Steve Haworth and partner Tim Beinke bought Berkeley Honda in 2005. At the same time, Haworth was becoming increasingly involved in local fundraising for schools and hospitals. Today, the fundraising is bringing new customers into the store. Haworth spoke with Automotive News Mid-South Bureau Chief Lindsay Chappell.
Berkeley's Haworth: It's about trust
People want to do business with you on the basis of trust. They're not coming in here just to save a few bucks. They want to know that they can trust us when we say, “This is a fair price.”
In my case, they get to know me through the fundraising I do outside of this business environment. Before they come looking for me as a car dealer, they meet me as a person who's trying to help them and their kids. Our challenge is to make sure we live up to their trust when they come in.
I disagree. I've done this same thing with a Dodge dealership, as a GMC-Pontiac-Jeep dealer. The franchise doesn't matter. What matters is how you're defining yourself in your community. My feeling is that most dealers can't even say what it is that differentiates them from everyone else in town. Their prices? I don't think so. This is about becoming someone you want to be and someone the community likes.
Everyone has to look within to ask if he's doing business as he should. But how better to redeem your community reputation than by trying to help people?
Look at me. When I bought this store two years ago, we went into an 11-month labor strike. The media here portrayed me as a bad guy. I was personally one of the most hated guys in Berkeley during all that. But it's not that way anymore. So you can always turn public opinion if you work hard enough. c
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