Dealership management does a lot of gymnastics to keep things running smoothly.
Managing personalities and meshing departments is a big part of daily life in a car dealership.
There’s the “every man for himself” culture in car dealerships, which is a pervasive problem. And, it’s always there, just below more pressing issues like a pandemic or a chip shortage. When will it all bubble up over the brim?
These issues are understandable and some stores have a better handle on it than others. Mostly, it comes down to a lack of communication. At times it can be easier to deflect when you have an angry customer standing in front of you.
In a climate like the one we have today, departments are tempted to compete for profit rather than focusing on the dealership as a whole. Whether it’s a miscommunication, undelivered promises, or grappling for a piece of the pie, internal disunity is bad for business.
Automotive dealership management has to find ways to create cohesion, cross-departmentally.
In this article, we’ll explain how auto accessory sales are one of the only things that benefit all departments in a store and have magical unifying properties.
Department Silos Hurt Dealerships
Imagine being a car shopper today. You look all over town or even all over the state for the car you want. You finally find it and it’s gone before you can get to the test drive. Finally, you find a base model and pay the higher price tag—knowing inventory shortages and inflation require it.
It’s not your store's fault, yet the customer is already a bit irritated. Now throw in a hiccup with a back-ordered part, a misplaced We-Owe, problems with service, or any finger-pointing in general; and you’ve got a ticking time bomb.
Many dealerships are a breeding ground for this kind of internal competitiveness. Management looks to sales to find out why customers are frustrated and leaving poor reviews. Sales shrugs and blames it on parts. Parts throw their hands up and service is too busy to answer.
What can a dealership do to put an end to department silos and create a culture of unity?
The solution starts and ends with auto accessory sales.
Here are three action steps.
Utilize Auto Accessory Sales
When accessories are sold at the point of sale, everyone wins. The salesperson receives a commission, the parts department gets paid off the markup, and service is paid from the installation. And, like anything, there’s a wrong and a right way to do it.
The wrong way would be disorganized with multiple systems, misplaced paperwork, and poor customer communication. The right way would be to use a system that accurately displays accessories, labor pricing, and fitment data with the accessory price rolled into F&I.
Cross-departmental communication through the system should be automated. Paper We-Owes will go to their final resting place, replaced with digital We-Owe, and get copied to all necessary parties (customer included). Whether the customer shops online or in-store, the process should be the same and your software should allow for that flexibility.
No more orders for accessories that aren’t in stock, no more miscommunication about receiving an order at all, no more confusion on service dates, and, No. More. Misplaced. We-Owes.
Improve Employee Communication
Customers are often the victim of poor internal communication. Even when a customer isn’t involved, departmental tension affects the business as a whole.
Accessory sales are level ground. Everyone is reaping the benefits when proper communication is modeled. The parts team loads in their pricing with markups, service labor rates are added, and salespeople make a percentage of every sale. Salespeople don’t have to run back and forth to ask questions, and labor times are never underestimated because all the information is right there.
With each sale, the right person in each department is notified, and communication about what happens next can include the customer. There’s a level of respect and transparency generated with this process because multiple people are being copied on each communication.
That healthy communication flow will lead to less frustration and mistakes, resulting in fewer unhappy customers. With that stress gone, employee communication will improve naturally.
While there are plenty of resources for leadership training, to help the automotive dealership management you already have, what about building up future leaders? You can create good habits before bad ones set in and lay the groundwork for better departmental relationships to come!
Many dealerships that are successful with accessory sales build up an Accessory Champion. The champion will be someone from the sales team who shows leadership qualities. They’ll be responsible for helping close accessory sales, training fellow employees on processes, and helping others become experts on the upgrades available for each vehicle.
Your champion will help unify the sales team on their verbiage and processes for selling accessories. This person can also serve as the point of contact between departments regarding accessory sales, cutting down on the unnecessary back and forth.
To take it a step further, appoint an accessory champion in the parts and service departments as well. Fixed ops is a valuable and non-threatening way to sell accessories. You’ll also be building leaders in the back of the house who are able to communicate effectively.
About Insignia Group
Insignia Group is the leading provider of digital accessory-selling platforms in the nation. We train dealerships to sell accessories at the point of sale, profitably.
Our digital interface allows for seamless cross-departmental communication, as well as keeping your customer in the loop when they need to be. With the Insignia Group system, the parts department can set pricing and product availability in real time. You’ll have the ability to give an ETA on when an accessory may be back in stock, as well as to notify both salesperson and customers before a product is sold.
Today, your dealership needs to be able to recreate the sales process online. We can help you with that. Insignia Group is now partnered with multiple digital retailers to allow you to present and sell accessories completely online.
Ready to get started with better departmental communication and more sales? Contact us today.