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“What is the number one challenge most dealers have with improving profits?” 1) Employee Turnover, 2) Capital, 3) Inventory, 4) Process, and 5) Recruiting Talent. Of those polled, 30% answered “Recruiting Talent”.
It is not rocket surgery (it is easier to build a rocket than trouble shoot and repair one) as to how talent affects the dealership’s bottom line. What puzzles me is why sales staff recruiting seems to be a difficult task. I will admit that I work for an automotive management and sales staff recruiting firm, but as the Marketing Director and not a Recruiter. As part of my job, I have picked the brains of our automotive recruiters to better understand the magic that they create. Their talent seems to be a high level of ability to handle a tedious and time consuming task. Maybe our automotive recruitment team does have some magic pixie dust that they are hiding from me, but every week each one of our recruiting campaigns churns out a barrel of management and sales staff talent. I sometimes wonder where they come from or when the pool might dry up, but currently there seems to be an abundance of talent in the market. Supply does not seem to be the pitfall when recruiting sales talent.
There seems to be a disconnect between recruiting and providing automotive fundamental sales performance training and their overall longevity. It all starts with the best of intentions and then breaks down from there. Just one minor event can turn that barrel of apples to rot, one apple at a time. If you want good salespeople, you must treat them like they have value and this starts from the initial contact. How often are questions about income and hours smoothed over with vague descriptions? When a pay plan is discussed, how much of it is subjective to management discretion? When the candidate comes in for an interview, how long are they left to wait for that interview? During the interview are realistic expectations and job descriptions discussed? Is the organization equipped to provide adequate on-going training so that new hires have all the tools to meet and possible exceed expectations?
A sales team is the soldiers in the field and a great leader is only as effective as those they lead. Remember, a team is only as strong as its weakest link. Treat salespeople like they are significant to the success of your organization, that each deal they are working on is vital. Catch them doing something right! Too often we are quick to point out the wrongs and after time that becomes demoralizing. Fostering the good has a greater impact than harping on the bad.
There must also be a commitment to time and resources when developing talent, if you wish to retain them. A single dose of sales performance training is as effective as brushing your teeth only one time in your life. There is no instant gratification or quick and easy method to developing talent. Setting expectations that new hires are going to be rockstars is also unreasonable. Management needs to be passionate about sales performance training and train often, so as to build up the team. Sometimes, it takes two years to build your dream team.
If a salesperson leaves your organization with the perception that they will not be treated like the quality salesperson that they are, you may just loose out in the talent game. No one wants to be treated like a number. Sometimes talent needs to be developed and sometimes talent just needs a place to shine. Treat the pros like pros…hire fast and fire slow!