A common denominator among most successful dealerships is their ability to hire and maintain competent, spirited sales staffs.
But for others, it is their biggest day-to-day struggle in running a viable organization.
It is certainly not like yesteryear when you could extract debt-propelled sales people from competitive stores; people who had to have money and would gladly trade time off for the necessity of earning higher wages.
With today's employment situation creating fewer respondents to recruiting, coupled with what seem to be sales people less focus on large paychecks, we car people have been fighting a battle that keeps getting more challenging.
Recruiting is still a priority, but traditional methods simply don't work. Running newspaper ads, along with your competitors, is not drawing the quantity or quality of potential sales people needed.
We could keep lowering our standards, but even then we sustain a double whammy of too few people who have too little purpose in life.
If you haven't noticed, no single person, newspaper ad or “blow-through-town” recruiting company can fill your sales department with career-minded winners.
The good news is that over time and with certain strategies, you can accomplish your objective, if you are patient and deliberate.
Here are some ideas that could increase the quality and quantity of potential sales recruits to lift your business to its full potential:
Your store employees (minimally management) should seek out candidates at various retail locations. They often work long hours and have a willingness to communicate with the public. Good ones should double their income by getting into automotive retail. Try putting fliers on windshields at the shopping mall around 8:45 p.m. targeting retail store employees and asking if they are physically tired and would like to join the top 7% income bracket in North America.
Investigate past sales associates for rehire. No, I am not recommending you dig up the dregs. But what about those you would like to have back that left six, 12 or 18 months ago? The timing could be right to rekindle the relationship.
Look within your organization for possible candidates. It may be easier to replace a clerk, lot person, parts person or counter help than to look outside your organization for someone who can generate $180,000-$250,000 a year in gross profit.
If you have a website, does it have an “employment opportunity” section and, if so, is it appealing?
In your already-paid-for newspaper ad, could you motivate readers to go to your website to investigate “employment opportunities?”
Send an internal mailer to your customer base, requesting their assistance to fill career positions, including a brief profile for your prime candidate.
Approach vendors, like energetic people who deliver your mats, snacks, soda pop, tools, flowers, etc. to see if they would entertain a career change.
Appeal to your store's best customers for referral assistance. If they love you, why wouldn't they put some thought into helping you, as well as their friends?
Place attractive “Career Opportunity” flyers at strategic locations, such as the service lane, body shop and cashier's window. How many people would see that in any given day, week or month?
Place “head-hunting” incentives throughout your store. You might even consider paying a spiff if the recruit stays 90 days. Maybe the person who recommends someone will put good thought into his or her selection and buy into the new recruit's success.
There just aren't a lot of winners looking in the newspaper for a job, if they are looking at all. Seek them out every day and in different ways, and forget the quick, temporary warm-body fix.
Make seeking and developing sales people a top priority. Get good at it to increase and sustain profits and be a solid and long-lasting competitor.
David Martin is president of the Markee Group. He can be reached at [email protected]