Traditional roles in dealership culture are changing rapidly, and current employee structures need to adapt accordingly. In the past, it was not uncommon for a dealership to foster a culture where most employees operated within siloes. For example, sales associates and finance & insurance (F&I) personnel traditionally were relegated to two separate departments with little-to-no interaction between them (except for the initial customer hand-off). If someone from the sales side didn’t properly prepare the customer for the F&I side, the process could seem overwhelming or uncomfortable and cause customers to walk away.
Pigeon-holing employees into one specific role in your dealership hierarchy can also cause riffs between staff members and create internal dissonance. The notion of separate departments and roles does little to establish synergy or teamwork within a business. Instead, it often leads to employees not fully understanding the importance of the work being done by each party and results in them blaming each other when a promising deal falls through.
The Evolution of the Dealership Employee
Recently, the auto industry has experienced the rise of the product specialist. A product specialist is a position that replaces the “old-school car salesperson.” Instead of pushing to make the hard sell, like dealerships commonly do, the product specialist instead is a resource for car buyers, providing in-depth information and insight about each and every vehicle line.