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Category Archive: 20 Groups

Emily Johnson

To Fax or Not to Fax?

Fax vs Bike

After four years’ experience as an NCM client services and meeting coordinator, I’ve become a strong advocate of “out with the old, in with the new.” While I don’t consider myself a millennial, I am firmly planted somewhere between the generations currently active in the workforce. This position allows me to appreciate the ways of my predecessors, while also eagerly staying on the lookout for new and exciting improvements to technology, business practices, and social strategies.

It then comes as no surprise that I have some opinions about the fax machine and the role it plays in the modern workplace. And here’s my position: If you haven’t already, now is a good time to begin phasing out your company fax machine.

Lost in translation

Coordinators request specific information from clients for their 20 Group meetings, and that information frequently gets lost in translation when the fax is utilized, simply because of the technology.

The biggest issue is that faxed documents are usually handwritten in some capacity. Once these documents pass through dated machinery, over phone lines, and print out on the other side, they often end up a blurry, illegible mess. As a result, clients spend valuable time corresponding with coordinators to confirm faxed data, something that could have been avoided by using a typed, legible email.

The story of Joe

One coordinator—let’s call her Megan—shared a story with me about a client—we’ll call him Joe—whose meeting was derailed because of the fax machine. (Just to be clear, I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent!)

Joe thought he had faxed his 20 Group meeting registration form to Megan but had instead “faxed” it to Megan’s phone number. Megan hadn’t even included a fax number on the meeting registration form! Joe received a reminder email from Megan and didn’t see his name on the meeting attendance roster. He immediately called Megan and was very upset because he had faxed his forms, but wasn’t on the list. He thought he had done what he needed to do, but Megan had no idea Joe was even planning on attending the meeting.

To make matters worse, Joe had to book a room at a nearby hotel, not the hotel where the meeting was held. By the time Megan realized he needed a room, the hotel was completely sold out, and the group’s block of hotel rooms was full. This cost Joe valuable time and additional money, all because a fax was sent but never received.

Need for speed

NCM gets its faxes on a machine that integrates faxing, printing, and copying. So, how does this affect our ability to get your faxes? When you send a fax, it gets mixed in with all the other materials in this machine’s output tray. It’s not unusual for faxes to be temporarily misplaced, and it’s common that a fax never reaches the coordinator.

If a coordinator knows about a fax, she can go searching for it, but if she doesn’t, it could be a while before she receives the fax in hand (or never receives it, like Megan). In comparison, an email arrives in the coordinator’s inbox in an instant, and she can respond immediately. The speed of delivery is increased dramatically. Even if you choose not to switch to a scanned document or PDF file, I highly recommend that you at least email your coordinator every time you send a fax so she can watch for it.

Be sure to look for emailed reservation forms and other documents from your coordinator. Scan and email those forms back to NCM, or fax them (to a verified fax number–don’t be like Joe) and immediately call your coordinator to let her know to watch for it. If your document includes sensitive information, like a credit card number, go ahead and call NCM to give it to us over the phone. Or, for a safer email option, check out this free system for sending secure emails that’s been hailed in Forbes as the most difficult to “hack.”

Overall, when you switch to email, your NCM coordinator will be able to help you faster, enter your data more accurately, and provide a better customer experience. And you won’t end up at La Quinta instead of the Four Seasons, taking an Uber to your meeting like Joe.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/03/to-fax-or-not-to-fax/

Brian Faulkenberry

From the 20 Group: Checklist to Stop Process Evaporation

Close up of working process at business meeting in office

During my more than twenty years moderating NCM 20 Group meetings for various industries, the phenomenon called “process evaporation” has frequently been interjected into Super Idea sessions and composite reviews.

A good process gone missing

I am not sure who coined the phrase, but I suspect it was a frustrated owner who thought he or she had a best practice in place only to find out the procedure had “evaporated.”  What I’ve heard numerous times from members is some iteration of the comment: We used to do that; I guess it worked so well that we stopped doing it!

Although said tongue-in-cheek, disappearing best practices are probably a reality at most dealerships, including yours.  In my experience, putting processes in place is the easy part; the difficulty lies in making sure employees consistently adhere to them. Some of the reasons dealerships may experience “process evaporation” include management or personnel turnover, too many procedures, a lack of consistent follow-up, and dealer complacency.

Stop losing your processes

If you want to keep best practices in your business, now’s a good time for a department-by-department review to see if any “process evaporation” has crept into your operation.  I’m starting with the administrative department, but I will touch on other units in future blogs.

