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Guest opinion: Twenty tips to improve dealership performance

Bruce Hollister NADA 20 2015

Butch Hollister, dealership management consultant, sits on the business improvement NADA 20 Group best ideas committee.

From attending these meetings Hollister (pictured) pulled together the ideas that some of the most successful dealerships in the USA have implemented.

Note: The following was collated by BDO.


Get involved - It takes constant attention to all little things that make a dealership succeed. Walk in a different door every day, manage by walking around, and take a genuine interest in your employees

Expense cuts/savings – On a monthly basis ask your managers to list the top five expenses they have cut and the total amount saved. The dept with the most cuts then earn an additional bonus

Job swap – Switch manager positions for three to five days, the accounts’ department could also be included in this.


Technician Tuesday – Have a monthly lunch with all fixed ops staff. Review rewards, and award achievements. At the same time set new goals for both management and technicians

3.30pm time out – Have a 15 minute break to draw breath and really consider the workload and technician time for the following day

Decline in repair order process – Follow up with customers who have declined certain service work. Review a report daily for declined work the following day and contact that customer within 48 hours to stop someone else getting your business

Sales board in the service department – Start tracking daily sales of items, break this down by advisor. The more it was tracked the more the dealer sold

Special offers – Consider offering a cheap deal for something like an oil change or headlight restoration system. Offer this at a heavily discounted price. This will be good for getting ‘lost souls’ back in the dealership and allow you an opportunity to up sell and book in a service etc

Increase hours per repair order with maintenance sales – At the beginning of every month put up a bonus for each service advisor if they sell from a list that you have prepared.


Customer product evaluation – Staff service drive with an appropriate number of salespeople on a rotating schedule

Salesperson mentor programme – Salesmen take personal responsibility to mentor new staff. Help them with product knowledge, paperwork, etiquette, closing objections and other basic knowledge

Additional sales guaranteed – Put a simple sign on the showroom door giving a salesman’s name, phone number and email address with a message that they are always available to answer a question about the new and used vehicle stock

Weekly walk around – On a Friday one salesperson is assigned to a particular vehicle. They have to explain this car to the sales team, each salesperson is then asked to give another feature that has not already been mentioned. The product knowledge as a group, and the salesperson’s ability to do feature and benefit presentation with confidence will dramatically improve.


Ensure the tone and the culture is set from the top

Spend time with the technicians

Product knowledge is everything

Set goals, monitor and celebrate achievements

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