Are You Getting What You Should From Your Dealer Twenty Group?
By Pete Grimm, Management Performance Groups, Inc.
First, if you do not participate in a twenty group, I would strongly urge you to find one that fits your needs. NADA, NCM, my company, Management Performance Groups (“MPG”) and some others offer a variety of groups, divided by function, size and franchise.
For those who have never experienced one, a twenty group is a group of geographically non-competing dealers who come together several times a year to examine a financial composite and comparison of each other’s operations. Ideally, the highest-performing dealers in any department share the policies and procedures that make them successful, and the poorest-performing dealers in each department share what seems to be keeping them from success, and get guidance. Some meetings also have a formal idea-sharing component during which each dealer presents his best new money-making idea to the group. Some groups also do complete dealership analyses, alternating meetings in the cities of their members, critiquing operations one at a time.
I was a Lincoln Mercury dealer in Seattle, WA for twenty five years. I was a member of several twenty groups during those years. When I was not participating in a twenty group, the burden of command rested heavily. I was acutely aware that whether my organization prospered or even survived, sometimes rested on the quality of my decisions. Participating in a twenty group lightened that burden, often confirmed the decisions I made, and every meeting seemed to open new directions to prosperity.
I thought of a twenty group as the least-expensive, most-comprehensive consulting my money could buy. It cost me $200 to pick up a phone to have a short conversation with a lawyer. My advertising agency raked in 15% and more of every electronic dollar I spent. My IT expenses in any given month could choke a horse, even before I asked for a single change in accounting, reporting, or my web site. At great expense, I paid for expert help in many fields - marketing, human resources, legal, accounting, computers, internet and more. Yet, for a few hundred dollars a month, a great twenty group offered me help in the most important arena, IDEAS, ideas proven by my fellow group members to make money. I got a composite comparison every month, and I often called, or received calls from, fellow members to discuss operations in between meetings.
However, not all twenty groups are equal, nor are some groups right for all dealers. Twenty groups usually provided me with tremendous value, however, once I joined a group only to discover that most members wanted to party and play golf and were not particularly dedicated to the business side of meetings. Those of us who wanted to profit from a more-structured business-like meeting eventually left to form another group.
Not all financial composites are equal as well. MPG’s composite consists of over 35,000 items comparing a dealer to himself and other group members, month-to-month and year-to-year, as well as to an average of the top performing dealers. Additionally, MPG furnishes clients with indices and key metrics from the top dealers. MPG’s composite is among the best in the industry, and we religiously cover it at every meeting. Similarly, not all group moderators are equal. Some lack the experience to contribute adequately, or to keep meetings upbeat and on track. Few have both extensive retail and wholesale work experience.
Despite these potential issues, I am such a believer in the value twenty groups offer a dealer that I have made them my way to give back to the industry that treated me so well for so many years. Right now at MPG, I am putting together several new twenty groups. I will personally moderate these groups. If you or your general manager would like to explore the possibility of joining a group, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 912-459-1500. I will answer any questions you have.
Please contact me as well if you are dissatisfied with your current twenty group or would like to join a group focusing on any franchise. I will do my best to place you in an appropriate existing group or initiate the formation of one that fits your needs.
Thought for the day - Find success by helping your customers and employees find success.
Pete Grimm is the Vice President of Business Development at MPG. He worked for Ford Motor Company for five years and owned dealerships in Washington and Oregon from 1980 through 2006. He has been CFO of Honda dealership and the GM of Chevrolet dealership. He also founded of a sub-standard credit finance company that, at its peak, had $45M in outstanding receivables and operated in five western states. Follow Pete at www.petegrimm.blogspot.com
Management Performance Groups, Inc.
MPG backs up every 20-group with world-class
litigation support, business valuation experience, and HR support.
P.O. Box 280 Richmond Hill, Georgia 31324 (912) 459-1500 Fax (912) 459-1502