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Squashing Sales Turnover Starts with Recruiting

by Dave Druzynski

In my upcoming Driving Sales Executive Summit presentation, “Squash Sales Turnover by Focusing on Workplace Culture,” I’ll be addressing the high turnover rates that plague many dealerships. High turnover occurs for several reasons, including poor recruitment and hiring processes, pay plans that don’t appeal to young workers and workplace cultures that kill morale.

If you want to attract and retain the best talent, you’ve got to offer a workplace environment that’s better than your competition’s. I’ll share some of the secrets of what Auto/Mate and some of the most highly decorated dealerships have done to achieve a “Best Place to Work” distinction.

Another important aspect of talent retention is your recruiting and hiring process. Does your dealership even have an official process for hiring sales professionals? Many times, there is a “give ’em a shot for 90 days” mentality, versus a true process that will screen out the liars, fakers and poor culture fits.

It’s critically important to hire people who are a good cultural fit with your organization. You can hire the best salesperson in the world, but if they aren’t a good cultural fit, they can have a damaging impact on the morale and productivity of your dealership that can take a long time to recover from.

An effective recruiting process involves more than just posting a boring job advertisement in your local paper or on a job board, then waiting for candidates to filter in. If you want to get serious about finding the right employees for your dealership, I recommend implementing the following recruiting process:

1) Perform a job analysis and create a detailed job description for each position. Go deeper than listing the job responsibilities. What are the KPIs used to measure whether an employee performs well? Think of someone who performed that job well in the past. What unique skills did they possess that made them stand apart from others?

Then, think of the people who were not successful. Did they possess similar skills or did they come from similar backgrounds? Have you had more success with people who came from a service industry as opposed to a dealership background? Analyze these trends and use them to develop your ideal candidate profile.

2) Define personality traits necessary for a good fit. How would you describe your dealership’s company culture? Is it fast-paced or slow moving? Is it family and community oriented, or is it all about performance? Would you describe the most successful salespeople on your team as “sharks” that will do just about anything to close a deal, or are they customer-centered and focused on building long-term relationships? Are you focused on volume of sales or creating a unique experience for your customers? If you want to make good hiring decisions, it’s critical that you define both your culture and your values—then make sure your candidates fit that mold.

3) Develop an exciting job advertisement. In your job postings, do you simply list the job responsibilities? Or do you paint a picture for a potential candidate about how awesome your dealership is to work for? You wouldn’t sell a car by just listing the specs. You spend money to create exciting ads for your dealership and inventory. Spend a little time to create exciting ads for your job opportunities. In my session, I will discuss why you should liken your job ads to online dating profiles.

4) Develop a marketing plan. Market your jobs the same way you market your inventory. Use digital ads, your customer newsletter and social media, and promote your openings in your showroom and in your service lane. Spruce up your dealership’s career center, post your job openings on multiple job boards and networking sites and make sure your application process is Millennial friendly.

5) Source candidates. Your marketing plan outlines all the external-facing activities designed to bring in great candidates. But don’t sit back and wait for candidates to apply: go out and find them yourself! The very best candidates are most often sourced from employee referrals and other internal efforts. Ask your employees and customers for referrals, and tap into your network of professional contacts. Use social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to generate excitement and interact with potential applicants.

Once you have enough resumes, it’s time to select a few candidates for interviews. In my Executive Summit presentation I’ll share tips for creating a hiring process so you’ll never regret another hire. I’ll also talk about compensation plans and the secrets of workplace cultures that attract and retain the best talent. See you in Las Vegas!

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