We all want to have a rock star sales team! So why is it so hard to have one? Most likely it’s because we keep doing the same old thing when it comes to building our team. We search for quality people, hope for the best and replace the people that wash out along the way. In talking to dealers today, it’s even more difficult to find quality people with the low unemployment rates. So, what can dealers do to entice the right people and be successful? First, change your goals, hire slow, develop people and stop the revolving door mentality.
Culture – It starts with matching your culture to the right people you want to have on your team. All too often I hear, “Well, they sold a lot of cars at the last dealership, so we are excited they are now on our team.” You can imagine how the story then goes; it’s not the best fit here either! Start by defining what the ideal employee is based on your dealership culture. Understanding your dealership culture should include input from your management team. These are your trusted staff that will be coaching the team to the rock star level you want!
Pre-Screening – Next, embed a pre-screening tool in your process; I suggest using a behavioral assessment. There are many different on-line assessment tools you can use. The pre-screening process will weed out the applicants that don’t fit your dealership culture based on the candidate’s personality factors: Dominance, Extraversion, Patience and Formality.
Understanding their current behaviors and what drives them will give you a good indication as to what to expect from them when they respond to your dealership culture, (the environment) and working with your team.
For example, the candidate has a high level of dominance. Their motivating needs can be to work independently, have autonomy in problem solving, and the need to control their own activities and to be challenged. If they also show a low patience level, they need to be free from routine, opportunity to work at a faster pace, and can handle multiple priorities. The assessment gives you a great base to better understanding the individual verses just looking at the work history via a resume.
Your next step is conducting a behavioral interview. Develop a list of questions your management team can use to reveal integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, personality temperament, and the ability to work with others. Best practice is to use an interview evaluation feedback form to share with the team in making the decision to hire.
Onboarding – Now that you have hired your best candidate, what’s next? Your newest asset arrives at the dealership – it’s time to show your commitment and how important of a decision it was to hire them. Have an onboarding plan! Your plan should include activities for the first week, as well as 30, 60 and 90 days. Also, review what your expectations are during the onboarding process and the specific goals to achieve during this process.
Remember, this is about the success for both the new employee and the dealership. Some of the greatest benefits you have are the people already on your team. Get them involved, incorporating a “Dealership Buddy”, a fellow employee who models your culture and can provide advice and guidance on the different aspects of working at the dealership. This will greatly enhance your onboarding process. The “Buddy” can be a sounding board, and the person who can encourage the new hire as they acclimate to the dealership’s culture and workplace.
Coaching and Development – Providing your new hire with the tools needed for success is money in the bank. That however, is the first half of the equation. Just like giving a carpenter a new tool, they need to know how to use the tools to be successful. This is where coaching is the cornerstone to everything positive for your new employee. Setting the stage for daily coaching on some aspect of the dealership processes will give your new employee the ability to achieve rock star status in a shorter amount of time. If you commit to 15 minutes of coaching every day, that translates into 75 minutes of coaching every week or 300 minutes on average during the course of a month. When was the last time your sales professional had 5 hours of dedicated coaching in one month?
The best practice to accomplish your coaching in a retail environment is at the beginning of every shift. Complete the 15-minute coaching session as a small group activity so your team learns together and can help each other during the day, building on the topic of the day. Consider your tools necessary for success: 1. Your dealership’s Road to a Sale Process Map, 2. Sales Goal Tracker which includes all sales opportunities, and 3. Planting Seeds for your guest to buy.
The time you spend in hiring great people and developing them into your “rock star” performers will keep your entire team motivated and wanting to improve every day!
Don’t miss Mark Ekhoff’s session at Digital Dealer 24, “Creating the Next Generation Sales Professional.” By attending this session, you’ll gain the knowledge of what is needed for a successful onboarding strategy for new hires. Register today to take advantage of 100+ sessions in marketing, sales and management!
About the Author
Mark Ekhoff has 17 years in the automotive industry with retail management and F&I experience. For the past 12 years, he has been a consultant conducting platform training to franchise auto dealers, dealer groups, and manufacturers. Recently, as a Subject Matter Expert, he transitioned Lexus stores to using a Single Point of Contact with Upfront Pricing method. He has coached and developed over 1,500 sales and F&I professionals.
Author: Contributing Writer
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