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How Many Are We Going To Let Quit?

Chris Vitale

Full Sticker
Jul 7, 2016
68
81
First Name
Chris
We’ve all been the new guy on the block. A few days of "training," also known as shadowing that "sales guy over there," or "watching" the manager will do it, yes? Not so much. It's no secret that sales consultants have one of the highest turnover rates in the auto industry. Some not even lasting the entire first day (a personal favorite), and others leaving before a full 90 days. And when they do leave, most often it's because "there wasn't enough opportunity" or "the hours" just didn't work out or "the top guys are mean to me." To which the common consensus is "they weren't cut out for the industry" or "that guy didn't have a chance." But if we took a minute to step back and honestly evaluate the situation, can we really offer that 90% of the sales consultants that quit did so because they didn't have what it takes? Or is it because we failed to give them an opportunity to make it work by providing adequate training? Knowing that simply shoving the new hire with "that sales guy" and "following the manager" is by no means training. And oftentimes they’re the ones doing it wrong anyway!



They say the auto industry gets in your blood. That once you're "in it" - you're in it for life. It's not the mafia, come on. That's not the case for everyone, and certainly not the case for all the new hires as they have the highest turnover rate in the industry. We all started somewhere and certainly didn't all start off selling 20 cars a month. Some of us figured it out somewhat quickly and made it work, but it wasn't short of us working hard to figure the industry out. But that doesn't mean that we knew it all or that we didn't need training. And more so, that those who quit without "figuring it out" didn't have the talent or means to make it happen. In some cases, it means that we didn't do our part to adequately train them.



There have been times where that "new guy" - despite not having been trained - is assisted by the GM or Sales Manager and winds up selling a car. And once they sell their first car, they figure it out. But "figuring" it out means that they have their own sales processes, which makes it that much harder to coach them. Or worse, trying to help them work on their breakpoints and areas of opportunity. Whereas, if there was consistent training in place, they'd all be aligned. This goes for your top sales guys too. A standardized process doesn’t just allow for better individual results but it also allows for better overall management and better team results. It also creates a more pleasurable customer experience!



One of the other age-old grumblings regarding new Sales Consultants is that they cost your dealership money. Whether that's a bad we-owe, or they messed up the trade-in, etc. But, not so fast. It's not just your new hires that are costing you money. So, while it might not "appear" as if your 15-car sales guy is costing you money, have you ever taken the time to review all those "promised" we-owes, agreed to repairs, or miss-information that was given to the customer to make the deal happen? Never lose sight of the fact they’re just better at working the desk and coaching the customer than the green peas are…. Make no mistake, those bad we-owes and promised repairs can detract from your dealer’s front and back-end profitability*. A few hundred here and a thousand there adds up real fast. So sure, your top guy is "selling" cars, but that doesn't mean they're not costing you as much money as your new Sales Consultant does.



This goes back to "training" - just because they’re selling cars does not mean they’re profitable, and certainly doesn't mean they are following your dealer's sales processes. So, it makes one wonder, could that "new sales guy" also sell the same 10-15 vehicles a month with a little more direction from the sales managers, and more importantly, get the training they need to be more effective? More often than not, after the "managers" help the new sales consultant, they're thrown to the wolves having to fend for themselves. In which case, this will most likely not only lead to them quitting, but it can also wreak havoc at the dealer level. Everything from bad CSI to "throwing away" potential customers off the lot/on the phone. So instead of saying, "I knew he'd mess it up" let's instead think about how if we had gotten them training on how to handle the objections, and more importantly, effectively handle lot-ups/phone-us, just how many more cars they'd sell a month!



Instead of keeping the door open and hiring 1-2 new sales consultants a month, what if we actually took the time to develop an onboarding program and got them the training needed to do their job? And no, it's not a "common sense" job either. If it was "common sense," we'd see a much higher success rate, wouldn’t we? How many more new Sales Consultants are we willing to let quit before we take training seriously?



*A word on “profitability.” I don’t just mean this in the individual deal sense. Sure, every deal should stand on its own and whether that includes a trade, stair step, etc. profit isn’t a dirty word. It’s why we all do what we do. However, I’m talking about that AND the overall profitability derived from a properly trained sales agent.



How many phone-ups are being fumbled by your “superstar” 25-car a month guy to get down to his 5 that show? How many floor-floor ups are being burned to get to the 10 that sit? I love when I hear “I don’t care, so long as he keeps pumping out 25 a month” or “You can set your watch by his 25 a month” and honestly, it’s the most nonsensical thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. So, so shortsighted.



