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Joe Basil

Joe Basil

Author's details

Name: Joe Basil
Date registered: April 8, 2013
URL: http://www.ncm20.com

Biography

An NCM 20 Group member for 10 years, Joe now serves his former peers as an NCM Executive Conference Moderator. With 40 years of retail automotive and general business experience, Joe began his career at age 14 progressing through a variety of positions in his father’s dealership in Buffalo, New York, eventually becoming the used car manager for the Chevrolet store. At 26, Joe became the owner-operator of an Oldsmobile dealership. As the oldest of seven, he has bought and sold three dealerships of his own, ventured into several non-automotive businesses, including business consulting and training. During his career with the Basil Group, Joe assisted in the purchase, sale and start-up of over 24 dealership transactions and five non-automotive businesses. Joe is a graduate of Northwood University with a degree in automotive marketing and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Canisius College. Joe is a graduate of the Chevrolet Management School and has completed formal training in family business advising and entrepreneurial leadership.

Latest posts

  1. NCM Case Study: Five Successful Dealerships Regain Lost Net Profit — June 13, 2017
  2. From the 20 Group: A Plan to Address Falling Gross and Net Profit — September 15, 2016
  3. Three must-do fixes to improve your hiring cycle — March 22, 2016
  4. What are you hiring for: personality or failure? — October 20, 2015
  5. Stop “Unselling” Your Customers! — October 13, 2015

Most commented posts

  1. What’s the P/E Ratio of Your Management Team? — 2 comments
  2. What Mode is Your Dealership Operating In? — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Joe Basil

NCM Case Study: Five Successful Dealerships Regain Lost Net Profit

Portrait of call center worker accompanied by her team. Smiling customer support operator at work.

I’m going to make it crystal clear. Your net profit is sitting right in front of you, and it walks right past you (and out the door) every day! Let’s get it back.

During my years in business, I’ve observed that 80% of the dynamics that impact a business or industry originate outside its four walls; however, 80% of the forces that impact the dealership’s profitability originate inside them. It’s my opinion that your increased profitability walks in and out of your dealership every day and right in front of your eyes.

Five case studies: regain lost profits with simple changes

Your opportunities for increased net profit are in every step of your customer transaction management process. The gap or disconnect is that some dealers and managers can’t see it, even though it’s right in front of them. Here are some specific examples from some of my NCM 20 Group and consulting clients who have discovered big profits from small changes.

1. The BDC conversation turnaround

A used vehicle manager observed his business development center (BDC) customer-contact phone calls. The business development representatives (BDRs) were making their 100 calls per day; however, the tone of the calls was flat and lacked sincerity. The calls could have been made by a computer; they were so impersonal.

Once he brought it to the attention of the business development manager (BDM) and they did some training, his appointment show ratio began to climb. Just imagine how many deals the dealership had already lost before this simple change!

2. Lead with the winner

During a pre-owned digital merchandising review, our NCM 20 Group noticed a photo of a clean 2013 Silverado crew cab pickup truck with 9,000 miles on it. It was a great vehicle, but at over $36,000, it was priced exceptionally high for the market.

Three or four photos later—buried in the vehicle description—the dealership showed that the Silverado was a handicap/wheelchair accessible vehicle! Not only that, but a little research revealed to us that a new one would cost between $67,000 – $69,000. The vehicle was priced under market for an accessible truck, but it couldn’t find buyers because of the poor photo choices and lack of relevant keywords in its description.

Take a look at your digital merchandising. How many of your vehicles are overlooked because of simple mistakes?

3. Walk around for more profits

During a training session with service managers, I asked how many of them do walkarounds on customer vehicles in the service lane? All nine raised their hands. Then, I asked how many do walkarounds on 100% of customer cars, 100% of the time? Only three out of nine said yes!

Insist that each and every vehicle get a walk-around. Every time your team skips one, you’ve missed flat rate hours and parts sales that are just waiting for you in the service lane.

4. The difficult customer hand-off

In a general sales manager meeting, we were discussing the customer handling process in the BDC and the sales desk’s involvement. One sales manager discovered that when the BDR got stuck with a customer, they just chalked it up as a difficult customer and moved on to the next one, missing out on opportunities to set the appointment.

