Interview with Don Hall, President & CEO of Virginia Automobile Dealers’ Association

January Issue For Dealer Magazine by Chuck Barker Every now and then you meet someone who simply stands out as an impressive individual who radiates confidence, intelligence, charm, respectfulness and ties it all together with an infectious genuine personality. Don Hall, the CEO of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, for the last 30 years is one of those rare individuals. I recently had the opportunity to spend time with Don in gathering his response to several automobile related questions and came away with enough detailed information to fill this entire magazine. In the spirit of limiting this piece to a few pages I chose the following interview questions to highlight as Part I of a two-part piece (Part II will be published in an upcoming issue of Dealer magazine). Don’s perspective should hopefully enlighten dealers to encourage their respective State Associations to play a much larger part towards their mission in assisting their dealership community.   Don, walk me through your history, what brought you to VADA, and what benefits VADA renders to the Virginia dealership community. Right out of the Marine Corp I worked for a bank while attending college. I clearly recognized that I was not well suited for a large corporate environment. I needed an area where I could flourish, and utilize leadership and initiative. The automobile industry provided that opportunity. I went to work with Carter Myers in Richmond, learned the business and did a pretty good job. We all have a calling in life to do something. Most of us never find it. I found my calling was to work with car dealers. It’s an industry...

CRM: It All Starts at the Top

For any customer relationship management (CRM) processes to succeed, one factor has to be present and that’s the store’s “top down CRM leadership strategy.” Without this, the odds of a successful implementation dim quite a bit. A change in the way we do business is where it begins and ends. Our business is so accustomed to performing tasks one way and one way only that we are often locked in a sales process paradigm, which prevents us from seeing the magnificent multitude of new ways to do business. “If you begin to look at things differently, then things will begin to look different.” ~ Albert Einstein Put On A New Pair Of Glasses To ensure successful design, implementation and effective production from CRM and BDCs, changing the way you and your employees do business has to be in your foundation. I particularly like the quote from Herbert Kaufman: “Failure is only postponed success as long as courage ‘coaches’ ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory.” Persistence is what you as a leader will have to have to ensure total success. You will be leading your team where no one has gone before in your store and you will most likely encounter sizable resistance. Do not compromise your position, be persistent and charge forward with leadership. Leaders know the way, go the way and show the way. It is your job to take the vision and make it reality. Our business is quite unique. It has a history of being riddled with doing things the wrong way, usually attributable to paradigms, laziness or, in a lot of...