Rarely do we come across a dealer today who claims to have a sufficient number of vehicle sales personnel. When adding the word “quality” to “vehicle sales personnel,” the dealers’ claims of staffing success turn pretty ugly. Why is it so difficult to attract quality people for automotive sales positions?
Several years ago, I was working with a client in Southern California and conducting one of my rare sales training meetings. The subject of the meeting was "Developing and Engaging Your Circle of Influence." I had just finished explaining to the sales staff that everyone you know needs to become aware that you are an automotive sales professional who wants to earn their business. One member of the retail sales staff (whose dealership career was immediately shortened that morning) said, “I’m not doing that!” The GSM asked why, and the salesperson responded, “I don’t want my neighbors and acquaintances to know that I am just a car salesman.”
Was that salesperson unique in his opinion of his job? I think not. There are probably far too many people in vehicle sales departments who haven’t taken ownership of their profession and aren’t sincerely proud of how they earn their living. And I think that’s the fault of dealers, GMs, sales managers, and automotive resource professionals (consultants) who haven’t done an effective job in recruiting, onboarding, training, nurturing, and, in general, connecting with today’s potential automotive sales professional.
There seems to be a persistent perception that automotive sales is a job of last resort, and we have allowed that perception to exist and grow. We should be tired of it, and we need to do something about it! When we convince someone to choose an automotive sales career (or when a qualified applicant drops into our lap), he needs to clearly understand that he’s not settling for a second-rate job. Automotive sales is a challenging profession that a person can and should be proud of. And it comes with many rewards.
Unlimited income potential: Few other jobs allow an individual to determine how high his income will go, sometimes even surpassing that of his sales manager.
Independence: As long as the car salesman is meeting or exceeding expectations, most good sales managers will let them set their own goals, create their own plans and manage their own time.
Sense of satisfaction: This comes from being an automotive expert and helping people solve their unique transportation problems.
Personal growth: With markets, technology, and product offerings constantly evolving, the automotive sales professional is always growing and learning something new.
I know you already know all this, as I do. Since we know it, why don’t we do a better job promoting it...not only in our recruiting efforts for new hires, but in “re-recruiting” efforts with our current vehicle sales personnel? Here’s a question for you: How many of your current vehicle sales personnel would you be willing to employ in a “reverse interview” process with a potential new sales hire that you have already pre-qualified? I would love to hear from those of you who are happy with your answer.