Why Every Dealership Should Use an Up System

March 25, 2014

For a dealership to legitimately claim that it is customer-driven, it absolutely must have a customer-driven up system. (Sometimes called an up list or up rotation.)This is true for any operation, from low to high volume sales. A customer-driven up system is the first and potentially most important step to providing each and every one of your customers with an equal and specified level of service.


There are two categories of stores when it comes to the up system; those that have one and those that don’t.

Those that have an up system typically use it to prevent three or four salespeople from fighting over one customer at the same time. On the other end of the spectrum, there are stores that choose not to use an up system. In these instances, people have worked together for so long that they have their unspoken up system. In this environment, salespeople simply attempt to do what they perceive to be fair on any given day.

Managers who choose not to have an up system believe that they do not have the type of store that gangs up on customers. So, instead of being ganged up on, customers are often completely neglected. After having been in many stores like this, my experience is that I’m not in the store for very long before I see customers walking around unattended.

Managers find themselves asking salespeople if they have greeted all of the customers… and, if not, would someone please take care of them? Without an up system, there is no way to tell who should have had the responsibility to approach those customers.

The bottom line is that the necessity of having an up system has little to do with the type of store. It, in fact, can and should be an important element in all kinds of stores because an up system simply ensures that one person is responsible for each customer who enters your store.


So, who should benefit from the up system? Is it there to serve your customers or is it there to serve your salespeople?

Most stores view the up system as a tool to ensure that sales people divide opportunities equally between each other. In a customer-driven store, the purpose of an up system is not to ensure that each salesperson gets their fair share of customer opportunities (although it will), but rather to ensure that each customer who enters the store receives an equal and specified level of service.


You have to clearly define an up system for it to be entirely effective. It also has to handle virtually every customer-related situation that might present itself at the front door.

For example:

1. What is a real up?
2. Who should take care of which customers?
3. How do we handle an appointment?
4. What happens when a customer comes into the store and asks for somebody when they are not there?

Many dealerships up systems have failed because the rules are verbally transferred from one salesperson to the next. Over time, these rules become more confused because of differing interpretations. Eventually, the results look far from what the management intended when he first implemented the system.

By writing down and disseminating the rules among all of the salespeople you encourage everyone to learn and live by them, discourage them from making up or changing rules to fit the circumstances and have a reference in case disputes arise. These are key to the success of an up system.

When implemented it will ensure that someone in the store is responsible for each customer that walks in, each customer receives an equal and specified level of service, and it covers every situation your sales people are likely to encounter.


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