Keith’s Retail Life
Keith started his career driving a Volkswagen Thing from Tennessee to Texas to interview for a job outside the car business. While there he interviewed with a job
finder who suggested he talk with a prominent Cadillac Dealer about a job. After interviewing he became one of the youngest salespeople they had ever hired.There were many struggles initially with Keith running out of money and sleeping in his car in getting his career started. With hard work and desire to succeed, he was able to progress and become one of their top salespeople.
Over the eighteen years he worked In the dealership environment, he worked as a Salesperson, Sales Manager, Finance Manager, General Sales Manager, and General Manager. During his career he filled in as a Service Advisor, along with covering for his Service Manager while they were disabled.
As a General Manager, he worked on various areas to improve the business along with employee satisfaction, which continued today is his belief that happy employees drive the business. Below are some examples of his out of the box thinking.
Thinking Outside the Box
One of the actions we took on a regular basis is insuring the community knew they could use our facility to do charity car washes. I supplied the water, they supplied the volunteers, soap, and sponges. We had great success with creating good will in the community and more traffic coming into the store.
Community events were something I worked hard on to do in our dealership. One event we targeted Teachers and had a “Teacher’s Night to have them at our dealership. We gave away prizes, collected their info provided them a view of an actual 24 point inspection done by our technicians and made sure they had plenty to eat. The impact was huge, as I later was able to be “their dealership” and display some cars at their events on campus. Teachers do a wonderful job, and do not get appreciation. We built the relationship with them by providing select pricing in service, parts, and sales.
One area I continue to see not being focused on by management is employee morale. You have to work hard every day as a General Manager to show you care, and to show you have the employee’s best interests in mind. These photos are of an employee get together I had often throughout the year. We had the employee’s children be at the event to have fun with us. Having employees happy and wanting to come to work, along with feeling of being in on things is the best way to insure the client’s experience was exceptional.
Thinking outside the box is not just a term thrown around by some speaker at large event, but is truly a way to find new solutions to problems you have had for days, weeks, or months. In order to bring more people in the dealership, I bought a horse from my receptionist, and had a Raffle for someone to win the horse. The requirement was they would have to come through the entire store and sign up for the horse in the back area of our service department where one of our employees would sign them up along with escorting the person around our dealership. We had a huge amount of people who signed up, and this insured me of more people knowing about us, and what we had to offer. People came from miles around to see the horse (we had a temporary set-up for it to be at the dealership) and spend time with us. These were mostly clients who had not bought our product but now knew us!
Insuring the employees were involved, and would endorse the dealership after hours, was very important to Keith when he operated the dealership. The dealership had an employee council that assisted in improving things at the dealership. Along with that, Keith was a big believer in having employee functions on a regular basis where they could bring their family members to participate.
We all know employees drive the dealership, and if they are happy & involved in the dealership, the dealership will have a greater chance of success.