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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Bryant Gibby

Bryant Gibby Used car manager

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     I wanted to throw out a post about hiring new sales consultants. We have had some great posts and comments about training new sales consultants but in order to train a new sales consultant you have to hire some first!

 

     I don't know what everyone else has been running into, but I have seen so many different kinds of people from so many different walks of life due to the fact that a lot have people have lost their jobs lately.  The problem I am having with that is having to decide what type of previous experience would translate over to selling cars.  The other problem is deciding whether or not these prospective employees will be in it for the long haul if I hire them and give them an opportunity. 

 

     My goal (like most other dealerhips) when I am hiring someone is to find a guy that will blend well with the team and hopefully find a guy that we can train and will eventually make a career out of selling cars.  I realize that the car business generally has a pretty high turnover but I try to limit that by hiring guys that are serious about making this a career.  I just feel like if I were to hire some of the ex realtors, developers, construction workers, and sales people from other industries they won't consider this their profession and it really is just going to be a temporary solution to their problem.  I could be wrong, but it seems to me that as soon as the market recovers in their respective industries and they have an opportunity to go back, they will.  Another problem is that a lot of these guys were making really good money back in the day and are in the position where they need to continue to make quite a bit of money.

 

      I don't know if there are different questions I could be asking during the interview process but I find that it is really hard to determine what intentions a guy has with regard to making this a career.  I have also been really up front with guys with regard to a realistic income that they can expect their first year and I may be shooting myself in the foot.  I just want to hire and train a guy under the pretense that he will make over $100k his first year. It's definitely tough to decide.  Any thoughts or suggestions on what has worked for you guys?

 

Dave Erickson
Maybe have your most interesting prospects tag along with a sales person or two for a few hours over the course of a few days. Not sell but just observe. Then not only get their feedback but the feedback of the salesperson they tagged along with. Long term career wise I'd think about if you feel their strengths or attributes fit into higher roles down the road in your organization. You should be prepared that even the people that seem strong and loyal now will potentially bail when the economy picks up too.
David Greene
Bryant I'm glad you are giving careful thought and consideration to a management function that dealerships often don't bother to invest much in. One of my favorite management consultants is Dee Hock who was the founder and CEO of Visa. I once read his advice on hiring and have applied his guidance to hiring decisions ever since. I think for our business it is perhaps even more meaningful... "Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second, motivation; third, capacity; fourth, understanding; fifth, knowledge; and last and least,experience." "Without integrity, motivation is dangerous; without motivation, capacity is impotent; without capacity, understanding is limited; without understanding, knowledge is meaningless; without knowledge, experience is blind. Experience is easy to provide and quickly put to good use by people with all the other qualities." Ideally you would have each applicant interviewed by three different people on your team. I usually recommend that each interviewer ask questions that deal with different qualities that you require for the position,i.e. sales skills, work habits, and charachter traits like team work and professionalism. All interviewers will be able to report on the candidates demeanor and communication skills. Training on how to interview is extremely helpful and learning how to ask what are called "behavioral based questions" will give you a lot of insight into a sales candidates real knowledge of selling skills. Send me an e-mail and I'd be happy to provide you with a list of both standard and behavioral based questions you may want to consider using.
Bart Wilson
@Dave, thats a good idea. I can't tell you how many times I hired someone and 48 hours later regretted it. Some salespeople just interview well. That would also give you an idea how fast they learn.
Dave Erickson
I wonder if the opposite is true too and you lost the chance to get some record setters because they didn't interview well?? I asked my girlfriend who is the manager of an Apple store about interviews and she says when she interviews someone she treats them like a customer. I asked her why she treats them like customers and she said because if she doesn't hire them they could still be a customer someday but they surely won't be if they had a negative experience with you. This I think would be especially true at a car dealership and with enough potential detractors out there the last thing we'd want to do for a car dealership is put another out on the streets. Also in todays economy the spouse, kids, family might have high hopes and if they come home saying they were treated poorly they will probably never forgot that.
Jessica Russell
Ever think of asking them about their first car buying experience? What they liked, what they didn't. How they would like to be treated, etc. Then ask what they would do different, if any? Sales is a relationship business. We buy from those we like and trust...I'm sure not going to a dentist or doctor I don't trust and like! I think that is a key point- relationship building. If they can connect, really connect with a customer a customer, the other stuff can be trained or coached. Just my opinion.

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