Every person in the dealership is a salesperson.
That means every employee, regardless of job description, represents the store and can make a difference when interacting with customers.
Consider the story of Johnny the bagger. It's about a young man with Down's syndrome working as a grocery store bagger and making an unforgettable impression on customers.
The store manager had told every employee their actions, their performance could make a difference to every customer. Most employees decided that wasn't necessarily the case.
Johnny, however, took it to heart when he was told that everyone at the store could make a difference and motivate customers to return.
At first, he didn't think he could do much, because he was only a bagger. But then he had an idea, “The Thought of the Day.” He would find or create them and, with some help from his father, print them out and slip one into each customer's bag. Before long, word of Johnny's gesture got around, and the line of people at his lane grew to more than three times as long as any other lane. When the store manager suggested shoppers move to one of the other lanes, nobody did.
They were willing to wait in a long line just to get one of Johnny's messages. If you'd like to see the video, just go to YouTube and search for “Johnny the Bagger.”
This story teaches us that no matter how insignificant a job position might seem, everyone has a unique power to make a lasting difference by delivering customer service from the heart. Everyone makes a difference. If an employee doesn't believe his or her job is the most important, then it's not.
To be truly address customer needs, everyone, regardless of job title or responsibilities, must bring passion, motivation and a personal commitment to delivering exceptional service.
All employees need to understand how their individual actions ultimately impact the customer.
This is where management comes in. It is vital that mangers treat every worker as equally important and ensure that compensation and reward are based on performance, not simply job descriptions.
This requires a clear definition of goals, values, the playing field and rules of the game. Managers assign the jobs, but give employees the freedom to drive success their way, to innovate, challenge themselves and go beyond their limits without interference.
Recognizing employees and valuing each individual is essential in creating an environment for success. Equally important is inspiring every employee to understand and value the contributions made by each of their colleagues.
Often, the most important people in the dealership are the least recognized. The greeter, the phone operator, the janitor — all these people contribute to a first and lasting impression on everyone who comes in contact with the dealership.
When they embrace their work with passion and the understanding of how they contribute to sales, their self-esteem improves along with their performance.
Ask yourself, how are all employees recognized for going above and beyond, for creating a positive impact on customers that furthers the sales process and builds loyal clientele? Positive affirmation let's people know that what they do matters and that they are contributing to the dealership's success.
Establish incentive programs that allow everyone the opportunity to participate equally, but also recognize individual performance spontaneously in specific and visible ways.
Be sure reward programs aren't skewed to favor any job function — sales vs. service vs. administration. Eliminate incentives that are divisive — sales or service personnel only — and create those that build unity and focus every employee on a common goal: building loyal clientele.
Recognize employees for helping others, for going beyond the job description, for making intangible contributions.
Educate as well. Managers must continually educate all employees on ways to make a difference, to sell authentically and personally, so that customers have and remember a great experience. This does not mean expensive, extravagant programs. It does mean consideration and actions that make people want to come back, to continue buying and to bring their friends, to buy your products and services.
Teach employees the importance of:
- Exuding a positive attitude.
- Showing respect always — especially in tough situations.
- Realizing everyone is on equal ground.
- Putting your personal finger print on customer satisfaction.
- Knowing that what you say and what you do matters.
- Making every moment a good moment that really counts.
- Realizing that it's not your position that matters most, it's choosing what matters most that counts
- Remembering that great service comes from the heart.
- Understanding that every job is equally important and everyone is a salesperson in their own ways.
When the values of an organization are clear, people are empowered to work individually and as a team and recognition and compensation are dispensed equitably.
Customers will have a more positive experience, become loyal, and bring referrals. When was the last time you made a decision to buy based on the first person you met?
Richard F. Libin is president of APB-Automotive Profit Builders, Inc., a firm with more than 42 years experience working with both sales and service on customer satisfaction and maximizing gross profits through personnel development and technology. He is at [email protected] or 508-626-9200.
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