As we wind down the first quarter of 2012, several things may be taking place at your dealership. You might be waiting for the new widgets you purchased at the recent NADA Convention, looking at ways to trim expenses or adjusting your forecasts to mirror the latest J.D. Power and Associates sales predictions. But the one thing I hope you’re also doing is assessing your team.
In our fast-paced world, the importance of “human capital” can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. So, let me share with you five things you can do to ensure that’s not happening at your store.
Know Them: How much do you truly know about your people? What motivates them individually? What are their interests? What is their significant other’s name? Does your dealership celebrate birthdays or employment milestones?
Our industry is notorious for high turnover. One reason for that, in my opinion, is employees never feel connected. Taking a few extra minutes to get to know your people could have a huge impact on the bottom line.
Grow Them: I think it’s amazing that a majority of dealers across the nation are still not actively investing in skill development for their people. How many professionals at your dealership are starving for more knowledge?
There’s a constant discussion taking place at dealerships about marketing, advertising and driving traffic. It’s as if these organizations believe that driving traffic into their stores will cure all ills. My question to owners and general managers is: Who has the courage to admit that their sales process needs work and that all the traffic in the world won’t fix their broken process? Anyone?
If you want your employees to flourish and your team to jell, they need to be in an environment that fosters that. And the only way to do achieve that is through ongoing growth.
Inspire Them: People want some thing or someone to believe in. They want to know that what they do isn’t just for the sake of doing something. They want to be a part of something great.
If members of your team heard someone making disparaging comments about your dealership, how many of them would stand up and defend the store? How many of them would chime in with their own negative comments? Personally, I want the guys and gals on my team to be champions of the organization. I want them to be proud of where they work. And the only way to do that is to inspire your people and make them believers in what they do.
Involve Them: Another mistake dealers make is that they very rarely, if ever, ask their staff for ideas or involve them in key decisions. Their job titles shouldn’t define whether or not they have good ideas or if their opinion matters.
In fact, there are a number of successful strategies that I use in dealerships across the country that were the result of brainstorm sessions with sales and management teams. Remember, involvement creates ownership, ownership creates inspiration and inspiration creates growth.
Reward Them: There seems to be a lot of confusion around the terms “spiff” and “bonus” out there. Many look down on these terms because they wonder why you’d reward people for performing jobs they are supposed to do anyway. Unfortunately, rewards beyond the standard pay-plan bonus schedule have suffered over the last couple of years. It’s time to stop squeezing the juice out of the proverbial orange and start rewarding our people.
One of the best ideas I’ve heard for providing employee incentives came from a dealer in Texas. He purchased everything he could on his American Express card and redeemed the rewards points to offer prizes to his sales team for hitting goals and benchmarks. He even used his points to surprise employees on their birthdays or anniversaries. He’s cultivating inspired, motivated and rewarded employees without spending a dime.
Remember, employees are simply looking for autonomy, mastery and purpose, or what I call Motivation 3.0. So, if you want to drive sales and profitability higher in 2012, don’t just look at your technology or advertising strategies. Look at your people strategy!
Cory Mosley is principal of Mosley Training LLC, a nationally recognized training provider focused on new-school techniques, products and services. E-mail him at [email protected].