The perfect road map

It is incredibly rewarding to hear from dealers who use our Top 100 Program as a business-improvement tool. Particularly when the dealer you’re hearing from is one of the best of best. The comment to the left resonated with our entire team. And the fact that this little concept we developed two-and-a-half years ago has become such an aspiration for so many people gives us great pride.
The truth is that the Top 100 Program gives dealers myriad opportunities to improve. The gentlemen from Hall Marine Group pointed it out very nicely, and others, like Jason Murphy of Norfolk Marine, concur: “As a result of this application process, our company has had an excuse to thoroughly examine and assess our dealership. Some questions aided us in considering different approaches to certain aspects of our business. This application process has truly been enlightening.”
Jason and I spoke at length after we announced the 2006 Top 100 Dealers, and he intricately explained how his company had made adjustments to the way it runs its business based on what it learned through filling out the application. For dozens of other dealers who didn’t make the list, we authored more than 55,000 words of customized benchmarking reports for them to use as hands-on tools for improvement. To give you some perspective on that, the typical feature article in this magazine runs about 1,500 words.
Even dealers who have made the elite Top 100 Dealers ranking are using their status as an improvement tool. South Shore Marine, for example, holds what it calls bi-weekly “Top 100 meetings” in which top executives discuss how the company is performing in critical areas of its business. People are held accountable, and it is this company’s road map to success as well as continual improvement.
If you’re on a similar quest, the Top 100 can serve as the perfect road map for you, as well. Putting out fires in our day-to-day grind keeps most businesses from taking the time necessary to thoroughly evaluate what is working and what isn’t. But merely by filling out the Top 100 application, dealers can go beyond their often deep-seeded emotional beliefs of their company’s performance and begin looking at their business from a new, increasingly objective perspective. And more importantly, they begin improving their business through both tangible and intangible means.
To outsiders, the Top 100 Program appears to be merely a ranking and a celebration. But for any dealer who has spent the time to fill out the application form, for those sponsors who help us bring this program to life, and certainly for our team members who work tirelessly to make the Top 100 happen, we know it’s much more than that.
It’s a motivational tool, an internal war cry around which entire organizations can band together to move businesses forward in concrete ways. Simply put, it’s the perfect road map.
Get started by applying today. Good luck.
“This application has brought to our attention areas we can improve. Every dealership in the country should be required to do this questionnaire annually in order to benefit and improve their dealership.”
— Jeff and Rick Hall and Rick Neal, Hall Marine Group, in its 2006 application.

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