KEY DEALERSHIP EMPLOYEES
I talk to a lot of dealerships in my job. I would say the vast majority of them do not have a full staff.
I told a guy one day to fire his sales people. “All of them?” He asked. Yes. Then the Buts started.
But… they are the key to my business.
But… without them, I couldn’t sell cars.
But… I need them.
Yes, I agree. But you also just told me that you didn’t need a CPA, attorney, or a computer tech.
And I will argue that these people are just as key to your operation as the sales staff. Just because you don’t see them everyday doesn’t make these people just as vital to the life of your business as the sales staff.
See, the thing is, because you aren’t standing by the time clock every day, tapping your foot, staring at your watch, waiting for them to clock in, the perceived value of these people gets lost. Until you need one, that is.
A CPA needs to have an ongoing view of your business. Any one of them will tell you it’s near impossible to help you if you call them for the first time from your car on your way to the audit. It takes at least weeks to get an idea of who you are as a business, what you do, and how much you did it for. Weeks.
An attorney can’t meet you for the first time at the door of the courtroom you are getting sued in twenty minutes before the trial starts. They have to know the foundation of the case, and the foundation of the business.
Both the CPA or attorney, if they agree to help you, will ask the auditor or judge for a delay so they can find out whats going on. Sometimes, you get lucky, and the delay is granted. The rest of the time, you are told that you already had time as a business to prepare, and that your decision to wait until it was too late is just too bad.
The computer tech is the same way. A computer crash is a terrible time to meet one. The tech will tell you, though, he doesn’t get to ask for a delay. If you need a tech, you typically need them NOW. The only thing getting delayed is your business operations.
Point is, for any one of these people, you need to meet them and get to know them, and let them get to know you, long before you need them. By doing this, when that crisis moment arrives, they are ready to help you.
An attorney that you retain will want to know how you work. They need to know if you are potentially facing a lawsuit at any given moment. They will advise you on how to avoid lawsuits. If you follow their advice, the lawsuits you do face are minimized, and winnable more often than not.
A CPA will, on going through your financials, see if you are potentially facing a financial crash, and advise you on avoiding it. Following this advice means fewer audits, and more success on those you do encounter.
A reputable computer person will look over your computers and network to determine if a crash is imminent on that front, and like the others, advise you on how to avoid costly data loss and downtime. Even when an unforeseeable crash happens, there is a plan, and recovery time is minimized, and data loss is minor, if any at all.
You’ll need these people from time to time anyway. You need to have a licensed attorney you can ask questions of from time to time. You need a CPA that you can help you navigate difficult financial issues occasionally. And, you need a computer tech that is a phone call away that can take over when the software company’s support line says: You need a local tech. This is a hardware or Operating System issue.
How do you find these people? The same way you found every other vendor or employee. Ask. Ask other dealers for attorneys, CPAs, or techs they have had success with. Lawyers and CPA referrals are usually available from the state Dealers Association. Those referrals are important, as these are usually accomplished professionals with experience in the industry. Internet searches for reviews, comments, and recommendations are very helpful. Like any review site, remember that no one can satisfy everyone. Just look at your own reviews. If the bad reviews are few and far between, then these may simply represent people who, like the examples above, waited until they were beyond help and expected miracles.
Yes, they cost money. So does your sales staff, cleanup crew, and mechanics. Again, though, they are just as important to your business as the others.
Thanks for visiting.