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Category Archive: NCMi

Brandiss Drummer

Employee Retention: Why Just Having a Pay Plan Won’t Work

Hispanic businesspeople talking

The automotive industry faces some unique challenges managing people, as evidenced by an average dealership turnover of 40.5%, with some positions, such as sales consultants, reaching up to 67%. Also, over 42% of dealership personnel are classified as millennials, whose turnover rate exceeds the average at 52%. In black and white terms, the average dealership will spend half a million dollars a year in turnover costs.

Retention problems are personal

I’ve heard of many approaches to combat retention issues in automotive. Some dealers recommend defining a career path and creating stability through a pay plan. Others point to providing a work-life balance or empowering people to make their own decisions. While all of these points are valid, I prefer to concentrate on a singular approach: relationship.

There are two reasons why I think all roads lead to relationship building: 1) perks are easy to find, and 2) one-size-fits-all solutions don’t work.

Perks are replaceable

First, let’s look at perks. If we’re honest, even the best benefits package is easily replaced. And there are a lot of businesses out there offering flexible schedules, bonuses, and other benefits. That’s the problem with focusing on material things: Your great employee could jump to the next job as soon as there is a better offer!

Everyone is different

Secondly, focusing on specific items like pay plans or flexible schedules leads to a “one size fits all” solution. But each employee has different ideas of what is important to them. For example, it may be vital to Betty that she works in a job where she gets weekly feedback on her performance. However, for Mark, that may make him feel micro-managed. Mark may prefer to have more autonomy, which makes him feel trusted and important.

Relationship building with each of our employees ensures that we are giving them what they need as individuals. Perks can be replaced, but it’s hard to replace a person you genuinely believe cares about you.

Think about it like a marriage. There is always someone out there who may have just a little bit more in this one area than your spouse, but they can never replace the feeling of someone who knows and loves you, the relationship that you have built with your partner over the years. This is the reason why factors such as “I have a best friend at work” and “my supervisor seems to care about me at work” show up on the Gallup study on positive business outcomes, “First, Break all the Rules.”

Building better relationships

So what can you do today to start building or cementing your relationships with your people?

  1. Recurring, one-on-one meetings. Take this time to get to know your employee. Let them lead the first part of the meeting, and be sure to ask questions about things going on at work, as well as significant events in their personal life. The point is to make them feel comfortable around you so that they will open up and you can get to know them. The key is consistency. Set up recurring meetings in your Outlook calendar and try your best not to cancel or move them. By keeping to the schedule, you will demonstrate their importance to you.
  2. Keep track of personal information for each of your employees. This was a great tip I got from one of my mentors. He kept a memo on his phone of important dates for each employee, such as their birthday, work anniversary, and wedding anniversary. He also stored information he learned in his casual conversations with them, such as favorite food, hobbies, children, interests, etc. This information became very helpful to give personalized gifts, or to help personalize the conversation in their one-on-one meeting.
  3. Be relatable. Relationships are two-sided, and your employees want to know you are human, too. Share things you have going on in your life with your employees, when appropriate. And remember, the old-school way of being the “stoic” manager doesn’t work anymore. It is OK to share concerns or stressors that you have, as long as you do so in a way that still conveys stability and competence.

For the skeptics, I am not entirely idealistic. I know that retention starts with hiring the right person in the first place. I also realize that you can’t win them all and that some factors go beyond a relationship. However, I genuinely believe that when you build a healthy relationship with your employees, the other more tangible factors, such as flexible schedules and professional development, will become more effective. As Simon Sinek says, build a great relationship with your people, and they will believe what you believe. They’ll work for you with their blood, sweat, and tears.

For more information on retention and great leadership, attend our Leadership Program in June.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/03/employee-retention-why-just-having-a-pay-plan-wont-work/

Susy Campbell

Five Must-See Places in Kansas City

Each year our Institute hosts hundreds of students for training at our Kansas City office. The Travel Solutions team and I thought you’d like a list of things to do in the “City of Fountains” during your evenings. So, ignore some of that homework and hit the town with these five KC favorites!

