When Ward arrives at work each day, he walks through the service department and greets the technicians, then chats with the sales team to find out how he can help that day. His goal is to bond with everyone at the dealership. His final stop is the F&I office where he catches up on e-mails and phone calls.
"Then the fun begins," Ward says. "I'm off to the sales office on the sales floor and then back in F&I. I toggle between the two offices all day."
When customers arrive, Ward is often the first to greet them. He introduces them to a salesperson for a test drive.
"When it comes to talking payments, the customer has met me, the F&I director, already, and I can come answer those questions," Ward says. "I have found over the years, if we start answering those topics quickly, we get all the fat out of the topic and start putting together a real deal."
But for that process to work, egos must be put aside, Ward says.
"It's a slow, slow process," he says. "It boils down to the three T's: You train that salesperson better to show them this is our vision. If they don't want to change, you transfer them, and if that doesn't work, then termination."