Long hours, lost weekends and a dog-eat-dog work environment. That’s the job description assigned to most dealership positions since the days of Henry Ford, and it’s one of the reasons high turnover has been a longtime nemesis of auto dealers everywhere. How many of the sales professionals profiled in this magazine have said they never intended to work in our industry? Half? Three-quarters? Ninety-nine percent?
But they did, and they found success, and they wouldn’t now leave their dream jobs for anything. The subject of this month’s dealer profile is no exception. Toni Anne Fardette, director of business development for Atlantic Auto Group in Long Island, N.Y., started as a part-timer at a Brooklyn dealership when she was still in college. As she told our writer, Toni McQuilken (no relation), it was “just a job.” But then something magical happened: The Internet came along and shook the auto retail industry to its core.
As you will read, Fardette was, by all accounts, an early adopter. Digital marketing afforded her the opportunity and ability to do good business on a grand scale. That, combined with flexible hours and support from upper management, convinced her to stay in the industry. I take this as a very good sign. I am constantly introduced to bright, young, tech-savvy people who have found a home in the dealership space. And good for them. This is a great industry that rewards hard work and persistence.
Lest you believe there is no room left for those with expertise earned before the dawn of the Digital Age, I invite you to read on to learn why Daniel Kim and John Possumato believe rock-solid customer service and foolproof processes continue to hold water in an online world. You wouldn’t badger a showroom visitor who said they were “just looking,” they argue, so why does your website chat feature chime in every few seconds? That’s just one example in what I hope you will agree is a very useful article.
In this month’s Training feature, Ron Reahard returns to introduce a new concept: “Open-source selling” is about rewarding, rather than punishing, customers for doing research online before visiting your store. If you weren’t convinced the four-square F&I presentation has had its day, see how you feel at the end of Ron’s article.
This issue has so much more in store. From trigger leads to vicarious liability, from Harley-riding customers to a memorable Sales Pro of the Month, it’s a page-turner. So sit back, relax and enjoy. It has been a long year and 2016 could be our best yet. It’s a good time to be in a great industry. Thank you for reading.