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When I first began selling cars my training consisted of: “This is the new car lot, this is the new car manager, this is the used car lot, and this is the used car manager. When you need to have a car appraised, you fill out this form and take it to this manager to approve and then you drive the car here. We will let you know when it is done. IF you manage to get to the point where you actually have a sale, well then grab one of the experienced guys to walk you through the paper work. Oh, and by the way, you will have to give them half of your commission for it.”

I can’t say that this is how you do your training but if it is…..STOP! The only reason why dealerships have such huge turnover of their sales team -- not to mention a lack of trust in their community – is due to the minimal training and turnover that results. And, it is solely YOUR FAULT. Why do we treat new hires as “Cannon Fodder?” These guys are not disposable.

Dealers spend hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars recruiting new sales team members only to lose 80% in the first 60 days on the lot. If, as a dealer, you are ever looking for one of the places you are hemorrhaging, this is it! The worst part is that it is A SELF INFLICTED WOUND! Why do so many dealerships blow money on recruitment to find and hire sales teams, and then fail to enforce a serious training program that ensures the success of those new team members? The simple answer is that there is a failure to “Inspect what we expect.” We get so wrapped up in the daily activities of our business that we never quite seem to have the time we need to spend with the “New Guys.” We expect the Sales Managers to handle it, or maybe even some of our seasoned sales associates.

Here’s the problem: They are just as wrapped up in the daily battle to move units as we are. They have to make sure that they are moving as many units and are taking the best care of their clients as possible. This is why we hired them….. Right?

Now I know there are a ton of people out there right now saying “That’s not us, we have a solid training program.” Or, “I spend plenty of time working with my new associates. I don’t know who this guy thinks he is?” Hey, if that is the case, I get it. No problem. Ignore me -- But ask yourself this, what is the average percentage of new hires you still have on your floor after 1 month, 3 months, 6 months? What is their level of performance? Are they on par with the rest of your sales team, or are they living in the draw and barely managing a living? Again, I know there are a lot of people who will read this and say “This is a tough business and only the strong survive.” Or, “They just weren’t cut out for this business.” I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that in my life! My question is, “Who is cut out for this business?”

There are only a couple of real reasons that people fail as successful sales associates in our industry. We can blame it on anything we want, but the hard truth is that it is poor hiring practices, poor training programs or poor ongoing support.  The other factor is squeeze out or “Freezing” by the senior sales team members. In short, Management holds the ultimate responsibility for the success of all new sales team members. It falls upon us to ensure that we are screening properly and then that we ensure the success of our new employees by providing a strong and consistent training program.

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Tags: cars, employee, leadership, management, recruiting, retention, sales, salespeople, staffing, training

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