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Automotive dealer management teams have a direct influence on sales and customer experience, so make that impact overwhelmingly positive.
We’ve all got bad habits: nail biting, eating junk food, spending too much time on social media…we’re only human, after all. No one wants to deal with these things forever, but as long as your bad habits aren’t hurting others, they’re yours to face when you’re ready.
Bad habits at work, though? They’re another beast—one you need to conquer if your business, employees, and customers are going to thrive.
When it comes to less-than-favorable automotive dealer management habits, they tend to form slowly over time, or you inherit them when you start at a new dealership. Whether problems at your dealership are the direct result of your automotive dealer management style, or are just totally ingrained in your dealership’s culture from past managers, you can’t let them continue any longer.
6 Common bad habits of automotive dealer management teams
1. Incentivizing salespeople to be sleazy
In the auto industry, it’s always been a struggle to battle negative stereotypes of salespeople, but we’ve come a long way. Don’t contribute to the problem by encouraging your sales team—whether directly or indirectly—to be pushy, dishonest, and greedy. How can you prevent this from happening? Prioritize customer experience over making crazy amounts of money and hitting impossible sales numbers.
2. Disqualifying customers by how they look
You and your salespeople may think you can spot a great customer a mile away based solely on how they look, but guess what? That’s discrimination. And often, inaccurate. Someone who walks in wearing a blazer may need to dress up like a job interview because they know their income or credit isn’t great. Meanwhile, someone in a t-shirt and jeans with disheveled hair might walk in knowing they don’t need to impress because they can pay in cash. Think about it! Not only should you discourage discrimination based on what someone looks like, but you should also actively encourage your team to treat all customers equally. Everyone who walks through your door deserves the same exact quality customer service—period.
3. Sloppy hiring practices
Turnover in dealerships is notoriously high—39 percent, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association—and you likely feel constant pressure to get warm bodies out onto the showroom floor. It can be hard to break this habit, but stop hiring out of panic. If you take a little extra time to find the right person, do a background check, and provide thorough training, you’ll likely find your new hires are staying longer and doing better work than the random Joe Schmo guys you used to find on Craigslist.
4. Collecting data, but not using it
You love technology, and you’re so proud of the digital marketing and sales work you’ve done in your dealership. You’ve collected all sorts of data—newsletter open rates, webpage bounce rates, followers on Twitter, phone leads, and more—but what are you doing with it? Using impressive numbers to create PowerPoint presentations? Don’t just collect data and brag about it; take those numbers, analyze them, and use your findings to make your business better.
5. Ignoring your expenses
It’s no secret that you usually have to spend money to make money, but if you’re spending more than you’re making, your dealership is probably in a bit of a pickle. Automotive dealer management should always be trying to grow the business and increase profits, but you could be leaving a lot of money on the table if you aren’t actively managing expenses as well. Take a good look at where every single dollar in your dealership is going, and if something doesn’t make sense, cut back and make changes.
6. You still don’t have a CRM
You can hire the best auto salespeople in the world, but if you aren’t giving them the tools they need to succeed, you’re doing your dealership a great disservice. Invest in a CRM that was created for the auto industry to take control of lead management, the sales process, daily work plans, tasks, reminders, email marketing, and reporting.
Take the first step toward better habits today
Breaking bad habits is hard. Experts like to say it takes 21 days to make a change stick, but truthfully, it can take even longer. Don’t try to do a total 180 immediately—choose one bad habit to work on first, figure out if there are some underlying causes contributing to the issue, commit to making a change, and allow for slip-ups.
The process may feel slow, but just wait. Your team will notice positive changes, and there’s a good chance you’ll observe a ripple effect that will eventually run through your entire dealership. All good things are worth waiting (and working) for, so stay the course, and you’ll reap the rewards in time.