Do You Really Need to Ask Permission from Employees?
The concept of employee buy-in is overblown and just dead wrong.
If you are a dealer, your job is to set policies, establish processes and procedures and set goals. It’s the job of your managers to implement those policies and procedures and measure the performance of the employees.
This is especially important for the Service Department, which is often under-managed.
Let’s assume your Service Department’s productivity is running at 120%. Great job! You have 2 open bays with lifts and you ask your Service Manager to hire 2 more technicians so you can sell more appointments, increase customer pay sales thereby raising your service absorption.
Then the first words out of your managers mouth is: “Ralph and George (Techs) each are using 2 bays and they would be very upset if we hired 2 more techs and gave them their 2 bays, so I don’t think this is a good idea.” What do you do? Do you need the “buy in” of your three employees before you can make a decision?
This Can Really be Frustrating
Here’s another thought. You have a very good F&I department currently averaging over $1000 PRU by doing a great job selling from their F&I Menus.
You then decide to implement a service department Maintenance Menu to properly train your customers on preventative maintenance and increase service sales. You pay a professional to design it for you and install it on your Advisors computers. You then have all of your Advisors professionally trained on how to make a proper Feature/Benefit presentation of the menus just like you did with your F&I producers.
What the …?
A couple of weeks go by and you sit down with your Service Manager to review your Advisors Performance Report and you find that your HPRO, profit margins and sales per RO have not improved at all. You ask your service manager “How can this be happening?” He responds with “The Advisors just don’t have the time to use those menus.”
What do you do? Before you answer that question, understand this: There are only 2 reasons why Advisors are not presenting menus to 100% of your service customers: 1) They don’t know how to or 2) They don’t want to. Now you’ve already paid to have them professionally trained so clearly they should know how to, so clearly they just don’t want to. You see they did not “buy in” to the training and the new process of presenting menus. Really? Do you need their “buy-in” to implement this new process?
The Attitude that Just Keeps on Giving …
How about you decide you want to train your service and parts managers to become more effective and productive managers by measuring the performance of their respective employees every single day. Using those measurements to compare their performance to the industry benchmarks and thereby hold them accountable for their individual performance.
You feel it’s important that these managers become proficient at reading, understanding and evaluating their departments’ financial statements to build a plan and focus on achieving 100% service absorption. Your managers respond with “I don’t have time to do all that stuff.” What do you do? Would you agree that if your managers do not have time to do “that stuff” then they really are not managing?
Do you need their “buy-in” to do the job you hired them to do?
A Bucket of Cold Water Reality …
By now you should have a pretty good idea that I don’t have much empathy for people who don’t “buy in” to change when it comes to improving Customer Satisfaction & Retention, increasing profitability and giving a dealers the kind of return on their investment that they deserve. HERE’S A NEWS FLASH:
CONDITION: There are dealers who are losing money in their Fixed Operations!
CAUSE: Lack of “buy in” by employees to change!
CORRECTION: Hold them accountable to change or replace them! You don’t need their vote.
You think I’m too harsh? You think because someone has worked for you for a number of years that they shouldn’t be held accountable for their performance? Does tenure make them a Top Performer? Please answer the following questions:
• What do you do with an F&I Producer who can only average $200 PRU?
• What do you do with a Salesperson who can only sell 4 cars a month?
• What do you do with a Sales Manager who won’t take a T.O?
• What do you do with a Used Car Manager who doesn’t have time for an appraisal?
I’m guessing your answers were a little harsh … and really easy to arrive at. You see most dealers have accountability in place for the Sales Departments. Your processes are not optional based on who “buys in” to them, are they? Why should Fixed Operations be any different? You are not running a Democracy.