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Bryant Gibby

Bryant Gibby Used car manager

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How many sales guys do I really need?

     We recently hired 4 salespeople within a week because us managers felt like we were short staffed and didn't have enough coverage on the sales floor.  Like always, the entire sales force complained about how we were flooding the floor and they weren't going to be able to get in front of enough people to make a living. I get where they are coming from having been a sales consultant before.  Nobody welcomes more salespeople and additional competition.

 

     All this sparked what I thought would be a good topic to throw out there.  What is the proper amount of salespeople with regard to how many cars a dealership sales? 

 

     I know some people think that the more sales people that you staff, the more cars you will sell. Although there is some truth to that, I think there eventually has to be a cut off.  I don't agree with flooding the floor because I think it will kill moral on the sales floor and will lead to high turnover in the long run.

 

     On the other hand, you could argue that if you can get a core group of a minimal amount of guys that know what they are doing, then that would work as well.  I think the 2 drawbacks  to that approach are coverage and finding that core group of guys.  I think you would regret this approach when it comes to vacations, days off, and excessively busy days.  Also, it is really hard to staff a team where everyone knows what they are doing.  I also think this approach will promote laziness because the guys wouldn't have to work hard and fight for every deal in order to make a living.

 

     Anyway, what is the right number? Is there a magic formula based on how many deals your dealership does?  Maybe I shouldn't worry about it and just ignore my sales guys:)

Bruce Roffey
After 20 years of just my brother-in-law and myself, we just hired a salesman. Change is good, right? :) I would like to get to a point where managing a sales staff feels right, but I'm watching my bottom line...
Dave Erickson
Wow! It seems like 4 more is a little steep. I would think if there was that much coverage lacking you would have noticed it much sooner. I wonder if you proposed to the desk managers that with such lack of coverage that you believe they should add another manager (or to finance manager yet another finance manager) if they would still be inclined to agree with the short staffing issue with the same degree of eagerness? :)
Bart Wilson
@Dave, well said. Another problem with hiring so many bodies at once is who is going to train them? Its really hard to find experienced salespeople, and more often than not you are hiring "hairy legs" that need a lot of attention and training. I know you can't plan for turnover but I wouldn't wish four new salespeople on anyone!
T N
We do it at our store all the time...we normally have 12-14 sales staff and sell 165-200 cars....the owner always wants more bodies for more coverage. Truth is that you can hire 6 and not get one to stick....I don't worry about it, you can add 20 guys if you want, I'll still get my 15% of the action. Good salesman will always sell cars. I think the big worry is the sales you miss due to inexperienced sales people? The managers cannot keep up w/ all the green peas we have hired the last year and a half (caused by unemployment and downsizing no doubt) and there is a lot of "brooming" going on..mostly unintentional. I think it can be a real problem....I think the key is to find guys that want to stick it out and figure out a way to keep them. Just my .02
David Ruggles
In the days before the Internet, we would start with an accurate "up count." To do this you need to establish a strict "rotation system." A sales person, working a full month, can adequately service 60 Customers. The Internet, has changed everything. Dealerships managing based on floor traffic are either domestic stores in rural areas or broke. Metro stores with Import brands better be an Internet dealership rather than to have an Internet department. It is said, "You can't manage what you can't measure." Well, what you should have gotten, but didn't is lost revenue just the same. Dealerships don't spend enough time on this. Getting "up" information in the Internet world isn't so easy. Consumers increasingly want to get information, not give it, especially 20 somethings who grew up in the "wired era." Dealing with this before there is any chance for even a smile and a handshake ain't easy.

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