while business is significantly slower, the same environment often continues, only with fewer people so things really may not get done.
As I perform compliance reviews in dealerships, I look for problem areas that need improvement. I often find that a big part of any solution can be found by determining the root cause of the problem. Below I’ve listed several pitfalls that I see frequently in dealerships. Think about your dealership and how it behaves and performs. Are you one the left side, or the “right” side, literally?  
No Time for developing processes, performing oversights, reviews, and approvals
Time is critical. Know where your employees’ time is spent. Know if managers implement processes, and take time for oversight and approvals. Use checklists and sign-off forms, if needed. Every deal jacket must be approved before the sale is finalized.
No knowledge of compliance issues, incentives rules and changes, industry enhancements, or factory receivables schedule balances
Knowledge is power. Know what your employees are doing. Delegate time and resources to have compliance reviews performed and study the results. Know your factory receivable balances (aged analysis) and have your controller explain them, if necessary. 
No communications between managers and staff, no sharing of knowledge, inadequate meetings, critical content is missing
Know what is critical and share it. Delegate a point-person to assimilate and communicate incentive bulletins and OEM announcements. Discuss them immediately at staff meetings. Organize/archive them for easy reference and future access.
No continuous training offered or required by staff
Incentives require daily awareness and regular “refresh” training. Require continuous training in selling skills, product knowledge, CRM, and new technology. Keep up with industry services that can help improve your business. Knowing the rules and tools is the “name of the game”. 
No accountability for actions, errors, unwanted behavior or bad practices
Communicate clear rules on expectations, company policies and ethics; tie performance to reward/penalty. Then execute them consistently. Employees who know the rules act accordingly.
Setting priorities, demonstrating discipline and executing can convert bad practices into desirable results. Now is the time to prepare for the comeback. So the goal should be to convert all your “Noes” to “Knows”.   
Sherralyn Peterson, automotive incentive specialist, with 30 years of automotive experience, helps dealerships prepare for audits, conducts compliance review, performs staff training and resolves incentive issues. For more information, call 312-310-8380, email speterson@sherralynpeterson.com, or visit www.sherralynpeterson.com.




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