The sales manager changed the system straightaway. Now, when a BDR gets a difficult customer, he or she turns them over to a sales manager. Their show rate and close rate increased immediately.

Think about your BDC and sales deck system: How many deals have you lost over the last six months because your BDC and sales desk weren’t well connected?

5. The sales hot spot

A used car manager began paying close attention to his vehicle details page (VDP) activity and the sale of the related cars. Every day, he shared the top five VDP activity vehicles with his salesforce, requiring each salesperson to select one of the top performing VDP vehicles. They were required to make sure it was clean, ready to demo, and parked in a “hot spot” on the used car lot.

The UV team quickly upped their closing ratio on these cars by 25%. It makes me wonder just how many used vehicle customers we “unsold” because we didn’t have the car ready for the customer to demo.

Awareness improves profits

I think these five mini case studies demonstrate how small changes in your dealership can quickly result in improved profits. Take a good long look at your customer transaction management process and discover your own plentiful opportunities to make the most of the customer traffic flow you already have!

Discover how Joe Basil and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/06/ncm-case-study-five-successful-dealerships-regain-lost-net-profit/

Joe Basil

From the 20 Group: A Plan to Address Falling Gross and Net Profit

businessman with laptop

We’ve had a good run. From 2010 to 2015, new car sales steadily increased and total dealership gross profits trended up along with net profits and blue sky values. But, beginning in the middle of 2015, things started to change. Some franchise sales rates began to flatten out. Then, the overall market started to level. Manufacturers began clawing for market share by raising incentive spending, and it became harder to sustain our customary net profits.

The evidence is in: Net profits are falling

Concerns about net profit aren’t just anecdotal. Within the thousands of car dealerships and 30-plus vehicle lines that we track at NCM, all but three vehicle lines had increased net profits year-over-year from 2014 through June 2015. Mid-2016, however, only seven car lines out of the 30 we track had improved net earnings year-over-year from 2015 through June of 2016. The remainder had YOY net profit decreases.

Build your plan

It’s no news to anyone that it will be challenging to generate the same net profits in the coming years. The real question is, what you are doing about it? As a dealer or general manager, it’s your responsibility to recognize what’s changing in the marketplace, acknowledge it, and adapt.

Having been through oil embargoes, manufacturer strikes, 21% prime rates with 14 percent unemployment and several recessions, I can help. Carefully consider the following list of questions, then use the answers to develop your strategy:

  1. Are you making excuses? Or taking action?
  2. Have you accepted the reality that you will have to make some adjustments in your business plan going forward?
  3. Based on the volume of business and gross profit you know you will develop, have you built a financial model that generates your desired return on investment?
  4. Have you set a date to initiate changes?
  5. Have you shared the information with your management team and challenged them for suggestions and solutions?
  6. Have you reviewed your organization chart to determine if you have the right number of people?
  7. Do you have the best people in the right position?
  8. When have you last ranked your management team on leadership abilities and results?
  9. When have you last sat with your CFO/controller and reviewed expenses line by line?
  10. When have you last sat with each department manager and discussed expenses line by line?
  11. Have you identified areas in which you are under performing and determined the cause?

Success is still possible

You can still make a lot of money and do very well in a flat market when you identify changes, acknowledge them, and take action to adapt.

During my years spent working with dealers and business owners, I have consistently found that sharing and reviewing financial data with management teams, and then showing them how to improve a particular financial performance metric, is one of the most effective ways to identify opportunities and increase market share and profits.

If you are a member of an NCM 20 Group, it’s even easier to do this. I recommend a page-by-page and line-by-line composite review with your department managers at your dealership. It will be a productive meeting and, once they understand how to change a number, you’ll be amazed by the suggestions and ideas they have for improvement.

Need more help? See how Joe Basil and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/09/from-the-20-group-a-plan-to-address-falling-gross-and-net-profit/

Joe Basil

Three must-do fixes to improve your hiring cycle

older-business-couple

It’s a process we all know too well. You post a job online. Get 12 applications. Interview nine; hire four. And three out of the four are gone by the end of the quarter. Sound familiar?

Why do new hires leave?

