How Managers Can Meet the Market needs of Tomorrow’s Automobile Dealership

There are two aspects to taking today’s successful automobile dealership into a profitable tomorrow:

  1. Keep your finger on the pulse of today’s rapidly changing market.
  2. Coach your frontline employees and middle managers to grow with the changing needs of your unique marketplace.

Keeping your finger on pulse of the evolving car dealership market

Times are always changing and that includes how cars sell. Deeply listening to customers and understanding their core issues allows your dealership to continue to grow and expand to meet the needs of your market tomorrow. Most service providers aren’t truly listening; they assume they know what’s going on because they’ve dealt with similar issues before. It’s easy for them to become complacent in their daily routine.

The truth is the market is always changing and it’s up to you, the leadership team, to change in order to continue to meet the needs of your market tomorrow. Managers develop leadership habits based on experience and what’s worked for them in the past.

Strong managers need to keep their focus and attention on what’s changing in their market, both in hiring practices and in marketing to the next generation of car purchasers.

Coaching and training front-line employees

In periods of growth we often hire our employees based on experience, qualifications and their personality. As far as current employees, most managers do the best they can with what they’ve got. Often using the same principles and practices they used ten, twenty, often 30 years ago.

Front-line managers and middle managers often silently struggle because they are afraid to ask for help. They may be afraid of more work being added to their plate, afraid of being let go, afraid of losing respect from leaders in the company.

The leadership team can’t let this happen!

The fact is most people want to do a good job. At the end of the day they want to go home feeling good about themselves and the work they did.

What’s being measured matters

What’s often going on in struggling companies is what is being measured and what employees are held accountable to is wrong. It’s outdated or hasn’t changed with the needs of the marketplace.

In the automobile industry changing results starts with training our managers to manage differently. Often leaders think they don’t have the time to coach and train their managers. The fact is they often don’t have the skill to coach or train. Just because they were good at something, such as car sales or building close relationships with clients doesn’t mean they can coach or train another on the same thing.

Similarly, simply because you are a skilled musician doesn’t mean you can be a skilled conductor. It’s a different job requiring a different skillset.

And yet, many leaders in the automobile industry expect their musicians to also be conductors. They expect star employees to be stellar managers.

Leading your car dealership to a profitable and successful tomorrow may mean managing differently. From the way you hire to very metrics you run use to run the company, the ability to read and understand the market of tomorrow is essential to today’s success.

If you can use some help in updating your metrics or coaching your management team reach out today…

Three Tips to Maximizing Your Dealerships’ Human Capital

One of the most under-evaluated aspects of managing a profitable car dealership is its employees.

The truth is many factors play a role in the effectiveness of human capital. Personality, family life, connection with customers, and how well they work with their peers are just a few aspects. Even if a prospective employee has all the correct boxes checked and seem like a perfect hire, automobile dealerships often find the hire isn’t a good fit – and it’s for reasons there are no “boxes” for. A bad hire can end up costing a dealership time, money and reputation.

That’s why effective human capital is so vital to a dealership’s success moving forward. The automobile industry has dramatically advanced in technology and systems over the last 25 years. Dealerships have more information at their fingertips than they can use.

Where we are struggling as an industry is in not tapping into the hardest part…OUR PEOPLE.

Technology and artificial intelligence (AI) have been brought into business to maximize efficiency and it is an incredibly empowering tool. Managing people, however, cannot be automated. There is not a cookie-cutter, one-size fits all approach to connecting with and bringing out the best in your employees.

Computers give you data. It’s how you mine that data and the decisions you make from that information that makes or breaks a car dealership business. The burning question is then, “How can I tell if Human Capital is draining my organization?” Here are a few things to look at:  

  • Are you experiencing high turnover?
  • Is any area of your automobile business stagnant?
  • Are your numbers not increasing? You may have a department that is not meeting the market demand or have entire departments that aren’t profitable … and you don’t know where to turn.

In periods of growth we often hire our employees based on experience, qualifications and their personality. Managers do the best they can with what they’ve got. The effective leader looks beyond recruiting and onboarding and seeks to maximize the talent of current employees.

Ready to improve your human capital strategy? Here are a few areas to start:

  1. Spend time knowing and developing your existing employees. What are their strengths and weaknesses and how can you best capitalize on them?
  2. Looking within is often a key to success. It’s frequently your management style, how well you know yourself, and your willingness and ability to adapt that allows you to make noticeable and immediate improvements in human capital.
  3. Do an honest evaluation of your hiring practices. Hiring in a large market is much different than hiring in a small market and requires management to make different considerations when hiring. How skilled are you in the changing needs of your community and where it is going?

Maximizing the human capital needs of a car dealership takes skill, dedication and caring. It may take time and require the insights of a trained professional to recognize the seemingly hidden profits that are right under your nose. Oftentimes the most difficult thing to see is what’s right in front of you!

Four Cornerstones of a Successful Dealership

Quality. Customers. Employees. Profit. The four cornerstones (pillars) of a successful automotive dealership. While at first glance many managers may find these pillars to be common sense, any dealership struggling to make a profit or in the midst of turning a struggling company into a thriving resource for its community knows that what’s common sense for one is death for another. Let’s take a deeper look into each of these cornerstones and see what value they bring to your automobile organization.


Quality is something we may attribute to the automobile manufacturer and their ability to produce a quality car. While quality is important when producing cars, it’s just as important when selling them. At a car dealership, quality is found in the details many managers easily overlook. For example, being nice to people in the service department. Training employees to not only work efficiently, but to do their best and let the value they provide shine through to the customer.


Understanding the needs of your neighborhood and the possible changes in demographics over time is imperative to connecting with clients and building a solid base of repeat customers. This doesn’t happen overnight. Knowing your customers by name and treating them as more than a number is one strong way to connect with them individually and create repeat clients.


Human Capital is the name of the game in the car dealership business. Success in this one pillar is what separates the successful dealerships from those that continuously struggle. Employee development doesn’t happen through artificial intelligence (AI) or software management programs. They can’t touch the unique needs of the automobile industry as it changes as a whole, as each community changes, as generations change.


According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), the new-vehicle department of a car dealership accounts for about 58% of a dealership’s total sales but less than 26% of a dealership’s total gross profit. In addition to car sales, that figure also reflects profits from finance and insurance (F&I) products sold on new cars. The used-vehicle department represents only about 31% of a dealerships’ total sales, but profit is close to that of the new-car department: nearly 25%. of a dealership’s gross profit. Most of the profit comes from a car dealerships service and parts department.

The cookie-cutter training that comes from the manufacturer only fixes surface level issues – by its very nature it can’t go in-depth and address underlying issues of cultural, geographical, and historical identity that’s unique to every community.

Investing in your employees and creating human capital, building long-term relationships with customers, and ensuring there is high quality in the details is what builds a sustainable automobile dealership. A car dealership that is profitable, contributes to its community, and is a positive source of employment in its neighborhood.