How Many New Hires Are We Going to Let Quit?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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