What the government doesn’t know…

The last five years have seen an onslaught of federal laws and regulations affecting your business. The trend does not appear to be slowing. In prescribing these laws and regulations, the government makes assumptions about your dealership and the people that work for it. As we would expect from government folks with little or no business experience, these assumptions are often wrong. Let’s talk about a few of those wrong assumptions, how they affect you, and what you should be doing to deal with government mandates and demands.

  • The government assumes that Job 1 for all dealership employees is compliance with federal laws and mandates. Government folks’ worklives are consumed by laws and regulations, and they assume that everyone operates the same way. Dealership employees are paid to sell cars, service cars, and satisfy customers. So contrary to the government’s assumption, employees recognize the need for compliance but it is not the highest priority on their hierarchy of needs. Your challenge? Design a compliance system that takes this into account. Emphasize why compliance is important to employees, and make compliance mandates simple, understandable, and part of the work process. And train your employees.
  • The government assumes that change in a car dealership is easy. Government policy is made by government workers who operate by memos and manuals. Want to change something in the government? No problem. Send a memo or a manual amendment. So they assume that if the government wants to make a change in dealers’ business processes, make a rule change and management will simply issue a memo with which all dealer employees will comply. But dealership employees are wrapped up in their own productivity concerns. They develop methods by which they do their jobs. Changes in government mandates negatively affect your employees’ work processes. Your challenge? The compliance system must synthesize the requirements into an easy to follow set of directions. The directions must be concise and to the point. And you must train your employees in the new processes.
  • The government thinks that most dealership employees are lawyers. Government folks will claim that is not true. But if that’s the case, why are the documents turned out by government agencies so difficult to comprehend? How do you deal with this? Translate! The difficult government mandates must be translated into concise, easily understandable map points on a compliance map the dealership’s staff can follow. And train on following the compliance map.
  • To the government, it’s just another form; what could go wrong? The government assumes that if it wants dealership customers to know something, it should just mandate another disclosure form. But salespeople don’t want something new to interfere with their work flow. Salespeople develop a rhythm in their presentations and their processes. A new form threatens to interfere with that. Your challenge? Develop a script for presentation of the new form and explain its benefits. And train! Role play expected objections and overcoming them in training sessions.

You may have detected a common thread through this article – training. Compliance with new government mandates is never easy. The mandates require the restructuring of employees’ established processes for doing their jobs. The only answer is to train your employees until they fully understand and implement your compliance system.