Is It Time To Rethink Your Sales Staff?
Who is the weakest link on your sales team and how much influence does that person hold over your dealership? If you don’t believe they have any, I want you to stop and rethink your position. If you do, you’ll realize that weak link is one of the most influential people on your team.
The reason is simple; you’ve lowered your dealership’s level of service to the standard set by a sub-standard employee. You have no control over whom they deal over the course of their day. It could be the mayor of your city or an influential community leader. It could be a first-time buyer or someone whose entire family has bought cars from you for 20 years.
With one action or inaction, your weak link could brand your business in those peoples’ minds, possibly for life. With one bad review, they could scare hundreds of potential buyers away from your website and directly to your competitors.
Why is your weak link still working for you?
Why do dealers hang on to weak links? Some fear that they may not be able to hire anyone better. Plus, if the weak link is selling five or six cars per month, that’s enough for most to maintain the status quo. Why is it so difficult for dealers to attract high quality, career-minded people to sell cars? Is it the social stigma of a car salesperson? Perhaps that’s part of it, but it’s not the primary reason.
Typically, a salesperson will sit and stare out the window of his or her dealership for 50 to 60 hours per week waiting for the “UP Bus” to arrive. Unfortunately, the “UP Bus” isn’t coming, and staring out the window into a lot devoid of prospects can make for some long and lonely days. Plus, sales consultants that are fortunate enough to sell seven or eight cars per month, will earn a whopping $40,000 or $50,000 a year. Is it any wonder why the best of the best are not lining up to work in our industry?
And I get it, the manufacturers erode front-end profitably every year, which makes it difficult to pay large commissions to attract better applicants. So the answer isn’t larger commissions, it’s selling more cars. The problem is that the current job description and sales processes doesn’t allow us to do that.
Generation Jobless: The new hope!
Generation Jobless is a term coined by the CBC. It describes unemployed or underemployed Canadian youth between the ages of 22 and 28 with a post-secondary education and an average debt of $30,000. The CBC compared their unemployment rate that that of the entire country. At the time the program aired, they found that the national unemployment rate was 7% and the Generation Jobless rate was only 6%. On the surface it would appear that higher education paid off, right? The problem is that 40% of Generation Jobless that are employed are working outside of their field of expertise. They’re waiting tables, working in retail and pouring coffee at high-end coffee shops.
Now, I want you to remove yourself from the car business for a moment, and imagine that you have a child that is part of Generation Jobless. Your child just came home and said, “Guess what Mom and Dad, I just got a job, I’m a salesperson at ABC Motors!” Unless your family name is on the dealership sign, the likelihood of you being pleased is somewhat slim.
The new generation of customers and employees
The Internet has created a culture that demands immediate gratification and complete transparency. Consumers control the information and usually know more about the vehicle they desire than the best salespeople. Customers more influenced by peer review, video and social media than referrals from friends and family members. Plus, they’re driving greater distances and visiting far fewer dealerships. Yet, many dealers still hire the same type of salespeople and utilize the same antiquated processes in an attempt to sell this new wave of customers. Enter the digital marketing consultant.
Recently, I worked with a dealer who was struggling to attract qualified salespeople. So we rethought the position and wrote an Indeed.com ad titled “Digital Marketing Consultant”.
The job description featured the following points:
- Manage a social media-marketing platform to connect with automobile buyers online.
- Use video to generate leads and convert them into sales.
- Be on call after business hours to respond to Internet leads.
- Solicit and manage online reviews.
- Flexible work schedule.
- Earn a base salary and above average commissions.
- Will train the right candidate.
Our goal was to hire people that understood social media, so we could give them a powerful marketing, publishing and distribution network that empowered them to act as brand advocates for the dealership. The average Canadian has almost 700 social media friends and followers and we believed that they could reach people that traditional marketing campaigns couldn’t. The ad attracted an unprecedented number of qualified applicants from Generation Jobless of which we hired four.
Strong hires means fewer weak links
To this day, our team of Digital Marketing Consultants is generating and converting leads with video and social media. They’re building trust, establishing rapport and starting relationships that lead to sales online. Plus, they’re earning an above average income and they, and their parents, are happy with their positions! My client will never hire another sales consultant again as his dealership is no longer the last bastion of the unemployable.
Hiring the same people and expecting different results is the paraphrased definition of insanity. It’s time to abandon the traditional road to a sale and embark on the digital road to a sale. Rethink the job description, offer flexible hours, a salary and commission, invest in technology and training so you can build a team of Digital Marketing Consultants that will crush your competition.
Jim De Luca
Digital Road to a Sale Inc.
905 865 8734