Business person reputation branding within team synergy will not only prove to brand the entire business better than ever, it will be the single most significant asset going forward in sales, service, every department, marketing, prospecting, communication, relationship, and retention world of every dealership business.
The Goal is '10'
Without a goal clearly defined, visible and bought in by all, it is a mirage. A '10' customer experience and commitment to loyalty starts with leadership practicing and showing '10' experiences to everyone, the team doing the same, the individual doing as leadership and team do, that affords the opportunity for customers to stick and stay loyal. This '10' is not a curve ball, but a straight as an arrow fast ball right down the middle of the heart of our business today.
The Picture is Clear
There is a picture being painted here that needs clarity of color. Our franchised auto industry fixed operations is at a crossroads. Facing a similar crossroads at this exact same time is the franchised aftermarket industry. The aftermarket is 100% aware of their role to appear to provide better service than us, which is why that industry was created from our attitude of not caring if customers stayed with us. Whether dealership leaders understand what is happening in today's world or not, we truly are at war with the aftermarket to earn and keep customers for the same reasons the aftermarket exists.
Us and Them in Identical Game Today
Forget about warranty, forget about waiting for "A" tech work to just show up. And, above all, forget about the factory securing YOUR retention at your dealership. You have 100% control of the proper processes in creating and maintaining '10' communications and '10' relationships with your any and every prospect and customer. The factory cannot do this for you.
The aftermarket out numbers us 5 to 1. Are they better than us, or are we better? Are we going to let them continue to keep and take our customers or are we going to do 100% of all it takes to gain and retain them ourselves? The answers and the attitudes are in our hands. Your dealership thrives or not going forward depending on your answers here.
Adding more clarity of color:
1. The battle to earn and keep customers is a personal relationship with two or more people at your dealership or at a local aftermarket shop. The one that provides this best, and most consistently, not only wins that person but some that they may refer and recommend. Technicians in our dealerships must participate in customer relationships to build these '10' relationships, just as many do in the aftermarket.
2. The aftermarket is battling to keep their numbers up, and using sales tactics we've been known to use, placing their reputations at risk now. Have we ever been on more equal ground to compete on work, timeliness, price, and professionalism? If we need to go get customer vehicles, pick them up, whatever; convenience (if the main objection remaining) must be resolved to their satisfaction. And, if you are not open on Saturday's your looked upon as arrogant, not caring to compete for that Saturday customer.
3. Forget about this myth that getting more vehicle sales will get us more service. The only way we will grow service, parts, collision and detail going forward is going out ourselves and getting it. There's a prospectors gold mine out there within your market for every vehicle and customer not currently retained by your dealership.
4. 35 years ago our industry had better Fixed Coverage than today within economic conditions like 20+% floor plan, 14+% mortgage rates, gas lines, and such. It was the spring time of the franchised aftermarket industry growth. We screwed up. We didn't pay attention. Better than 95% of dealership owners came from Variable Sales and weren't (many still aren't) fixed focused. Is fixed operations not today the #1 growth area for every other department; for the entire business?
5. Fixed Operations is the singular # 1 key to the new life of the franchised automotive dealership industry. 100% Fixed Coverage must be a goal. When we set smaller goals, we place less focus and achieve lesser results.
6. The aftermarket wins and crushes us only if we (at the dealership level) allow them to win. It is your market. It is your market to own or give away; you choose. The aftermarket has beat us on "perception." It is perceived that when one returns to get their serviced vehicle that a technician may take a minute to chat with a customer. It is perceived that when the aftermarket adviser states he/she will phone with an update, they actually phone with an update and up-sell options. It is perceived the aftermarket respects the customer (doing 'basics') better than us.
7. The insane asylum must close. Business as usual must change. It is our springtime of creative, energized and one team in complete synergy daily actions that will gain and keep more customers than we currently dream, so long as we do all the practicing, training, coaching necessary to win the world championship, the Olympics, the game; whatever in your world measures you, your team and your dealership as the absolute, unequaled best --- so says every customer!
A New Era is Here!
The business doers of your dealership, the front-line and support staff, are your #1 source of retention, '10's'; not the next automated whatever system that eliminates the personal communications and relationships. The era of Sales carrying Service is officially over. The era of Service carrying the dealership is upon us. Someone has to win here and someone has to lose. I have never believed as strongly as I do today that the Franchised Auto Dealership Industry can, should and must lead the way here --- and win!
Should this be your dealerships #1 Opportunity for 2013? Merry Christmas.
We Are One
Whose '10' is more valuable to retention; Service or Sales? Service. Nevertheless, Service and Sales working so cohesively together produces far better results acting as "we are one."