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Readers who are looking for continued efficiency and growth from their dealerships would do well to look at the profiles of the leading retailers who have just enjoyed success at this year’s AM Awards.

There is one important word which appears time and time again in the reviews of the retailing winners, no matter how large or small, nor new or used. That word is satisfaction.

The leading dealers recognise its relevance not only in relation to their customers, despite their obvious importance, but also in regard to their staff. If employee satisfaction is poor to the extent that sales and aftersales staff see your business as little more than a stopover on their way to a better job, it is likely customer satisfaction will suffer too.

Take the example of Derek Sims, AM Award winner in both the Recruitment and Volume Dealership categories.

This is a company that took on a dealership which made a £203,000 loss on £7.5m turnover in 2002. In just one year, Sims turned it around to achieve a £222,000 profit on £13.5m sales. Last year the growth continued, with £18m turnover providing profit of £453,000.

It is no coincidence Derek Sims also scored full marks for its people management. No doubt the benefit of being led by a former Sytner director and boss of a head-hunting business is incalculable, because Derek Sims puts a great deal of emphasis on investing in its workforce.

It employs detailed processes which allow it to recruit the right calibre of person, and offers opportunities and incentives which encourage its staff to deliver high levels of performance. Unsurprisingly, customer satisfaction is also high.

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