How to deal with change in your dealership
Change happens at lightning speed in the automotive industry. From advances in car technology to the explosion of sales via online mediums, it’s one area that is never truly stagnant. And change can be hard on employees.
By nature, most of us are highly resistant to change. So, when it comes calling on your dealership door, it can be difficult to work out the best way to deal with it AND ensure it’s adopted for the good of the business!
What is change management?
In simple terms, change management involves the approach you take to help your employees understand and adopt change in the way they work.
Change is ever-present in the automotive industry. A very current and relevant example is ASIC’s ban on flex commissions, which came into effect in November 2018. The ban means dealers can no longer set car loan interest rates.
In earlier times, setting interest rates enabled dealerships to make higher levels of commission. However, the ban means lenders now set the rates, with dealerships having a very limited capacity to discount (not increase) them as an incentive to get customers to sign up.
This is but one example of how changes in the wider financial and insurance space produce knock-on changes in dealerships, requiring your staff to adapt to new guidelines and procedures.
Some other change examples specific to car dealerships include;
The right DMS is the most powerful tool your employees have in your dealership. Not only can it increase staff efficiency by integrating cross-department data, it also provides them with essential real-time customer information. These days, there are constant DMS upgrades and new features on offer. Switching to a new one can have untold benefits. But it’s also a huge change for your employees and the way they do their work each day.
Adopting new sales methods
In the past decade, the way you sell cars has changed astronomically. While the dealership is still the primary place, there are countless others that require updated sales techniques. It could be selling in other locations (think shopping centres, trade shows etc.) or via online mediums (websites, social media etc.).
New car technology
This may be the area that has changed the most in recent years. Artificial intelligence to enhance the driver experience, the rise of fuel-efficient cars, semi-autonomous features and so on. Your sales staff are in an almost constant state of change when it comes to adapting to new car technology and translating those benefits to customers.
Why is change management so important?
Adjusting to the changes mentioned above is not easy, especially when you consider that car sales is a highly incentivised industry. Anything new in the way a salesperson sells is scary as it may inhibit how much they earn if they can’t grasp it quickly. This leads to dissatisfaction in their job, a failure to hit targets and worse still, employee attrition. An unhappy salesperson also makes for unhappy customers – an outcome no dealership wants!
This is precisely why managing change is vital in your dealership.
There are numerous change management theories that abound, and we won’t bore you with a roundup of them all! To sum it up, successful adoption of change needs commitment from the top, clear communication and proper training.
But before any of that can happen, you need to understand how your team might react and cope with change so that you can plan an approach with each team member that gets their cooperation without conflict, resulting in a win-win outcome.
And this is where the Process Communication Model® (PCM) can help.
What is PCM?
The Process Communication Model® – or PCM for short – is an evidence-based tool that will enable you to individualise communication as a way to manage change across your dealership. Because with people, if you don’t speak the same language, they will never hear you.
Understanding yourself is the start. Understanding your staff, their needs, their frames
of reference, and their distress signals is the next step. Then you can adapt your behaviour to
build effective rapport, motivate each individual, and win their cooperation. This is what PCM is
PCM allows you to;
1. Observe your employees behaviours and understand what might be driving them
2. Predict how each employee might react to change and identify the signs when change occurs
3. Communicate effectively with your employees so that disruptive behaviour is minimised
4. Motivate yourself and your staff in order to get to win-win outcomes
So how do you learn to speak the same language when engaging with your staff using PCM?
The six ways through which our teams and ourselves see the world are as follows;
1. Through their thoughts where they interact with their environment by collecting and analysing data
2. Through their opinions where they evaluate people and things through their belief system
3. Through their emotions where they experience people and things through feelings about them
4. Through their reflections where they are externally motivated into action by clear directions
5. Through their reactions where they respond to situations with likes and dislikes
6. Through their actions where they are externally motivated by experiencing situations and opportunities to make things happen
By understanding the way your staff perceive the world, you can predict how your staff might respond to a particular change-related situation and adapt your communication method accordingly to ensure you are communicating in the best channel for the message to be received and embraced.
