Monday, January 25, 2010

Business Ethics:

Niche Opportunity for Car Dealers

If you tuned in my live radio talk show either of the last two Saturdays, you heard me interviewing Professor Marianne Jennings, an expert on business ethics. She’s written 10 books, the most recent being The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse; How to Spot Moral Meltdowns in Companies…Before It’s Too Late. She made the comment that with the ethical vacuum in today’s business environment there was a true niche opportunity for those that do run ethical businesses.

I’d be lying if I said “I hate to toot my own horn” because I’m no different from anyone else. I love to brag about the accomplishments of my company’s team. The only reason I don’t do it more is because I know its boring to my customers. My customers care a lot more about being treated with courtesy, efficiency, and integrity than the fact that we sell more cars than anybody else.

But, if my company’s success can send an important and useful message to other car dealers, then touting my company’s success can serve a useful purpose. My company’s stated purpose is to “Make the car buying and servicing experiences pleasurable ones for our customers, and, leading by example, bring integrity and respectability to the image of car dealers everywhere.” Therefore this is my “excuse” to tell you and other car dealers how well Earl Stewart Toyota did in 2009. The message to other car dealers is that you too can prosper if you follow the ethical guidelines that Earl Stewart Toyota has followed.

Earl Stewart Toyota has the highest customer satisfaction scores in sales for 2009 of any other Toyota dealership from Orlando to Key West, coast to coast. We also were in a virtual tie with Maroone Toyota in Ft. Lauderdale for the best in service and parts customer satisfaction. We are the #1 volume Toyota dealership in sales satisfaction in the entire USA based on the November YTD numbers. The December numbers were not out as of today, but we were so far ahead, I’m confident we will remain #1,

We outsold every car dealership Palm Beach and Broward Counties in 2009. In fact, only Kendall Toyota in Dade County and Ft. Myers Toyota in Lee County sold more cars. We finished 2009 as the #4 volume Toyota dealership in the Southeast USA and #31 in the USA. We were #3 in Florida in 2009, but were #2 in Florida and the Southeast USA for the last half of 2009.

All of this is pretty amazing when you consider we’re located in the small town of Lake Park, Fl, population approximately 9,000. It defies conventional wisdom to think that a small town car dealer could outsell all of the dealers in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale and even Atlanta Ga. It also defies conventional wisdom for a car dealer who rarely ever advertises a price or has a sale to outsell all those who seem to never stop having sales.

So there you have it car dealers of Florida…the secret to my success. Half of me hopes that you will listen and treat your customers better…the human side. The competitive side of me hopes that you never get it and allow me to continue to grow my market share and win over your customers.

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