Welcome to the car business!
You walked in the showroom and asked if they are hiring salespeople. A sales manager asks you why you want to sell cars. You tell him that you like cars and you like people. He then asks you to sell him this pen. You make something up on the spot that is neither good nor convincing. The sales manager asks if you can start tomorrow. Four-car-Freda shows you where the keys are and where the cars are parked. She hands you a pad of worksheets and an appraisal pad and says, “Good Luck!”
It should because this was typical in the 1990s and it is still the typical on-boarding process today.
Then we wonder why we have so much trouble recruiting and retaining salespeople.
Here is the truth of the matter: Selling cars is not easy anymore.
Gone are the days when you could just hire anyone off the street to sell cars. We have CRM’s, appraisal apps, texting, email, smartphones, social media, Youtube, and equity mining tools. Not to mention the fact that most new vehicles are rolling computers that require the salespeople to understand on board Wi-Fi, autonomous driving features, and numerous other technology features.
How can we find good people and expect them to stay and excel?
The answer is training.
In order for a new salesperson to feel confident about greeting a client and delivering an outstanding experience, we must train them. There is too much riding on their success. You certainly don’t want your salespeople to practice on your clients, do you? We are told that people only shop 1.6 dealerships before purchasing. That means that if your new untrained salesperson “practices” on 4 clients that don’t buy, then your competitor probably just sold them.
There is good news and bad news when it comes to training. The good news is that there are plenty of qualified people with a lot of knowledge that can help you new salespeople feel more comfortable and be more inclined to stay.
The bad news is that any training that you commit to will be expensive if you choose the right one. It is important that any training you invest in trains your people to YOUR processes. It is also important that your managers follow this process so that there are no mixed messages.
If the automotive industry is going to evolve into the honorable career that it can be, we have to invest in our employees, train them, and hold them accountable.
The results will be a culture that values a great car buying experience and ultimately leads to success for everyone.
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Andy Buck is a Christian, husband, and father of 2. He has been in the automotive business for over 25 years and is skilled at team building, processes, sales, and training. Andy has held every position from salesperson to General Manager and is currently a Recruiter and Trainer for Automax.