Is anyone considering moving away from commissioned salespeople?

Jonathan Dawson
I've got a client that is seriously thinking about moving away from a traditional % of gross based pay plan for the sales team and moving them to a base plus progressive flats. I spent 10 years in MN where "One Price" dominates and where I helped dealer groups transition to "Value Pricing". Here in Atlanta I helped a dealer go to "product specialists" who are purely hourly (starting at $7.95/hr) with logged up bonuses. What are you seeing in your market and as the future of the market?
Michael Crain
Why is management always changing pay plans? Is it because he can? Because it's controllable expense on his P/L. What process has he gone through before he decides to change the plan? Has he taken a good look at his management team? Has he reviewed the sales team individually with the management team? It's my belief that if the sales teams pay plan is being changed the management staff's need to be changed also. I say that because your sales team production is a direct reflection on you! You mentioned a “Product Specialist”. I am not sure what you mean by that. When I was selling, things may have changed now but Chevy was the only manufacture that was offering, was required that every dealership have a Truck Specialist. That program was 6 weeks long, taking web x training after web x training. He had a 3” binder that covered everything about the line of trucks. Brakes, power train, figure curb weight and so on. What do you mean my a SPECIALIST?
Jonathan Dawson
A "product specialist" simply showcases the vehicle. They typically would not: Handle incoming eleads Handle incoming sales calls Present numbers Close deals (Pre)Sell F&I products Deliver the vehicle Follow up with the customer So they are simply "specialists" in presenting the product. Much like a baseball or football team is made up of individual specialized roles and responsibilities; not every player gets to kick a field goal, etc. This is a growing trend and every year I have more dealerships asking me to help them transition to it.
Michael Crain
Maybe i am ofd fashion. I do not see the advnatage to this. I loose the chance to build relationships and fact find. As a sales person why do I need product knowledge? What about your bottom sales people who spend their spare time "burning one". what is the incentive for them to lean
Shannon Hammons
Michael The business has changed. Gone are the days of Loyal customers. People shop online. Old school thinking is what causes failure. As a sales person you need product knowledge so that you can show your customer how to use the equipment in the cars. If you can't give the customer the "wow" factor then you won't get a good online review and that will hurt your personal branding. The old car guys are a dying breed, most can't or refuse to change to the world that we live in today. Yes I believe that noncommissioned sales people is the way the car business is going. We are in the process of switching over to that now. As for the bottom folks that are burning one the incentive is get off the bottom or go home.
Jonathan Dawson
Michael, The premise has merit. As I mentioned in the sports analogy, specialization allows for a higher potential of execution in an individual area. That's the up-side

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