Administrative Checklist

Use this list to identify a few administrative procedures that you should check. How many are still in place at your dealership?

  • Walk dealership; do you see any privacy compliance issues?
  • Do you have weekly manager receivables meetings?
  • Do you have weekly manager review of rebate receivable?
  • Are all vendors on the approved list at agreed pricing?
  • Do you have zero employee receivables?
  • Have all employees signed their reviews and documented issues?
  • Have you outlined an employee purchase policy for new, pre-owned, and parts & service?
  • Are month-end financial statements completed by the fifth working day?
  • Are all NCM reports submitted promptly and accurately?
  • Does your staff open and review all mail daily?
  • Are manager reviewing all schedules by 10th of each month?

While this list will get you started, there may be other best practices at your business that you’ve started but have slipped away. Be sure to track what’s happening in your dealership and, if something’s working well, don’t let it evaporate!

Learn more about Brian Faulkenberry and how he and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/01/from-the-20-group-checklist-to-stop-process-evaporation/

Kevin Cunningham

From the 20G: Members’ Advice for Getting the Most from Your Meeting

kevin

As a moderator, I’ve had the fortunate pleasure to work with wonderful NCM 20 Group members. I’m always impressed by the great pains they take to prepare for our discussions, and it’s clear to me that their work is the key to getting the best possible outcomes.  So I asked some of the most successful dealers I know to tell me exactly how they get the most from their meeting, and they agreed to let me share their insights in a blog. Please know much of the following article comes directly from their quotes.

Dealer One – Get your management team involved

I typically get my agenda and meeting materials 4-5 weeks prior to the actual meeting, so I have no excuses for not being prepared. To determine what my best opportunities are, I actively review my group composite, circling, highlighting, and making notes. This really keeps me focused throughout the meetings.

After I get my juices going, we get our management team together to review the agenda allowing me to delegate topics for their research and follow up. I like to do this for many reasons; however, most importantly, this lets me and my team know where our opportunities are. Also, when I read the responses from my team, I now am aware of their best thinking. This can—and has— create opportunities to develop people’s talents.

Note from Kevin: On a side note, while talking with our team at the NCM Institute, l learned that is a significantly high percentage of our class attendees don’t even know what their actual responsibilities are! There’s a real chance here for you to validate what you expect from your team and to communicate it in writing, then get them the training they need to meet your goals.

Dealer Two – Create a to-do List

After our follow-up management team meeting, I create my list of what I want to take away from the meeting. I ask myself of this trip’s purpose: “to make another dollar or to save another dollar?”

Dealer Three – Embrace the social aspects

Getting away from the store is vital to my own personal growth, as attending a meeting truly allows me to work “ON” my business instead of just working “IN” my business. During the meeting, I very specifically and clearly articulate what issue I want to get addressed.

Please know that I can and do get as much important feedback from the social events as I do in the meeting rooms. With so many individual agendas—some strategic, some operational—I try to pick out members who are already succeeding in the area I want to improve upon and make sure I get time with them regardless if it is in the meeting room or a group activity.

One more tip:  As so much of our sales are initiated though e-commerce channels, I work to review the websites of my fellow members and local competitors. This gives me an opportunity to compliment members and offer constructive criticism.

Dealer Four – Don’t scare your employees

Note from Kevin: A common thread I have witnessed over my decades with clients is the pages of notes and exuberant enthusiasm members go back to their stores with. So not to scare your team, the following notes from a member are ones I would recommend:

  1. On your first day back from a hectic travel event, try to sit down and get your notes and action plans organized.
  2. It is very important NOT to overwhelm your team with a “Meeting Mania” list of things, ideas, and processes you want implemented a week ago. So pick out the TOP THREE things you learned. Set up a meeting later in the week to discuss these ideas; get your team involved in the implementation or the construction of a new or modified process.
  3. Share all of the Best Ideas presented and collected while attending the meeting. After discussing them, distribute the ideas to your department heads where they best apply.
  4. Review the composite with your team when you get back. Also review it monthly and be as transparent as possible, so your staff knows the metrics you expect them to meet.

My dealers have given you a lot to think about, I realize, so let’s prioritize here. I think the key takeaways here are to know what you want to get from each meeting and make sure you put yourself in the position to get it. Stay focused and open to new ideas while attending your NCM 20 Group meeting. Bring back your ideas and, after a few days, share them with your team and discuss ideas for positive change.