During the interview process, each prospect was painstakingly interviewed by two or three other managers. You and your team spoke at length about each candidate, and there was majority opinion or consensus about who to hire. Everyone—you, your managers and the new hires—were enthusiastic about the opportunity. And you thought, “Hey, we made some good choices!”

“Wrong fit” is the wrong answer

So, why did they leave? (Or get fired?) The answer for most managers will be that they just didn’t work out. I’ve also heard, “They weren’t as good as I thought during the interview.” Or, “She turned out to be a different person than the one we interviewed!” Sometimes the blame shifts back to the interviewee, with claims that the new hire just didn’t realize what the job entailed.

These are not acceptable answers. And they certainly aren’t answers that help us solve the hiring problem.

Identifying the real hiring problem: Your process
Let’s take a look at the steps dealerships typically take to bring new staff on board. In the video below, I break down the typical automotive dealership hiring process and its challenges:

Here’s the question I ask hiring managers to determine if there’s a hiring process issue: What did you discover about the new hire between the date you hired them and the date you fired them that you didn’t learn during the interview?

The gap I consistently find is that an inefficient interviewing and selection process coupled with a lack of job descriptions led to a mismatch. Add to this confusion the fact that the vast majority of managers have little or no training in how to conduct a thorough interview, and you develop a systemic hiring process problem.

The results of a bad hiring cycle? You discover deficiencies about the candidate after you’ve hired and trained them, mismatches which should have been identified during the interview stage. Really, it’s no different than putting a price on a used car trade-in and not doing a test drive, evaluation and inspection until after you have taken the car on trade and own it!

Three must-do fixes to improve your hiring Process

So, how can you change the cycle going forward? I have three steps that will make an immediate impact on how your organization selects new employees.

  1. First, you have to have a detailed job description. The details need to be reviewed and approved by all the managers who will interact with the position. This way, the managers own the job description.
  2. Second, anyone involved in the interview process must be trained on how to conduct a thorough and effective interview. Require the interviewers have an interview plan, a personality profile, and a question list prepared; they should reference these tools during the interview process.
  3. Third, clearly communicate the job description to the candidate and confirm their understanding of the duties during the interview stage. Question them about their ability and willingness to fulfilling the job description.

Once you have a thorough and efficient interview process—and that process is utilized by well-trained managers—you’ll see an immediate improvement in selecting and hiring the right people the first time. These strategies will help you discover if a candidate is a good fit for your organization and has the talent and abilities required for the position. And you’ll discover all this at the interview stage, not when they’re walking out the door.

Employee recruitment and retention continue to be a struggle for the automotive industry. Join Joe for his class, Finding Top Talent, to get more tools on how to simplify and improve the hiring process. And, once you’ve found the right person, learn how to keep them with Mark Shackelford’s course, Sales and Management Compensation.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/03/three-must-do-fixes-to-improve-your-hiring-cycle/

Joe Basil

What are you hiring for: personality or failure?

What are you hiring for?

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve listened to hiring complaints from dealers, managers and business owners. Finding and retaining the right people is a huge concern for any business, but the auto industry pays a particularly heavy toll with an average turnover rate of 66%.

Leaders like you want to know the best way to hire and keep high-performing staff, but the answer may not be what you expect.

Hire the person and the talent, not the skillset

Take a minute to think about a job opening you have. Chances are, you have a specific list of activities and experiences needed to fill that role. Now, consider the last person who worked in the job—did you let them go because they didn’t match up with this list or did they simply not “work out”? Did a different person show up for work than the one you interviewed?

I’d hazard to guess it’s because they “didn’t work out.” But what does it mean, exactly, to “not work out.” It means that the person didn’t behave in the way you wanted. Maybe he or she wasn’t outgoing enough to really make sales. Maybe she simply wasn’t very organized and couldn’t keep track of incoming BDC leads. Those problems are related to personality, not skill.

Understand the personality needed for success

Let’s agree that personality and talent should influence your hiring decision. The next question is: What’s the right personality? How do I know their talents? This is where things can get tricky. Let me give an example.

If you ask around the dealership what are the best traits for a sales rep, you’re going to get many different answers:

Dealer:  Energetic self-starter with good people skills who sets goals and achieves them —a good closer, good grosser and they have to be a team player!