What your dealership may look like
Introducing Theresa Thompson
Theresa responds well to people who respect her time and give her the facts, data, and information behind any plans. So, when you go to talk to Theresa about upcoming change in your dealership, make sure you come prepared with all the data and information that supports the change.
Theresa is likely to ask you;
- Why is this change needed?
- When will it be implemented?
- What are the facts to support the change?
- When will training be provided?
- What will the impact be on my position?
Meet Peter Parminter
Peter responds well to people who genuinely ask for his opinion on changes and provide him with the positive upsides and the value that the changes will bring. So, when you go and talk to Peter about the upcoming change in your dealership, make sure you ask for his opinion about the value of the overall change, and show him how it will improve his ability to make a more meaningful contribution.
Peter is likely to ask you;
- What value do you see in the change?
- Will it enhance the reputation of our business?
- In what way will this impact my role?
- What will be the impact on our customers?
Welcome Helena Hazwal
In a professional environment, Helena is the one who cares about the wellbeing of her team-mates and clients. She takes the initiative to approach others and is nurturing, friendly and always ready to help. Helena will have a natural ability to please the senses – her own as well as those of others. So, when you are ready to roll out the changes in your business, make sure you go and talk to Helena first and ask for her help in gathering feedback from other staff about the upcoming changes – she’s so friendly with everyone and makes customers and colleagues feel comfortable and happy to share with her.
Helena is likely to ask you;
- How will this change affect everyone in the dealership?
- Will the dealership still be a happy place to work in?
- How do the other staff feel about this change?
Say hello to Ian Ionopoulous
Ian responds well to people who give him the freedom of alone time to think deeply about all the possible impacts the change in your dealership will have. So, when you go and talk to him, make sure you tell him you’ll set up a one-on-one follow-up meeting with him on a specific time and date after he’s had time to reflect over what you’ve just shared. Direct him to write down any questions he has and that you will answer his questions when you meet.
Ian is not likely to ask you any questions, so you’ll need to prompt him with very direct questions of your own. Ian is a deep thinker and some of the suggestions he comes up with to help manage the change with other staff will more than likely be great ideas that you may have not considered.
- Tell me your concerns about the changes we are going to implement in the dealership?
- Write down any ideas you have for specific aspects of the change and email them to me at a specific date and time
Hang out with Randolf Rogers
Randolf responds well to people who are able to deliver a fun, positive angle to the changes that are going to happen in your dealership. He uses creativity to solve problems and is good at thinking outside the box. Having fun whilst at work is vitally important to him. So, when you go and talk to him, consider carefully about how to frame your communication because he may be worried that this will negatively impact his enjoyment of his role.
He’ll leave you in no doubt as to what he thinks of the changes you’re implementing and he’s likely to share with you the following;
- I really like the changes, they are AWESOME!
- I hate the changes, things are going to be a DRAG around here
- Hit me with the WOW factor about this new thingy
Walk and talk with Patrick Petrovosky
Patrick responds well to people who get down to business quickly without lots of drawn-out discussion. If you can get his buy-in to the change, then the change will be successful. Patrick is always up for a challenge, he is adaptable and resourceful. He is externally motivated by experiencing situations and opportunities to make things happen.
If he’s not on board, he may become destructive to your dealerships’ culture. So, when you go and talk to him, make sure he’s one of the first you talk to and focus on how this change will help secure him more short-term and long-term wins. i.e. what is in it for him! And don’t forget, keep things short and sweet.
If you have Patrick’s buy-in, this is what you are likely to hear;
- Give me the bottom line
- I got it, what’s next?
- Let’s make it happen
That’s our very short overview of PCM and how it can help your dealership manage change. We’ve really only brushed the surface of what PCM offers, so if you’d like a more detailed presentation of PCM, check out this video here.
Or feel free to give Denham a call to have a chat about how we can help your dealerships’ team become raving fans and ambassadors for you.