As I am not in your shoes, I realize much of this is easy to say. As such, this is why I contacted your peer dealers to get the truth from those in your shoes. Here’s to great selling!

Learn more about Kevin Cunningham and how he and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/01/from-the-20g-members-advice-for-getting-the-most-from-your-meeting/

Ken Runnells

From The 20 Group: How to Efficiently Close Month-End

 Calendar

While most of my 20 Group members close out their month by the third or fourth working day of the month with no problem, it’s clear that there are many dealerships around the country who struggle to get month-end finished in a timely fashion. If your dealership needs a little help getting those numbers in on time, here are my suggestions for streamlining your process.

Set firm deadlines and stick to them

First, the owner/general manager and controller must agree to a month-end “Document Due Deadline” in the office for all car deals, service and parts tickets and expenses. I recommend either noon or by the close of business on the first business day following the last day of the month.  No exceptions!

I think you should make it clear that any new or used car deals, service R.O.’s, part tickets or other items need to be submitted on time or they will be moved to the following month’s business. And that means they won’t be paid commission on them until next month, too! With this policy in place, a strong management team will make sure that as many documents as possible get on the current months’ financial statement.

Develop department-specific processes that work

Now that everyone knows when month-end documentation is due, each manager must create a process to make sure this close-out goes smoothly. You can’t wait until the last minute to start going through a pile of deals, invoices, and expenses and expect to get it done on time!

I recommend that all month-end processes start at least a week before the end of the month in preparation for close-out. The only items submitted the last day of the month should be car deals, CP, warranty, internal repair orders, and parts tickets from the last one or two days of the month.  (This process also greatly enhances your dealerships cash flow during the month.)

Here are some specific suggestions by department:

Sales and F&I. All car deals submitted to the office during the month must be “cashable” and ready for funding; no “bill and returns.” This requirement forces the sales staff and F&I department to collect all needed documentation and signatures required to “cash” the deal before it goes to the office.  Always enforce the rule that no commissions will be paid until the deal is in the office!

Accounting. Your accounting staff also should be assigned specific schedules and reports to reconcile and review in time for the controller to review with them no later than the 25th of each month. While processing this information, have accounting staff note and forward to the dealer/GM for their review any adjustments over $100. (Or other value that you prefer; you pick the number.) Cross training your office staff as much as possible also enables them to help each other and spread the workload when necessary.

Accounts Payable. The accounts payable person should be responsible for making sure all invoices are accounted for when paying the vendors statements during the month.   When checks are signed, any missing invoices should be noted and determined if they were expense-related or inventory-related. A large number of missing expense invoices will obviously negatively impact your bottom line in a future month!

Service. The service manager should be responsible for the work in process report “WIP” and report on any open R.O.’s.  Are all customer vehicles still in dealership’s possession? Are any employee tickets still open?

Make the most out of month-end

Now that you’ve set firm deadlines and outlined a process by which staff should gather information, month-end should run smoother than ever. Before running the financial statement, I suggest your management team should review a 13-month trend of all expenses to be sure no large outlays have been missed and to review any expenses that show an increase or seem out of the ordinary. Also keep in mind that there may be some expenses that need to be accrued due to invoices not received by the third of the month, such as advertising and monthly factory invoices.

As you can see, it takes a team effort to bring it all together at the end of the month. But it is all worth it to have the month closed with accurate numbers and the management team now focused on getting the new month off to a faster start!

If you haven’t looked at NCM axcessa® lately, it is the best software program in the marketplace to drill down into your financial numbers and immediately see opportunities in sales, gross, expenses, and productivity. And our product LiveAudit® gives you instant insights to accounts payable information. Both will make the month-end process less painful!

Learn more about Ken Runnells and how he and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/12/from-the-20-group-how-to-efficiently-close-month-end/

Kirk Felix

From the 20 Group: 12 New Ideas for Fixed Ops

Cars in the automotive service

During each of my NCM 20 Group meetings, I encourage members to come up with ideas to improve Fixed Ops business and profits. As you prepare to close out 2016 and prepare for the coming year, I thought I’d share their top 12 insights.

