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5 ‘nonnegotiables’ help Cooper Auto Group stay on track with goals

The presentations highlight five concepts the group characterizes as “nonnegotiables,” according to Koch.

Accountability: Each person has 100 percent responsibility for their department’s objectives, Koch said. They need to hit the goal or have a plan to get back on track to achieve it.

Assets: The managers are responsible for asset management. In the case of new or used vehicles, this would involve tracking factors such as wholesale profit, cost to market and days’ supply.

“You’re yoked with that responsibility,” Koch said.

CSI: Managers must keep their customer satisfaction index above the average in their zone or market.

“We’re on a growth trajectory,” Koch said, and automakers stress CSI and incentivize it financially.

Phone and Internet mastery: Employees who fail to demonstrate sufficient quality in handling phone calls or Internet leads aren’t allowed to work with that mode of communication until they demonstrate proficiency.

Cooper Auto Group had used a phone training system that scored employees’ ability to take calls, Koch said. If a staffer failed to exceed a score of 4 out of 5 on a 60-day average, “you went back to the training room,” he said. Similarly, employees need a 12 percent closing ratio to keep taking Internet leads.

“It’s not like, ‘Oh, you’ll never get another lead again,’ ” Koch said. But the group would want to “re-Cooperize you” until the targets are achieved, he said.

CRM: Cooper Auto Group wants customer interactions captured meticulously in its customer relations management system, Koch said. The information needs to be completely accurate at all times, he said.

“Believe it or not,” the managers struggle with this more than their respective sales personnel, according to Koch. “They live in that ecosystem,” he said of the rank-and-file sales force. But managers will call a customer on a cellphone and fail to document it, he said.

This precise CRM documentation allows the dealership to evaluate factors such as the ratio of closings to appointment shows, he said.

Koch said the dealership originally set a goal of 60 percent, only to realize it hadn’t even closed half of the customers who kept appointments.

But without clean data, “all of this reporting is just fabricated,” he said.

The weekly meetings can surprise new hires who “realize we run it like a business” according to Koch. “We have these meetings, and it’s not a sales meeting,” he said. “It’s not a hoorah, Saturday morning meeting. … We could be selling widgets.”

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