Imagine a team of properly trained sales agents that are equipped to handle the phones, the web and the floor. Instead of having 1 person burning 250 to get to 25 maybe you have 10 really working 250 properly to sell 125.


125 > 25
 
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rickyfay

Lot Lizard
Aug 6, 2020
34
9
Awards
1
First Name
Ricky
We’ve all been the new guy on the block. A few days of "training," also known as shadowing that "sales guy over there," or "watching" the manager will do it, yes? Not so much. It's no secret that sales consultants have one of the highest turnover rates in the auto industry. Some not even lasting the entire first day (a personal favorite), and others leaving before a full 90 days. And when they do leave, most often it's because "there wasn't enough opportunity" or "the hours" just didn't work out or "the top guys are mean to me." To which the common consensus is "they weren't cut out for the industry" or "that guy didn't have a chance." But if we took a minute to step back and honestly evaluate the situation, can we really offer that 90% of the sales consultants that quit did so because they didn't have what it takes? Or is it because we failed to give them an opportunity to make it work by providing adequate training? Knowing that simply shoving the new hire with "that sales guy" and "following the manager" is by no means training. And oftentimes they’re the ones doing it wrong anyway!



They say the auto industry gets in your blood. That once you're "in it" - you're in it for life. It's not the mafia, come on. That's not the case for everyone, and certainly not the case for all the new hires as they have the highest turnover rate in the industry. We all started somewhere and certainly didn't all start off selling 20 cars a month. Some of us figured it out somewhat quickly and made it work, but it wasn't short of us working hard to figure the industry out. But that doesn't mean that we knew it all or that we didn't need training. And more so, that those who quit without "figuring it out" didn't have the talent or means to make it happen. In some cases, it means that we didn't do our part to adequately train them.



There have been times where that "new guy" - despite not having been trained - is assisted by the GM or Sales Manager and winds up selling a car. And once they sell their first car, they figure it out. But "figuring" it out means that they have their own sales processes, which makes it that much harder to coach them. Or worse, trying to help them work on their breakpoints and areas of opportunity. Whereas, if there was consistent training in place, they'd all be aligned. This goes for your top sales guys too. A standardized process doesn’t just allow for better individual results but it also allows for better overall management and better team results. It also creates a more pleasurable customer experience!



One of the other age-old grumblings regarding new Sales Consultants is that they cost your dealership money. Whether that's a bad we-owe, or they messed up the trade-in, etc. But, not so fast. It's not just your new hires that are costing you money. So, while it might not "appear" as if your 15-car sales guy is costing you money, have you ever taken the time to review all those "promised" we-owes, agreed to repairs, or miss-information that was given to the customer to make the deal happen? Never lose sight of the fact they’re just better at working the desk and coaching the customer than the green peas are…. Make no mistake, those bad we-owes and promised repairs can detract from your dealer’s front and back-end profitability*. A few hundred here and a thousand there adds up real fast. So sure, your top guy is "selling" cars, but that doesn't mean they're not costing you as much money as your new Sales Consultant does.



This goes back to "training" - just because they’re selling cars does not mean they’re profitable, and certainly doesn't mean they are following your dealer's sales processes. So, it makes one wonder, could that "new sales guy" also sell the same 10-15 vehicles a month with a little more direction from the sales managers, and more importantly, get the training they need to be more effective? More often than not, after the "managers" help the new sales consultant, they're thrown to the wolves having to fend for themselves. In which case, this will most likely not only lead to them quitting, but it can also wreak havoc at the dealer level. Everything from bad CSI to "throwing away" potential customers off the lot/on the phone. So instead of saying, "I knew he'd mess it up" let's instead think about how if we had gotten them training on how to handle the objections, and more importantly, effectively handle lot-ups/phone-us, just how many more cars they'd sell a month!



Instead of keeping the door open and hiring 1-2 new sales consultants a month, what if we actually took the time to develop an onboarding program and got them the training needed to do their job? And no, it's not a "common sense" job either. If it was "common sense," we'd see a much higher success rate, wouldn’t we? How many more new Sales Consultants are we willing to let quit before we take training seriously?



*A word on “profitability.” I don’t just mean this in the individual deal sense. Sure, every deal should stand on its own and whether that includes a trade, stair step, etc. profit isn’t a dirty word. It’s why we all do what we do. However, I’m talking about that AND the overall profitability derived from a properly trained sales agent.



How many phone-ups are being fumbled by your “superstar” 25-car a month guy to get down to his 5 that show? How many floor-floor ups are being burned to get to the 10 that sit? I love when I hear “I don’t care, so long as he keeps pumping out 25 a month” or “You can set your watch by his 25 a month” and honestly, it’s the most nonsensical thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. So, so shortsighted.