  1. Add a sales manager to the service drive. Dealerships are adding this position to improve service drive performance and consistent management of processes.  This new personnel should also enhance sales through training and immediate T.O.’s for turned down sales.
  2. Increase entry-level pay to attract higher-quality staff. One way that fixed operations directors are improving the quality of their applicants is by offering higher starting pay.  Plus, promoting from within is more successful when starting with a higher quality individual!
  3. Leverage Amazon Prime to negotiate with local vendors. Check all outside quotes against Amazon Prime to ensure the lowest pricing; ask local vendors to price match.
  4. Create body shop installation kits. Build parts kits with assigned part numbers for standard installations. The kits should include sealers, sanding discs, tape, clips and any other needed items. Because insurance companies typically pay for items with a part number, this should simplify the payment process.
  5. Get involved in local high schools and encourage kids to consider technician careers. I think everyone agrees that we need to attract more talent to our field. Some of my 20 Group members work with high schools in their communities to help students learn about options for automotive careers. If you do this, be sure to explain the great earning potential of fixed ops work.
  6. Set monthly goals for technician and advisor production; review them during weekly 1-on-1 meetings. Make sure every team member is contributing to department goals by working with them on individual achievements. During weekly sessions, review performance and coach anyone who hasn’t met their objectives. A good starting place is increasing technician production by five hours per week.
  7. Track closing ratios on failed items by advisor. Failed items on multi-point inspections have to be repaired. The question is, will they be serviced at your dealership or a competitor? Monitor which service advisors close these items successfully, then coach the ones who do not. Consider service advisor training for those team members needing more help. (NCMi has a great course.)
  8. Get phone training for all front-line staff. We may live in a digital age, but the majority of business is still conducted by phone in fixed operations. Training staff to handle incoming calls properly will increase business opportunities.
  9. Make expense analysis and reduction a priority. A common worry from fixed ops directors is in our meetings is that they have gotten lax on expense management.  Almost universally, my members feel it is time to analyze all billings and look for reductions from their vendors.
  10. Train service advisors in sales. Fixed operations directors are running service departments as sales departments, so focus on improving the skills and performance of their service advisors. An excellent internal training resource is your dealership’s sales manager.
  11. Require advisors and managers to prewrite repair orders at the end of the day. Reviewing all scheduled work helps make sure parts are available and ready for customers. Management can also use the advanced notice to make recommendations about the proper word tracks for increased sales.
  12. Track parts fill rate by repair order. Having only 6 of 7 need parts for a repair order is zero fill rate for the repair order because you were unable to complete the work.

 

Learn more about Kirk Felix and how he and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/12/from-the-20-group-12-new-ideas-for-fixed-ops/

Leo Hart

From the 20 Group: Old School Cool

,,,,

My NCM 20 Group members have submitted some refreshing ideas recently that I want to share with you. They weren’t necessarily new ideas but refreshing because the ideas reminded me of days gone by. Our members promoted some old school practices but with a current-day twist!

Getting to the source

One suggestion, capturing customer source data, was presented by a member who was adamant about taking a few minutes with each client in the F&I office to discover what brought them in to purchase a vehicle. As I recall, he had a weekly recap sheet recording the information. Certainly, he had the usual categories like referral of a neighbor, television or direct mail, but he also had modern-day options such as Google, CarGuRu and Facebook.

His message to the group was to train their F&I reps to dig down for what actually triggered the buyer to come to their store. Don’t accept the first answer just to complete the delivery, he urged, but have the rep ask probing questions to get down to the best answer. Of course, the dealer felt that his weekly recap sheet helped him focus his advertising investments. And, I agree.

It calls to mind for me a similar presentation made many years ago, the early nineties, by a dealer in Tampa who likewise was adamant about sourcing buying customers. He focused intensely on finding out from the customer what part of his advertising— what radio, TV or newspaper ad— had actually triggered customers to come into his store. His records went back years. He credited a lot of his success to this daily exercise; and, he was a very profitable dealer.

Starting at the right deal

The second idea was “starting the deal” at suggested list price+++, no matter which medium brought the client into the store. The dealer even had a worksheet made up which helped the manager/closer detail the difference between the advertised price and the starting price on the deal sheet. The customer would be asked to sign both worksheets.

A good number of dealers seem to shy away from asking for gross profit. This presenting dealer advertised his vehicles less all possible rebates and less the dealer prep. Also, the first pencil would include a package of products that most clients purchase at delivery. I have been fortunate to know a good number of dealers who are unafraid to ask for profit on the first pencil. Of course, their personnel are skilled in negotiating to the final price that works for both the client and the dealership.

Sounds “old school,” don’t you think? Must be why I like it.

