How to Create a Winning Team Culture at Your Dealership

By: Michael Cirillo   |   04 Apr 2014
Michael Cirillo and Robert Wiesman

It’s no secret that in today’s automotive market, providing a “Wow Experience” for shoppers is an absolute must. Car dealers all over the world invest tons of money and time in making sure customers are taken care of and are getting a top-notch shopping experience.

It is hard to provide the ultimate shopping experience for our customers, but let’s switch our thought process. What are we doing to create an incredible dealership culture that inspires and energizes our internal team? Keeping your people motivated, engaged and happy all ties back to the dealership’s internal culture. Every dealership has a culture – it’s the way your employees feel when they come to work, good, bad, or indifferent. What is your dealership’s culture like? If you don’t know, it’s probably not good.

It’s a simple, yet powerful, concept – if your team is happy and each member feels a sense of satisfaction in their individual roles, they’ll perform better. Yet so many employers, especially in the automotive industry, aren’t putting energy and resources into creating that ideal positive, motivating environment.

Keys to building a dynamic team culture

1. Personnel, from top to bottom, shares the same goal. There is a team “buy-in” and everyone supports the underlying message and objectives.

2. A recruitment strategy that targets premium, dynamic team members

3. Education. Empower your team with resources and knowledge. Ongoing education is an important part of any career growth and individual development.

4. Collaborate with your entire team. Encourage creativity and idea-sharing. Create an environment where your team feels comfortable and safe sharing their thoughts and opinions.

Buy-in is key. From the dealer principal to the clean-up crew, everyone has to be on board with your message and goals. Without buy-in, employees will never become brand evangelists, sharing the message and inspiring others. Once you have the workplace culture ‘recipe’ complete, your team will be the greatest form of marketing you have. They will proudly, with no hesitation, spread the message of your dealership’s greatness.

Recruitment is a significant process. The automotive industry notoriously has struggled with this part of the business. Many dealers recruit with the mentality, “a body is better than nobody.” Are you breathing? Do you have a heartbeat?

You’re hired! Dealers spend tremendous amounts of money on bringing customers through the showroom doors, but all of that cash and those efforts get flushed down the toilet when those same customers are mishandled by an unprofessional, unqualified salesperson.

Ongoing team education is an important aspect of most successful, long-term businesses. Think about your current staff, especially individuals you think could be doing better. Have you provided them with the right tools and resources needed for them to reach the next level in their position?

While poor job performance doesn’t fall entirely on the employer’s shoulders (individuals need a certain amount of internal drive), it can’t be argued that a happy employee who feels job satisfaction will outperform their unhappy coworkers. And when we’re good at things, we tend to like doing them more (like selling cars). Check out this episode!