Manager #1: Someone who is organized, punctual, follows procedure and covers all the details.

Manager #2: Someone who is persuasive, outgoing and can build a book of business.

Manager #3: Someone who is friendly with customers, always takes care of their needs, never has customer complaints and can create strong customer satisfaction.

Who should you hire? One manager would hire a “neat nick,” the next manger would hire a “slammer” and the last one would hire a “consumer advocate”—and no one would hire the dealer’s sales person!

To figure out the best personality fit for a position, don’t ask the managers what they want—in fact, don’t even ask yourself that! Instead, look at who’s been successful.

Consider your top performers: What are the character traits that help them succeed? Then study your worst performers in the role: What about their personalities led to their failure? After some thought, clear patterns should emerge about each job, and you can use those insights to find the right personality for your open positions.

Balance out performance and personality

Not that you should only hire on personality! You need to balance a candidate’s skills and personality, and select people who are a great fit in both criteria. During the interview, gauge the candidate’s ability and natural talents. But remember: while you can always train someone, you can never change their personality.  Even if you like a candidate, he’s not going to perform well if your dealership requires him to act against his nature.

Ready to learn more about hiring and retaining the best talent? Join the NCM Institute for its courses on Finding Top Talentand Sales and Management Compensation. Working with experts such as Joe Basil and Mark Shackelford, you’ll develop a comprehensive hiring and compensation strategy to bring the best talent onboard and to keep them.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/10/7977/

Joe Basil

Stop “Unselling” Your Customers!

unselling

How many used car deals have you “unsold” lately?

Yes, exactly: unsold. Take a look at your used car closing ratio. Chances are it’s between 25 to 35% … maybe even 50%. That means you aren’t closing half—even up to 75%—of your opportunities. So, what happened to the customers who came in for a specific used car and left without buying?

I have a guess: They got “unsold” at your dealership.

Sales decisions are faster than ever

Remember the old days? Back when we had showroom traffic logs on hand-written sheets and phone messages on pink slips? I kept our entire used-car inventory on a sheet in my pocket! And customers would visit four or more dealerships, on average, before closing a deal. They’d visit to collect information on availability, pricing and selection. It’s during those times that we’d take a car on trade, put a price on it and “let’s see what happens.” Well, those days are long gone!

In today’s used car world, customers are making slightly more than one dealership visit before purchasing. Instead of coming into the showroom, the internet gives them a portal for instant access to all of their pre-purchase research on model availability, pricing, dealership reputation and geographic proximity. The majority of used-car customers come into our showrooms knowing what cars we have and what our prices are. Typically, they’ve already selected the car or truck they want to purchase. With so many customers submitting web leads, hitting the “call now” button or just showing up on the lot informed and ready to purchase, we should be closing 100% of our used-car traffic.

Why aren’t you closing more leads?

As Dave Anderson has frequently pointed out, we have total control over two differentiating factors in our dealerships: our people and our customer experience. Based on the fact that most customers come into our showroom with a vehicle selected, there’s clearly some disconnect between these two factors that causes customers to become “unsold.”

Inspect what we expect

When disconnects happen, it’s a good time to inspect what we expect! It’s time to audit your customer experience. Shop your own store online, on the phone, listen to the phone calls and mystery shop in the showroom

Consider whether or not you have the right people in the right position. Do your employees express your dealership culture and values to each customer, every time?

Take a look at the customer handling process. Is it a one-size-fits-all approach, or do you adapt to the customer’s purchasing preferences? Customers should have an experience that earns you rave reviews in reputation management. If that’s not happening, ask yourself if your salespeople are trained properly on how to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Spot check, too, to see if they can even describe it accurately.

Sure, the sales process has changed. But thanks to the internet, many people come onto the lot informed and ready to purchase—meaning we have more opportunities than ever to close more deals. Take advantage of this new reality by making sure your staff and customer handling process is up to the task.

Do you have a problem with customers becoming “unsold” at your dealership? Comment below and tell us how you’ve solved this issue. 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/10/stop-unselling-your-customers/

Joe Basil

“We can’t seem to hire the right people.” Sound familiar?

hire

How many times have you heard this from dealers, managers, and business owners? How many times has it been on the 20 Group agenda topic list?