Need more new—or even old—ideas for your dealership? See how Leo Hurt and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership with 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/11/from-the-20-group-old-school-cool/

Susy Campbell

Five New Options for Your NCM 20 Group Meeting

planes

Your NCM 20 Group meeting is filled with serious discussions regarding financial data, best practices and action plans, but that doesn’t mean you can’t relax outside the meeting room.  Whether golfing or deep sea fishing is your passion—or just quiet time at a spa—outside activities are a unique opportunity to get to know your fellow group members.

Here are details on five of our favorite destination hotels. Take a look, and consider trying something new for your next 20 Group meeting.

Gleneagles Luxury Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland. When this luxury spa and golf resort opened in 1924, it was described as the Riviera in the Highlands.  It’s probably best known for golfing with its three championship golf courses, but golfing is just one of many activities offered at the hotel. Guests may enjoy such activities as horseback riding, shooting, archery, tennis, biking and fishing. Wildlife photography and off-road driving are a novel way to experience the stunning Scottish landscape. And, of course, you should check out their world-renowned luxury spa.

Le Germain, Québec City, Canada. Located in a century-old building, the hotel is situated in Québec’s Old City, which was declared a world heritage site in 1985. You’re just steps away from the city’s art galleries, charming boutiques, cafes and some of the best restaurants in North America. Make a plan to visit the Ramparts of Québec National Historic Site; Québec is the only remaining fortified city north of Mexico, and you can see stunning vistas from its walls. While you’re exploring the city, check out Old Port, a favorite spot for tourists and locals to relax. You’ll love the charm of Rue Saint-Paul with its art galleries, antique stores and sidewalk cafes—the perfect place to people watch!

The Pearl, Rosemary Beach, Florida. Situated on Florida’s panhandle Emerald Coast, The Pearl is an award-winning resort in the heart of the state’s trendiest beachfront towns. Guests can relax with a luxurious spa treatment while also enjoying full privileges at the St. Joe Club & Resorts, including their beach club, kids’ camp, tennis facilities, bike rentals, free canoe and kayak rentals and access to beach bonfire services. With cutting-edge perks, such as an interactive iPad app for concierge requests, free high-speed Wi-Fi and in-room AppleTV for streaming your favorite shows, it’s a great meeting location.

Montage Deer Valley, Park City, Utah.  This authentic mountain retreat overlooks historic Park City, Utah, and is the perfect home base while you enjoy visiting the Utah National Park, Sundance, Snowbird and Alta. The 220-room resort offers ski-in/ski-out access to one of American’s best ski resorts, snowboarding and other winter sports; year-round activities include hiking, mountain biking, golf, outdoor concerts and fly-fishing. You can even plan an expedition to explore the three nearby national parks! With the largest spa in Utah, five inspired dining options and even its own bowling alley, Montage Deer Valley is a wonderful 20 Group meeting option.

The Broadmoor, Colorado Spring, Co.  Located on the banks of the Cheyenne Lake, this historic resort offers something for everyone. The choices are endless.  You could start your morning with a horseback ride, followed by zip lining.  And the perfect way to unwind might be to soak in the outdoor hot tub or curl up fireside with a good book.  The Broadmoor offers golfing, Forbes Five-Star spa, tennis, swimming pools and acclaimed dining. You can also experience the thrill of going up Pikes Peak on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.  If fishing is your thing, you may want to consider staying at the Fishing Camp where you would fly fish with professional guides.

Have you stayed at any of these locations? Tell us about it below. Discover how NCM Travel Solutions can simplify your 20 Group and vacation travel.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/10/five-new-options-for-your-ncm-20-group-meeting/

Jacy Navarro

The Most Common NCM 20 Group Mistake

Uomo d'affari disperato

Preparing for a 20 Group meeting requires a lot of details. From homework to data submissions, there are tons of little things members must do to get ready for a successful meeting! So many things, in fact, that some can slip through the cracks.

Don’t make this common 20 Group mistake

Just consider this scenario. You booked your flight, packed your bag and kissed your spouse and kids goodbye. After a quick (or maybe not so quick) flight, you land. A cab or limo ride later, you arrive at the hotel, and the extremely kind clerk behind the counter says those dreaded words, “I am sorry, Mr. Jackson, we don’t have a reservation for you, and the hotel is SOLD OUT!”

What!? No!? Say it isn’t so! You are now faced with bunking with another member (or sleeping in a closet)… for two nights. Not a fun way to end a long day of meetings!