1.  Country Club Plaza               

With its Seville-inspired beauty, the Country Club Plaza is Kansas City’s crown jewel. The shopping district offers spectacular fountains—and, for a city renowned for them, that’s saying a lot!—and a stunning light display during the holiday season.  But it offers more than just shopping: The Plaza (as we call it) has delicious restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

Just a few minutes away from the hotels we typically book for NCMi courses, and it is an excellent choice for an evening out. One warning, though, storefronts close by 7 p.m. most evenings, except for Thursday nights when shopping goes strong until 9 p.m.

2. Power & Light District

Just a few minutes North of NCM’s headquarters is the Power & Light District. While the Plaza focuses on upscale dining and shopping, P&L is about partying! Anchored by the Sprint Center, which hosts concerts year round, you can also enjoy exceptional nightclubs and fantastic sports bars. A favorite spot is the Alamo Drafthouse, which shows movies in an 18-years-or-older environment that bans cell phones and has in-seat food and beverage service.

3. Hollywood Casino at the Speedway

If playing slots are what you like, then the Hollywood Casino at the Speedway offers over 2,000 slots and several traditional table games. It overlooks the iconic Kansas Speedway, and if you plan your trip at the right, you can join 100,000 geared up NASCAR fans at the Sprint Cup Series. And be sure to come hungry. Hollywood Casino has five restaurants including Final Cut Steakhouse that serves steak and seafood.

You’ll need a car to get there from NCM. So, let us know if you want to go, and our team can make the arrangements.

4. Historic 18th and Vine Jazz District 

Little Richard, Fats Domino and others have sung about “Coming to Kansas City” since 1952. Why? Because during the Jazz Age, Kansas City was known as the “Paris of the Plains,” and its nightclubs and speakeasies left an indelible mark on American Jazz. (Just ask Charlie Parker!)

The Historic 18th and Vine Jazz District celebrates KC’s rich Jazz heritage. Explore this uniquely American music form at the American Jazz Museum. Discover the fascinating history African-Americans in baseball at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. And, aficionados only, stay up late—really late—for an early morning jam session at the Mutual Musicians Foundation where KC’s current jazz and blues artists play after their Friday and Saturday night sets. (Definitely worth extending your trip for. Trust us.)

5. Liberty Memorial

The only National World War I Museum and Memorial in our country, the Liberty Memorial was built in 1919 after a group raised $2.4 million (the equivalent of $34 million today) to honor the men and women who had served in “the war to end war.” In 1921, all the supreme Allied commanders dedicated the site, the last time the five gathered. Needless to write, if you’re a history buff you don’t want to miss this award-winning museum which houses one of the largest collection of WWI artifacts in the world!

The WWI museum is closed on Mondays, but is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. So, if you want to visit this national treasure, I recommend you come in for class a little early or stay an extra day in KC. And, if you’re staying, don’t forget to visit our lovely Union Station and its interactive science center and planetarium!

Whether you’re coming to KC for training, need help getting to an NCM 20 Group meeting or want to take a well-deserved vacation, let NCM Travel Solutions do the planning for you! Get your free travel quote.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/five-must-see-places-in-kansas-city/

Lindsey Quinn

Behind the Scenes: NCMi

Mug

If you’ve ever taken a course with the NCM Institute, you’ve experienced the hard work and expertise of our NCMi staff. Get to know the people responsible for making sure your experience in Kansas City—or at one of NCM’s Roadshows—is the best possible one! 

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Brandiss Drummer, Operations ManagerBrandiss

A five-year veteran of NCM Associates, Brandiss heads the NCMi team. Under her leadership, each individual works together to create a cohesive, flawlessly executed experience for the student. Brandiss sums it up best, “As we all know, the experience is about more than the content of the education you received; it’s about every aspect of the process from A to Z.”  Her goal is that every aspect of your NCMi experience consistently exceeds your expectations.

NCM: What’s the best part of your job?

