It’s no huge revelation that many owners of powersports dealerships got into this business because of their love and passion for riding and racing. There’s nothing wrong with that because it’s that love and passion that can get you through adversity but It soon becomes quite obvious that riding and racing isn’t what keeps the business going or the bills paid. Successfully managing your team is what will keep your business going and those bills paid.
Some owners and managers think they need to manage their business. In reality, they need to manage their team because their team are truly the ones who manage the business. There is no way you can run all aspects of your dealership by yourself. Your staff and in particular your department managers make your dealership run — either very well or very poorly — and that’s why your focus has to be on how well they perform.
Your future success and your vision can’t be realized without your staff buying into it as they are the ones who help you put your policy and strategy into everyday practice. If they succeed, you succeed. If they fail or struggle, you fail or struggle. Your team, which is how you should refer to them because it’s a team that wins and loses together, is only as strong as it’s weakest link.
Your sales department can be firing on all cylinders but if your service department can’t deliver repairs when they say they can, customers aren’t coming back. If your service department can’t deliver repairs because your parts department forgets to order parts for a RO, your customer isn’t coming back. The point here is that your weakest link, being either a department or team member, will prevent or hold back the growth and success of the other team members and it affects the entire team as well as your business overall.
It’s your responsibility to determine those weak links and strengthen them. Every one of us has our own strengths and weaknesses so use your strengths where you can to help improve your weak links and when that isn’t an option, bring in someone who can help to work on those specific areas and can help make a difference. Consider regular training in all departments so that your entire team can contribute as much as they can to the overall success of your business. It’s an investment that will pay dividends.
The greatest asset you have in your dealership is your team so it’s worth your while to invest in them. It is your bottom line that will benefit from their education and training and therefore key to your future growth. I’ve heard dealers express concern about investing in staff that might not stick around but what is the outcome if you don’t bother investing in staff and they do stick around? There is always a chance that some staff will leave for one reason or another but most people will invest in their employer when their employer invests in them.
In addition to my article this month, I want to take the opportunity to thank PSB for allowing me to write a monthly blog for their readership during this past year. I’m also truly grateful to those who took the time to read as well as those who provided comments either online or privately. Your feedback was valuable and educational for me.
It was my desire to write to the powersports community with a perspective of the business owner and/or general manager in mind. There are all sorts of articles and training for technicians, F&I managers, accounting and salespeople but there are very few options for the business owner with regards to education and training. It’s an exclusive group of people who have unique issues and challenges but few choices in where to turn for non-judgemental guidance, feedback and opinions. If I was able to help or encourage even one dealer in resolving an issue they are facing, I would consider my efforts this past year to be a great success.
Many of us have had a challenging year and the holiday season usually has us reflecting on the past. While it’s important to learn from adversity it’s not healthy to keep looking in the rear-view mirror. That isn’t where you’re going. Look forward and see where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. That’s where the opportunity and possibilities are.
I want to wish you all a safe and joyful holiday season and much success in the new year.
Bruce Marcia is the director of Bruce Marcia and Associates, a retail management consulting firm that specializes in assisting and supporting dealerships in the RV/marine and powersports industries. As a recognized troubleshooter with over 30 years of experience in inventory finance, dealership general management and as a district manager for a major OEM, Bruce has had the unique opportunity to understand and learn from all three important fields that make these industries function.