Monthly Archives: February 2012

Your EOY is a CTA

By now you have a completed December 2011 Financial. (If you don’t, all I can say is WOW)

Look in the box that says “Profit/Loss”. Are you happy with what you see? Would you say that 2011 was a good year an   average year or a “I’m gonna have a stroke!” year? Whatever your results your EOY(End of the Year) statement is a CTA (Call To Action) for 2012. Here are 3 Calls To Action you might want to look at if you a looking to KSA in 2012. (You can figure that one out) Take a look at your overall Repair Order Count for the entire year.  Are you increasing, decreasing or maintaining?

If you are decreasing or just maintaining, then you need to Take Action Now! Answer this simple question. What can I (my Dealership) do RIGHT NOW to start increasing my Traffic? Pick one thing and DO IT!

There is an old saying in Leadership and it goes like this. “Get moving in any direction if you are having problems. Even going in the wrong direction for a little bit is better than standing around doing nothing. At least everyone is moving and you can always make adjustments.”

If you are increasing, then the goal is to increase the results (get more Repair Orders). Take a look at all of your service marketing campaigns. Is it on a regular schedule? Are you targeting lost souls, new car customers…what?

Think of it as firing on a range at a target. Would you fire an arrow randomly into the air hoping to hit something? What…you think your name is Robin Hood or something?

If you want to hit something you gotta go big! It would be better to get a big  Ol’ Cannon (your marketing campaign) then load it with the biggest rounds available (your marketing materials) and then fire it a bazillion times in a row while aiming at a fixed target 5 feet away (target your database).

Do you think that you might get a result if you did something like that?

Your RO count is not stationary. You have to keep adjusting your aim to keep increasing the amount of Customers coming in the door.

If you are on a decline in RO count then you have to find the Customer who is not coming into your Dealership. Everybody assumes that they know who is coming in.


You know who is coming into your Service Drive?

Let me ask you this. If you write 500 ROs a month, how many of those cars coming in have between 25 and 50 thousand miles? Not sure? Want to aim a marketing campaign and not know who or whom is your target audience? That does not sound very reasonable, does it?

Get your marketing plan on line and in line with what you want to accomplish this year.

The second CTA has to do with your Margins. Take a look and see if you are above, same or below guidelines. Correcting Margins starts with the Advisors.

It’s as simple as saying “NO MORE DISCOUNTS!” And of course look at costs vs sales, dollar cost per hour sold, etc. Get those Margins back in the Profit Zone!

Lastly, look at your Training Plan. If you just said to yourself “What Training Plan?” then your are in the right place my friend.

Look, everyone wants Training and no one wants to Pay for Training.  It’s one of those “We should already be doing it” and “That’s what I have a Manager for” kindathings that every Dealership goes through.

Ok. I got it. You don’t need Training.

So why do your numbers suck?

Check this out. Not one single Successful Organization, Business, Sports Team, Sales Force, Orchestra, Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps (Semper Fi) and any other  gathering of humans you can name formed in and for one single focused endeavor, quest or  goal get to the top and become the Top Dog, Numero Uno, The One, King or Queen of the Hill… WITHOUT TRAINING!

It just does not happen. Thinking that Sustained Success happens that way is like buying a lotto ticket as a retirement plan. It might make you feel good when you do it but it does not really lead to anything you can live on.

Success is not an accident!

If last year did not meet your expectations, you gotta do something different.

So, take a look at your RO Count and Marketing Plan, get your Margins in line and Get a Training Plan!

Use your EOY as your CTA!


The word every Service Department needs.

What would be the one word to describe what a Service Department needs these days to compete?

There are so many to choose from. However, the one word that keeps coming up when I visit Dealerships across the country is adaptability.

The Dealerships that are doing well, adapt to changing market conditions and Customer demands.

Even if this is your first day in a Dealership, you know that the ability to adapt is the key to Exceeding Expectations.

The dictionary tells us that it means to “adjust to new circumstances.” Boy, if that is not the definition or guiding principle of the Service Department these days, I don’t know what is.

If you think about it, the Service Department is the only “gray” area in the Dealership. Everything else is black and white.

We have the part in stock or we don’t. We have the car on the lot or we don’t. We can fund you or we can’t. We are open extended hours or we are not.

In the Service Department, they don’t have those hard and fast rules because Customers and the situations that Service Advisors deal with are seldom written in stone. It’s more like an “etchasketch.”

This requires a person that is adaptable, flexible and understanding with the backing of an organization that is adaptable, flexible and understanding. Having either without the other won’t work.

And if you have Service Advisors who do not understand this concept or cannot adapt to a Customers Expectations, you will have problems.

When you have staff that are rigid and inflexible, you end up with Customers getting service that they would describe one of several ways. They say things  like  “Functional, yet cold” or “They helped me but they were somewhat  unfriendly” or “I had to yell at them to get them to listen to me” and lastly  “What the %$&^ is wrong with you guys?”

On the flip side, if you have personnel that are really trying to work within your Dealership system and are not “Empowered with Authority”  you end up with comments like “I have used you guys in the past and I’ll continue, but not as much as I used to” or “I don’t know if I’ll come back, even though your Advisors are great” and “They were ok, but if I find someone else that is closer or cheaper, I’m going to go with them” and lastly “What the *&^% is wrong with you guys? Don’t you want my business?”

The Service Department that has “Empowered with Authority” all of their Advisors will consistently outperform and outsell any other Dealer that has not taken that step.

This means Advisors are Trained to be adaptable and flexible and they do what is in the Best Interests of the Customer.

This leads to a Customer experience that can only be described as  “Exceptional at Exceeding Expectations”  and “spontaneously helpful.” And of course results in unsolicited referrals and an increase in business.

Learn to adapt, be flexible, change as needed and Empower with Authority and your Customers will respond with feverish repurchase loyalty and unsolicited testimonials.