In the world of sports, a coach's job is to ensure that his/her team is set up to win. The most successful coaches are the ones who look at their players and ensure that they are put in positions with the best possible chance to succeed. They make sure that each player's strengths are maximized, and their weaknesses are covered. The same is true in a dealership. Dealers are always looking to set up their business to enhance gross profit and maintain their operating income, while keeping an eye on their expenses. Where many are failing in their roles is getting their managers in positions where they can succeed. Most of the time, they are leaving their best players on the sidelines.
How do you feel when you see one of your sales, service, or parts people working with a customer? You may be excited, or nervous, based on the individual's competence. Dealerships tend to take the most talented, motivated, and effective people from each department and make them managers. While this sounds like a good move, many managers then become assigned to desk duties that take them away from what they are good at—working directly with customers. This leaves the less talented and less motivated employees determining the dealership's gross per car or per RO. Taking your best player, and resigning them to the bench.
Typically, sales managers work deals from the desk while trying to keep salespeople on the Road to the Sale until the TO. The challenge with any desking system is that it allows the enemies of gross to strike first, before the manager has a chance to intervene. Similarly, service and parts managers can be found at their desks, awaiting the next TO of a customer service issue. Certainly, they are spending time fixing cars and parts availability, but they're not allotting time to ensure gross per RO.
How can I fix this issue in my dealership?
Fortunately for you, there is a very simple solution to this problem. In every department, make early manager intervention a priority and you will see the difference. Here's how dealers are getting their best players off the bench and back in the game:
Sales and Finance Managers
- Managers are taking phone/internet ups
- All appointments (BDC) are set for managers
- If step one in the Road to the Sale is to "meet and greet," then step two is now "meet the manager"
- Managers are qualifying customers to put them in the best car
- Sales and finance managers are presenting figures to close the customer faster
- Managers are following up with unsold customers
Parts and Service Managers
- Service managers are reviewing appointments with service advisors, before a customer arrives, looking for upsell opportunities
- Parts managers are ensuring parts are pre-pulled and delivered to the technicians
- Service managers working the drive in the morning help ensure good walk-arounds and flow
- Parts managers and shop foremen are with the technicians, identifying additional needed work
- If an inspection checklist shows no recommendations, service managers are re-inspecting cars with technicians
- Before service advisors put "customer declined repairs" on an RO, service managers are talking to the customer
- Service managers are ensuring active delivery and all ROs have at least one item "recommended for next visit"
You might hear a manager say, "I don't have time to do all that." To combat this, you could help them with their priorities and time management. This process is worth it, because when managers get involved back in the process, gross per car and RO improves immediately. As a bonus, referrals, retention, and CSI can also improve because most customers prefer to deal with managers.
This tactic, along with many others paying dividends in dealerships across the country, comes directly from the insights gained from our NCM 20 Groups. Additionally, if you want to see even more improvements from your management in both fixed and variable operations, we have a variety of management training courses available through our NCM Institute, including our Service Management Program, Used Vehicle Program, and General Sales Management Program.