HARDISON’S TIPS – SEPTEMBER 21, 2021 – What’s Dealership Culture Got to Do with It? – PT. 1

HARDISON’S TIPS – SEPTEMBER 21, 2021 – What’s Dealership Culture Got to Do with It? – PT. 1

If you were to envision your dealership with a customer-centric culture, what would it look like?

Did your superstar salespeople come to mind? The ones who always greet customers cheerfully and seem to make sales flow effortlessly?

If so, you’re on the right track, because your culture is all about your people. In fact, culture by definition is “the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people.”

So the question essentially is: What would your dealership culture look like if your team was laser-focused on your customers?

There are some personalities that cater to the customers naturally. But anybody can provide an amazing experience in the right environment. Sometimes is comes down to having the right processes and tools in place.

That means you don’t have to clone those two or three superstar salespeople to create a fabulously customer-centered culture. But you do need to set a clear intention for your culture and provide your team with everything they need to be successful.

But first, why the focus on culture?

When it comes to getting customer-centricity right, your team is critical. Your people are the ones in contact with your customers. They strengthen brand loyalty and are ultimately responsible for providing the experiences customers expect. This includes everyone, in every department.

Harvard Business Review calls the lack of customer-centric organizational culture “the most common, and perhaps the greatest” barrier to customer-centricity.

If your commitment to the customer is communicated to members of your team from day one – and supported every day from then – you’ll find the mindset taking hold much more quickly.

As an added bonus, a recent study shows that customer-centric cultures lead to increased employee retention. So not only is it great for business overall, but it’s also great for building a strong dealership culture.

So, let’s look at three areas where culture grows and can be supported.

1. Start at the top.

Culture starts first and foremost with your dealership’s leadership. Talking about your goals and ideals with your team is critical. But it’s even more important to show them. Here’s a few examples of customer-centric actions:

  • Make time to talk with your customers at every opportunity.
  • Be on time. Customers expect you to be there when you say you will.
  • Treat customers with respect and kindness.

Note that you can swap out the word “customer” with “employee” in each of these. For example, regarding the third point, CEO of JetBlue Robin Hayes recently told Forbes: “Our customers must feel that we care about them. It’s very hard for our crew members to provide our customers that service if they don’t feel cared for themselves.”

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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