In last week’s article I talked about how the speed of a person’s feet determines their success. If you’ve not read the article, click here. Now I want to talk about you getting off your butt and taking three walks.
1. The Team Walk-The first walk occurs each day as soon as you arrive at the dealership. Generally speaking I’m directing most of my writings at the dealer and/or General Manager of the dealership, but in this specific case it can apply to anyone and will pay huge dividends regardless of your position.
Start at the back of the dealership and work your way toward the front. Your mission should be to speak to as many team members (call them what you want) as possible. Over time you should get to know them.
Make it a point to stop and talk to every technician, every porter, every service writer, etc. Work your way into the body and parts departments and do the same. Then visit the office staff and sales department. Of course the sequence may depend on your actual job and role in the operation, but you get the point. In time you need to at least learn the following:
- Their name. (Duh!)
- Where are they originally from?
- How long have they worked there?
- What drew them to the type of work they are doing and to the company?
- Spouse’s name?
- Children, ages/boy/girl?
- Hobbies/what do they like to do in free time?
- What are their long term goals in life?
- Find out something from them that others would be surprised about?
As I was writing this I considered explaining the benefits of taking a “team walk” each day, but concluded that if you can’t figure it out yourself it’s hopeless and you might be in the wrong business.
2. The Trade Walk-there should be a staging area where all trades are parked. On the side window each vehicle should be marked with four items. Who traded it, who appraised it, today’s date, and the customer’s name who traded it. (Also, put today’s date in the upper right hand corner of the windshield and leave it there until the car goes on line.) All members of management must go on the trade walk every day at a specific time, preferably after your “save-a-deal meeting.” All managers means GM, GSM, Used Car Manager, F&I Manager, BDC Manager, Internet Manager, New Car Manager and most importantly the Service Manager. Stop at each car and talk about the car. You will be amazed at how many more trades you will end up keeping and how many more deals you actually are able to put together by getting insight and suggestions from the various members of your management team. It is very foolish to allow one person to make decisions on which trades to keep and not keep. The concessions and input you will get from your service manager will pay valuable dividends. It’s a total no brainer.
3. The Lot Walk-The lot walk takes place once a week preferably after your weekend kick off sales meeting which should be on Friday. (I’ve never understand the concept of having a kick off sales meeting on a Saturday.) After the meeting all sales people and all the members of the management team including the service manager will take a lot walk. Stop at each vehicle on the lot and talk about the unit. This is how you get your entire sales team involved in selling more used cars. The more they know about your inventory the more they will sell. You have to force feed them. You will find out why certain cars have not sold because as you stop to talk about the specific cars the sales people will tell you why that car is still sitting there getting stale. Oftentimes there is an issue with a car as to why it has not sold. By having the service manager on the walk he/she will jump all over the issue and get it handled for you. It’s called the “embarrassment factor.”
So, here’s the bottom line. Start walking. Walking is good for your health. Walking is good for your business. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs