I apologize in advance, as this column is going to upset a number of sales managers.
The biggest challenge most dealerships face is recruiting the Millennial generation who have the right skill sets to become true salespeople.
There are a ton of qualified Gen Y’ers who could sell cars but choose less lucrative positions because they don’t like the traditional sales process and aren’t provided enough training to be successful in auto sales.
On average it takes four months to get hired for a call center position at Zappos and there is a line of applicants for a $14.00 hourly position at Apple stores. These are people who have the same skill sets you need to sell automobiles. So why do job-seekers reject our business?
Let’s start with what the majority of sales managers actually spend most of their time doing. They are closing deals for so-called salespeople, who are basically product presenters. They are “deal managers” as opposed to “people developers.”
If I were a Dealer today, my overarching goal would be to create an “empowered” sales staff that isn’t reliant on sales management to close their deals – which leads to happier sales people and happier customers. When you see a manager at any retail establishment, other than automotive, it is because there is a problem, not because the sales person is reliant on them to do their job…
But in today’s traditional sales model there is a “disincentive” for sales managers to develop sales people. If they create an “empowered” sales staff there will be less for them to do! An “empowered” sales staff also doesn’t need management to close their deals. So, why should a manager challenge the traditional sales model that allows them to be handsomely rewarded for their negotiating and closing skills?
So, if you as a Dealer want to eliminate your biggest challenge to recruiting a young, diverse, gender-balanced sales staff, you’re going to need to recruit some new managers. Managers the Millennial generation want to work for. Managers who have the right skill sets, or can be trained in the necessary skills to develop an empowered sales staff. Not an easy task!
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Author: Josh Vajda
Josh Vajda is Director of Inside Sales for AutoUSA. Previously he held senior management positions with AutoNation, where he led the auto retailer’s efforts in training and development, customer satisfaction and sales operations. Josh holds a B.S. in Business Management and Marketing from Cornell University, and is passionate about community involvement. He is a member of Leadership Broward and has held board and advisory positions with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.