Keys to a More Successful Dealership

How much longer will you continue to rely on the same security practices and procedures you used 15, 20 or more years ago to ensure the safety and security of your dealership? These measures, which at that time were probably sufficient, are likely to be seriously inadequate in today’s technologically advanced environment. Every dealership’s management realizes the need for various types of security equipment, practices and procedures in the dealership.

However, all security is not created equal. There are good security systems, practices and procedures and there are bad security measures. The good ones result in a smoother running, more productive, efficient, safe and secure place for your people to work. The bad ones only provide the appearance of the real thing while leaving your dealership exposed to an untold variety of potential hazards. The real danger is that you are relying on these bad security systems, practices and procedures to protect your business. A task they may be unable to perform.

Management has many responsibilities; one of them is to make certain that the assets of the business are properly protected. It’s up to you to test your current security systems to find out if they are actually working. Check each system to make sure it is fully functional and that it still meets your requirements. Review practices and procedures and if necessary make changes to bring them up to date. Often good security measures fail to meet objectives simply because your personnel have been allowed to settle into a comfortable routine. Routine is the enemy of security. It is your responsibility to make sure your personnel are aware of the importance of security at the dealership at all times.

One of the next things you can do is examine the method you use to manage your dealer demo plates. Dealer plates are one of your strongest selling tools and as such they should be readily available to personnel who need them. They should also be one of the main security concerns in any dealership. A dealer plate is more than just a piece of metal you get from the State. It represents the entire assets of your dealership when it is on the road. Should you trust everyone in your dealership with access to your demo plates 24 hours a day 7 days a week?

  • Does your current method of demo plate management provide you with the access control and security you require while keeping the number to demo plates at a minimum?
  • Does it allow you to follow the number of demonstrations given by your sales staff?
  • Does it keep sales persons from spending valuable time searching for lost or missing dealer plates?
  • Does it prevent them borrowing demo plates from other salespersons?
  • If the answer to these questions is NO then you need to change your current system.

A good dealer plate control system makes plates available to sales persons whenever they need them. They can stay focused on selling. This allows them to maintain the continuity of their presentation. A good presentation equals more sales. More sales equal larger profits. Remember sales people are trained to make sales. Their training probably does not include the course on ‘how to care for a dealer plate’. There are several dealer plate control systems available on the market today. Take the time to evaluate them before you make your selection and remember you are looking for a system that provides you with both security and access control. Function, not cost, should be the motivating factor in your selection.

Once you have checked everything and removed bad systems and procedures that didn’t provide your business with an adequate level of security and you have implemented good security systems, practices and procedures designed to handle the security requirements of your dealership today, you should be all set to move forward confidently. Some training will doubtless be required and any good security system will expose those most in need of this training. It is possible that it will also reveal the presence of persons on your staff who do not, or cannot, respect the rules and regulations in place. Under the previous systems and procedures it may have been possible for these individuals to remain unnoticed while taking advantage of your faith and trust. With a good system in place these individuals cannot remain invisible. It is security’s job to expose these problems. It is management’s job to decide how to handle the situations.

Good security systems, practices and procedures work invisibly in the foreground. If they do their job properly, no one even knows they are there. While the cost of good security is not insignificant, the cost of bad security or no security has the potential to be unlimited. The ultimate goal of every dealership is to sustain growth and operate profitably. The return on your investment in good security is assured as your dealership profits from increased sales by a more confident, efficient, focused and honest sales force working in a stable secure environment benefiting from lower overhead and reduced liability exposure. These are the keys to a more successful dealership.