Troubleshooting 20 Group travel

There often seems to be confusion about meeting hotel room reservations. So, let me explain: While the coordinators here at NCM make most of the meeting’s arrangements, we do not make individual hotel arrangements. Unless expressly stated otherwise, members are always to make their own hotel plans using the hotel reservation/meeting form that is sent out to the group by the coordinator around sixty (60) days before the start of the meeting.

And, I’ll tell you, this is the number one preparation task that is forgotten or assumed to have been taken care of by NCM! To make your 20 Group experience great, be sure to contact the hotel directly to reserve your hotel room. Or, if you’d like help making the arrangements, I encourage you to contact NCM Travel Solutions. Our amazing team of professional travel consultants can do the work to reserve your room, book that flight or secure a rental car… and much more. All you have to do is ask.

And, when you’re making travel arrangements—either through NCM Travel Solutions or on your own—just be sure to reserve your room before the hotel cutoff date listed on the NCM 20 Group reservation form. After the cutoff date, NCM cannot guarantee the group rate or that there will be a room available for you. So act fast, and avoid sleeping in a closet!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/10/the-most-common-ncm-20-group-mistake/

Joe Basil

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

dollar bills cash and car keys

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 underperforming 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 consistently have 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 efficient 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.

Tell us below how your team is coping with falling profits. 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/

Lycia Jedlicki

The Zero-Cost Solution to Increase Automotive Net Profit

Success concept

How can I retain more customers and net more profit? I hear a variation of this question at every dealership and 20 Group meeting! Today I’m sharing my definitive answer.

The Zero-Cost Solution to More Automotive Net Profit

All sorts of products and services claim they’ll improve retention and profit. Here’s the thing, though—no matter what you buy, what franchise you run or what budget you operate with—there’s only one real solution. Accountability management.

Accountability management is the cornerstone of NCM’s philosophy. It’s so important that we teach it in every NCM Institute class. Many managers struggle with it, though; when I ask managers what their biggest weakness is, they often will tell me “Accountability Management.”

How can you overcome this challenge? Here are two case studies that will help you create a strong accountability culture at your dealership.

Case Study 1: Focusing on Ford

During my recent NCM Ford 20 Group meeting, a service manager explained how he brought NCM’s tenets of accountability management into his department. These simple tactics yielded a profound result: service advisors had an increased understanding of their roles and could better contextualize their performance against the rest of the team.

Here’s what he did. First, the service manager performed a monthly evaluation of each advisor. After discussing the assessment with the Advisor, he turned the report into the general manager/dealer.

What and how did he evaluate each advisor?  The following items were rated “Good, Fair or Needs Improvement, and the evaluation included a place for comments:

1. Prompt friend greeting

2. Patient, good listener, polite

3. Provides customer an agreed upon time

4. Makes promises that can be kept

5. Pulls history files

6. Knows status on all current vehicles

7. Status update before promise time

8. Presents required maintenance

9. Prepared before customer arrival

10. Clean, organized workstation

11. Update daily log sheet

12. Write up “Early Birds” before doors open

13. Acknowledge customers when busy

14. Meets customer at vehicle

15. Personal appearance

16. Smiles/Thanks customers

17. Helps other Advisors when needed

18. Provides clear, complete write-up

19. Utilizes “Comeback” system

20. Provides clear estimates

21. Promptness to phone/courteous

22. Returned Surveys

23. Carryover process

24. Walk around

These probably look pretty basic to most people; however, we must always inspect what we expect! By putting expectations in writing every month and going over it with each advisor, the manager able to lead the team to success. And it didn’t cost a penny!

Case Study 2: The Forgotten Machines

Last week, I visited a dealership that has both an alignment inspection machine and tread depth inspection machine on the service aisle.

While doing a repair order analysis and observing the service aisle my first day there, I found that they were not utilizing either machine and had not sold a single alignment. Talk about a poor return on investment!

After addressing the lack of sales with the service manager, we came up with a plan.  Every car was going to be inspected, and we would measure the results at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily using a dry erase board in his office. Advisors were required to record how many alignment checks were performed and sold, noting them on the board.

Positive results were nearly instant. The first day after launching the initiative, seven alignments were sold. The following day, we had six alignments sold before 11 a.m.  This did not cost the dealer anything, the Service Manager just starting holding his people accountable. Just imagine how much this will increase net profit in the long run!

Tell us below how you hold your team accountable. Need help with accountability management? Discover how Lycia and her colleagues can make a difference at your dealership.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/09/the-zero-cost-solution-to-increase-automotive-net-profit/

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