Article

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by George Dans - Also by this author

The Salespeople You Hire



Have you ever noticed the three types of salespeople you hire—the good, the bad and the ugly? It’s always good when you hire one of the good ones, but for some strange reason, there aren’t many of the good ones to be found. Most dealerships just fight turnover and expect the good-people bus to drop off some good ones.

Now, the bad are really bad. Have you ever rehired the same person over and over? You gave them more chances than a Monopoly Game. We used to call them been-to’s when I was in sales (been to here, been to there, been everywhere). You blow them out, and then when they come back, you feel sorry for them and say, “Welcome back.”

And they tend to bring their bad habits with them. Have you ever tried to break some of the old habits? It’s almost impossible, isn’t it? They come to work to wait, break, eat, smoke, joke, cuss and tell war stories, and when a customer comes on the lot, they destroy the sale. For the most part, they sell about six to eight vehicles a month, and during a hail-storm month, they sell 12—yahoo.

The ugly are the worst of the three; they’re really horrible. The reason is they are hard to get rid of. You might have some right now; as a matter of fact, look at the folks in your showroom. Would you rehire all of them again? Have you ever kept a salesperson because you felt bad for them? Every now and then you throw them a spoon because you need to feed them or they will starve. You won’t get rid of “old faithful” because you think anytime now, they are going to blow their spout and sell.

Businesses that recruit without a plan make mistakes like this:

1. They think newspaper ads are the only way to recruit new salespeople, despite the fact the Internet is a great tool to find quality hires.

2. They often ask generic interview questions that don’t uncover true personality traits or past successes and failures.

3. They don’t ask for W-2s or past records.

4. They think that after the hire is made there isn’t any real need for continuous training and learning.

5. They stop looking for potential all-stars when all the seats on the bench are filled, often with names like Andy Average, Barry Benchwarmer and Barbie Below-Six-A-Month.

The key today is to think of finding salespeople like finding customers. You have to prospect for salespeople. Look at all the places you interface with people, and look for someone who stands out in great customer service. Selling cars today doesn’t take a college education. The method of looking for old dogs and trying to teach them new tricks is dead. Rehiring retreads will bring you the same results
Giving an improper interview gets similar results..

When we are desperate, we ask these types of interview questions:

1. Why do you want to sell cars?

2. Why do you need money?

3. When can you start?

A team of top-performing all-stars doesn’t need a babysitter to manage their every move; they are self-starters and their self-motivation will guide them for the most part. All-stars want to excel and have a success plan through investment in personal and professional growth. The bad and ugly don’t have a plan, so they just sit on the sidelines of life and slowly die, just like your sales and profit.

When looking for new salespeople, always be on the lookout for the good, friendly, outgoing over-achievers who are PHDs (poor, hungry and driven). They need money, are hungry to succeed and driven to go past where failures stop. What I have observed is that you can’t make a duck run fast, you can’t make an eagle swim and you can’t make a plow horse win the Kentucky Derby. Remember to fire the wrong person before you hire them. Hire the right person in the beginning, and then watch your profits fire up.

Comment

  1. 1. D. Rice [ June 29, 2010 @ 11:57AM ]

    Poor management many times is as big a problem as the sales force makeup. Good management can redirect a lot of sale persons if they understand the real driving force of selling, in the individual employees mind. Sales crews are what the managers make them. I personally would rather have a crew full of outlaws (slang for troublemakers, etc) that can sell the vehicles, than a lot full of nice guys and gals that are never late, but never sell much, but the managers just love them!
    I have taken bad salespeople many times and witnessed huge improvement when they are handled correctly. Many managers do not want to put out the extra effort it takes to handle these type of employees. Many of those that have the "bad" attached to them are 20-25 a month sellers-when motivated. Some times a manager lets the ego of his office dictate the poor sales at the dealership, and some managers like to fire someone regularly to show their power and keep the others in line. That went out 30 years ago. Good managers make good salespeople, whether they are green or ripe.

  2. 2. Frank Graham [ June 29, 2010 @ 03:02PM ]

    Edward Deming was fond of saying: "90% of the problems we attribute to people in the workplace are really the result of the system the people are working in. If you want the people to change, change the system."

    In my mind, this is the "elephant in the middle of the room." Internet has placed the customer in control. In truth, the customer has always been in control but we have been in denial about that. Now, the reality is here and we can either embrace it or continue our old school control and manipulative selling methods.

    We can sell vehicles to three kinds of people:

    1. Customers - price driven commodity shoppers who demonstrate little loyalty and likely will not be back for service or repeat business and beat us up on price.

    2. Clients who see us as a real long term resource for their automotive needs. Clients trust us and value our service and advice.

    3. Champions - Ecstatic clients who, without any provocation on our part "champion" us to others because we have made a positive difference in their life (vs. a bird dog check etc.)

    It costs 5 X as much to acquire a new customer as to keep a satisfied client. Perhaps we might focus on client and champion acquisition.

    If that is truly our goal then our recruiting, hiring, compensation, recognition, training and other systems, should be in alignment to achieve this end result. If they are not, then we keep getting the same results - expecting the "right" salespeople to change it.

  3. 3. Frank Graham [ June 29, 2010 @ 03:02PM ]

    Edward Deming was fond of saying: "90% of the problems we attribute to people in the workplace are really the result of the system the people are working in. If you want the people to change, change the system."

    In my mind, this is the "elephant in the middle of the room." Internet has placed the customer in control. In truth, the customer has always been in control but we have been in denial about that. Now, the reality is here and we can either embrace it or continue our old school control and manipulative selling methods.

    We can sell vehicles to three kinds of people:

    1. Customers - price driven commodity shoppers who demonstrate little loyalty and likely will not be back for service or repeat business and beat us up on price.

    2. Clients who see us as a real long term resource for their automotive needs. Clients trust us and value our service and advice.

    3. Champions - Ecstatic clients who, without any provocation on our part "champion" us to others because we have made a positive difference in their life (vs. a bird dog check etc.)

    It costs 5 X as much to acquire a new customer as to keep a satisfied client. Perhaps we might focus on client and champion acquisition.

    If that is truly our goal then our recruiting, hiring, compensation, recognition, training and other systems, should be in alignment to achieve this end result. If they are not, then we keep getting the same results - expecting the "right" salespeople to change it.

 

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