This isn’t only true for car dealerships, it’s just especially true for car dealerships: Every sale you make hinges on providing a positive customer experience. And, the most positive customer experiences come when you have an engaged workforce that feels connected to and invested in their own success and the dealership’s success and reputation.

All ships rise with the tide. And that goes for car sales too.

  • High employee engagement has been shown to correlate with 51% more gross profit for new car sales. (source)
  • High employee engagement in used car sales resulted in 23% more gross profit. (source)

But here are the best employee engagement statistics for car dealerships:

  • Dealerships who scored in the top quartile for most engaged employees made $982 additional profit per new car sold. (Infographic)
  • Engagement is inextricably linked with customer satisfaction and higher sales for car dealerships

In the paper “Which comes first, organizational culture or performance?” published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, researchers studied 95 independently-owned car dealerships around the country, over the course of six years. These dealerships carried the same products and used the same performance metrics. Researchers assessed four primary cultural traits, all markers of an engaged culture:

  • Involvement
  • Consistency
  • Adaptability
  • Mission

And, of course, they measured vehicle sales.

Here’s what they found:

“Overall, department culture was found to consistently predict higher subsequent levels of customer satisfaction ratings and vehicle sales… in addition, the positive effect of culture on vehicle sales was mediated by customer satisfaction.” (Forbes)

Customer satisfaction is a direct result of higher engagement – and increased sales is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Employee engagement is the lynchpin that connects them all.

Don’t confuse engagement with team building

Employee engagement is not the same as the “team building activities” with which many car dealership owners and managers are familiar. While employee engagement does build teams, it does it from a different angle – connecting employees through a shared sense of purpose.

Even when salespeople work on commission, even when you have a competitive atmosphere, you can have an engaged, collaborative workforce who are committed to doing their best to serve customers, raise your reputation, and sell, sell, sell!

3 Ways to Drive up Engagement at Your Dealership

  1. Engagement starts at the top. Just like any other industry, employee engagement trickles down from the examples set by leadership. Engagement starts with an engaged owner.
  2. Engagement requires an Engaged Purpose. Rallying around a shared sense of purpose is what will fuel your team to bring their A-game. Find out how to write your own Engaged Purpose to share with your team here.
  3. Provide opportunities for professional development. One ingredient to employee engagement that doesn’t get nearly enough attention is providing the ability for employees to grow and improve in their roles. Growth potential is closely linked to employee retention too. But when you have a customer-service-dependent business, like a car dealership, providing additional training is even more important, because when your staff knows what they’re doing, they’ll win customers’ trust and loyalty.