Imagine a team of properly trained sales agents that are equipped to handle the phones, the web and the floor. Instead of having 1 person burning 250 to get to 25 maybe you have 10 really working 250 properly to sell 125.


125 > 25
You make a lot of good points here. We've all seen the sales managment team incessantly "feeding" the "superstar". My question is if the "superstar" needs feeding, why?. If a sales person has been in the same location for five years or more, they should never have the need to take an up. If they are mining their exsiting clients they should be sitting at their desk doing nothing but writing deals for repeat and referred clients. 25 cars a month for 5 years is 1,500 sold units. A sales person properly following up with clients and asking for referrals won't have any time to take fresh ups.
 

Chris Vitale

Full Sticker
Jul 7, 2016
68
81
First Name
Chris
You make a lot of good points here. We've all seen the sales managment team incessantly "feeding" the "superstar". My question is if the "superstar" needs feeding, why?. If a sales person has been in the same location for five years or more, they should never have the need to take an up. If they are mining their exsiting clients they should be sitting at their desk doing nothing but writing deals for repeat and referred clients. 25 cars a month for 5 years is 1,500 sold units. A sales person properly following up with clients and asking for referrals won't have any time to take fresh ups.
Could not agree more! Perhaps because they've been left to their own devices for far too long and without any training, process or real management he/her just burns through ups/leads to get to their 25/mo and that's how they do it.
 

Tallcool1

Boss
Mar 17, 2014
446
284
Awards
1
First Name
Clint
@Chris Vitale , when a dealer says that a new salesperson will "cost them money", they aren't talking about the botched trade in or the bad we-owe. They are talking about the prospective customers that they don't sell during the learning curve. The 10 year veteran would have sold 5 units out of that pile of 40 opportunities that the new guy blanked on.

I agree with what you are saying about training. It is important, and all of the great companies take it seriously and are able to build consistency among their team members.

I believe the biggest part of bringing in a new sales person is that this person is observed and supervised. It doesn't do any good to have them follow a manager around for a week. There needs to be a manager following the salesperson around for 3 months! Management needs to MAKE themselves available and not in an open door sense of the word. Management needs to observe and step in every single time the new salesperson has a customer. As time passes, these interventions will be much less intrusive and more of a casual and friendly introduction to the customer.

I also believe that a concerted effort must be put forth by the entire management team (no matter the department) to make new employees a part of the team. Simply put.....BE NICE. Welcome a new employee with the intent that they are going to be with the company for 10 years or more. Invite them to lunch, sit down and get to know them, figure out what type of person they are so that I know where I believe this new salesperson will need help.
 

Chris Vitale

Full Sticker
Jul 7, 2016
68
81
First Name
Chris
That really would be amazing! I'm not sure it's scalable but in a perfect world, that would definitely be the way to go. I agree with everyone in management being introduced and taking an interest in the new hires, that definitely makes a difference. We've all been the "new guy" and I know I've had both good and bad experiences, the good ones all included what you describe with the higher-ups being excited that I was there.

The real world stores of right now that do a really nice job with their teams and new hires have ongoing training as part of their DNA, in their budget and it involves all parties in the hierarchy. I'm not talking about the ones that just blast things on social media that don't have an actual impact. The veterans take part in ongoing training, the managers take part in ongoing training and the new hires take part in ongoing training.

Staying sharp and at peak performance is so critical and really does make all the difference, in my humble opinion. Thanks for the feedback!
 

Whitney Williams

Lot Lizard
Nov 5, 2015
19
5
First Name
Whitney
@Chris Vitale , when a dealer says that a new salesperson will "cost them money", they aren't talking about the botched trade in or the bad we-owe. They are talking about the prospective customers that they don't sell during the learning curve. The 10 year veteran would have sold 5 units out of that pile of 40 opportunities that the new guy blanked on.

I hadn't thought about it that way--losing money on prospective customers. I always thought about the money that goes into onboarding, only for the sales person to quit a few months later.
 
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Whitney Williams

Lot Lizard
Nov 5, 2015
19
5
First Name
Whitney
That really would be amazing! I'm not sure it's scalable but in a perfect world, that would definitely be the way to go. I agree with everyone in management being introduced and taking an interest in the new hires, that definitely makes a difference. We've all been the "new guy" and I know I've had both good and bad experiences, the good ones all included what you describe with the higher-ups being excited that I was there.

YES TO THIS. In my corner of the automotive industry (accessories), it's proven time and time again that upper management buy in can make or break the whole deal. Why would it be any different for new hires....great points.
 
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