January '20

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28 THE SHOP JANUARY 2020 BE A PARTNER Being a partner with your dealership clients means that you know going in that you are going to have to work together, and some- times you'll win and other times you'll lose. The goal is to be successful enough and to do enough that you win a lot more than you lose. The dealer may not look at you as a partner at first, but over time, if you are reasonable, willing to help, take a loss at times to alleviate a bad situation and then continue to show up and serve them with a good attitude, then you will eventually be looked at as a partner who can be trusted. How do you make this happen? Maybe it's working directly with a problem cus- tomer (even though you did nothing wrong!) and attempting to appease them over a perceived issue, even if it means taking a loss. Maybe it's paying for a broken part on a vehicle that you know your shop didn't break, but the dealer or customer believes you did. Maybe it's giving a dis- count because leadership thinks it really needs a little break on something and feels comfortable enough to ask for your help. Whatever it is, use these opportunities to show that you're a willing partner. Eventu- ally, it will work to your advantage when you need help on something, or business is slow. Dealers can be tough at times, but they are still humans and they inherently know that a relationship or partnership can't always be one-sided. PERCEPTION IS REALITY Finally, how does the dealership view you? What perceptions do the managers, sales- people, service department, BDC and parts department have of your staff and your company? Remember, perception is reality, so— warranted or not—we all must continually work on how we are perceived. Do whatever you can, as often as you can, to work on how you are perceived by your customers. For instance, when you help your dealer out as mentioned above, make sure the right people know about it. This doesn't mean bragging or pounding your chest, but maybe after you have helped an end customer who is now happy, ask them to contact the dealership and let them know what a good job you did for them. It's one thing to tell a dealership cus- tomer when you helped them out, but it is much better when one of its customers brags about you! JOSH POULSON is the principal of Auto Additions in Columbus, O h i o , w h i c h wa s n a m e d Restyler of the Year, 2012-'13. Auto Additions offers a com- plete line of product upgrades including 12-volt and appearance packages with a specific focus on the dealership seg- ment. Josh is chair-elect of the SEMA PRO council and was named 2015-'16 Person of the Year at the 2015 SEMA Show. We all should be doing our due diligence to make sure that our customers continually have no valid fears of doing business with us. Being a partner with your dealership clients means that you know going in that you are going to have to work together, with give and take when necessary. That's Reassuring!

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