If the dealership is going to carry something, it does so in depth. They get every popular size. If there are eight colors to choose from, they’ll pick four and make sure they’re in stock. It makes no sense, Bowshier says, letting something sell down to one or two pieces and then try to order again. “It’s important to have what the customer wants when they come in,” he adds.
It’s a strategy that pays off. For the first six months of 2012, the dealership reported a 21.7 increase in unit sales, a 14.5 percent jump in PG&A, and a 5.4 percent increase in Service.
HIRING FOR ATTITUDE. When you carry so many products and support so many vehicle lines, you have to hire people who will be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the products they sell. This means adhering to strong hiring standards and requiring regular and ongoing training. Bowshier says that Competition Accessories does both.
When a position opens at the store, the job description is posted first throughout the dealership, then on its website and on its Facebook fan page. Employees are encouraged to spread the word to interested friends. A newspaper help wanted ad is a last resort. “The newspaper is very expensive and the results are usually mediocre at best,” Bowshier says.
Then a potential employee arrives at the store to fill out an application. Immediately he or she is directed to a member of the management team for an initial screening. “It is amazing what you find about the character of the applicants by interviewing them on the spot when they first apply,” Bowshier notes. Depending on the outcome of the screening, the candidate may get a second interview, where he is further vetted.
“We always hire for attitude first,” Bowshier says. “We can train a person on about any job if they have a good positive attitude. But I can’t train a grumpy guy into being a nice guy.”
For experienced positions — A or B technicians, or office managers, for example — the store prefers to promote and build from within.
All employees are required to attend between four and eight professional training courses each month. Courses include online education offered by the various OEMs in addition to features & benefits (F&B) training presented in person by reps from Fox, Helmet House, Parts Unlimited, Tucker Rocky, WPS and others. (story continues)