As a single parent, one of the most vital points of success for myself and my kids is communication. From a very young age my children have been taught one specific philosophy–when you are honest 100% of the time then people can back you up 100% of the time. When you are honest 99% of the time then people can back you up 0% of the time. In my current position in the automotive space, I broker the same expectation of accountability in my staff. One of my employees recently said that the thing she valued most about working for me was the high level of professionalism and honesty I expected on a daily basis.
As a writer, I have learned to enjoy what I do for companies such as DTVMS.net. I have also learned that how we articulate ourselves is important, and exacting honesty in all communication is vital. If my department makes a mistake, I expect them to take responsibility, and they do. When leaving notes in the CRM my team will clearly state their errors as well as their successes.
“Ah! I totally said that vehicle was available, but I didn’t verify the stock number! I think the one they are coming in on just sold!!”
“I couldn’t figure out how to spell his last name and I was too embarrassed to ask the third time. So, he’s Bob iDunno. Please get real last name.”
“This lady was incredibly nice! I got sidetracked with her life story and forgot to set a time. She says she will be here ‘later today.’ I’ll call back in 15 minutes.”
This level of transparency is a double-edged sword for me because oftentimes mine is the ONLY department cataloging its mistakes. I see sales associates avoid the consequences for their mistakes through accusations and blame-shifting. I expect more from my own team and when we slip up we make sure it is documented and communicated. Because I build my department on this foundation of 100% honesty, I can confidently back my team up when the blame-shifting starts.
It is my strong belief that radical honesty is how all companies should function, and the easiest way to begin to build that foundation is through consistency of message.
So, how is this consistency achieved?
We must start with our words. When your employees all have the same conversation, your community is able to fully trust YOU. Scripting our employees is not about controlling our staff it is about controlling our message. It is about protecting the company through a consistent, well-planned, well-delivered message that everyone—from the customer to the CEO—can rely on.
I spoke with a customer today who had a 60-day long history of phone conversations and missed appointments.
“It looks like you’ve been speaking with my sales associate Frank?” I said.
“Oh, I don’t know. I’ve talked to so many car dealerships, I can’t remember which one is which.”
For two entire months, we had been talking to this gentleman and we had failed to communicate a message of value and confidence.
As entrepreneurs and business-savvy work-a-holics, how are we not seeing the opportunity in front of our eyes?
We live in a society where money is both envied and reviled, and our companies spend millions of dollars, every year, on marketing messages trying to convince consumers that, despite our financial abundance, we are still ‘good people’ who care about them.
We can say we are ‘good people’ as much as we want, but no marketing budget will ever match the power of a customer’s personal experience. This is why online reviews are so popular. Our society wants to know what’s really going on behind the advertisement curtain.
Creating a workplace environment of continuity and consistency will allow your marketing message the room it needs to take root in your community. The length and strength of your brand is dependent on an unalterable message reiterated through the mouths of every employee you hire to represent it.
Continuity of message is the long-term framework needed to build better relationships with your customers through strategic dialogue, scripting, and expectations
Lack of continuity impacts the entire dealership—not just sales. A consistent message coming from the lips of every single employee creates an atmosphere of reliability, trust, and integrity. Shouldn’t these be the cornerstones of any dealership?
Scripting does not diminish the quality of a conversation and any BDC will tell you this. Scripting, if done correctly enhances the entire process.
In a world where we have to spiff our employees to get email addresses, doesn’t a required script seem a tad more cost-effective? Doesn’t the opportunity to know with complete confidence that your message is being delivered mean more than a few resistant employees?
In the Dealer Talk podcast, I recently interviewed Jim Ziegler and he poses the idea that perhaps what holds sales associates back is their own personal fear of the product they are offering. They can’t afford the vehicle so they automatically assume the customer can’t either.
Are YOU resisting scripting because you aren’t comfortable with using a script?
A 100% message is a message you can back up 100% of the time. A 99% message is a message you can back up 0% of the time. It’s that simple.