Generally, in good markets, any dealership inefficiencies or complacencies may be obscured by the overall positive performance of the operation. As markets weaken, and business becomes more difficult, there is a far greater need and tendency to reexamine the underlying fundamentals for business success. Waiting for a down market to expose these flaws and force reexamination may be too late for corrective action. To avoid this syndrome, there should be an ongoing, continuous review, refresh and reinforcement of the Phundamentals.
These are the 5 P’s:
Success is achieved when all fundamentals rotate around the product in harmonious orbit:
1. Product: Irrespective of the product represented by the Dealership, there are certain core values that must be evident. Professional representation at all levels, including product display, merchandising, marketing and a well-trained team to ensure that every point of customer contact, (irrespective of the source), is a consistent and positive experience. This should be true for, telephone, E-commerce, Social media, and in-dealership experiences. In addition, ethical business practices, including integrity, good faith dealing, and an outstanding attitude to customer care, during, and after the sales transaction. All the above, are all essential components of professional representation of the product and the Dealership.
The road to success is contingent upon successful customer contacts, all strung together in a series of successful transactions. Long-term customer retention builds loyalists and long-term future income streams.
The 4 remaining fundamentals are all product or services agnostic:
2. Passion: is the fuel that keeps the Dealership’s engine running. It is a combination of emotions including; desire, excitement, enthusiasm, and attitude. Maintaining positive and passionate influences will provide a strong foundation for ongoing success. Passion is cloaked in the organization’s culture. A positive and high-performance culture is the building block for continuous success. Culture must be both employee and customer-centric, and is developed over an extended time. It must live in every aspect of Dealership operations, and be palpable to both employees and customers. Continuous focus and effort must be put forward to cultivate and cascade a high-performance culture throughout the Dealership. Failure to do so will limit the success of the Dealership, and lead to increased employee dissatisfaction and turnover.
3. Plan: is the road that the Dealership will travel to success. To be effective, plans must be realistic, challenging and well thought out. If not, the team will not commit fully, or believe in the plan. Once that happens, a defeatist attitude will take over. All performance must be measured against the plan, and variances should be understood, and reacted to. Most significantly, a plan must be adaptable to the changing business environment. Failure to adapt may lead to the demise of the Dealership. Adapt or Die! Two recent examples of businesses failing to adapt effectively, resulting in their demise are Toys R Us and Sears. On the flip side, Best Buy, a company on the brink of failure, was able to reinvent itself and achieve great success!
4. Process: is the map that keeps you on the right road. Processes must be consistent, effective, mandatory, efficient and compatible with the Dealership culture. You cannot rely on osmosis to implement and sustain processes. These have to be documented, taught, coached and enforced continually. New hires must be educated in all the processes in place, and when processes become redundant, irrelevant or break down, they need to be reinvented, reinstated and refreshed. Undertaking an important road trip without a proper map makes it extremely difficult to reach your ultimate destination!
5. People: are the engine that moves the Dealership forward. They are THE most important asset of the organization. Consistent with a high-performance culture, high-performance teams will achieve greater success. Building a high-performance team starts with having the RIGHT people in the RIGHT place. Proper recruitment and effective onboarding processes are the basic building blocks for developing high-performance teams. To be successful, employees must be trained, coached, mentored, empowered, appreciated, trusted, compensated and accountable. Management tends to spend most of their time managing the working capital of the Dealership, and not nearly, enough time on managing and improving the human capital! Develop leaders throughout the Dealership, for sustained business growth and success.
Profit: the 6th P, is the derived reward of the harmonious orbit mentioned above and represents the final destination. Success can be measured in many forms, but profitability is often the most relevant yardstick. Executing the 5P’s will add the 6th, with the supplemental benefits of outstanding employee and customer satisfaction and retention.
Examine how well the 5 P’s are doing in your Dealership or Department, and start your journey towards greater success today!