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  • Gregory J. Stahl-President
  • Bob Bohnson Chevrolet
  • Bob Johnson Nissan
  • Bob Johnson Pre Owned
  • Bob Johnson Pre Owned
  • Websmart Auto
    • Website: www.bobjohnsonchevy.com
    • Top Executive: Gregory J. Stahl, President
    • Local Employees: 596
    • Headquarters: Rochester, NY
    • Founded: 1981
    • Total Employees: 596
    • Years on List: 24
    • Last Year’s Rank: 36

Customer relationships are key to success for Bob Johnson Auto Group

With 24 placements on the Rochester Chamber of Commerce’s annual Top 100 list, it’s clear that the owners of Bob Johnson Auto Group have developed a strong formula for success.

John Love, who is co-owner with Greg Stahl of the Bob Johnson Auto Group, attributes their success to a variety of factors, including the stability of the Rochester market, developing long-lasting relationships with customers, and being responsive to those customers’ needs.

Having the population of the Rochester area market be relatively stable, without a lot of people moving in and out, fits well with the “relationship-selling” philosophy at the Bob Johnson Auto Group, Love said.

“We have customers who have been buying from us for two, three or even four generations, and they’ve established a long-term relationship with our organization, so we tend to focus more on the relationships rather than making just one deal and then going on to the next customer,” Love said. “That’s been a huge factor in our success.”

Love noted that the Bob Johnson Auto Group was an early adopter of a business development center (what used to be referred to as a call center). “We really make an effort to stay in contact with our customers, to make them aware not only of the servicing needs of their vehicles but their ability to trade up from their current vehicle to a newer vehicle when it makes economic sense.”

Also key is having salespeople who have been with the company for 10 years or more, Love said, so customers develop a bond with their salesperson. Aware that many people now like to shop online, Bob Johnson Auto Group boasts an excellent website, with sales people who can quote prices and payment schedules to save customers time. There’s also a “nerd squad,” a team of tech-savvy individuals who will deliver a car to a customer and teach him or her the new technology in the vehicle.

Love said the Bob Johnson Auto Group has a philosophy of managing processes, not people. Whether it’s hiring new staff or developing a new initiative, a process is followed to make sure the quality of the experience remains high for the customer. “We listen to our customers and our employees.”

An example of listening to customers will come to fruition in November when the Bob Johnson Auto Group opens a new facility called the Bob Johnson Pit Stop to provide oil changes and tire rotations. No appointments will be necessary, and customers will be in and out within 15 minutes, Love said. Customers will simply pull their cars into a bay and stay in their vehicle, while air pillows lift the vehicle eight inches off the ground. A team of five technicians will then set to work to do the oil change and tire rotation, similar to how a pit crew operates at a NASCAR race.

Developing the Pit Stop “was in response to customer demands for better service — service that doesn’t interrupt their lives so much,” Love noted. The 8,000-square-foot facility will be located at 1271 Ridge Road.

The Bob Johnson Auto Group now has nine dealerships, having recently acquired two new dealerships in Greece and Spencerport, one selling Buick GMC and the other, Chevrolet. The other dealerships are located on Ridge Road in Spencerport and Greece, along with dealerships in Leroy and Avon. The company also has four dealerships selling pre-owned cars. Two focus on the luxury market and two focus on sub-prime financing and leasing for customers with credit issues. The company, which was founded in 1981, has just over 750 employees.

The business has grown its revenue in the range of 7 percent to 10 percent for the last three years, Love said, and with the addition of the two new dealerships, he expects revenue to grow about 10-12 percent.

“We are really very positive about the economic outlook of the Rochester market — more bullish than bearish,” Love concluded.