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Why motor retailers should abandon ‘passion’ when looking for staff

Businesses should abandon ‘passion’ when looking for staff, alternative business guru and author Geoff Burch urged delegates at the latest AM Executive Breakfast.

“We often ask our people to be passionate,’ he said. “Think about what passionate actually means. It’s barely controlled emotion.

“The one thing I don’t want from my employees is for them to be passionate. You need hard work and ability, not passion.”

Burch has published several books on entrepreneurship and made a career of being a disruptive influence.

He joked that he entered the world of sales after sinking so low he had nowhere left to go. Described as “The Hell’s Angel of Management” due to his love of riding huge motorbikes, he now acts as an ‘agent for change’ within businesses.

“I discovered very early on that I love selling,” said Burch. “I always want difficult customers, the ones that have come out of the bush with the entrails of the last salesman on their tusks.”

 

Why the US trumps the UK in customer service

Like many dealers that attend the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) conference in the US, Burch takes many customer service ideas from across the pond.

One such example, Burch said, was the story of a Cadillac dealership in Texas, where a customer had saved all his life for his perfect car. So excited to buy that he couldn’t wait for it to open, he drove to the dealership’s showroom at 3am.

The only person at the site was a security guard, but he was granted access to the site’s dealer management system and took the customer for a test drive at 4am. The security guard sold the car and had it prepared and ready for the customer in time for his breakfast.

Burch said: “That scenario would never happen in the UK.”

Much like AM’s columnist Professor Jim Saker (page 52) Burch believes there is no connection between customer satisfaction and customer retention: “Manufacturers are obsessed with customer satisfaction scores, but there are several problems with this.

“You should expect a drop in satisfaction based on brand. Rolls-Royce customers complain a lot because they’re rich gits, the expectation is very high.



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