Hearing this statement so often, one would think that it is a priority in every business and car dealership to have a process and system in place to identify, select, and hire “the right people.” So what is it that keeps so many dealers and managers from learning the skill set or even recognizing the fact that they lack the skills?

Let’s start with how most dealers grew up in the car business. The majority of them came up through the sales or front end of the business. The front end is a very people-oriented area of the business. Anyone with experience in that department has probably hired and trained hundreds of people. When you examine training strategies and concentrations in the front of the store you will typically find the overwhelming amount of time and money is spent on sales process, sales desk deal management, F&I process, closing techniques, word tracks and other productivity focused skill sets, often times, without determining if you are training “the right person.”

If you were to ask dealers how much training time and money they invest in teaching those employees with recruiting, selecting and hiring responsibility how to identify and select “the right people,” some wouldn’t know what you were talking about.  Others, who have invested the time and money to develop selection skill sets and processes, would know exactly what you are talking about. For those that don’t understand this approach, they don’t even realize that they may be investing training dollars and time in the wrong people to start with.

Let me give an example. I’m sitting with a dealer who says “I can’t seem to hire the right people.” I ask him to explain his hiring process and who has responsibility for hiring decisions. The first step in the store’s process is an initial interview by one of three front-end managers, then a secondary interview by one of the other two managers and/or the dealer. I ask, “Who has final authority for the hiring decision?” He explains that it goes back to the manager who conducted the initial interview. So I ask the dealer to give me his description of the “right” salesperson. He responds, “They have to be energetic self-starters with good people skills who set goals and achieve them; a good closer, good grosser and they have to be a team player.” Next, I ask permission to ask the three front-end managers the same question. Here’s what I found…

Manager number one described the right salesperson as someone who is organized, punctual, follows procedure, and covers all the details.

Manager number two described the right salesperson as someone who can gross, close deals, sell cars and build a book of business.

Manager number three described the right salesperson as someone who is friendly with customers, always takes care of their needs, never has customer complaints, and has strong customer satisfaction.

So, based on four different descriptions of the right person, it’s no wonder this dealer can’t hire the right people. One manager would hire a “neat nick,” the next manger would hire a “slammer” and the last one would hire a “consumer advocate”—and no one would hire the dealer’s sales person!

Patterns indicate that most people with hiring authority tend to hire people that match their own description of the right person as opposed to hiring a person with skill sets proven to result in developing a “top performer” in their position. So how do you learn to identify “top-performing” skill sets?

One simple answer may be right in front of you. Make a list of your best salespeople, not your top salesperson, your best salespeople. Now jointly, along with those people with hiring authority, describe the personality traits, tendencies, habits, preferences, skill sets and accomplishments of your “best” salespeople. Assuming you have top-performing salespeople, you should begin to see a pattern. For a point of reference you could perform the same exercise on your “worst” salespeople.

From my experience the most effective approach to implementing a recruiting, selecting and hiring process is to hire a professional trainer or consultant. Going back to my earlier point about determining if you are training the right person, you may first want to have your management team evaluated to confirm that you are training the right people to start with.

Should you have any hesitation about investing in a process to improve your selection skills, let me conclude with the following question:

Between the date you hired them and the date you fired them, what did you discover about them that you didn’t know when you interviewed them? And how much did it cost you? This should be a no-brainer!


Want to learn more about hiring? Attend the NCM Institute’s new course: Finding Top Talent. Click here for details. 

fttalent

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/02/we-cant-seem-to-hire-the-right-people/

Joe Basil

What Mode is Your Dealership Operating In?

gearshift

As the great recession started to unfold in 2008 and 2009, gasoline prices rose above four dollars a gallon, the banking and housing industry began to collapse, unemployment rose and auto sales fell off the charts. Those dealerships that came out on the other end in strong financial shape recognized and acknowledged this change. They adapted to the changing economic environment by recognizing what mode they were in and shifting their business operating mode as needed.

Now that we have had four years of continued retail auto sales growth, those same dealers that successfully maneuvered their way through the recession are again studying the changing market conditions and adapting accordingly. They will continue to be successful because they consistently evaluate and assess the changing marketplace environment and reconcile that against the operating mode of their dealership.

