Dealers Shine A Light On The Power Of Good People

October 16, 2015

While attending this week’s Automotive News Best Dealerships To Work For event, I wondered how many dealers could honestly answer this question:

Have you mapped out career paths at your dealership?

The topic came up during panel presentations on hiring and retention. ANBestDealership2015The upshot: Dealers who’ve taken the time to map how employees might progress in every department appear to suffer less from hiring the wrong people and losing good ones too soon.

This pearl was one of several take-aways at this year’s annual contest in Chicago, where I had the honor of serving as kick-off speaker.

After congratulating the dealers on their achievements, I shared my belief that they are all doing good things for our industry. They are lighting the way forward to make automotive retail careers rise above the perception that they’re last-ditch options for people who can’t do better. They have realized that tomorrow’s prosperity comes from hiring and nurturing good, if not great, people today.

I found a couple take-aways from the afternoon sessions worthy to share:

1. Pay plans and sales process efficiency. The topic of pay plans came up a few times at the event. I have to be honest. I was a little surprised to learn that a couple dealer speakers still used commission-only pay plans in their sales departments. I would have thought that their progressive approach to their people would have necessitated moving to non-commission alternatives, particularly given declining margins in new/used vehicles. But these dealers also noted they’ve worked to reduce transaction times—a move to satisfy customers, and maximize each associate’s productivity.

2. Selling technology, not the car. I found the old car guy in me questioning the wisdom of touting the latest technology as a chief selling point for a vehicle. What about fuel efficiency, quality and reliability? Times have definitely changed, as we’ve reached a point where product quality and reliability is largely a given, and buyers care more about being connected.

I would encourage readers to check out Automotive News’ coverage of the event, particularly the profiles of the Best Dealerships. I’m confident you’ll find an idea or two that makes your dealership and your team even better.