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Cover feature: Cash is King at Bristol Street

Manufacturers should regularly send their senior people to dealerships to understand what sales staff and customers think about their cars and incentives schemes.

Dealers would embrace this opportunity to put across their views, according to Bristol Street Group chief executive and incoming NFDA chairman Paul Williams.

“I ask the manufacturers to do this all the time – but they don’t come,” he says. “They don’t even send their junior people, let alone their top guys. But they still do CSI, targets, bonuses and incentive schemes without understanding peoples’ views of their cars or how well their schemes can be sold to the customer.”

Williams has given his automotive career to Bristol Street, joining in 1970 as chief financial accountant. As a finance person, he recognized his own lack of knowledge about the motor industry and spent several months working across the business, including stints as parts man and service receptionist, to get front line experience. It’s an approach he adopts with all new staff.

“It gives you an insight into the affect your beliefs can have if you don’t understand what the business is all about. Too many people think they have all the answers. I know where I want the business to go but I check with people who are better placed to understand the impact of any changes,” Williams says...(Continues in AM July 14 issue)

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