Brandiss: The best part of my job is that it’s never done! There is no end date to this project—something can always be improved and this challenges me to continuously push us forward.  I never worry about complacency creep; I am always motivated to continuously improve when I hear the success stories from the students.  There are some whose lives we have literally changed (and whose family’s lives we have changed), by helping them to grow successfully in their careers, both financially and personally.

I was working here late one night, and my sister remarked to me “Go home! Remember, you aren’t saving lives.” No, we may not be, but we are changing them.

NCM: What’s one thing you’d like NCM clients to know about the Institute?

Brandiss: I can honestly say that every single team member is invested in the students. This is not a job for any of us; we spend countless hours in our personal time thinking of ways to help our students. It is not unusual to find the instructors still onsite at 7 pm helping a student with their homework. Or to find a group text between the admin staff on the weekend, working to make sure even a Saturday add-on doesn’t know the difference when they walk through the doors on Monday. Our training classes are small enough that if you let us, we get to know you as a person first, so that we know how to best help you as a student.

NCM: Anything else?

Brandiss: Yes: Bribes don’t work on us! Your test grade is still your test grade!

Cassie Allen, Learning & Development Coordinator Cassie

With a keen focus on students’ training needs, Cassie has spent four years working to match your goals with our classes. If you have ever requested customized training for your dealership employees, you’ve likely worked with Cassie to identify what topics will be taught in order to garner the most success.

NCM: What’s the best part of your job?

Cassie: I enjoy working with our clients and building relationships.

NCM: What’s one thing you’d like NCM clients to know about the Institute?

Cassie: If you don’t see a course on our schedule, ask us! We are always listening to our clients and their training needs.  We might not have it now, but we are always updating and adding new courses to our schedule!

Racheal Ellis, Institute CoordinatorRacheal

During her two years with NCM, Racheal has committed to creating a great experience for NCMi students. Many of you have probably spoken with her, as she helps with class registrations and communication. She also greets students when they arrive at our classrooms in Kansas City.

NCM: What’s the best part of your job?

Racheal: I like connecting with the students and getting to hear about their success stories.

NCM: What’s one thing you’d like NCM clients to know about the Institute?

Racheal: We’re here for you!

Jeff Hardin, Client Engagement SpecialistJeff

Jeff has only been with NCM for two months, but he’s already an integral part of the team. He helps students register for the appropriate classes, based on what they’ve already taken with us and how they want to develop their careers. And he likes to do it all with a smile on his face.

NCM: What’s the best part of your job?

Jeff: The best part of my job is working with my team and with our clients to determine their true learning and development needs and help them accomplish their goals in efforts to improve their success.

NCM: What’s one thing you’d like NCM clients to know about the Institute?

Jeff: We have a vested interest in their success and truly care about them both as clients and individuals. We value the relationships we build with our clients.

Carolyn Rogers, Assistant CoordinatorCarolyn

Over the last year, Carolyn has been working hard on prepping all the classes for NCMi students. She’s also responsible for the tasty meals NCMi guests enjoy, so now you know who to thank when Kansas City’s famous barbeque is on the menu!

NCM: What’s the best part of your job?

Carolyn: The people I work with and interacting with the students.

NCM: What’s one thing you’d like NCM clients to know about the Institute?

Carolyn: That what we do is more than just a job.

NCM: Anything else?

Carolyn: Go NCMi!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/06/behind-the-scenes-ncmi/

NCM Institute

Behind-the-scenes: GMEP Graduates Celebrate their Achievement

NCM recently celebrated with our newest group of General Management Executive Program (GMEP) graduates. Catch a glimpse of all the fun!

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/02/behind-the-scenes-gmep-graduates-celebrate-their-achievement/

Garry House

Vehicle Sales OTDBs in the Service Lane…Part 1

Target-Rich-EnvironmentIt happened again two weeks ago! It seems to happen each time I talk about opportunities to do business (OTDBs) with a training group of automotive dealers and/or their managers. When I suggest the potential sales, trades and purchases available as a result of an effective prospecting initiative in the dealership’s service lane, I get that “deer in the headlights” look from the vast majority of my audience. C’mon guys and gals… As “Goose” (Anthony Edwards, as the co-pilot to Tom Cruise’s “Maverick” character) said in the 1986 movie Top Gun, “This is a Target Rich environment.”

