June 2010, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive
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.