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"If you are going to enjoy a Culture of Accountability in your dealership organization, it is of utmost importance that you clearly define and communicate your expectations.


Unfortunately, this critically needed discipline is rarely well-practiced within the retail automotive industry. You’ve heard it before: people will rise to the level of performance and/or behavior that is set for them. Mind reading is not a job requirement, in spite of what some dealership managers think. Throughout our consulting experience, we’ve become convinced that most managers don’t set job expectations very well. They are often excellent at noticing when things aren’t done right, but when it comes to telling their employees upfront what they want, they try to communicate by mental telepathy."             Garry House

Slogan Related to Setting Expectations

Performance and behavioral expectations are fundamental to building and sustaining a successful dealership operation. Expectations can be described as objectives presented in small, edible bites for employees. They set the standard for excellence. Managers must communicate what they expect from their employees today, tomorrow, next month, and next year. Many (if not most) of the managers in the retail car business fail to clearly communicate exactly what they expect from their employees. They fail to tell their employees what is important to them. They fail to tell their employees what the most important tasks are that they should accomplish each day. They fail to communicate.


Where possible, expectations should be focused on activities, not results. Here are a couple of examples:

For a Vehicle Sales Consultant -  inbound telephone appointment percentage, outbound phone and email follow-ups per day, number of CRM updates per day, demo percentage, number of potential vehicle replacements discovered on the service drive, etc.


For a Service Advisor – number of outbound status calls per customer per day, percent interactive walk-arounds, percent menu penetration, percent sales penetration on ASRs received from technicians, percent email penetration, etc.                                                                   

Start with a vision of what you want the end result to be for the employee. Clearly define the activities required to produce the desired end result; these are your expectations. Today’s expectations should produce tomorrow’s results!


From the very beginning, establish your expectations in writing. A detailed Job Description or a set of Job Objectives is a MUST! An example of the “Job Objectives” format that we like best, It's More Than a Job Description.pdf, is available within FREE Stuff under the Browse Our Resources menu tab. This format also services as an employee evaluation tool. Also make sure that you ask employees to sign any document related to expectations. After the document is signed, give the employee a copy for his records. A signed acknowledgement of expectations stands to reinforce employee performance and behavior.


Never check for understanding of expectations by asking, “Do you understand?” Your employees don’t want to look stupid, and they will answer, “Yes.” Instead, ask questions about the expectations: “Which one is most important? Why? What will be your first steps? If you perform this activity as it’s laid out, what will the result look like?”

Set your expectations high…not so high that they are impractical or unreachable, but just high enough so your team has to stretch a bit to get there. Every professional believes that stretching is good for you.

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In addition to Job Descriptions or Job Objectives, GH&A believes that the following tools should be implemented to ensure the effective definition and communication of expectations.

  • Dealership and Departmental Organization Charts

  • Did It Today (DIT) Sheets (Sample included in FREE Stuff)

  • Frequent and Consistent One-on-One Meetings with Each Employee

  • Annual Performance Review Meetings

Should you wish, GH&A can help you develop and implement this important discipline into your dealership or departmental culture.  Call us by referring to the "Contact Us" Tab beneath the Connect with Garry button on the main menu. You'll be glad you did! There will be no charge for our initial conference. Remember, GH&A always provides Value First!

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