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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Bryant Gibby

Bryant Gibby Used car manager

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Experience or rookie?

Which is better: Experience or a rookie?

 

     We are in the process of interviewing and hiring 3-4 guys in order to get our sales team to an appropriate level for the spring and summer. The other sales manager and I are in agreement with the owner that we need the help going in to the busier months but we are struggling to find the right guys. Part of the problem is that the owner only wants us to hire someone that has a good amount of previous sales experience under his belt ( car sales or not). His take is that if we hire a person who already has experience, we will have to spend less time training him and getting him where we need him to be.  While I think experience is really important, I don't think that should be the determining factor as to whether or not we will hire them.

 

     My take is that ideally we would like to hire a guy with some sales experience, but I think we should be more open minded. We put our prospective employees through a screening process and the lady that does that for us asks them about sales experience. She doesn't even set up an interview with people that don't have experience. I think we could be turning away some really good candidates and I haven't even had a chance to meet them. I tried to argue the point by telling him that his 2 managers ( myself and the other desk manager ) were both hired with no sales experience whatsoever. I like the idea of taking a young, ambitious guy and training and molding him into a superstar. But that's just me!

 

     So who's right? Do you go for instant gratification and get a mediocre guy with some experience or do you look for a guy that could be great and invest the time into him?

Arnold Tijerina
My take would be that hiring ANYBODY without automotive-specific sales experience would require the same amount of training as hiring someone with NO sales experience. Our field is completely different than selling shoes at Nordstrom or anything else. You still have to teach the fundamentals of the car business, processes and strategies for closing deals (assuming you're not a T.O. store). One benefit of hiring someone with no sales experience is that you can teach them how you want them to sell and you don't inherit any potential bad habits. If you decide you want to go with a veteran, they'll all tell you they were #1 in sales and can sell ice to an Eskimo. Make them show you their W-2 from last year to prove how good of a salesperson they were. That'll weed out the pretenders from the eagles. They'll all say no problem but the ones who are full of it won't come back.
Jim Bell
This can be a hot topic. I am one that can be on either side of the fence. I have hired people with experience. The goods...very little training and they have a basis for the business and sales. The bad....bad habits can be hard to break. On the flip side, I have hired a couple people that were in the restaurant industry, and they have become some top notch salesmen averaging 14 and 17 cars a month. I think you have to look at the individual. If they are a 'people person', go for it. You can mold them to what you want them to be. It's worked for me. If you are looking at adding several, add 2 with experience, and 2 without and mold them. That's just my 2 cents.
Silviu Albisoru
Doesent matter what you will do it will be a matter of luck. Really go with what your guts tells you when interviewing candidates...if you like someone,hire him regardless of experienced or not.
Bryant Gibby
@ Jim. I like the idea of hiring 2 of both. It will be an experiment. We'll see which 2 do better!
Stan Sher
A rookie can be trained and molded into a solid professional. An experienced sales consultant can be a hit or miss between someone talented looking to make a better move or someone seasoned (but looking for a greener grass with bad habits). It might be good to hire both with doing a thorough background check (on the seasoned experienced sales consultant).

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