Dealer profile Snows GroupThe group has been seeing good growth from fixed price service campaigns that manufacturers are getting behind. This is bringing four-year plus customers back into the business based on price.Snow said: "We don't just focus the sales team on service plans, but our aftersales receptionists are trained to offer them too."This focus has led to the company selling 94,612 service hours in 2011.Finance and insuranceFinance and insurance has always been important to the group, but Snow believes it is now more important to be even better at it. He said: "You need to be successful in that area. You might have been able to get away with it before, but now it has to be a major focus area and you need to be good at it if you're going to be successful with your sales profitability."Training, systems, daily reporting and consistency with sales process have been the key ingredients in getting to grips with F&I.RecruitmentThe group doesn't have a massive churn, with new staff members working with 16 employees who have been at the company for more than 25 years. An assessment ContinuesStephen Snow is aware how influential the internet is on the motor trade and is moving its website to a new platform with GForces.He said: "The internet is our new showroom. Our old site did a job, but we need to take it to a new level. The new website has to be our new showroom because we will get as many enquiries from that as from people walking through doors."The group will be phasing in live chat and Snows knows the internet is only ever going to become a bigger influence on the way dealers do business.The group is also looking to allow customers to book themselves in for servicing online, selecting a date and a time for servicing. Snow said: "We'll have a part-exchange valuation on the website, but it's not a completed deal until we've seen the car. We'll have a finance tool too to give them an estimate."Capturing internet's growing influencecentre for recruiting managers is key. All potential managers have to demonstrate competency with pres-entations, team management and accounts.Once appointed to the business, management is benchmarked across four sets of criteria. That process has evolved over the last several years. The business has moved its bonus structure through those phases to reflect key performance indicators for the business. Bonuses are paid for delivering success as a depart-ment, adhering to administrative procedures and maintaining a healthy database. It's not just bottom line.There's also the flexibility for managers to take teams out for a meal or bowling if they've had a good month. Creating and building team spirit is important.Snow said: "We're quite simple people really, we pay the going rate allowing productive staff the ability to earn a bonus from their good performance."We're still here as a result of those changes. If you stand still you're actually moving backwards, so we keep moving and evolving what we do."The futureSnows will stay privately owned and there's no desire to change that. Ideally, the group will look to grow further with the eight brands it already represents. "If you stand still you are actually moving backwards"
New car marketNewsCV ShownewsUsed car analysisNewsRecruitmentdigestDealer profileShowroom"Bringing back the scrappage scheme would help too. It helped us through a difficult period and everyone in the industry was surprised they didn't continue with it because it wasn't actually costing the Government anything to do it with the tax it was gaining."The 'shoulder is still to the wheel' and Snows knows it will be a tough year. The group will continue to build on its relationships with its business partners and there are plenty of new products coming through to help the group to continue to be successful and deliver a positive year.There's also no ambition to move beyond its current geographical coverage.Snow said: "Our expertise is tuned to the local markets and we have a brand here. We have opened seven businesses in the last three years, which is enough."Some are doing really well and some have been more difficult to "get going". He said: "We had a tough first year with Volvo and Kia in Basingstoke, but it's going well now. It's a much improved business."Peugeot Romsey is a new brand for us so it's a new relationship to build."It's a lot harder work if you take our new businesses with franchises that haven't been represented in the area before. You've got to find your customers and put your name out there"Snows will always try to recruit from within and this is one of the elements which helps ensure the group installs the family ethos at new startup dealerships. Snow said: "If we've got good people coming through then we'll always try and marry them up together."The Government could do more to help dealers with businesses facing increased costs from pensions, NI contributions and fuel, he said. Unnecessary regulation is also another big problem.Snow said: "There does seem to be a lot of red tape and sometimes that involves employing outside consult-ants to help get you through it and that's all extra cost to the business.Kia is one of eight franchises represented by SnowsSource AMiam-online.com/amiSnows financial KPIs