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George Gowen

George Gowen

Author's details

Name: George Gowen
Date registered: December 28, 2015
URL: http://www.ncmassociates.com

Biography

George has more than 30 years of experience in the retail automotive industry and is invaluable as an Executive Conference Moderator at NCM. He is a third-generation dealer who grew up working in every department of the dealership, including management positions in sales, business development, training, and as a director of fixed operations. He was also the general manager for a $100 million dealership, then became the owner/dealer principal of a multi-franchise operation by the age of 33. George was awarded Chrysler’s Five Star Award in his first year in business and he also served on the Board of Directors of Carolina Chevy Dealers Advertising Association. George received his degree in automotive marketing from Northwood University and resides in the Tampa area.

Latest posts

  1. Give the Big Dogs a Run for Their Money — July 18, 2017
  2. From the 20 Group: The Importance of Value — October 11, 2016
  3. Who’s your dealership’s MVP? The answer may surprise you. — December 29, 2015

Author's posts listings

George Gowen

Give the Big Dogs a Run for Their Money

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Advance, NAPA, O’Reilly, Auto Zone, and Carquest all have something in common—they are in the parts business. More than that, though, they sell 100 times more parts and make 100 times more money than franchise car dealerships that sell parts. These parts businesses do not have OEM support. They do not have a service department at their store out of which they sell parts. And, they do not have a continuously growing customer base to prospect to. So how are they growing and building new stores across the country?

As car dealers, you support their businesses with millions of dollars of purchases. How many OEM parts did they buy from you? Are you content to let them be in the parts business without competition? What do they offer that you can’t? How many dealers have opened a stand-alone parts store? Take a moment to brainstorm what you can do to be competitive and, more importantly, make money …

Think of anything? Here are some ways to stay competitive with your existing parts department.

What’s your turn strategy?

At 20 Group meetings, the least interesting subject to dealers and general managers is always “the parts discussion.” Yet, it is the number one or two cash investment in any dealership (used vehicles may be an exception in certain cases). If we think of the parts department in terms of cash, we need to ask ourselves: Why don’t we focus on it more? I’m sure you have a turn policy on your used cars; do you know what your turn policy is for your parts inventory? Do you have a used car on your lot 9-12 months before you start to figure out an exit strategy? But that’s what we do with parts. Why?

Stock what you need, when you need it.

Having the part you need on the shelf when requested is more important than having the used car your customer firsts asks for. You can always switch the used car buyer to a different car, but not so with parts. If the part is not on the shelf when requested, it’s a lost sale. Most parts managers don’t count these as lost sales if they can get the needed part within 24 hours via a factory order or an outside purchase from a competitor. The fact is, having the part in stock when you need it will not only increase your margins but dramatically increase your service departments’ efficiency. What is the amount of monthly lost productivity in your shop because you don’t have the right parts on the shelf? If this metric was measured and multiplied by your labor rate, it would astound you.

The Math: $300,000 in outside parts purchases equals $300,000 in labor sales, divided by $100 per hour labor rate, comes to 3,000 labor hours. Assuming 1.5 hours per RO, we can say you had 2,000 ROs that had been delayed 30 minutes each waiting on parts. That comes to 1,000 hours of lost productivity, times your $100 per hour rate, equals $100,000!

Doesn’t it seem worthwhile to have the part on the shelf?

Training is a must.

How much training did your parts manager participate in last year, or ever? How can you get best practices in your parts department? TRAIN them. The NCM Institute offers outstanding parts manager training and NCM has two parts management 20 Groups whose numbers are constantly improving due to their openness to share ideas and best practices. Either or both will yield a huge ROI.

It’s time to get into the parts business and beat the competition.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/07/give-the-big-dogs-a-run-for-their-money/

George Gowen

From the 20 Group: The Importance of Value

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We all know that a customer will buy a product or service when the value exceeds price. Unfortunately, automotive dealerships hide the value that the service and parts departments bring.

Here’s how you can change that.

Recognize the value of “free”

Grocery stores commonly show the customer how much they “saved” on every receipt. That builds additional value to the price they paid for groceries. For some reason, dealerships comp services but, unlike the grocery store, never let anyone know about it.

Here’s an example: Almost every dealership I know requires a multi-point inspection (MPI) for each repair order. This check builds trust and helps to sell needed services.

But what is the “value” to the customer for that service? None. However, if you show on the repair order (RO) that the MPI has a $49-$149 value that we provided at “no charge,” it does means something.  After all, the service has actual value, and we should let customers know it.

Here’s another example. Many dealerships charge a diagnostic fee, using the information to explain the nature of the problem and how much the repair will cost. Along with the diagnostic work, you probably do a complete inspection of the entire vehicle and don’t charge for it. You should mention this value to your customer.

Always offer a deal

While we’re looking at other industries for inspiration, let’s consider restaurants. I’ve been to many establishments that promote a special that includes the appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert. You’re told that you’ll get a special value by ordering the components as a group versus ordering them individually. The reality is that people will take advantage of the “deal” even though they likely would not have ordered all the items separately.

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You can apply the same principle to service menu items. The best performers on menu sale penetration show the value of the combined services versus doing those services individually. But if you offer a “30k Service” for $400 without explaining the value of the individual services, all they will see is the $400.

Imagine the penetration level if you showed that all the services in the “30K Service” would separately cost $530! If the menu item is “only $400,” the customer just saved $130 by purchasing it.

The same advice goes if you provide a car wash, loaner cars, or any other services: Always make sure the customer knows the value. And, no matter what, make sure the value you provide exceeds the price.

Tell us below how your dealership creates value in the service department. Learn more about George Gowen and how his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/10/from-the-20-group-the-importance-of-value/

George Gowen

Who’s your dealership’s MVP? The answer may surprise you.

Auto Mechanic

Take a look at what department affects your business the most. I know— “Nothing happens until a car is sold!”—is the answer heard the most. But what department has the most contact with your customers? Where is the opportunity to create customers for life? And which department displays your culture to your customers most often?

So who is the MVP? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not in sales.

The average salesperson sells 10-15 units a month, while a service advisor sells service to 15 customers EACH DAY! Now consider the relationship of sales dollars to gross profit dollars: Who can create 70% or more gross to sales from an inventory that has no holding costs?

Customer retention happens in the service department

Now, let’s look at the one position in your business that’s most influential in building loyal customers. A salesperson’s ability to retain that customer cannot be discounted, but often, little to no effort is made to improve retention. And there’s certainly little done on a daily basis. The service advisor, however, can make or break your relationship with the customer dozens of times each day.

Create an outstanding service culture

What people within your organization have the most opportunities to create “WOW” moments? Who displays the culture of your store to the most customers daily? Who creates the most “customers for life”? So where should you focus your training, coaching and motivating? That 80/20 rule comes into play here.

Go spend time in the service drive and see who wins your MVP!

What do you think—is customer retention made or broken in the service department? What strategies have you implemented to make the most of this relationship with the customer? 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/12/8089/