January '20

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26 THE SHOP JANUARY 2020 f you ever work with deal- erships, you know that as rewarding as it can sometimes be, it can also get rocky from time to time. It could be a change in leadership at the dealership. It could be a change in philosophy by the dealer principal. It could even be outside influences, like competitors or the OE manufacturers themselves. None of these things are in your control, yet you still have to deal with them and move on in order to keep the train rolling. Quite frankly, it sometimes feels like even when things are going great that they could still collapse with one false step. So, what can you do to prevent your deal- ership relationships from slipping? Here are some steps to consider: CONSTANTLY WORK ON THE RELATIONSHIP Never take for granted that the relation- ships you have with your dealerships are perfect. You and your team should always have the philosophy that you have to earn their business every day. Never think you have it all covered and what you are doing is untouchable. The moment you get complacent is the day things start falling apart. Think about it—have you ever had a product vendor or manufacturer that you had a great relationship with all of a sudden start slacking off a little or grow complacent about your business? What could eventu- ally happen? Exactly—you start to see other products from a competitor and you sud- denly take a second look. Then you might open the door for them to do business, and the next thing you know, you have a new relationship and the first vendor is won- dering what happened. It can happen fast, and to any of us. So, don't get complacent, don't take things for granted and work at your relationships with your car dealer customers every day. TRY TO SQUELCH ANY POTENTIAL FEARS We all should be doing our due diligence in making sure that our customers continually have no valid fears of doing business with us. Whether it's warranty concerns, product concerns or liability concerns, all of us need to be working with dealerships to make sure those fears don't gain strength. This requires communication and, sometimes, documentation. When was the last time you dropped off a copy of your insurance liability to show the dealer that you are insured and are offering them protection? Do you simply wait until you are asked for it? Wouldn't it be better to be proactive and make sure leadership knows they are protected, and you have documented it so that if or when an issue arises, they can vouch for you instead of coming to you later asking for the info? Also, do you introduce new products and do trainings so that, again, products are less likely to be oversold by an anxious salesperson at the dealership? Do they real- istically know what you or your products can and can't accomplish, so that they are less likely to put you in a spot of overprom- ising and underdelivering? Think of the fears a dealership could have about doing business with you and then do what you can to address their concerns up front. That's Restylers need to be constantly monitoring & improving their dealer relationships. Reassuring! I By Josh Poulson Never take for granted that the relationships you have with your dealerships are perfect. You and your team should always work to earn their busi- ness every day.

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