New Hire Success Starts With 8 Simple Sales Steps
- Start with the fundamentals of selling to set new hires up for success.
- "A strong sales force is the key to having a healthy business..."
According to NADA’s 2015 Workforce Study, 50% of new hires will leave the dealership after just three months. For sales, the annual turnover jumps to 72%.
Dealerships are turning to young and inexperienced hires to fill sales positions. Often, these new hires aren’t getting the proper sales training. Not only does this lead to dissatisfied customers but also dissatisfied employees, resulting in increased turnover.
My advice to managers is to coach new hires on the fundamentals of selling before anything else. This will set new hires up for success and increase the likelihood they’ll stick around in the long term. All salespeople, not just new hires, should regularly revisit these eight simple sales steps.
- Setting the Appointment – Knowing how to make the appointment appealing is a skill that takes time to develop. Offer the customer enough so they want to come into the dealership to finish buying the vehicle.
- Vehicle Selection – By asking the right questions and actively listening, you’ll help the customer select the right vehicle. A good salesperson is smooth at conversing and will have superior product knowledge.
- Vehicle Presentation and Test Drive – I like to combine these two because they should be seamless. Begin with a thorough vehicle walk around and continue the presentation while the customer is inside the car. Assume they want to take a test drive, instead of asking. When you ask, it gives the customer more time to think, decreasing the likelihood of doing the test drive. Conclude the drive by asking the customer to park next to their current vehicle. A good presentation paints a sharp contrast between the new vehicle and their current one.
- Deal Write-up – Ask the right questions in order to have solid information for the manager writing up the deal:
- What was your last purchase – loan, cash, or lease?
- Are you trading in or just adding an additional vehicle?
- Do you have a payment range?
- How much money down?
- Requesting credit – Ask this question at the right time and in the right manner. Asking too soon runs the risk of turning the customer off. Always be in a position to allow the customer to apply online.
- Purchase Commitment – You’ve gotten the customer to agree on a deal. Getting there takes persistence, but you also need to know how to keep things low-pressure at the same time.
- Manager Turnover – When there is no commitment, always have a manager talk to the customer. Knowing how to effectively hand the customer off to a manager is a skill that isn’t learned overnight. Even with a commitment, it’s best to introduce the manager so the customer knows all the key personnel at your dealership.
- F&I Turnover – This step could occur after the commitment to deliver the vehicle and complete the paperwork or after the manager turnover, if the customer is still not convinced.
Part of being a good manager is equipping your team for success. When your salespeople have success, they’re more content with their job, which leads to higher retention rates. A strong sales force is the key to having a healthy business with continued growth.
If you need more convincing that employee retention is important, here’s a statistic from a 2016 article in the Harvard Business Review: Dealers with the highest retention rates yield gross margins 3 – 4% higher than dealers with the lowest retention rates.
If you want a customer base and a sales staff that enjoy coming to your dealership, emphasize the sales steps!
Industry experts are predicting that used vehicle demand (and prices) likely won’t start coming down until spring 2022 at the earliest.