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Hare Chevrolet’s ‘Sisters of Savings’ Share How They Attract And Retain Women Employees | DrivingSales News

Hare Chevrolet’s ‘Sisters of Savings’ Share How They Attract And Retain Women Employees

December 3, 2015 4 Comments

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Part 1: Recruiting Women In Dealerships

Part 3: Recruiting Women In Dealerships

It was another painful year for turnover in automotive retail. But the most offensive finding of the 2015 NADA Workforce Study was arguably the turnover rate for women in sales … a staggering 90 percent. In light of this outcome, DrivingSales is sharing exclusive interviews with women in automotive that are knocking it out of the park.

Courtney Cole and Monica Peck are known in the Indianapolis area as Hare Chevrolet’s “sisters of savings.” The two bought out their dad in 2008, officially passing the oldest transportation company in the nation to sixth generation ownership. They have drastically grown the store since.

The single-point is located less than 30 miles from the heart of Indianapolis, in Noblesville, Indiana. It is the biggest GM store in the state, accompanied by a buy-here pay-here lot. This year they’ve consistently sold in the high-400s of new and used vehicles per month (at a 1-1 ratio) and have even moved the needle over 500 in months of peak performance.

The siblings by no means grew up in the family business. Both played sports at the collegiate level and pursued degrees and careers outside automotive as young adults. Courtney studied accounting and joined the dealership full-time after a brief stint in public accounting and passing her CPA, while younger-sister Monica had a 7-year career in IT before joining the family business. “Neither one of us consider ourselves car people,” Peck said. “But this is a people business, it’s about building successful teams and building relationships with customers and employees. Until we were older and saw that, we weren’t really attracted to the business.”

A couple things are clear when talking to Courtney and Monica: they’re competitive at heart and they like to have fun, qualities that certainly permeate throughout their operation. While the ladies admit their approaches to women in automotive are mostly unconscientious, Peck said, “Just having the female perspective on things is going to make your culture more female-friendly.”

The 2015 NADA Workforce Study reported that women fill 91 percent of dealership support roles. Hare Chevrolet isn’t much different, but a natural career path has developed from support to sales. The sisters acknowledged that sales can be intimidating, and the BDC and delivery coordinator roles are excellent training ground to gain confidence and eliminate some of the intimidation factor. It is not uncommon at Hare Chevrolet for a BDC employee to move to a sales assistant role. The sales assistant supports a high-performing salesperson; learning the process and facilitating the deal from start to finish. The natural career progression is a transition to salesperson and the sisters attest the path has a higher success rate.

Today, their entire sales team (salespeople, delivery coordinators, BDC sales, buy-here pay-here, and managers) is over 35 percent women, with around 15 percent females in the salesperson role. Ladies hold roles beyond sales and support too, extending into the fixed operation as technicians and service writers.

“We’ve created a culture that you treat any woman [customer or employee] here as well as you would any man,” Peck said. Without going out of their way to communicate a “feminist” perspective, the sisters know their teams understand the culture and their expectations. In Peck’s opinion, the store would be “extremely old fashioned” if it was anything less.

“The industry in general still fights being a good old boy’s network,” Cole said. She said a lot of backward thinking happens when industry norms are perpetuated by constantly measuring yourself by what your competition does. “If you break out of that, you will kill your competition,” she said.

A 60-hour workweek for salespeople is one tradition that hasn’t been carried on by the sisters of savings. “You’re only on the schedule for 40 hours,” Cole shared. “One of our female salespeople has three kids. Her schedule is just different; and she does a great job for us. “ Cole says this approach has also helped Hare Chevy tap into valuable millennial talent.

Brandi Holmes began at Hare Chevrolet as a BDC representative and quickly began to take on increasing levels of responsibility. She was recently promoted to the Director of Business Development and will celebrate three years with the dealership in January. She came from a family that had worked in the car business and she even worked as a receptionist at another dealership before going to college.

“The Hare Chevrolet family is a different atmosphere than other car dealerships,” she said. She shared that Courtney and Monica’s openness to and encouragement of ideas has her in love with an industry that she never expected to be a part of post-college. “They don’t get that lock-brain, like stuck on one way to do things,” she said. “It’s a constant creative process and we’re always trying to do the next best thing.”

Holmes shared that they keep the creative juices flowing in a variety of ways:

  • Leadership is encouraged to always have 3 projects moving to better their department
  • New process implementations are supported by a representative from each department affected in a series of planning meetings (from newbies to dealer/principals, every representative is a valued contributor)
  • Studying ideas from books, 20 Groups, conferences; continued education and exploration outside the dealership is supported by executive leadership

She said with the amount of support the teams are given at Hare Chevy, it’s tough to fail and the leadership really allows employees to thrive.

We asked Courtney Cole what she would tell young women interested in, or even apprehensive of, the automotive industry and she said, “If the culture is right, it can be a ton of fun; our people love building things.”

Continue following our women in automotive series, where DrivingSales will share stories from passionate industry leaders like the sisters of savings, who mold their dealerships into places of growth, engagement, and fun – and as a result are killing it in sales and attracting and retaining more qualified talent.

Part 1: Women In Automotive Series

About the Author:

The DrivingSales News team is dedicated to breaking the relevant and the tough stories affecting car dealers. Have questions for DrivingSales News? Reach the team at news@drivingsales.com.

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    Mike Vander

    Courtney and Monica are the epitome of leadership. They foster career development while giving back to the community. Yes, sales can be intimidating to many people and it takes a certain personality to thrive at it. I think Hare does an incredible job of driving showroom traffic (their commercials are great!) and getting business by referral .

    Susan Jennings

    They each and their staff give back to the community in so many ways. Part of their culture and their family history.

    Mike Jeffs

    Sorry Becca, there was an error on eNewsletter. It’s an article not a video. Sorry for the confusion.

    Becca

    Where is the video?

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