As I’m sure you know, I’m all about the numbers and sales mathematics. So I’m going to take you through an exercise, by which you can determine how many unit sales are available through a service drive prospecting initiative at your dealership…assuming that all required processes are in place and are being effectively executed. Process details will be addressed in a subsequent article.

OK, here’s how to crunch the numbers and see how the mathematics work:

  1. What percent of the customer vehicles entering your service department each month are (a) those that should be replaced based on age, mileage, and/or condition, plus (b) those that would be a great addition to your pre-owned vehicle inventory? What was your overall percentage estimate for the two categories? Your answer is Variable #1.
  2. What percent of the owners in above category #1 do you think would be willing to discuss (by making an appointment) replacing their current vehicle with a new or nearly new vehicle, if they were approached at the right time, and in the right manner? Remember, these people are currently doing business with you, so they have a “relationship” with you. Your answer is Variable #2.
  3. Finally, what percent of the owners in above category #2 will you ultimately deliver after they have shown up for their appointment? Remember, these people are currently doing business with you, so they have a relationship with you. Your answer is Variable #3.

So when you multiply the three variables together (Variable #1  x  Variable #2  x  Variable #3), what answer do you get? This final metric, when applied against the total customer-paid and warranty R.O.s written in an average month, calculates the number of potential monthly vehicle sales as a result of the service lane prospecting initiative.

Every time I’ve performed this calculation for a dealership, the resulting sales potential was both shocking and impressive to the dealer principal and/or the dealership managers. If you’d like to learn more about developing and managing your opportunities to do business, I encourage you to check out our next webinar series on OTDB Development and Management in the Variable and Fixed Operating Departments beginning July 25th.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/07/vehicle-sales-otdbs-in-the-service-lanepart-1/

Russell Grant

Five Mistakes Dealers Make With Their Owner Marketing and How to Avoid Them

marketing-strategyOne of the best things about my job is the fact that I get to talk to so many owners, GMs, dealers, sales managers and service directors about their dealership’s owner marketing strategy. Or, in some cases, need for one. That’s when I find my work the most rewarding, when I’m speaking with dealers who are ready to reap the benefits of developing and implementing a strong, sustainable owner marketing strategy.

Because remember, there are only three ways to grow a dealership:

  • Increase your number of active customers
  • Increase your profit per transaction
  • Increase your customers’ repurchase frequency

And the most effective way to accomplish these goals is with a well-planned and sustainable owner marketing strategy.

But over the years I’ve heard some of the same responses again and again when discussing owner marketing. It doesn’t matter what part of the country I’m in, the size of the dealership, or the OEM. They’re the same five mistakes and they have the same damaging results.

Number 1: “I need to focus on new business.”
Dealerships often concentrate on bringing in new customers, and that’s important. But the fastest way to grow business is to focus on previous customers. More than two-thirds of consumers have two or more vehicles, yet less than one-third have purchased them from the same dealership. If a dealership builds on relationships it already has with satisfied customers, it can increase driveway share and see that percentage rise much more quickly and cost-effectively than with traditional conquesting.

This strategy also has the added benefit of improving retention, which means being able to close a higher percentage of deals with higher profits. Because it’s a proven fact that previous customers are willing to pay more and negotiate less.

Number 2: “I already have a marketing plan.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a dealer tell me he’s running a promotion because, “I’ve got to make my month” or “I need to hit my numbers.” That’s not a marketing plan—there’s no strategy, there are limited targeted communications and virtually no data mining. If you’re lucky, it might get you out of a tight month, but it’s not a sustainable growth strategy plan.

Dealerships need an owner marketing program that’s strategic and data driven. Fortunately, dealers have an enormous amount of data about their customers’ sales, service and F&I histories, which means they can develop extremely competitive offers, communicate them via multi-channel campaigns and target those customers who are most likely to respond. A dealer needs to communicate with his customers when it best serves them, not when it best serves him.

