Now, more than ever, it’s time to be positive

I’m a great believer in trying to present a positive attitude. I find myself at present switching the TV or radio off when the news comes on because I know 90% of it will be depressing and gloomy. Although I’m sure no on wants to be misled, it would be nice if someone could at least try and talk up what positives there may be, no matter how tiny they seem in comparison to all the bad stuff.

In all the doom and gloom there are businesses out there, in all industries, which are thriving and doing really well and that, at the end of the day, is probably down to having desirable products and delivering a first class customer experience.

Unfortunately there are many businesses that are doing nothing and, worse still, are burying their heads in the sand and hoping things just “get better”.

This attitude will not improve things and, as we see the real impact of the downturn on car dealers, it is clear that there are many going into administration or going bust completely.

Being better than the rest and toiling harder to deliver the right result involves working tirelessly and offering strong leadership and breeding an infectious culture. As one colleague recently said “the dealership is as good as the gm that runs it!” and that is very true.

Clearly businesses that are recognising those great leaders are weathering the storm.

We caught up with a general manager who runs a franchised dealership in the south of the country and although we wanted to name him and his business he is far too modest to allow us to do so however he is happy that we publish some of his thoughts on why his business is doing well despite the problems in the industry and the country as a whole. Here are a few of his actions:

1. Ensure that from the car park guy to the receptionist and through all front of house staff that the message and the culture is the same and that every customer is made to feel special.

2. The display both inside and outside must be of the highest standard possible, no missing point of sale hangers and immaculate cars that look the best in class.

3. Only employ sales execs or service advisors who are passionate to be successful and understand that customers are absolutely fundamental to that ethos.

4. Don’t have blockers or “neg heads” that bring the atmosphere down anywhere near the business.

5. All line managers to be personally involved in their departments to ensure targets are being met and plans for success are constantly updated.

6. Never think you have made it, there is always room for improvement.

7. Always promote the business and the brand and encourage staff to do so whether in or out of the business and instil a sense of pride in the staff who work for you.

8. Pay people the right money for delivering outstanding results and ensure that all departments cooperate and communicate together effectively. when the customer comes into one business they should not be shoved from pillar to post because it’s not part someone’s remit to deal with that issue.

9. Always, always call customers back no matter how bad the news might be. Effective communication is absolutely key for happy customers who are more likely to refer friends if they are treated properly.

10. Be proud to make a profit if the all round experience is matched by the satisfaction of all parties.

11. Don’t try to hide or cover up issues, deal with them immediately and resolve them effectively for the customer and deal with the fallout internally once the customer has been satisfied.

12. Be competitive and try to include value added services and products to be better than the competition.

13. ENJOY coming to work, treating all colleagues as equal and make everyone feel that they are playing their part in the journey.

Some very simple steps and some fantastic practices are what mark this dealer out from the crowd and although he has suffered some drop off in business he is proud that his staff are responding and the business is still hitting budgets and everyone’s happy.

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One Response to Now, more than ever, it’s time to be positive

  1. Mark R December 9, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Although you make many valid points, tell me this, how do you get your staff and indeed yourself to stay positive, motivated, and enjoy coming to work, whilst looking at virtually no footfall, no sales, no customers and a site full of cars that you constantly clean with nobody viewing, we have great premises, great cars, great prices, and great staff, but no customers i’m afraid, in fact the last deal was on the 16th November with silent phones, silent internet, and an even quieter forecourt, now if that’s being a “neg head” so be it, but just what is there to be happy about in this trade at present? ……………….

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