November '19

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74 • RV PRO • November 2019 rv-pro.com D E A L E R S naked; there are no secrets – and if you try and hide them, the group will dig them out really quick. "Not everyone works well in that environment," he adds. What they need to be thinking about, says Marzahn, is that all the members of a group have skin in the game. "The group members can give advice, counsel, mentoring, but it only works where there's a spirit of trust," he says. "That's why all the 20 Group providers make certain that members in a group are from non-competing areas, so they aren't working for or against their competition." Spader compares the relationship to a teeter-totter. "A 20 Group is about giving and getting," he says. "There will be periods where you give a lot and don't get as much, and other periods where you're the one who gets more than you give. Some of the strongest dealers today were almost out of business 10 years ago. Rarely is the teeter-totter perfectly in balance." The other thing some dealers may not think about is mem- bership in a 20 Group gives them plenty of real numbers that not only provide a snapshot of how each dealership is doing, but help set benchmarks for performance and allow each dealer to compare his or her performance against other group members. Although each company that provides moderator services to 20 Groups presents group data in slightly different ways, the main goal is to present numbers that are easy to understand and lead members to ask questions of themselves and others. Marzahn is typical. "We put your numbers into a composite with everybody else's, and you have to realize these are 60 to 70 pages long," he says. "We also do a study dashboard that's four pages of graphic information that helps a member look at what areas of the store are shown to be weaker than others." Often, it's also numbers that aren't available to other people in the industry, and a good way to identify trends as they're beginning, according to Lee Berryman, owner of Daytona Beach, Fla.-based RV Profit Group. "Out in the industry, no one collects this data," he says. "There are things we get into that no one has even thought of measuring. We develop benchmarks when anecdotal information doesn't cut it." Not-So-Magic Number How they present their numbers is only one way these com- panies differ from each other. One thing they do agree on, though, is that the name 20 Group is something of a misnomer. Coined by Nichols, Campbell & Morrow (now NCM Asso- ciates) when it originated the idea for the automotive industry in 1947, it suggests a copacetic gathering of 20 people. However, the moderators working in the RV industry say 20 is just a few too many. "Anything more than 20 is not manageable," says Jan Kelly, Chuck Marzahn, a principal with Virginia Beach, Va.-based Marzahn & King, moderates a "virtual" 20 Group session from his home office. Given dealers' busy schedules and preference to be in their stores running their operations, Marzahn says the advent of online sessions has been a significant development.

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