Number 3: “My CRM does that.”
Sure, a CRM can identify customers with good equity. It can generate birthday reminders and supply email templates. It provides resources and information, but it doesn’t create a strategy. It can help dealers communicate with customers, but it doesn’t help them motivate customers. And that’s a critical difference.

Data should serve as the foundation of a dealership’s strategic plan, driving its marketing decisions. But data alone is not the plan. The data needs to be used to develop compelling offers that get customers to take action. And for that, a dealership needs an owner marketing strategy. Not just a CRM.

Number 4: “My service lanes are already too busy.”
The easiest way to activate a customer is through the service drive, and it should be a part of any owner marketing strategy. Period. Not only for the service revenue, but because an active service customer is six times more likely to buy their next vehicle from that dealership than a non-active one.

Number 5: “The OEM doesn’t give good enough incentives.”
A dealer’s strategy shouldn’t be based on something he can’t control — incentives alone won’t give his dealership a competitive advantage. He needs to dig deeper. Talk to customers sooner. Say something different. Everyone may have the same incentives, but only a dealership has its customers’ data. The dealer can use that to create multi-channel communications that motivate customers by displaying their new payment versus their old payment — without even showing the incentive. That’s a marketing strategy that puts the dealer in control.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/07/five-mistakes-dealers-make-with-their-owner-marketing-and-how-to-avoid-them/

Dennis Kane

Dealer Beware: Pitfalls of Selecting the Wrong Contractor or Subcontractor

paper_stacksmedI have seen a significant number of high value claims as a result of contractors or subcontractors not carrying insurance or inadequate limits of insurance.

Examples of high value claims against dealerships include:

  • Claim against a dealership’s workers’ compensation carrier or general liability carriers due to an injury of a subcontractor’s employee and the subcontractor doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Claim against a dealership’s property insurance carrier because a roofing contractor started a fire repairing the roof and didn’t have adequate insurance.
  • Claim against a dealership arising out of work performed by a subcontractor to modify or perform specialty services on a vehicle.  The work performed was later determined to be faulty or negligent resulting in serious injuries and the subcontractor was out of business with no insurance.
  • Claim against a dealership’s liability carrier arising out of a contractor’s negligence for services performed while removing snow and the contractor didn’t carry insurance.

Here’s what you need to know:  You can be held liable for injuries to employees of, and the negligent work of, contractors and subcontractors. The good news is there are relatively simple steps you can take to reduce your exposures to high value losses.  Use this checklist for selecting contractors or subcontractors:

  1. Require the contractor/subcontractor to provide a certificate of insurance as evidence of coverage for Workers’ Compensation, General Liability and Umbrella Liability. It’s very important the limits of liability insurance are adequate. A good minimum standard for establishing the limit of insurance is requiring the same limits as your business liability insurance. This is effective to address inadequate limits by contractors and subcontractors. Review the effective dates of insurance to confirm the insurance is valid.Certificates need to be mailed directly from the contractor’s agency or carrier, not the contractor. This prevents contractors from issuing their own certificates to satisfy the insurance requirements and secure the winning bid without proper insurance.
  2. Require your company to be added as an “additional insured” on the contractor’s General Liability policy. You should require a copy of the endorsement from the carrier or the agency of the contractor.
  3. Ask your attorney to draft a “hold harmless and indemnifications agreement” that contains absolute defense and indemnification language and repayment of any expenses incurred in accordance with your state law to insulate you for any type of claim due to any inference of negligence. This agreement needs to be executed before work or services begin.
  4. Do not use “friends” or a friend of a friend to do any type of work, use only certified licensed contractors.

As you bid out work for your dealership, make the steps outlined above a required part of the selection process. You will find many legitimate contractors/subcontractors with excellent reputations for quality service and work willing to comply with these standards.  If any of the steps above can’t be provided by your contractors or subcontractors, it’s definitely an early warning of potential problems that need to be investigated further.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/06/dealer-beware-pitfalls-of-selecting-the-wrong-contractor-or-subcontractor/