Managing Auto Salespeople – The Next Growth Stage
Salespeople are notoriously hard to manage. Auto salespeople doubly.
The industry has a high turnover, lots of rookies, and a bad reputation as a place to work.
There are some things that a manager can do to change that climate, keep their staff, and improve their business.
Why should you care?
The high turnover on the sales floor has a huge impact your business. Many dealerships have simply learned to deal with it, but it hurts your business.
- Customer satisfaction – Your customers come to your business to work with experts to buy a car. Today, they can buy a car online without ever speaking to anyone, why should they come to you? They look to someone to answer all their questions. If that person can’t, because they’re new to the company or even new to selling, they might find themselves going someplace where people know what they’re doing.
- Employee morale – Many dealerships have a core of salespeople who stay for years. They might joke about it, but the constant turnover is taxing. There’s always someone new to train, someone else that has to be broken in. They waste time teaching someone enough to get them on the floor and that person is gone in a few weeks. It’s exhausting and dieting.
- Management time – You’re wasting time hiring someone new all the time. The resumes, the paperwork, the training, the schedule – everyone comes to you with their own life and you have to accommodate. You find yourself needing to get used to a new person every few weeks, follow them around to how their doing, and retrain them in the ways of your business. Plus you’re responsible for their performance. How can you meet your goals if half the people who are supposed to be selling for you have been here a week?
- Cost of hiring – Every new employee costs you money. The cost of the ad. The cost of the processing and paperwork. The cost of training. There are a lot of costs associated with bringing someone new on.
What can you do?
There are three major changes you can make that will help you keep your staff.
Training – Take the time to train your staff and retrain your staff. Look for new tools, new techniques, new information to share with them. Rather than seeing their work as a job, help them to see it as a career.
Training the “old guys” will be tough. They often walk into a room thinking they know it all. They’ve been selling cars since Edsel was a baby. You will need their buy-in to pull it off. The best way to do that is…
Explaining – Explain to the old guys why training is important for keeping the new people. Explain to the new people how training will help them make more money. Explain policy changes and new structures to everyone so that they can see how the change makes the company better.
If you can, bring your staff into the decision-making process when changes are needed. If you can’t, at least respect them enough to tell them why the change.
Accountability – Hold everyone accountable equally. There should be a set of expectations for the team and everyone should be held to those expectations. If someone doesn’t meet their goals, hold them accountable.
Part of accountability is retraining and teaching. If someone is struggling, take the time to not only tell them what they’re doing wrong but to teach them the right way to do it. This will create loyalty. You’re not just yelling at them and expecting them to figure it out. You’re helping them to improve.
Times have changed
There’s a myth that Millennials are snowflakes who want to be coddled and aren’t willing to work hard. The reality is that they, and almost everyone else, understands that most companies aren’t loyal to their employees and that there are a lot of people who just skate by. “Why work hard if that guy doesn’t have to?”
Times have changed. The old days of seeing salespeople as endlessly replaceable are over. It’s expensive to replace them and many are willing to make working for you a career, if they have the guidance and respect they deserve. You get a team you can count on for years. They’ll not only help you meet your goals, but will make it their goal to impress you.
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