So, one might ask what am I referring to by asking what “mode” a dealership may be in? Generally speaking, any business at any one point in time could be categorized in any of the four following modes: crisis, growth, profitability or maintenance.

Crisis mode would be a dealership or department that:

  • Has weak leadership throughout
  • Is consistently reactive versus proactive to market changes
  • Undercapitalized and short of cash
  • Has no strategy or direction
  • Has low or no hiring standards
  • Has over-aged inventory issues
  • Is liquidating its net worth on a daily basis

Growth mode would be a dealership or department that:

  • Has clear aggressive leadership
  • Is making long-term strategic decisions
  • Is properly capitalized
  • Is focused on growing their customer base, market share, and in turn, their enterprise value
  • Typically has very high standards that are consistently implemented through strong management teams
  • Is willing and able to make short-term sacrifices for long-term growth

Profitability mode would be a dealership or department that:

  • Has a time proven business model supported by a solid balance sheet
  • Is focused on and run by return on investment criteria, as opposed to sales volume or market share
  • Identifies opportunities for profit improvement at each and every transaction level within the dealership business process
  • Focuses on and invests in recruiting and developing top-performing employees

Maintenance mode would be a dealership or department that:

  • Might typically, but not necessarily have a strong balance sheet with excessive or lazy working capital
  • Does not focus on its market share position
  • Does not make decisions based on return on investment criteria
  • Consistently fails to recognize changes in the market and adapt accordingly
  • Makes little or no investment in training and developing the management team and employees
  • Complacently relies on an existing customer base
  • Carries excess over-aged and obsolete inventory

So based on these categories, which one might your dealership fall into? How did it get there? What will make it possible to maintain or change your position? It might be an interesting exercise to have your management team review these categories and determine which one they think their department falls into, compared to your assessment. A step further would be to have employees in each department determine what category they feel they are in, in comparison to their manager’s opinion.

gsm_mastery

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2014/08/what-mode-is-your-dealership-operating-in/

Joe Basil

What’s the P/E Ratio of Your Management Team?

chart

In any industry, top-performing management measures, tracks and makes decisions based on key performance indicators and metrics. In the auto industry we tend to focus on market share, unit volume, gross per unit, net profit as a percentage of gross, and so on. Typically auto industry metrics and key performance indicators are focused on volume and profitability efficiencies.

Over the last six to seven years, as technology has advanced and influenced a shift in consumer behavior, there has been a shift in dealer focus to measuring and tracking return on investment. Dale Pollak, the founder and CEO of vAuto, has been consistently bringing a different perspective to the used car business. This perspective is to measure and track your used car operation’s return on investment as opposed to volume and net profit.

So you might be asking what does this have to do with the price earnings ratio of my management team?

Well, as anyone in the industry well knows, the cost of entry and capitalizing an auto dealership today is enormous. We now have publicly-traded companies in the retail automobile business and if you’ve read any financial reports on those companies, they track and measure return on investment in most of their profit centers. They have brought a different perspective to the auto industry.

When you’re considering investing in a publicly-traded company, a key metric that is always quoted is the price-to-earnings ratio. If you are in the merger and acquisition business, you’d be looking at an earnings multiple to establish a business enterprise value. The inverse of that would be to look at the return on investment per year.

Let’s take a look at the price-to-earnings ratio, or the return on investment per year of a department manager in your dealership. For sake of discussion, let’s assume that a department in your dealership generated an annual departmental net profit of $500,000. Let’s further assume that the manager’s annual compensation for that department amounted to $150,000. From a return on investment or “multiple,” the manager generated a 3.3 return on investment ($500,000 divided by $150,000 equals of 3.3 multiple). You invested $150,000 in compensation and generated a return of $500,000.

Let’s take another example. Just for comparison, we’ll assume an annual departmental net profit of $1,000,000 and annual manager’s compensation of $200,000, and we’ll use the same formula ($1,000,000 divided by $200,000 equals a 5 x multiple). In this case, you invested $200,000 in compensation and generated a return of $1,000,000.  Obviously from an ROI multiple perspective, the $200,000 manager is a better investment than the lower-priced $150,000 manager.

