Your passion for cars combined with an acre of asphalt. A winning combination!
In the morning you pull into the lot and admire every one of those shiny sets of wheels. The cars—they’re your biggest asset, right?
Indeed steady sales are one goal. Congratulations if you have cars rolling off the lot! But how are your leadership skills?
You won’t go far without a robust sales and service team, and the key to their success lies in you being a great leader.
If you aren’t 100 percent confident in your leadership ability, don’t’ worry! Leaders aren’t born, they’re made. These seven management tips will help you become the leader you were always meant to be.
Watch and Listen
One common thread found in great leaders is their ability to make changes without inciting rebellion on their team.
Let’s say your team is well-established and you’re fired up about a new idea.
Before you make your next move, take the time to observe the team. You’ll need to gauge their change-readiness.
Instead of rushing in with a laundry list of things you want to see changed, meet with the team and get their feedback. Ask how they feel about restructuring or changing processes. Pay attention to their responses.
Watching and listening also helps you know when to share your vision—something we’ll talk about later. For now, spend time observing and getting to know the people who help you make things happen.
Know Your Team
Making observations of your team as a whole helps you develop your leadership style, but getting to know each team member on a personal level adds a deeper layer.
When you know a person, not only as a team member but as a unique individual, you learn what makes them tick. Motivation, which we’ll touch on in a minute, is a big part of your leadership role.
Get to know your employees by scheduling regular one-on-one talks. Share your expectations and talk about theirs. Help them identify professional goals and discuss how you can help them meet their goals.
Begin each day by interacting with your team. It’s up to you whether you schedule a 15-20 minute group meeting or keep things casual and chat at each team member’s desk.
Learn How to Motivate
What motivates your team? One mistake many leaders make is looking at money as the primary motivation for a job well done.
In an auto dealership, your commissioned salespeople understand the motivation of money. What about your service staff?
When you use a fixed interval reward system—the hourly, weekly, or salary pay rate, you’re not rewarding performance. You reward time. Paying people only for their time isn’t enough to truly motivate them.
This is where your efforts to know your staff on a personal level can pay off. When you learn what your employees value, it helps you create a rewards system that drives performance.
Don’t Stop Talking
Communication seems like it should be an obvious leadership skill. Unfortunately, we’re not all natural communicators. Luckily, according to entrepreneur Richard Branson, it’s something we can learn.
Your employees want to hear from you. In fact, they need to hear what’s on your mind. Communication also helps dispel rumors, which can be one of the biggest de-motivators in an auto dealership.
Share your thoughts with your employees every week. Pick a communication channel you know your group responds to and use it. Whether it’s a team meeting in the break room over coffee or a weekly blog, make a point of not missing your weekly communication.
This kind of communication may make you feel vulnerable, but it also helps build trust with your team. It will also help you accomplish our “Make it Happen Monday” tips.
Share Your Vision
All great leaders start with a vision. Henry Ford’s initial vision was a horseless carriage.
He couldn’t keep his vision to himself. He had to figure out how to communicate it and get other people on board with his dream.
We won’t talk about creating a vision here, but once you have yours, you’ll want your team excited about it too.
Talk about your vision with your staff. Honor them by letting them give you feedback on your ideas. If you can create excitement on your team about your vision, half the battle is already won.
Henry Ford didn’t stop with the horseless carriage. He dreamed of an economical car that anyone could afford and he introduced it in 1906. By 1907 Henry Ford’s Model N was the best-selling car in the United States.
Once you’ve shared your vision, keep an eye on the team and help ensure they meet the goals necessary for it to become a reality.
Measure Team Performance
Sales and customer retention are critial keys to running a successful auto dealership. Your team makes both possible.
It’s up to you to measure how well they’re performing. Without monitoring, you’ll only have a vague idea about how well they’re meeting responsibilities.
To see the broader picture, you’ll want to measure daily, weekly, and monthly performance.
Monitoring helps you see patterns. For example, if one of your top performers has an off month, you can address it before one bad month morphs into many months of falling short on their goals.
Measuring performance also gives you more opportunities for recognition and helps you detect areas where you can provide more training to staff.
Create a Sense of Autonomy
It’s one thing to have a vision and share it with your team. It’s another to trust them with your vision and give them the freedom to help you bring it to reality.
You have an agenda for your dealership. You employees must support your agenda by meeting certain goals.
It’s not good enough to set their goals for them, then track and enforce compliance. You don’t want a bunch of automatons. Instead, think about how you can set goals and motivate your employees to meet them.
The greatest motivation comes from employees setting their own goals, then pushing themselves to consistently meet and exceed them.
Allowing your staff to choose their goals, creates intrinsic motivation. When your employees are intrinsically motivated, they enjoy their work and perform better.
Your job isn’t to turn employees loose and let them decide what, when, and how they’ll do their work. It’s about giving them a feeling of choice by:
- Explaining the value of the goals you set
- Allowing employees to determine how they reach the goals
- Inviting employees to make peripheral decisions about tasks
Use the power of choice to motivate and observe incredible growth in your team, and ultimately, your dealership.
Want More Management Tips?
Did you find these management tips helpful? They certainly inspired us!
Running a successful auto dealership takes developing a team, sharing a vision, and motivating the team to help make it happen. If you’re interested in learning more about how to make your dealership more successful, contact us today.