Automotive Digital Marketing

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Does your Dealership Have a Retention Problem?

The automotive industry, in general, has an employee retention problem. A BIG one.
And especially big in dealership’s sales departments. 
Sure, there are exceptions. However, NAD
A reports that sales turnover in dealerships av
erages 70 percent. That’s a lot! 


I’m sure that dealerships would rather not have this issue -- so why is it happening? 
Well, an article  I recently read in Forbes shines a really interesting light on this. 


The irony of this article is that it is giving advice to job seekers, not employers. It provides advice about hiring behaviors to beware of when interviewing for positions. As I read this piece, it struck me how familiar some of these behaviors are when it comes to how dealerships hire.  


In my many years in the automotive industry, it has not been uncommon for dealerships to be in a perpetual hiring mode. People leave and the dealership needs new people on staff to cover the floor and assist customers. Nobody wants to lose a sale because a customer gets irritated by having to wait due to lack of assistanceSo, what does the dealership do? They hire anybody that walks in the door. Don’t get me wrong, many dealerships require drug testing, etc., for potential hires. But should the biggest concern when hiring be availability, rather than the quality of the potential new hire and how well they might fit into the dealership’s culture? Shouldn’t it be important to establish if the person is motivated, ready to learn and willing to work as a team player to create a positive customer experience? If not, your dealership is probably setting itself up for failure.  


The automotive industry is a demanding one.
Hours are long, financial stability can be stressful (especially for commissioned salespeople) and management can change quickly
adding a new element of inconsistency to processes and expectations.  


These working conditions are never really explained to a prospect. 
Most conversations revolve around 
earning potential, and a lot of managers only care whether a potential salesperson is aggressive and ambitious… and, most importantly, available… as in; “Can you start tomorrow?”  


In essence; continuing to hire warm bodies to cover the showroom, rather than truly identifying people who will fit in and stay awhile, can be a catalyst for employee defection in sales that continues to occur to this day 


It doesn’t matter how many interviews you put an applicant through if managers are only concerned with ambition and availability. Because, in the long run, that applicant probably isn’t going to stick around 


Take the time to truly screen applicants and stop simply hiring warm bodies. My guess is that you will start seeing less turnover.

Views: 95

Tags: PLG, automotive, best, customer, dealership, employee, general, leadership, loyalty, management, More…practices, program, retention


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Comment by Ralph Paglia on October 18, 2017 at 12:02am

Dear Jeanine,

Your finances will dictate whether you need to take a "desperation job" or keep the full-time job search going.

I agree completely that taking the wrong job can trash your mojo and kill your job search momentum, but at the same time the rent must be paid.

If you are in a position to reduce your financial burden during your job search by getting a roommate, moving in with your parents or in some other way I would grab that opportunity.

On  your second interview, asking every imaginable question about the job. Ask them how much overtime they expect you to work. Ask them what happened to the last person in this job.

Ask them about the career path, the amount of travel and the dress code. Leave no stone unturned! Get a copy of their employee handbook and read it cover to cover before you decide whether to take the job or skip it.

You can keep your job search going at night and on  the weekends if you take the job, but starting a new job while pursuing a job search is a lot of work.

Here are ten signs an employer is desperate to hire you or anybody else who can fog a mirror:

1. You apply for a job and immediately get a phone call back from the company recruiter, who breathlessly starts telling you about the job. The recruiter gives the impression that they'd be happy to hire you right now, over the phone!

2. You can tell within the first ten minutes of your interview that they want to hire you.

3. On the first interview, they ask "Can you start working on Monday?" and "Could you possibly start sooner?"

4. They return your email and voice mail messages instantly very unusual behavior for hiring authorities.

5. They are way less interested in your previous work experience, educational background, career plans or accomplishments than they are in your availability.

6. If they email you with a question or instruction and you don't reply within a few hours, they email you again.

7. As you're leaving the building after your interview, you start chatting with someone else who has also just interviewed. That person mentions "Well, that was easy! I just got a new job. I start on Monday." You walk to the bus stop with them and ask them about their work history. God bless this person, you wouldn't hire them in a million years.

8. At your interview, they give you a folder full of new-employee paperwork to complete. Evidently they only interviewed you face to face to make sure you are a living person!

9. Even before you've had a chance to think about the opportunity, people from the company start writing to you. "We have a new training class starting this weekend can you make it?" asks one person. Someone else writes "I will get you set up on our computer system." Why are they racing to hire you? It means there's a problem one you won't discover until you start the job!

10. Your trusty gut says "These people don't care about you. They just want a warm body to fill the job anyone would do."

If you have to take a job like that, keep in mind that it's going to be a short-term gig. Don't get too comfortable, because you will only experience disappointment if you do.

If you can afford to keep the job search going and slam the door on the desperation job, do that instead!

All the best,


Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns. Liz's book Reinvention Roadmap is here.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on October 18, 2017 at 12:01am

Dear Liz,

I like to read your columns. You understand how emotionally draining a job search can be.

My emotions go up and down based on my job search. If I have a great interview, I feel terrific. When I get a "no thanks" message (if I even get one at all) I felt like garbage.

This week I interviewed for a job I could perform in my sleep. Under ordinary circumstances I wouldn't consider this opportunity, but I really need a job. The recruiter liked me.

I just received an email invitation for a second interview. They even asked me what time would be convenient for me lots of employers don't do that.

My hesitation is that these people are obviously desperate to hire someone. Can I afford to take a job where they are so desperate to hire someone that it's painfully obvious to me as a job candidate?

I could be anyone. They don't need my skills specifically. They just need to hire someone, fast, as far as I can tell.

If the job is horrible and I end up quitting within a few weeks, I will have lost time on my job search. I have a few other irons in the fire. Should I take the "desperation" job, or keep looking?

What do you recommend?



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