Leadership and Waiting: It Won't Get You Where You Want to Go

I have the privilege to work with the service department of a mid-sized dealership. The Service Director, whom I will call Bill, has a very aggressive plan for fixed operations. Bill wants to raise the bar on recruitment and selection, training, leadership, processes and sales. His ales initiative is the focus of this article.

Bill shared with his management team all operational date. The Service, Parts and Body Shop Managers pored over inventory costs, gross profits, process maps and personnel expenses. Bill's purpose was for everyone to have a common vocabulary and vision for fixed operations.

As his managers got more comfortable with departmental strategy and objectives; they took a more active part in "owning the results".An outgrowth of this fixed ops team collaboration was the goal of attracting new customers, specifically commercial accounts.

Every manager determined his plan and objective. I will focus on the service team. The Service Manager got area maps of the city and county where the dealership is located. They started with the city and divided it into quadrants. Each service writer was given a quadrant. The goal - obtain 5 new commercial accounts per service writer in three weeks.

Each writer went out prospecting for two hours, one day per week. It was new and somewhat intimidating, but all participants exhibited a good attitude. They knew the "why", "what", "how" and "where" in order to accomplish this task.

As of this writing, the dealership has 20 new commercial service accounts. I have not tracked how many new parts and body shop customers were captured. The service team is now calculating the profitability on each new account. They have also started to move beyond the city limits into the county seeking new prospects. They enjoy getting out of the dealership and challenging themselves to obtain new accounts.

All this is happening because of Bill's leadership. He is not content to sit back and let customers come to him. He knows in these uncertain economic times, he needs to make things happen. So that's what he is doing and he is growing his people in the process.

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Comment by Mike Sheehy on June 8, 2010 at 10:01am
Bill sounds like a great leader. His initiative is inspiring and hopefully, with this blog, will inspire others to reach out for new accounts. Fantastic story, Ron.

I suppose the next step for these accounts is retention. I know my company has started using social media like Facebook as a tool to keep our clients informed and updated. We usually like to engage them online through various contests and Facebook Notes about the automotive industry. Thought it might be a useful tip.

I hope we can see more stories of recognition like this on Dealer Elite. Keep us updated on Bill’s progress!

J&L Marketing, Inc.
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