The interview is over. The person sitting across from you is impressive. He's dressed sharp and talks a good game. But can he sell?
Often, the answer is a roll of the dice.
More than likely, your dealership is flooded with resumes and applications from people trying to land somewhere. And the ugly truth is, many of them probably are lousy salespeople and employees.
Other than the standard background check, personality test and your gut feeling, how do make the right hire?
Lee Kemp, who was a Ford dealer for 14 years in Minneapolis, got so tired of the hit and miss nature of hiring along with the seemingly never ending inability to retain employees, he began developing a tool to measure the dominant traits necessary to be successful selling cars.
“The question I found myself asking was, ‘How do I choose which potential employee is right?’” Kemp says.
He wanted to build a solution that lets him see how a person reacts in a real-life sales situation, so he came up with a sales simulator for the dealership.
Kemp spent years developing web-based realistic and interactive automotive sales simulations. He launched the new company, Hire the Winners in 2004.
A year or so later, Kemp decided to move on and sell his dealership to pursue a lifelong dream of participating in the Olympics. He was a three-time world and NCAA champion wrestler in the 1970s. He made the Olympic team in 1980, but the U.S. boycott kept him from participating.
In 2008, Kemp realized a dream by coaching the U.S. Olympic National Freestyle team that competed in China. He now runs two wrestling schools.
But he still wanted to make a go of it with Hire the Winners. This year he partnered with Steve Munyan, who has more than 32 years of auto retail experience, to update the tool and relaunch the company.
The solution, the Car Sales Simulator, has more than 150 interactive video simulations. Examples of those can be seen at www.hirethewinners.com.
A prospective employee's answers throughout the simulation are revealing, measuring closing ability, motivation, empathy and investigation skills — four main traits of a good salesperson, Kemp says.
“It doesn't matter whether you're selling service, parts or vehicles, the simulator shows whether you have an instinctive ability to sell,” Kemp says. “We're looking for listening skills and the ability to think on your feet.”
Many dealers are beginning to have current staffers as well as prospective employees take the simulator test.
“It helps dealers pinpoint areas in which they need to train their employees,”Kemp says.
Some dealers also have placed the link to the simulations on their websites to screen potential employees before bringing them in for an interview.
“It's critical today to make the right hire,” Kemp says. “If you have an employee that screws up, you might never see that customer again.”