The question is, if you evaluated each one of your departments and managers from a return on investment perspective, what level of multiples is your management compensation generating for you?

pumpup

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2014/03/whats-the-pe-ratio-of-your-management-team/

Joe Basil

Musclecar Dream Engine Comes True in Modern Technology

LT1This column is typically reserved for “next practice” tips for better retail automotive management, but today we’re paying homage to the source of our passion for this industry — the allure of the automobile and all it signifies. It stole our hearts and captured our imagination with dreams of speed, power and freedom on the open road. For me, the passion was sparked by the Chevrolet musclecars of the 1960s and 70s.

For all you other musclecar motorheads who used to have hair with a color other than gray, the 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray LT1 engine is a motorhead’s dream come true. It’s got all of the technology you dreamed of in the day but had no idea how to bring it to mechanical life. Just go back to the 60s and early 70s, when you were 18 and building that small block drag car. Yeah, when you pulled up to the Sunoco gas pump and cranked the octane lever to 110+; when the gas filler was behind the tail light on a fin or behind the license plate; when you burned a full tank of premium on a Friday or Saturday night street racing with your hottie.

That’s when you spent hours and hours talking to the guys at the track, trying to get the latest tricks from the speed shop and spending lots of bucks building that small block to put out every bit of horsepower you can squeeze out of it. You remember, putting in that highlift cam, swapping out the stock intake for an Edelbrock high-rise topped off with an 1100+(or larger) CFM Holley. Pulling off the heads and putting on the double bump angle plug 2.02’s. And since you switched the rear end gears and you threw out the stock distributor you had to replace it with an HEI mechanical advance and had the advance curve tweaked. Oh and don’t forget those “Hooker Headers” and a couple of Cherry Bombs just for effect.

And then when it came to race day, on the track or on the street, you checked the temperature to see if you were going to swap out those jets on the Holly, reset the base advance, and maybe adjust up those rocker arms to change the cam timing. All of those little tweaks you did under the hood with tools are now being done by computers in milliseconds without ever touching a wrench.

Back in the day, I was a musclecar motorhead and even with gray in my temples, I guess I still am.   That’s why I’m so excited about a very special event coming up later this month in Tonawanda, New York.  Where the heck is Tonawanda, New York?Tonawanda is a suburb of Buffalo and it happens to be the home of the GM powertrain plant where the 2014 C7 LT1 Corvette Stingray engine is built.

The C7 LT1 has it all. Let’s start with 450 hp out of 6.2 L. By the way, that’s 378 cu in. No need to make any adjustments anymore since we now have computer-controlled direct injection, variable valve timing with 2.13 intake valves, and computer-controlled ignition timing. By the way, remember using “plastiguage” to check your bearing clearances? Now the clearances are measured in microns. A micron? Yeah, a micron; that’s one millionth of a meter.

So how would like to see these engines being built? On August 23rd and 24th the General Motors plant in Tonawanda is having an open house. So what? It’s an engine plant, you might say; well, there’s history that goes with this plant and the Chevrolet musclecar engines it produced. When they look under the hood of 60s and 70s musclecars, collectors always look for a little rectangular sticker on the valve cover that reads “Produced by Chevrolet Tonawanda.” Not only is the Chevrolet Tonawanda engine plant noted for producing 60s and 70s musclecar engines and big block marine performance engines, it holds the world record for the most number of engines produced in one day — 8,832 (in 1988).

The plant is celebrating its 75thanniversary and is having an open house and classic car show on August 23rd and 24th. You get a full tour of the plant and the actual crews that build the engines will be explaining and showing you how they do it. I was in this plant quite often in the 1970s when we had a Chevy store close by and serviced the plant cars. I went on the tour a couple of years ago and what a drastic contrast!

It’s a great opportunity to fly into one of Buffalo’s  private aviation strips, bring your off shore boat and do some “street” racing on the Niagara River or Lake Erie, or just cruise your favorite musclecar ride to the car show. Last but not least,don’t forget to visit Frank and Teresa’s Anchor Bar (where chicken wings started) for some wings and “beef on weck.”

For details just go to GM Powertrain Tonawanda Engine 75th Anniversary on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/75thanniversary) or give me a call and let’s wax nostalgic about the days of our shared musclecar mania!

