When you think of all the things that go into making your dealership a success, communication ranks at the top of the list. In fact, without good communication—both inside the dealership and with your customer base—you’ll likely suffer unnecessary losses in sales, employees, and customers. And while it’s one of the most integral pieces to your success, great communication can also be one of the most difficult things to achieve. Why? Because your dealership is a complicated machine with many constantly-moving parts, and that makes it tough to ensure everyone stays on the same page.
The goal of any great businessperson is to communicate well with those in our professional circles, however, it’s common for everyday issues to get in the way of delivering clear, concise messages to everyone who should receive them. George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Communication is a fluid thing, meaning it is constantly in motion, so when it comes to your dealership, it’s important to ensure everyone understands what is being shared. If employees are expected to share dealership news, specials, and messages with customers, it’s imperative you ensure they first have a complete understanding of exactly the message you want to convey. If not, it’s likely incorrect information will get passed along, resulting in possible misunderstandings between customers and employees. 21% of communicators admit to using too much jargon, also making it difficult for customers to understand. Part of sharing information with customers is ensuring they understand the words and ways you explain to them, avoiding any misunderstandings.
Your employees and customers look to you as the authority when it comes to information regarding your dealership. It’s a tough job, but when you create a pattern of clear and open communication between yourself and your employees, as well as your dealership and your customer base, you’ll notice happier employees, more content customers, and a stronger bottom line that is the result of the trust you are building. Consider the following reasons for focusing on communication as a skill throughout your dealership:
Communication builds trust. One of the most important things for your employees and customers is trust, and good communication is the foundation of trust. 71% of customers stated that they bought their vehicle because they trusted and respected the salesperson. By communicating openly and honestly about what’s going on throughout the dealership, you’ll be cultivating a culture of trust for your employees and your customers—something that will keep everyone coming back for more. Hopefully, you’ll get to share good news more often than not, but even when the news is unpleasant, be forthright and honest, as this will continue to build trust for your dealership.
Communication encourages performance. Communication is an important factor for many reasons, but one of the most important is the fact that it drives performance. Productivity increases 20-25% in organizations that have connected employees and communication channels that make it easier to connect with one another. When your employees feel included and part of the dealership team, they’ll want the responsibility of ensuring the dealership succeeds. They’ll take more pride in their work and strive to do their best, with the interests of the business in mind. Be sure to show a genuine interest in ensuring every employee is included in dealership meetings so that everyone is aware of potential changes and updates.
Communication reinforces team unity. When you ensure everyone gets dealership updates and information, you’ll create a sense of unity. Everyone feels a part of the same team when they are included in information downloads, process updates, and weekly wrap-ups. If you don’t already, make a habit of gathering all employees for brief meetings to update them regarding dealership news. You’ll be opening communication channels and creating a sense of equality by involving every professional on your team, and when everyone feels included, they’ll be motivated to share positive news with potential customers.
Good communication kills bad communication. Gossip, secrets, and back-stabbing—all the ingredients you need to cook up a workplace disaster. You can quickly wipe out these ugly types of communication simply by empowering your employees with real, honest-to-goodness information and up-to-date news about what’s going on in the dealership. Cut misinformation off with straightforward communication, and your employees will thank you for it. In exchange, you’ll have a staff of professionals who are eager to share the great things that are happening throughout the dealership with customers, with their social circles, and with other employees. You will have to worry less about the negative when you focus on implementing more positive communication.
Think about the ways you currently communicate throughout your dealership and then consider ways to improve upon the tools you have. If you have an antiquated system, or if several employees are frequently left out of the loop because they don’t have individual dealership email accounts, it’s time to consider upgrading to newer technology that will facilitate better communication for ALL your employees. The expense will be more than worth the cost you would be paying in disengaged employees and potential turnover due to poor communication. Technology, like AutoAlert’s Pando, offers solutions that are tailored specifically for the challenging and multi-faceted dealership environment, and by taking advantage, you’ll ensure you don’t get left behind in today’s fast-paced marketplace.
Start improving your communication today and ensure everyone’s in the loop by implementing these 3 super-easy steps:
- Introduce it. Let employees in on the dealership’s newly-improved communication process. Change can be shocking for many, and it’s a good idea to have a meeting to get employees on board and let everyone know how things will look in an open-communication culture. Give examples of exactly what your new style will look like so everyone will be prepared for a more connected environment.
- Practice it. As a leader, be sure you not only show employees examples of great communication in action, but you also give them plenty of opportunities to practice sharing and communicating—with each other and with customers. Great communication is a skill, and as with any skill, it improves with practice.
- Reward it. Be on the lookout for employees who are doing an outstanding job of communicating and call them out for their excellent skills. When someone does a great job explaining a product or service to a customer—or using new technology—let everyone know about it. Others will be quick to catch on when they see the positive reinforcement given to their peers.
Once everyone’s on the same page, your dealership will reap the rewards. Achieving communication success is critical to developing improved relationships, both internally with employees and throughout the community with potential customers. Remember, just as with any skill, it takes practice in order to master effective communication, so continue to focus on the skills you’ve put into play and look for new and engaging ways to encourage others to connect and communicate. By continuously seeking improvement and motivating others to improve their skills, you’ll be creating positive habits that will reinforce the culture of trust you are building.
Author: Joey Little
Joey Little serves as Director of Digital and Social Engagement for AutoAlert. An expert in customer experience management, he educates automotive professionals at speaking engagements across the country. With results-driven advice and proven industry knowledge, he assists dealerships in reaching their audiences and increasing business via their social platforms.