December '18

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78 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 I n the 1980s, my dad was known as the Al Capone of sunroofs. I still hear the stories throughout our industry from vendors, restylers and, of course, our Chicagoland dealerships. He earned the reputation of a fun-loving prankster, and I've discovered the stories are far from exaggerated. Back in the day, my dad walked around the lots of dealerships and asked, "Does this car need a sunroof?" If they said no, he'd take a hammer out from his back pocket and whack the roof of the car as hard as he could. "Well, now it does," he'd say. He would walk down the rows of cars, cracking the center for a sunroof and the back of the roof for a sim-con top. Not only would they laugh at him, our drivers would leave with the cars he struck, plus a few extras. I realize these were different times, but my dad's relationships were so strong, deal- erships trusted him with a hammer in their lot. To this day, 43 years after he opened his business, the bond is still there. BUILDING A BOND How can shops build an authentic bond with their dealerships in this day and age, and a lasting one at that? When servicing dealerships, we all face a common challenge: the desperate com- petitor slashing its prices to steal your accounts. What it's really doing is devaluing the products of our industry while diving directly into the first stage of business self- destruction. It's unprofessional to reveal this to your dealership clients, so how can you combat it? You feel you've built a relationship and they send you work. Do you believe your relationships are strong enough with your dealerships, however, that they will turn down such attractive pricing? Here's your first advantage. If your com- petition is waving around a low price, What's your 'relationship status' with your dealerships? Earning Trust Their By Courtney Pahlke Visits to your dealership clients build trust and respect. Establishing lasting relationships with your dealership clients makes them less likely to jump at one of your com- petitor's low-ball offers.

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