Formerly of the Basil Automotive Group, Joe Basil is a 20 Group Moderator for NCM Associates.  NCM has many GM nameplate 20 Groups including Buick, GMC and Chevrolet dealer groups. For information, call 877.803.3631 or to reach Joe directly, email jbasil@ncm20.com.

Master-Your-Destiny

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/08/musclecar-dream-engine-comes-true-in-modern-technology/

Joe Basil

How to Convert Auto Dealership Objectives and Goals into Results

NCM's Joe Basil shares how to achieve dealership goals

We just returned from a 20 Group meeting and it was the most invigorating workshop we have ever attended. We completed an assessment of our dealership operations and identified major sales and profit opportunities in all departments. We have benefited from the extensive experience of our facilitator and fellow members. We had the opportunity to compare our operation to other automotive dealers and industry Benchmarks. We’re motivated, enthused and excited to get back to the store and start converting each and every one of those profit opportunity objectives into results. We know which goals and objectives we will focus on and we are ready to lay it all out for our managers to execute.

The question then becomes: How do we go about achieving those elusive results? This is a question I asked myself as a dealer many times.

Sometimes we set up one-on-ones with each manager; sometimes we address the objectives in a managers meeting with everyone; and sometimes we use a combination of both. Regardless of how we present the plan we are determined to achieve those objectives and results. So, department by department, manager by manager, we relate to them the opportunities that we identified during the workshop. Immediately, we run into the constraints of running a store; our 20 Group spanned two full days and we do not have that luxury with each manager. So we present a condensed version in a matter of hours of what we experienced and identified over two days. Our enthusiasm and excitement is overwhelming and even our managers get excited about the potential these opportunities offer. Everyone buys into the goals and objectives. “That’s great, boss, we’re going do it!”  they tell us.

We monitor progress and, as the weeks turn into months, we see varying degrees of success. We begin to get frustrated because we know the results can be achieved; others in our 20 Group have done it! Yet the energy and enthusiasm level seem to be fading in our store. What is the gap?  What dynamic is missing? Why is our team not converting those goals and objectives they enthusiastically supported into results we all seek?

When looking at how highly-effective organizations and teams convert goals and objectives into results, there is a common, overwhelming dynamic that drives the process. That dynamic is leadership. Unfortunately, leadership is a word often thrown around, yet seldom clearly defined and understood by team members. Even less often is leadership driven down to the job level and converted into actions by team members. Even more often, this is the result of a lack of definition and understanding of leadership. So how would we define leadership and convert leadership into actions?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Leadership as: 1. the office or position of a leader; 2. capacity to lead; 3. the act or an instance of leading. As we can see by the literal definition, there is a gap between the noun and the verb; the action!

Having faced this challenge in my own dealerships and when working with clients during my consulting career, I have developed a definition of leadership in the context of actions.

Leadership is:

Having a clearly defined shared vision that attracts, develops and retains top performing people who can flawlessly implement and execute initiatives in support of achieving goals and objectives for the team as a whole.” 

Based on my experience working with dealers and dealership management teams, this definition of leadership is easily understood and readily adopted by those with leadership responsibility. A contingent benefit is that this definition clarifies leaders’ responsibilities.

Now, how do we take it to the job level? What are the key dynamics that managers in leadership positions need to pay attention to on a daily basis to convert goals and objectives into results?

  • Dynamic number one is that every team member intimately understands and believes in our team vision, values, goals and objectives
  •  Our second dynamic is measuring progress through an accountability structure
  •  Third, our “best people are in the right position”
  •  Fourth, there is a reward plan in place that has unquestionable credibility with the team
  •  Fifth, comes a timely and unencumbered decision-making process delegated to appropriate levels in the team

Number six, the key to connecting all of these dynamics together, is an open and transparent communications structure

With these six dynamics in place, those elusive 20 Group initiatives become solid results.  So start converting goals and objectives into results today through outstanding leadership at every level in your dealership!

Attend the NCM Institute’s Leading Your Dealership Team to Success in Miami (April 15-16) and learn to be the leader your team needs you to be! Call 866.756.2620 or click for details and to register!

Leadership training from the NCM Institute

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/04/how-to-convert-auto-dealership-objectives-and-goals-into-results/

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