Terry Dortch is a former dealer who is now the president of Automotive Compliance Consultants. In a recent "Industry Voices" feature on Wards Auto, Dortch laid out a compliance manifesto.
Dortch believes that every dealer who has and follows a compliance manifesto will benefit. For dealers, compliance means having a repeatable process in place that produces a paper or electronic trail of:
- What products were presented to a customer in the F&I office
- What they agreed to buy and at what price
- Results and the customer's agreement, which must be memorialized on each relevant document
And, of course, the protection of that customer's personal information and data is paramount.
In order to help dealers, Dortch crafted his own compliance manifesto that he believes dealers could benefit by committing to.
Dealers' Compliance Manifesto
Dortch's verbal declaration should help dealership owners and operators renew their commitment to promoting compliant operations. His manifesto covers these key areas:
- Ignorance or Neglect Isn't Acceptable
He believes that as a dealer principal, operator, or owner you must accept that ignorance or neglect of compliance won't do. It will likely end up costing the store, its owners, and its customers.
- Ensure the Protection of Information and Data
Customer personal information, financial information, and data used at your store must be kept secure and private. Also, your data networks must be secured and protected. Your store has to have an identity theft prevention program. Dortch also believes it's best to extend this policy to your store's employees as well.
- Learn About, Understand, and Train Employees in Compliance Regulations
Yes, there are a million compliance regulations and issues to learn. And, yes, they are also constantly changing. But you still must take responsibility for learning about and understanding regulations in order to take steps to make sure your business complies. Of course, periodic training of your staff about their respective obligations is important. Dortch calls your staff "the dealership's frontline defense," and believes it's important to have a human being responsible for implementing compliance (software won't cut it).
- Verify Every Step of the Way
"Great leadership inspects what it expects," Dortch says to stress the importance of verifying dealership practices. You must set up the needed controls when it comes to money handling, employee policies, and work responsibilities and consequences. Make failure to follow the law, or even the mistreatment of others, grounds for dismissal. This will help install a culture of compliance.
Compliance across all departments, from sales to BDC to F&I to Fixed Ops, will help your store enjoy greater productivity and earn a good reputation.
More Ways for Your Store to Thrive
Another way to increase your store's gross profit and earn a good reputation is teaming up with Auto Credit Express. We are the nation's premier special finance lead provider, and we also offer the dealer products and services that will help you quickly and easily maximize your per-unit gross profit on every subprime deal.
Get in touch with us to find out how we can help your store by giving us a call at 888-535-2277. Or, you can complete our simple contact form online and we'll get in touch with you.