For any organization to grow and stay on an upward trajectory, leadership must be able to pinpoint what their employees can bring to the table.
Understanding what your team is capable of as a whole and on an individual level should be one of, if not, the highest priorities you have as a leader.
Each member of your team has a unique set of personality traits, experiences and skills that can set your team apart.
If you bring them together and leverage them correctly, the sky is the limit.
It is up to you as a leader to empower your employees and use what they collectively bring to the table to elevate your organization.
If you understand your team, and more importantly, if they understand the short and long-term mission of your organization, really amazing things can happen.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to know your team and get the most out of them. This blog will help you identify how to do those two things and do them well.
So are you ready to leverage your employees’ skills and make your team better? Let's dive right into it.
Know Your Team
More often than not, you will have to lean on individual members of the team to take on specific roles based on their experience and skills. To begin to plan for how you might leverage their skills within the dealership, you first have to understand each member on a personal level, and I’m not talking about knowing their favorite color or what sports team they root for.
I’m talking about getting to know what motivates them, what experiences they have that can help the team overcome a challenge, what goals they may have and how they interact with different types of customers.
Having an understanding of your team on this level can mean the difference between making that sale or a potential customer walking away.
And it all starts with a simple conversation.
Getting to know your employees on a more personal basis and showing genuine interest in them as individuals yield positive results across the board. It will help you accomplish your goals and make them feel acknowledged and part of a larger team that cares about them.
Understand their skills and interests. You never know what talents and experiences team members may have that you didn't know before. You may unlock development opportunities you didn’t know existed.
You can awaken a movement within your organization just by showing interest.
Whether you are looking to build a brand new team or already have a team in place that you want to make more effective, you should consider the following when creating a solid teamwork environment:
- Have a common purpose and goal.
- Trust each other.
- Clarify their roles from the start.
- Communicate openly and effectively.
- Appreciate a diversity of ideas.
- Uphold high standards of customer service.
- Build positive and profitable relationships.
- Develop and share your sales and F&I strategies.
- Communicate new ideas and growth opportunities.
Getting The Best Out Of Your Team
There are several ways you can get the most out of your team members after getting to know them on a more personal level. Since you have already established what some of their goals, aspirations, skills and experiences are, you now have information to create opportunities.
Put them to the test in real-world scenarios.
There are numerous ways you can test and observe your team during the day-to-day operations of the dealership.
For example, if a younger potential buyer walks into the showroom and you feel like an associate who would be classified as a Millennial would be better suited to relate to the potential buyer, see how they do.
There is a good chance that they can not only relate to the customer well but they may pick up on any generational nuances and underlying behaviors of that customer faster than an associate in a different generation.
Another option is switching the roles of your associates. Since each team member most likely has their own set of responsibilities and tasks, try mixing things up. See how one associate executes another associate’s tasks and take note of how they perform.
This can show how that particular associate adapts to change, the level of motivation they have and their willingness to try something new.
You’ll be surprised by what you find after trying this strategy out as it can reveal the potential of your team. Most importantly, don't be afraid to try something new!
Think outside the box.
You will be pleasantly surprised with what you come up with.
Another important piece of the puzzle is…
As you know, the lines between specializations at a dealership can be blurred at times. So making sure everyone is as proficient as possible is very important. From your F&I managers to your car salespeople and service specialists, they all must have a rock-solid knowledge base not only about what they do daily, but what the other associates do on a daily basis as well.
Utilizing cross-training does a couple of things.
For one, it allows you to move your associates in and out and fill any gaps that may come up.
Say someone gets injured or has health issues and they can’t show up for work, as a leader or manager, you can temporarily replace that associate with someone who understands their roles and responsibilities and can execute them as proficiently as the absent associate.
Think of it like a chess player moving pieces in the game to support other pieces to ultimately win.
Cross-training also helps employees add to their skillset and become more efficient all around. It presents the opportunity to empower them as individuals and associates as well as give them the confidence they need to step outside of their comfort zone and into a different role.
It allows them to perform at a higher level as well. It is a resume builder, a confidence booster, and it will make your team stronger and more agile in the long run.
It is our hope that you can take some of the strategies in this blog and use them on your own team. There is always a new and creative way to inspire those you lead and get the most out of them.