Good business practices are always important for highly successful businesses. Consultants or 20 group members can usually sense if a dealership has good business practices after discussions with the management team and without looking at “the numbers”. Here are seven habits I find in highly successful dealers:

1. Always Striving for the Right Management Team

The saying “a chain is no stronger than its weakest link” could not be more true for dealerships. All departments are interdependent for success. A “weak link” in the management chain not only restricts performance of all departments, but also creates discontent and apathy. Highly successful dealers constantly focus on recruiting, hiring, and training the right team. Building the right team is viewed by highly successful dealers as their single most important task for short term and long term success.

2. Empowers the Team

The management team is the primary generator of income for the dealership. Principals, General Managers, and Controllers are the primary managers of expenses. Highly successful dealers empower their managers with the authority to react to opportunities to generate higher income and higher gross profits. Empowerment with authority at the point-of-sale translates into an obligation of the managers to achieve established revenue and gross profit goals. Successful dealers challenge their team to achieve results and empower them with the tools to do so.

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3. Establishes and Communicates Clear and Achievable Goals

Managers want to know and need to know the goals they are expected to achieve. Highly successful dealers require their team to participate in setting goals. This practice shifts the mindset of the team from what the owner expects to what the managers committed to achieve. Managers take ownership of the goals and become invested in the outcome when they participate in setting the goals. Highly successful dealers involve their team in the establishment of achievable and clearly communicated goals.

4. Holds Regular Managers’ Meetings

Highly successful dealers regularly hold managers meetings to ensure consistent communication between managers and top management. Successful dealers insist this happens at all levels, not just for the managers, but at the departmental level as well. Highly successful dealers communicate with all employees at some time in the management process.

5. Acknowledges and Rewards Performance

Highly successful dealers recognize that they need motivated employees to be successful. Acknowledging success and rewarding performance is always a practice of highly successful businesses. Employee recognition in front of their peers and monetary rewards for achievements are always a good business practice.

6. Manages by the Numbers

Highly successful dealers look for trends in data collected and use analysis to make key decisions. They rarely ignore the numbers and rely on “gut” feelings. The strategy of “hope” is seldom used.

7. Leads their Team

Highly successful dealers lead their team by setting the example. They know earning respect is an ongoing requirement for a leader. Leaders honor their commitments, treat their employees with respect, and don’t criticize employees in front of their peers. Leaders are patient, understanding, and maintain a high level of integrity. Leaders accept responsibility for their actions, and above all, are decisive.

Are you focused on these seven habits to success?

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