The Road Less Travelled has always been my favorite corporate pathway in the automotive industry. The road less traveled is not cluttered, it’s not filled with billboards of promises of profits and riches from successful merchants.
It gives me an opportunity to actually meet the real people in our industry. When I’m visiting a dealership I get to walk out in the detail area and say to a porter, “Hi, my name is Tim. You’re doing a hell of a job on that car man. How long have you been doing this? You know this is how I started in the car business. Give me a couple of tips you have learned in the tenure of your time back here because you know that you have one of the most important jobs in the store. What you do prepares millions of dollars for sale. If they are not done to your specifications, the salesmen will walk around them. I can tell by looking at your work that you know what you’re doing”.
I also like walking out to the gaggle of sales people and going “what’s up gang, I remember my days, standing out here. I know you think I’m so old that we probably stood out and waited on horses and wagons to come in but it was the same thing, one human being to another. What do you guys find in the business today that makes it easier for you?”
Believe me, they will tell you. The other thing that I really enjoy doing is going back and talking to the service writers about the competitive companies that have opened up in the past twelve years that compete with service in a new car store. Also asking them what they have found is the best way to sell against the marketing of all the tire and supercenters they compete with.
That road less traveled, takes me to a place I enjoy. When I make a dealer call, I don’t have to prepare the day before to simply go in, meet the receptionist, wait to go in the dealer/general manager’s office and upsell them on a product. I am very fortunate that on my road I have been invited in as a guest, I feel at home and I enjoy what I do because on the road I take, I make friends along the way, not clients.
This is the same attitude I recommend to all dealers and salespeople out there. Take the road less traveled and interact with your customers as friends and family, not just as clients. The experience will be enriching for both you and your customers, building you a customer relationships for life.