Dealerships fight a constant battle against being seen as interchangeable. Automakers mandate similar facilities, websites and customer-experience approaches. Third-party research and shopping sites spread the idea to consumers that new cars and trucks are commodities, with price being paramount in choosing a dealership.
How can a dealership stand out from the crowd?
The only sustainable difference Store A has over Store B is its people and the culture they embody. That makes attracting and retaining the best people critically important to a dealership's success. Note that the best people are not necessarily sales or service superstars, but the individuals who can best live up to the culture that the dealer wants that store to live by. In a simpatico culture, good people can flourish and perform well above their boss' expectations.
Of course, the best people are in demand. They can easily move on if they decide that they are not appreciated, if they don't feel encouraged to be their best or if, frankly, their boss is a jerk.
Therein lies the significance of Automotive News' 100 Best Dealerships To Work For. Every year, we give dealer principals and dealership managers a chance to see how their store measures up.
Do they have what it takes to join the elite circle of 100? And if they did last year, where do they stand this year: Are they improving relative to their peers?
The competition is rigorous, as it should be. Because the reward for the 100 winners is an affirmation, a recognition that the dealership can use in future recruiting and in advertising to customers. "We treat our employees right." And by implication, we will treat you, the customer, better than that store with the same entryway, color scheme and vehicle lineup down the street.
Congratulations to this year's 100 winners.