Move cars off the lot faster than you can drive them
Your dealer office employees are the heartbeat of your dealership—it’s time to give them the attention they deserve.
Do you remember how excited you were when you were promoted to General Manager of your dealership? After years of hard work as an auto salesperson, then as a sales manager, your commitment and drive were finally rewarded when you were given the keys to the castle.
Since then, you’ve tried to adjust to managing every department, but you know you’re devoting a lot more of your time to overseeing sales. With an extensive sales background, you just can’t help but feel that the folks on the front lines are the most important—they are, after all, the employees directly responsible for closing deals and making money.
In the meantime, however, you’ve been grossly underestimating how much your dealer office does on a daily basis. You walk by the office a million times a day, but you don’t give much thought to the staff pushing papers, typing, and talking on the phone. It’s time to start paying attention, though.
The dealer office is the entire heartbeat of your organization. These are the employees who are keeping the lights on and doors open—and you need to acknowledge their hard work accordingly.
What goes on in your dealer office? More than you realize.
It’s easy to brush off certain things that your dealer office does by saying, “Well, yeah, it’s their job!” However, seeing it in writing can help drive the point home a little more that you should never underestimate your dealer office staff. At any given moment, they could be doing:
- Secretarial work
- Financial contracts
- Title work
- Compliance reporting
- Fraud prevention
- Report-pulls for management
The employees in your dealer office are the MVPs of the dealership. They’re cross-trained to fill in where they’re needed, and they make it possible for everyone in the dealership to do their jobs more efficiently. Dealer office staff can:
- Put out customer service fires
- Handle money
- Track down missing titles
- Ensure all paperwork is correct, so sales go through
- Drop everything at the drop of a hat to help YOU do your job.
Can you imagine how your auto dealership would run if you didn’t have an office staff? As general manager, it may be time to step back from the sales department for a minute and focus more of your attention on the employees behind the curtain.
Showing appreciation for your dealer office staff
You offer incentives for your salespeople and shower them with positive reinforcement, right? You should be doing the same thing for all of your employees. Employee appreciation and recognition matters, regardless of job function.
In a recent survey of 1,000 U.S.-based, full-time employees, 75% of employees who were recognized by their manager once a month reported being satisfied with their job. Of those that were recognized weekly, 85% reported being satisfied. When employees are satisfied, they are more likely to be engaged with your dealership and stick around for the long-haul, and in an industry where turnover is frequent, retaining employees is a big deal.
How can you show your dealer office staff that you appreciate everything they do? There are plenty of different ways — some big, some small — but done on a regular basis, they work together to make your staff happier and ultimately, more productive:
- Give sincere, specific praise
- Cash bonuses
- Personalized gifts
- Buy lunch for the dealer office
- Have a quarterly meeting to solicit their input on how to make things run more smoothly
- Say thank you regularly
- Write a thank you note
There are plenty of ways to show appreciation, but at the bare minimum, you should regularly engage with your dealer office employees, thank them, and solicit their feedback to show you value their expertise and opinions. When the employees steering the ship are happy and feel valued, you’ll be amazed by how your dealership thrives.