Seizing More Service Department Business & Opportunity!
By: Michael Roppo
Many Dealers, leaders and managers tend not to discover the opportunities to do more business that sometimes is right in the trenches of their dealership operations because they choose to practice an analysis paralysis mindset. Too much time is spent talking about the too late statement (Financial Statement) and the many industry problems and not enough time creating the foundational architecture and support system to lead toward the solutions we intuitively know exists in our industry.
It’s Intentional Results That’s Needed
As mentor Paul Cummings stated in many of his leadership seminars: Leaders Improve Business Potential When The Improve Their Capacity To Lead! Change cannot and will not happen until dealers, leaders and managers make the journey through the opening in their own hearts and minds, seeing with their own eyes and those of others, while silencing their fear, cynicism and poor judgment. Only then, do we arrive in a place of reflection and creativity, that generates “Intentional Results” performance and profitability with the team members who chose to take the same risky and truly rewarding journey with us.
From there, solutions arise and we realize that the decisions we make and the actions we take all matter! In this process dealers leaders and managers become inspiring to other by being certain of what they know, who they are, what needs to be done, and being able to seize the opportunity, which usually gets buried in a moment’s notice for many! So what can we do about it?
As business author Bob Prozen puts it: Pay Attention To The Significant Few, Not The Important Many! Always put the right stuff in front of you. The frenetic speed of industry change is creating a vortex in which the competition has room to enter into our domain. We must lead the moment. Too often we get consumed by the urgent and the important falls to the wayside. The pressures for that to occur regularly is great in our industry.
The Big Gap
What is the dynamic that causes many Dealers, leaders, managers and industry educators to know so much and do so little with it? There exists a gap between what we know and what we do. Why is that? While knowing is good, It’s not good enough! Actions are the only things that matter. Nothing happens unless calculated actions are taken. Ask Yourself: What Do You Pay Attention To?
In my work with many dealers, leaders and managers across the automotive industry, one of the most important questions I ask and seek to learn more about is what these so-called key players pay particular attention to. Most of them tell me that they spend most of their time looking at industry benchmarks and other performance data analytics that’s usually is found in the form of average summaries and performance guidelines gathered from spreadsheets, sometimes from other industry specific dashboards and tools.
Monitoring industry averages and performance guides is a good thing — if you want to be average. The more important thing to know is that sometimes internal industry average systems present metrics that make it easy for many to blend into and accept that average performance is good enough. We do this because they are easy for us to monitor but they aren’t necessarily the RIGHT things for us to monitor if our goals are to generate truly outstanding business performances.
Here’s What SMART Dealers Leaders and Managers Must Learn to do and Pay Particular Attention To:
• Strategic Planning and Clarity – SMART Dealers, Leaders and Managers must constantly assess how well their dealership and organization’s strategy is understood across operations staff within all profit centers of the dealership. Communication and reinforcement of the declared strategy will lead to clear understanding by all of the dealerships staff.
• Goal and Management Alignment – Once strategic clarity is reached, SMART Dealers Leaders and Managers must constantly assess the degree to which projects, goals, tasks are aligned to your organization’s declared strategy and how they perform up to your dealerships Critical Performance Indicators (CPIs).
• Create Clarity For Expectations – SMART Dealers, Leaders and Managers must ensure that everyone in the dealership and organization has formalized goals and performance standards that will help them attain “intentional” operational and financial performances (values must be defined in actionable terms).
• Define The Dealerships M.A.P. – SMART Dealers, Leaders and Managers must ensure that all staff in every profit center of the dealership proactively commits to their goals by working the CPIs within their management driven Minimal Acceptable Performance –aka- (MAP) and guide.
• Mandate Consistent Accountability – SMART Dealers, Leaders and Managers must hold all staff accountable, day in and day out, for meeting MAP expectations and values expectations. Accountability means the prompt application of POSITIVE consequences when people do the right things the right way, and NEGATIVE consequences when they do not do what needed to be done, the way they said they would, when they said they would do it.
• Change Your Habits Change Your Results! Every Dealer leader and manager can improve their team’s performance and their management alignment values by changing what and who they pay attention to. Leaders improve business potential when they improve their capacity to lead their people and organizations to accomplish great things! Are You Leaders Paying Attention?
Those of us in leadership roles must be found doing something other than responding well to situations. Make Things Happen! All of our creativity gets poured into our daily work and produce the Results we generate! In an immediate way, dealers leaders, managers and everyone benefit and we feel justifiably good about our work as well as the results our work generates.
As SMART Dealers Leaders and Managers, we must understand that in order to be successful we must get in the trenches and spend more time planting seeds for success, monitoring the growth of those seeds and tending to people and performances being generated. The business will only be as productive and profitable as the effort we put into it allows, so do it intentionally!
We all need to learn to better prepare to win the game before our team efforts really pay off. We constantly deal with the industry forces. We all know that sometimes there will be squigglies that will try to destroy the newly planted seeds by way of customer expectations, seasonal and periodic business droughts.
The car business is not easy, but boy is it rewarding! Almost every Dealer leader and manager knows that we are in an industry of comebacks and better business begins as soon as we get back to basics again at the ground level. Good things happen in bad times and bad things happen to us in good times! Let’s learn from these forces that sometimes seem that they are beyond our control and persevere. Don’t just settle and hope that things will work out! They Won’t!
Successful Dealers Leaders and Manager What Being Successful In Business Requires:
Ask any successful dealer, leader or manager what they need in order to be more effective with their business and they will say, without a moment’s hesitation, that they need more uninterrupted time to analyze critical performance indicators that matter most to their business and take more action and hold people accountable to MAP standards!