by Tim James
“We work too hard to come within arm’s reach of the prize only to have our hands cut off just before we seize it. For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there is but one rule – hunt or be hunted.” – Frank Underwood, as played by Kevin Spacey in the Netflix television series, House of Cards.
This quote epitomizes the struggle that car dealers face daily – whether they are trying to close a deal, struggling with a vendor or battling their competitors. However, that quote also contains valuable advice. To succeed in this industry – whether you’re a dealer or a vendor – you face daily challenges throughout every aspect of your business. These range from acquiring new business, to providing exceptional customer service, to the day- to-day management of your employees. You must not stall your efforts before you reach your prize, as there is always someone breathing down your neck just waiting to snatch it before you can.
There are a lot of pieces that comprise the puzzle that, when completed, leads to success. Company culture, efficient processes, training, and customer loyalty, are some of the foundations that no business can survive without. Dealers rely on their managers, managers rely on their employees. One weak link can wreak havoc within an organization and result in a lost sale, a lost (valuable) employee, or worse – a lost customer.
If you’ve ever built a house of cards in real life, you know that they take patience, a steady hand, a strategy and that every card is dependent on the other. Just like building a house of cards, all of these things are necessary to succeed. And each level in the house needs to be sturdy and well thought out. For, if they’re not, the house will fail to reach the height it is capable of and will probably come crashing down for you to rebuild.
The first level will always be your staff – from the dealer to the porter. They are the foundation. Each subsequent level comprises of an additional component from administration, service, marketing, technology, and sales. And each of these components brings something to your table to assist you in climbing to the top of the food chain in our industry. It is important to have a strategy, have patience and put any plans in place with a steady hand. Failure in any of these areas could very well prevent your organization from achieving its full potential.
Pay attention to trends. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Watch what your competition is doing, but don’t chase after shiny new objects just because your competition is doing it. Your success isn’t dependent on you doing the same things that your competition is doing, it’s dependent on you going above and beyond your competition, creating an entirely higher standard of expectation for your prospects and your customers. This is the effort required to become the best, and equally required to stay the best, and keep your house of cards from falling down.