Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
We’ve heard the complaints about salespeople for years—if not for decades, if you’ve been around long enough in the car business—concerning how they mishandle the phone, the floor ups, the follow-up, the sale, the close, etc. And more how, nowadays, they mishandle the Internet leads, the emails, and so forth. Even though we “train, train, train!” Right? The truth: The “Elephant in the Showroom” is that, for salespeople, we get exactly what we pay for. Especially now, we’re losing sales because of this.
Today, we place our salespeople across the phone, the Internet, and the desk from the most educated car shoppers in history. And we know that over ninety percent—so we may as well say “all”!—of these shoppers have been to the Internet for product knowledge, inventory, and even (as much as they can) negotiation. The buyer has been modernized, but the salesperson . . . has not. And, frankly whether the “old school” managers agree with it or not, it is not the salespeople’s fault that they fail so much. It's ours.
We wouldn’t put a cave man (sorry GEICO!) into the Space Shuttle to land it, which is what the typical current car sales pay plan can provide for. And we wouldn’t put a modern pilot into it and pay him/her only on the landing, which is the typical current Internet pay plan, too.
The facts are that no other large sales force is paid commission-only. And we pay thinner and thinner commissions, and we know we do. And, by the way, if finance blows out a customer that’s been landed on a car, the dealership loses a sale . . . but the salesperson loses the entire commission. Not a new situation? True. Except that information on this type of situation is readily available to potential car sales candidates to read about on the Internet. And that is just another example of what we face: Because, just like the shoppers read about cars and car buying strategies online, your potential staff is reading about how car salespeople get “screwed” and work ridiculously long hours. And that’s out there on the Internet whether you agree that happens to them or not. And it certainly affects the type of candidates we get applying.
We all know that our “Internet staff” are our most modern and adept sellers, or they should be. Except that what we actually need aren’t “Internet Departments”, but really ALL the sales staff to be equally adept on the phone, email, Internet leads, floor-ups, etc. And, say, about that Internet Pay Plan that you know your Internet sales staff really likes: I bet it’s getting expensive. And maybe you want to cut it. Maybe you think if you can make the floor folks smarter, or get smarter folks to come to the business, you can take it all back to the floor sales pay plan. Yeah! That’ll work!
No, it will not. We will spend money and time training, only to compensate sales staff to a point where the sales folks we get and can motivate are still far behind their current shoppers in knowledge and motivation! Reducing pay certainly won’t correct that. Our shoppers are more educated than ever in History? Absolutely. And folks considering car sales careers are also the most educated on car sales realities in history, as well.
If you don’t think this is true, take a good, long look at your Internet Department. I bet it’s full of people who can show us all that the way is to improve compensation and treatment of staff, not to go backwards but to go forwards and improve sales. And, after that, if you still want to accept that you “get what you pay for”, then get your sales staff out of the phone & Internet business. And then staff an appointment-setting BDC that can turn customers to the sales staff that you want to pay at the “sell dresses from the rack mentality” level of ability.
Regardless, this Elephant in the Showroom isn’t going away until we fix it. And, until then, sales ARE going away, right out of that same showroom.