Article

How To Find The Right People

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by George Dans - Also by this author

Somebody once asked Vince Lombardi how he gets his team motivated. He answered, “I draft motivated people.” Your success in your dealership will come down to your people. If you grow your people, you will grow you dealership. It’s that simple; there isn’t a magic pill or magic dust that you can use to improve people. The secret to building your team of superstars is to hire the right people first. This will save you time and money, reduce turnover and advertising, and will help your dealership improve sales over time. If you want to increase or spike your sales, just advertise more. However what happens to attitudes and sales when the ads and gimmicks dry up? I would like to share with you the recipe to finding the right person. The most common sense approach first off is to hire people who have been successful in their previous career or job. You can predict an outcome if you know their past circumstances. From there, you will need to train them on your policies, procedures and processes. This is the foundation of building a winning team. Here are four strategies that will help you build your team.

1. Hire the right person in the beginning- Find out their track record. Ask for proof of income and other means of them being successful. Your dealership needs someone who can sell, not someone who says they can sell. Talk is cheap. If they can’t convince you in your first meeting, you know what the obvious answer is. Interview them at least 3 to 4 times and have at least 2 or 3 managers in the interview process. If it’s not unanimous, don’t hire them.
2. Have The Right Training – The true development of sales superstars starts with the right training. If you don’t train them properly to develop their skills, then how will they learn to be successful? Where will they learn their skills? Who will teach them? It can’t be learned from experience. The market is changing and so is your competition. Start your training process with showing your employee’s how you do business. Have them start off with orientation training and spending time in each department. This will save you time, money, frustration and grief. This will also allow your salespeople to raise the level of customer expectations and service. Your next phase of training is skill based development. This is called the basics of selling. Each salesperson needs to go through a week of sales training which will develop their skills which encompass the steps to selling cars. The basics, product knowledge, bypassing price, handling objections, closing, phone skills, prospecting, follow up and building customers for life. Training is ongoing and never ending. Your staff is tired of start and stop programs. Motivation is the want to succeed and training is the HOW. Take the training and development of your team away, and motivation will follow. The key is to develop your people for long term success. Sales promotions, balloons, and dog and pony shows only spike sales. Training will improve sales for the long term.
3. The Right Management – Doesn’t success start at the top and filter down? The right management is vital to a dealerships long term success. There are three modes to building a team of champions. The first mode is called the start process, and that’s when you bring a team of people together. The second mode is when your teams stays together over time. That’s called progress. The third mode is the most important of the three, and it’s when your team works together. That’s called success! If you have constant turnover with your management team, you will always be in the start mode. Salespeople don’t like that. There isn’t any continuity, and momentum comes to a halt. Management needs to be trained, just like your salespeople. We often forget that most sales managers were good at selling, and then we bumped them up into management without realizing that they need to be trained on how to manage people. If your managers don’t have the skills to lead, coach and direct your team, too often they will make up excuses why sales and gross are down. It’s because they quit on their people. So then your sales people quit on their managers. People don’t quit dealerships, people quit people. Leadership starts at the top. Why do you think they put the word lead in front of leadership? Great management skills start with building a team of champions. It’s hiring the right people and then training them on your policies, procedures and processes. The benefit of this will be a positive attitude amongst the team, along with managers being able to do what they do best: coach and manage. The only two things you can do to help your team succeed are manage their attitude and activities. Hire the right people, then train, track and set goals for them based on realistic objectives.

4. Rewards – Do you have a current reward program that rewards your team personally and professionally? Sales people have huge egos, and everyone needs to be praised at some time. Praise goes a long way; money only last’s until it is gone, which is very quickly. Come up with an end of the month sales meeting where you have all the sales team and management meet to go over the numbers. Give out rewards such as certificates for your teams’ performance. Even if the new person sells eight this month and that is their best month, they get a certificate. Come up with a winners circle that is based on performance. Give a three-day trip away to your most consistent sales person who has been at the top of the board for the last 90 days. Cash is gone in moments, a memory will last a lifetime. Another great idea is to come up with a company newsletter that has success stories of all the departments in your dealership. Your goal is to promote a winning environment for your team. This will create momentum and synergy, which will lead to increased productivity from all of your departments. Isn’t that why people work at your dealership.

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