One of the most important jobs of a department manager is working to keep their team motivated. In the parts department it is even more important than in service and sales because of the amount of customer contact that happens daily. One unmotivated parts person can impact both your parts sales and your customers’ experience with your dealership. One of the simplest and most overlooked methods of motivating any employee is using goals and objectives.

While they might seem to be the same thing, goals are actually the end result that you want to achieve, where an objective is a step you take to achieve that goal. Just for fun, let’s say that the goal of your parts department is to increase the profitability by 10 percent over the previous year. The 10 percent would become your goal.  The objectives would become the steps you and your parts salespeople would take to reach the goal by the end of the year.

Your job as a manager is to work with your team to brainstorm the various things each person could do, or the parts department could do as a team to reach that goal. A simple goal would be for you to simply increase your gross profit by 10 percent. You could do that by working with your parts people to focus on more upselling and cross-selling, because doing either consistently will improve your parts profitability. Another possible objective would be to improve the selling that takes place on your parts displays in the showroom. By changing out the endcaps and the seasonal displays, your parts customers will end up buying more parts from you on their own. You could set an objective for improving your stock order purchasing to maximize discounts and free freight.

The most important thing for every parts manager to keep in mind is that good objectives must be realistic and measurable.  When you get your team involved with the growth of the department by letting them take ownership of the objectives to hit their goals, you will find that most of your people will be naturally motivated and excited as they see their energy and work having a real impact on the parts department, the dealership, and hopefully their paychecks.

I am going to challenge you as a parts manager to dream a little. Set a goal to move your parts department forward, and get your team involved with defining the specific objectives you both need to achieve to hit your goals. Review those objectives on a daily basis and watch your sales grow and your people get their excitement and passion back for the department.