The Gen Y group ranges from their 20’s through early 30’s and are buying 27% of new vehicles sold; by 2020 it will be 40% making them the largest generation of auto purchasers. Social media and review sites in particular are determining what cars to buy and where to buy them. They are “technologically” dependent, they have short attention spans, they are better educated than any previous generation and therefore expect you to have an outstanding training program. They prefer to purchase their products online and have strongly influenced every other generation to do so as well. They feel they are “unique and special” and expect a lot of attention and recognition from your management team. By 2017, they will outspend the Baby Boom generation!
Hiring a Gen Y Sales Staff
You will need to make significant changes to your sales department policies and processes if you expect to recruit and retain Gen Y. It is imperative that you hire this generation, as the first rule of sales is find common ground. It is estimated that 50% of your online shoppers are Gen Y as they often do the “heavy lifting” of research and dealership selection for their parents as well as themselves. It is very difficult for other generations to effectively communicate with this texting and tattooed group. Also, you need to develop a new generation of sales consultants who will develop their own “book of business” over a 4-5 year period and become your go to sales associates for 15-20 car sales a month. Below is a “to do” checklist to make your store is Gen Y friendly:
- Sales Process: Do you know any 25 year olds who like and are skillful at negotiations? They aren’t. So you need to adapt either a One Price strategy or very limited negotiations. With limited negotiations, set up a business rule of how much you’ll negotiate, call it $250. Use a third-party pricing guide like Edmunds or KBB as your first pencil. Don’t expect this generation to do the negotiations; only allow your sales manager the option to negotiate and make it only one “pencil/drop” to speed up the process and have similar pricing for the majority of your customers.
- Compensation: You’re killing your chances of hiring this generation if you’re paying “straight commission” or on front-end gross. Using incentives for this generation to try to make as much money as they can off of everyone they meet and greet won’t work. Create a pay plan that has a salary component, at least $30,000 against a commission plan. Reward volume, F/I and 5 star reviews. You’ll need a training salary of at least $2,500 per month if you expect to attract a better educated, gender-balanced sales force.
- Hours: Do you believe you could attract a better quality Gen Y salesperson if you structured a 40-45 hour work week? If the answer is yes, do it!
- Management’s Role: If your manager’s primary skill set is deal management, you’ll either need to do more training with them or get new managers. In the new world they need to be effective trainers, conduct daily one-on-ones and provide recognition by catching people “doing things right.” Desking deals takes a back seat to personal development.
- Internet Sales: With their short attention spans, Gen Y’s are not going to hang out on your showroom floor waiting for their next “Up” to appear. You should only give them incoming internet leads and phone calls. If you have a BDC get rid of it for sales and direct those leads to qualified Gen Y’ers. If you don’t, it is unlikely you’ll be able to recruit people who look and act like most of today’s customers.
I’d like to amplify the point that your Executive Team needs to practice “Managerial Patience.” If most of your sales managers are 40+ years old they have expectations based on managing Boomers and X’ers. They aren’t used to being questioned about their decisions; they are typically not the best listeners; their strong suit isn’t giving positive feedback. Well, if you’re going to be successful through building a younger sales team, remember you can’t change a generation. Your sales managers are going to have to advance their skills and patience if you expect to recruit a younger, well-educated sales force.
These are the minimal components necessary for recruiting a Gen Y sales staff. Real change takes real change so don’t expect to recruit a younger sales staff without committing to transforming your sales model. If you’d like more information about pay plans or setting up a Digital Sales Department just let me know.