How to Get And Keep Good Salespeople

by Mark Tewart


Most automotive dealers face the same age old problem; how do you get and keep good salespeople. Because of the lack of expertise, time and the more efficient use of time, many dealerships continually find themselves hiring new salespeople and then putting them on the floor with the hope of success and the reality of failure. RNE – Recent Negative Experience: human nature is to avoid the same negative experience that we have just experienced. However, I find many dealerships repeat the same process for getting and keeping salespeople over and over with the same high degree of pain. What are the common mistakes made in the process of getting and molding new people for success and how can we fix those mistakes?

1) Lack of predetermined game plan – every dealerships management, should sit down and ask themselves what kind of candidate they are looking for? I call this a the Ideal Candidate Process . Once you have determined what kind of person you are looking for, stick to your guns and don’t settle for less. Don’t try to create heroes out of less than desirable candidates.

2) Using only newspaper ads to recruit new salespeople – Pick a non-traditional way to recruit, instead of running the same ad as everyone else in town. Use booths at job fairs, run ads on internet job placement boards, use flyers as newspaper inserts, recruit from colleges, recruit from good retail establishments.

3) Weak Interview Process – Ask at least fifty questions of each candidate. Make the questions mostly open ended to allow, longer, more in-depth responses. The more a candidate talks, the more you can listen and observe. A good rule of thumb, should be to let the candidate talk 80% of the time. Always ask for examples of their answers or how they have or can demonstrate what they have talked about. Don’t allow, “I like people”, canned answers.

4) Not testing or profiling – Test and or profile everyone that seems like a good candidate. Remove the emotions of the interviewing process by using personality profiles with predictive indicators for sales aptitude. People whose personality and sales aptitude does not fit the criteria, usually fail. Don’t be tripped up by the, great interview, bad salesperson trap.

5) Not giving initial and on-going training – Putting people to work without in-depth training on what they should do, is like giving them a loaded gun and telling them to greet your customers with it. For people to succeed they must know what to do, how to do it, what their expectations are, and what the consequences are if they don’t. Everyone salesperson should have a detailed job description and routing procedures for the process flow that describes all details of their jobs, as well as other jobs that affect them. Giving initial training to salespeople can reduce turnover by more than 70%.

6) Not having an on-going process of recruiting – The time to start recruiting people is when you don’t necessarily need them. Start a weekly process for recruitment of people. When a dealership works from a position of want, instead of need, you will always fare better.

The results of a detailed and on-going recruitment and training process are immediate and enormous. Great locations, great facilities, great advertising and great economies will not guarantee your success as a dealer without great people.


© Copyright 1999 Tewart Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Mark Tewart is the President of Tewart Enterprises Inc., a training and consulting company and is also a partner and National Marketing Director for Symeron LLC, an automotive computer company. Mark is a keynote speaker and has had top ranked programs on ASTN (Automotive Satellite Training Network) and is a featured article writer for Dealer Magazine, Wards Dealer Magazine and JustSell.Com as well as being a contributing author to a book titled, GenderSell – Selling To The Opposite Sex. Mark also provides sales and management seminars internationally.

You can contact Mark at:
Mark Tewart, President
Tewart Enterprises Inc.
1999 Kirby Rd. #100
Lebanon, OH. 45036
[email protected]


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