Dealership groups, whether big or small, are becoming more commonplace. Dealer group owners recognize that running multiple dealerships together is more cost effective than running them individually.
There are many other advantages as well, but they all revolve around uniformity and teamwork. A well-functioning dealer group can be greater than the sum of its parts when everyone is working together.
Without solid leadership and direction, individual dealerships within a group can seclude themselves and work against the progress of the group as a whole. This sense of competition can inhibit the sharing of best practices. This article addresses how you can get your dealerships to open up and share what they do best?
Look for Success Stories
Success stories abound in the car business, but they often go unnoticed. In order to uncover success stories in your dealerships, it may require the work of an unbiased team, or a dedicated coordinator that can visit each store regularly and receive reports about good things that are happening.
Identifying those who are top performers or innovators can be tricky, even with a dedicated coordinator. Some dealerships have seen great success by encouraging managers, or other employees to nominate performers for monthly awards. A monthly awards ceremony is a great platform to spotlight these performers and ask them to share what they are doing right.
Identify and Validate Best Practices
After you have started to recognize those who are making a difference, you need to have a system in place to identify which of these successes are truly “best practices” and then work to validate them.
Here are three things to look for when identifying and validating a best practice:
- Does it affect the bottom line? Does the success story contribute to the overall efficiency and/or profitability of the dealership? If not, it might be a good story, but it could be impractical to try and implement on a wide scale.
- Can it be easily duplicated? Sometimes a success story is attributable to an individual’s unique skill or unusual drive. This is hard to duplicate. Conversely some success stories are based on sound fundamentals that simply need to be copied and applied in other places.
- Does it apply to all of your dealerships? Some best practices might be successful in one dealership, but are not practical in others. Before moving forward with a best practice, you need to decide if it makes sense to roll out to the entire group.
Create a Plan to Share Best Practices
A little recognition will go a long way. The car business can be very competitive, even within the same dealership. While some top performers are reluctant to share their “secrets”, genuine appreciation and recognition can lower their guard and encourage sharing.
As mentioned earlier, a monthly meeting can be a great venue to highlight top performers and share best practices that need to be rolled out.
Adapt and Apply
Once best practices have been identified, it will take an ongoing effort to educate employees and implement changes. This task would ideally be carried out by managers in the affected departments under the direction of the best practice coordinator mentioned earlier.
Once best practices have been implemented, continue to test and prove. If a new practice is implemented, but it is not yielding the desired result, it may not be the right time, or the right situation. Implementing best practices is an ongoing effort and requires continually evaluation.