Managers: Make a Daily Dealership Walk Part of Your New Year’s Resolution
By Ted Ings, Executive Director
What’s your New Year’s Resolution? To work out more? To lose weight?
While both are worthwhile goals, as a sales manager, there’s something else you should focus on: walking the dealership every day. Getting out of the office increases sales, plus, it may help you shed those few extra pounds without the gym.
Walking the dealership every day: it’s a must
As a sales manager, you undoubtedly spend most of your time stuck indoors, either in your office or corporate meetings. The problem is, while trapped within those four walls, you miss a lot.
You need to get out and walk around every day to know the true state of your dealership. Don’t forget to start your daily stroll early so you can take everything in before business starts.
Peruse the inventory lot
Start your walk at the inventory lot. While there, make sure to note the following:
• Faded numbers and stickers
• Missing buyers guides or labels
• Flat tires, dents or other problems
• Cleanliness of vehicles (bird droppings can be a distraction!)
• Available parking space for customers
The idea is that you see everything before the customer does. That way, you can make changes to the lineup if necessary.
In addition to visually inspecting the lot, it’s a good idea to choose a few cars to climb inside. The selection should include both newer and older inventory vehicles. Maybe even drive one or two. Here’s how you’ll benefit:
• You may find you really like some things about a particular car. By familiarizing yourself with the vehicle, you pass on your enthusiasm to customers. That makes it easier to sell!
• There’s always a reason why a car doesn’t sell. Rather than ignore it, inspect one that has been around a while. You may find it has a bad smell or that it needs new floor mats. The simplest things can keep a car from selling.
The bottom line is: a daily inventory walk-around is a great method to increase sales. You’ll learn more about your inventory while also ensuring it’s in tip-top shape.
Stroll through the inside of the dealership
So, your inventory is clean and intact. But what about inside the dealership? Research shows customers care a great deal about cleanliness. In fact, they care so much a problem – such as a dirty bathroom or overflowing trash can – may make them stop doing business with you.
That’s why it’s critical you walk through the dealership each morning to ensure it’s clean and ready for customers. Make sure to note the following:
• Debris and cigarette buts outside the facility
• Location and condition of garbage receptacles
• Condition of the floors, walls and counters in waiting or serving areas
• Condition of service bays
• Condition of vehicles inside and out at delivery and service completion
• Restroom cleanliness, smell and age of fixtures
• Kid’s play areas and sanitary condition of toys
• Cleanliness of personnel with whom they come in contact
During your walk, do you find parts of the dealership look like a tornado hit them? If so, things need to change. Start by speaking with employees, setting expectations and assigning tasks. Everyone should have a portion of their department they’re responsible for keeping clean.
Keep doing your walks every morning, noting areas of improvement (or lack thereof). If a particular area remains unkept, discipline may be in order.
Be strong, stay committed
The gym is packed at the beginning of the year. But by the time February rolls around, it’s a ghost town. Most people quit their new year’s resolutions too easily – don’t let yourself be one of them. Here are a few tips for staying committed:
Clearly define your goals: How many cars are you going to inspect each day? Do you plan on checking every inch of the showroom and service department or are you just going to take a quick peek?
Make your ambitions well known: Employees are more apt to clean up their act – and your dealership – if they know you perform daily inspections. Plus, you’ll be under greater pressure to achieve goals that are made public.
Monitor your progress: Perhaps you got called into an early meeting and missed your walk one day. It happens. Keep track of how many days you do (and don’t) reach your goal.
Create a timeframe: Set a date for your goal (i.e., you want to be walking the dealership daily by the first of the month).