What I’ve learned as a vendor: About Dealer GM’s Part Two

Nicole Marcellino

A dealer is only as good as its GM. A bad GM can wreak havoc on your dealership’s success. In the last two years, it’s been a wild ride. And for some GM’s a wild joy ride of selling over sticker, forgoing training, and worse – falling back into bad habits. Habits like not following up with customers, not answering leads, or answering leads very sloppily. Having been a GM and learning from my own mistakes, the below is the good, the bad, and the ugly of what sets apart a good GM from a bad GM. 

About Dealers, part 2:

  • If you’re a GM and are so busy that you can’t even take a phone call then you either have horrible time management skills or worse you’re ignoring a problem. 
  • You can’t slow-pay invoices your way to a bonus forever. This is a one-time move. You will always pay the piper. Always. 
  • You can’t save your way to a profit forever. This is a two-quarter move at best. You’re likely destroying infrastructure in the process which will take months to get back. 
  • Nobody knows everything, and those that refuse to admit it aren’t long for their current stores.
  • If you spend more time on the “speaking circuit” than you do in your store, that’s a problem. Do your stores practice what you preach? And what are you preaching exactly? 
  • Reality, being a GM doesn’t mean you’re a self-help guru. Get off your microphone and focus on your store. If you’re doing “well,” you can always be doing better. Those are relative terms anyway. Point is, to focus on why you’re doing well and ensure that your dealership can sustain that path forward. 
  • Reality, 80% of GMs are the hardest working, most caring, and most intelligent people you’ll meet. The unfortunate “reality” is it’s the 20% that overshadows the 80%. One bad apple is all it takes to create perception. And we all know perception is reality. 
  • Reality, don’t confuse the current market anomaly as skill.
  • Reality, don’t confuse a hot brand and a great location as your own brilliance. 
  • Selling over sticker is holistically a horrible, horrible practice. So is burying people in cars with ridiculous terms, useless backend products, and unfair reserves. Just wait until this joy ride ends and you’ve got a stagnant customer base with customers who are flipped more than the car is worth, more than a bank will finance, and more than what they have to put down. 
  • Reality, if during a pandemic your customers came to you and asked you to make their car payments, would you? Riiiight… I didn’t think so. 

Bottom line: this joy ride of selling over sticker – sticking it to the customer – will soon come to an end. What have you done as a GM to ensure your dealership’s success in the near future? When’s the last time you checked the CRM to get a pulse on customer follow-up? 

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