The level of attention given to performance measurement and staff performance, Cohen says, is intense and for the right reasons. But it comes with rewards. Without giving details, he said Glyn Hopkin pays above the industry average.
He does not believe, as some dealer bosses have said to AM, that the pay model needs to change.
Far from believing sales staff should be paid a higher basic salary and lower commission, the group believes the existing model is right.
“It’s been suggested we pay too much to some people, but we are rewarding a job done very well. We don’t try to cap people’s earnings. If you can sell more cars and make the company more money, then we’re happy for you to share our success.
“In some businesses we’ve taken over, I’ve seen commission capped and staff will just do what’s expected to achieve the cap. Setting a limit on people’s opportunity to better themselves, and their lifestyle, is dangerous.”
Cohen has similar views about technology in showrooms. Nissan is introducing iPads, but they only support the selling process. Like other dealers, he is adamant people are needed to explain the exchange valuation, the finance availability and arrange and accompany the customer on a test drive.
“You will have to speak to a sales person,” he said. “And the way the sales person interacts is very important. Customers tell me they notice the distinction between us and our competitors in something as simple as asking for a brochure. Some dealers will hand one over and there’ll be deathly silence, no interest. Here it’s the start of a conversation.
“It’s a simple example of how we expect staff to go the extra mile for every customer, for the company and themselves.”
Glyn Hopkin's transition and growth
Glyn Hopkin has grown organically or through acquisition almost continuously in its 20-year history, steadily taking on new franchises alongside Nissan from a standing start to 33 dealerships.
It has gradually grown out of its Essex heartland – north-east to Ipswich, west to Milton Keynes and the biggest ‘stretch’ has come recently with the purchase of a Nissan site from Marshall Motor Group in Cambridge, with Fiat/Jeep being added there this year in a new-build facility.
Managing director Fraser Cohen says the expansion has come about through being offered opportunities by manufacturers, but with a desire for contiguous territories. He groups Romford, Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich as one, Waltham Abbey, St Albans, Watford, Milton Keynes and Bedford as another.