Too many times entrepreneurs and many dealers think they are businesspeople when what we really are is people who have a business. The business still runs us and demands a lot from us. Dealers really have to get back to working on their business and not in it. Probably one of the biggest challenges dealers face, is that the dealership runs them instead of them running the dealership.
How you view your business
How do you see your business? A businessperson sees business as an entity, a thing. It's not emotional, it is what it is. Businesspeople tend to view a business by its numbers. There is a number for everything that goes on at your dealership. Numbers can be tracked for technician efficiency, recovery rate, parts volume, transaction times, and closing ratio on wholegoods. Everything has a number associated with it that as a businessperson, once we know the number that we need, we can focus on managing to reach it.
People who are in business tend to not look at the numbers, but look at it softly and just hope to do better. They don't really measure anything but go off a gut emotion. You can't manage what you are not willing to measure. You simply can't manage for improvement without tracking hard numbers. If you are not willing to measure things, then you will be constantly in a state of chaos. You don’t make money when you are in chaos.
How you view vendors
Business people look at vendors differently than people in business do. A lot of dealers who are people in business get frustrated and angry with their manufacturers because they "don’t understand them". Dealers who are businesspeople get it. Businesspeople see vendors as businesspeople too, and understand that the main goal of business is market share. Vendors care for their dealers, but they care more about market share. It doesn't mean they don’t want dealers to succeed and be profitable, but the one thing that drives them is market share. Business people understand that, and don’t get upset.
Businesspeople are also not as loyal to a vendor as a person in business would be. People in business tend to be loyal to their vendors and expect them to be the same. When the manufacturer isn’t loyal, and adds another dealer right down the road, the dealer who is a person in business is left disappointed.
If a businessperson has a vendor that is not doing what they need them to do, they are not loyal to that vendor. They will go find someone else that will do it for them.
How you view customers
Business people also understand that different customers have different values. If a customer that they have is not profitable, they are not interested in that customer. People in business believe that all customers have the same value and should be treated equally. They never look at what money each customer brings in.
Many dealers have customers that have been coming to their business for years but the dealer has never really made any money on them. They beat the dealer down on the price of their wholegoods. They always complain about the service. To people in business, they are still a customer.
A businessperson sees them as a customer, but a customer they don’t want anymore. Business people are interested in taking top customers and moving them to the front of the line in all aspects of the dealership. Businesspeople have customers categorized as an A, B, or C customer.
An A customer is profitable, good to work with, appreciates what the dealer does for them, and can then pretty much get anything they want within reason. Their repairs should always get moved to the front of the line when they are working with a businessperson.
People in business treat everyone with the first in first out rule. They need to understand that every customer has a different value and they need to position themselves with the customers that hold the highest value.
Every business management software available has the ability to assign customers to a class. When they look a customer up and it shows an A, they know to give special treatment and move them to the front of the line. This practice should be understood internally, but not communicated with the customers on lower levels.
Don’t get frustrated with the fact that you are a person in business. Once you change how you see your business, take what you see and work with it. It’s a mental change you have to make. Once you do, business will be so much more enjoyable.