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Expert Tips for Building a Winning Dealership Team

With a constantly evolving mix of external factors challenging auto dealers around the country to stay a step ahead, there has never been a prudent time to have a solid, reliable dealership team to support your store. 

While every dealership will face its own unique set of challenges, building a winning team of diverse skillsets and experiences enables dealerships to strategize for more sustainable success. 

In this blog post, we’ll outline 4 dealership team tips for building a winning team including:

  • Establish trust
  • Embrace challenges 
  • Commit to your team
  • Measure your results

Establish Trust 

One of the most difficult challenges managers face in any industry is generating buy-in from the bottom to the top of their teams. According to one study, almost a third of employees do not trust senior leadership, despite trust being the factor most likely to impact overall employee engagement. 

A critical element to building a strong dealership team  is following through, referred to as the “say, do” method by Mastermind Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Rains. It may seem overly simplified, doing what you say you’re going to do, but this kind of follow-through goes a long way in building rapport with your team. 

This exercise in trust-building should extend well beyond your team to your customer relations. To build trust with buyers, ensure your customer experience lives up to your brand promise beyond avoiding bait-and-switch offers to create a customer-first buying experience. Each step in the buying journey should build trust with buyers, starting with personalized messaging tailored to each prospect followed by tailored interactions and processes that speak directly to your customers’ unique wants and needs. 

Embrace Challenge

Whether you’re looking to entirely transform your team from top to bottom or simply looking for solutions to help your existing staff to do more, one critical dealership leadership tip is to identify leaders who embrace change to inspire and motivate your team

To quote the coaching legend Don Meyer, “Complacency is the forerunner of mediocrity.” Identifying leaders with this sort of tenacity is critical to building the sort of agile, innovative dealership team capable of overcoming emerging and ongoing challenges like the chip shortage and diminished loyalty. 

To foster a dealership team culture that embraces whatever challenges lie ahead and to identify which leaders (including those in the next generation) possess the needed tenacity to overcome them, look for those with an innovative mindset. This may not always be your best sales leads, but those who look for creative solutions to whatever challenges or limitations they’re presented with. 

Commit to Your Dealership’s Team

Commitment breeds trust and, as previously explained, building trust with your team is critical to their success. Commit to the success of your team by ensuring they are equipped with the tools, training and infrastructure they need to succeed. 

Starting from the top-down, encourage leadership to continue growing and challenging themselves through expanded professional development and automotive sales training. From here, look at your dealership’s current processes, tools and technology to identify areas of improvement. This includes maximizing the efficacy of your current tools through data integrations and ensuring every member of your team can confidently use employee-facing technology and its full range of applications.    

Ensure your dealership’s tools enable your team to maximize their success. As dealers continue to face emerging challenges, sustainable success requires dealers to continually look ahead by leveraging the most valuable tool at their disposal: data. By leveraging dealership marketing technology that taps into the wealth of data locked away in your sales and service systems, you give your team an invaluable leg-up on the competition – and online-only retailers. 

Measure Your Results

Outside of informing your sales, service and marketing processes, it’s critical your dealership’s tools measure the efficacy of your efforts.

Ultimately, sustainable success hinges on setting effective goals and maintaining clear expectations. Accurately measuring your results beyond just transactions is key to recognizing and rewarding employee engagement, as well as holding your team accountable for their results. 

Measuring results and keeping your team accountable, however, is not the same thing as micromanaging every step of the process. As a leader, by holding your team accountable and equipping them with the right tools and technology, you’re effectively helping your employees create their own future success.