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Going Back to Basics: Get Up and Move

customer speaking with two salesmen in a car dealership
Article Highlights:

  • 3 critical items you can accomplish by walking around your dealership.
  • "To make a buck, you gotta get off your butt!"

Recently, while talking about days gone by, I recalled a lesson I liked using on site.

Prior to a scheduled meeting with management, I would go into the meeting room before anyone else arrived and tape dollar bills under several chairs.

Once the managers arrived, the meeting began like any other meeting. However, at a certain point, I would stop the meeting and tell the attendees to get up and check underneath their seats for anything unusual. Of course, several lucky attendees were pleasantly surprised to find a crisp dollar bill waiting for them.

In plain and simple words, the message I was attempting to convey with this tactic is this: “To make a buck, you’ve gotta get off your butt!”

Below, I’ve listed three critical things you can accomplish when you regularly get up and move about your dealership:

1) Observe staff interactions with customers:

Regularly walking around allows you to witness firsthand what is truly going on in your dealership. As you move from area to area, you gain a better understanding of the various situations facing your staff each day. When you’re aware of these situations, you’ll be able to answer critical questions such as:

  • Are your salespeople brushing customers off the lot, or are they requiring client’s to test drive before talking price?
  • Are your salespeople able to overcome objections from customers?
  • Do your salespeople know how to answer the phone or make a valid call back?

2) Ensure your lot is ready for customers:

A big challenge customers still face today is arriving at a dealership, having nowhere to park, and not knowing where to go in the dealership.

Periodic visits to your lot allow you to see what the customer sees. Take what you see and eliminate these challenges by ensuring your lot is easy to navigate and arranged neatly with clearly designated parking areas.

When visiting your lot, ask yourself, “Is my inventory organized in a manner that truly showcases what I have, or are the holes on the lot filled with whatever is available?”

Also, be on the lookout for any trash lying on the ground. Your lot should be presentable at all times. Anyone who visits or passes by your lot should think it’s downright beautiful.

3) Lead by example:

Walking around your dealership and  participating will make your team trust in your ability. If you never get up from your desk to take part in the sales process, your staff will begin to feel you do not have the ability to do so.

Help your sales staff  bring customers into the store who are reluctantly standing outside and wanting to leave. This is called coaching rather than telling. Go out and move a car on the lot instead of telling someone to do so. This shows you are a part of the solution, and not just someone who points out the problems.


Remember the acronym MBWA (Manage by Walking Around). If you’re a manager, walking around is key if you want to maximize profits because it puts you in the middle of everyday events that take place at your dealership. When you’re more aware of what goes on, you’re better prepared to make decisions, seize coaching opportunities, and assist the team.

For more information on training and system utilization improvement, contact Reynolds Consulting Services at 800.657.9784 or send us an email, consulting@reyrey.com.

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Director, Reynolds Consulting Services

Carl Bennett is the director of North American Consulting Operations and Sales for Reynolds Consulting Services. In his consultant role, Bennett teaches automotive retailers in the U.S. and Canada how to achieve higher levels of success and better results in vehicle sales and F&I. Prior to joining Reynolds and Reynolds more than 15 years ago, Bennett worked in dealerships for 15 years as a general manager, finance director, and sales manager.

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