To quote automotive professional Lauren Cowan, “STOP HANDLING HIRING AND INTERVIEWING AS CLOSING A SALE! YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY TRAIN YOUR PEOPLE! During the interview process, there are too many unrealistic expectations set and make it sound like a dream boat industry. Then you get them on the floor and there is ZERO training and it’s a big slap in the face.”
This commentary is in regards to the dramatic statistic that 80% of people who come into the automotive industry fail and exit within 18 months. Upon discussion of this topic among a group of peers in the automotive retail industry, people had a wide range of theories about the people [new to sales] themselves. Many cited lack of work ethic, laziness, and entitlement issues – topics that seem to come up more each day in every industry. A few people cited that many people hired into our industry from other arenas are unable to comfortably adjust from guaranteed salary earnings to performance-based commissions. It was Lauren who took a more internal observation and cited what is happening among dealership management to create turnover among people who might otherwise be successful.
My own thoughts were presented to the group with the following scenario:
“Picture an interview with a potential green pea, if you will “Kid, we sell 200 cars a month (reality: 125) and you should be able to sell 30 easily! We average $5k per unit (reality: 1800 front and back total – but salesguys paid on the front only) and we often have bonuses (reality: once a month – last weekend…maybe) We offer great hours 5 days a week (reality: your customer can only come in on your day off, either you come in, or you lose half or whole deal!), Don’t worry kid, we’ll train you (reality: yeah, right!) — so, the potential new hire thinks “Wow! Awesome! I can do that!” Fast forward to 3 months later, with no training, no 30 cars, no $5k, and maybe they’ve even come in on a couple of their scheduled days off — and the job is NOT AT ALL what the MANAGEMENT led them to believe.”
General Managers and Sales Managers, without any disrespect, in this industry, we have a HORRIBLE habit of blowing a lot of smoke – we sit with these potential green peas and paint these visions of grandeur, we talk to one another and try to “out-do-the-Jones’” …we forget that the truth eventually comes out, and this habit of ours is what ultimately leaves a bad taste when we “put together” one another. If we do this to each other, why should it be so incredibly shocking when someone who had not been in the business, gave it a shot, did not hit the marks YOU told them would be EASY, leaves? Honestly, as a consultant who has sat down with many of you in both potential vendor and potential employee capacity, I’ve EXPERIENCED this bull – I’m a 20-year veteran in the industry! I’m not some lay down, but some of you have spread it so thick that I’ve been put together! Worse, I know of friendships scattered through the industry that have ended because of these practices – it’s just not right!
Having digressed, the bottom line is that if you want to be a part of a movement that helps to retain great talent, and change this horrible statistic of newcomers leaving our great industry, it’s time to stop pointing fingers outward, and start looking internally at your who is handling your hiring practices, how they are being handled, and what promises and pictures you are using to “put together” these folks who are willing to give the car biz a try, and could be successful if provided with the right tools!
If you are in need of an objective perspective, use the contact link, send an e-mail, or send a text to The Dealer Quarterback, and we’ll help you get back on track. firstname.lastname@example.org 310-428-3362…Just don’t try to blow smoke in my face and put me together! Been There. Done That. Got the T-Shirt. LOL!!