Spotlight: Fixed Operations Director Jim Martin
JIM MARTIN COMPANY: EAGLE BUICK GMC LOCATION: HOMOSASSA, FLA. POSITION: FIXED OPS DIRECTOR YEARS AT COMPANY: 4 YEARS
Unlike many in the industry, working with cars was nowhere on Jim Martin’s radar. Martin actually started out working in the restaurant business and was exposed to the industry because he interacted on a daily basis with people from the automotive industry. He developed friendships with them and soon, thanks to Martin’s caring demeanor and dedication to service, the job offers began to flood in.
Eventually, Martin decided to give it a try and got his start as a service consultant at an independent shop. Twenty years later, he’s the fixed operations director at Eagle Buick GMC in Homosassa, Fla. The dealership is a perfect fit for Martin, because, much like himself, the dealership puts the needs of its customers first.
“When customers come to our dealership, they’re often overwhelmed by our friendly disposition,” Martin says. “We’re not focused on the dollar—we’re focused on the customer.”
The only way to do this is to find the right team. Martin outlines how he finds the right people for the job and then leads them to success.
Create a Positive Culture.
If the employees aren’t happy, the customers won’t be happy. At Eagle Buick GMC, Martin says that nobody dreads coming into work. In fact, it’s all about teamwork.
“Everyone has a hand in fixing things and our guests see that,” Martin says. “If someone is real busy and a guest sees that, the other person will pick it right up and not be concerned about who is losing a dollar.”
Hire for Success.
In order to create the right culture, it’s imperative that the right people are hired. Martin explains he puts his candidates through a robust interview. Martin has a three-page form that he goes through that has a variety of different questions.
“I ask psychological [questions] and some are just probing,” Martin says. “Some are just rephrased a little from the one before just to see if we can uncover any discrepancies or things that would require some attention.”
Martin says that the hiring process at Eagle Buick GMC isn’t always about who has the most skill, but it’s all about people that are willing to work with the team.
Sell the Value.
“Price only matters in the absence of value,” Martin says.
That’s why Martin trains his staff to do everything in their power to sell the value of the service to the customer.
“We build value by doing a robust walkaround in front of our guest,” Martin says. “We’re checking wipers, we’re looking at the tires and we’re checking any damage to the vehicle. We do that constantly.”
Incentivize Positive Behavior.
In order to encourage positive behavior, like performing walkarounds every time, Martin has created a pay plan that ties his staff to goals and requirements of the department. For example, the advisors have to get multi-point vehicle inspection forms completed and do menus for guests as they arrive, which is tied to their pay plan.