Finding Good People. 25 Years Of Insights, Part 3

Continued from last post.

See Part 1, Part 2)

Insight #9: Networking. Let everyone you know that you are looking for salespeople. Some of your best people may come from people other people know. It's kind of like have a team of helpers. It's probably a bit more productive with your business friends and associates. Get the word out there and see what happens. You could get lucky.

Insight #10: If I am looking for a commercial salesperson, I am going to look in the trades first. This is a great place to prospect for a commercial salesperson. Construction, manufacturing, delivery. These people are using the commercial trucks first hand. They understand the need, the value, the uses. They may not have any sales experience, but that can be taught more easily I think than the understanding of the commercial truck world.

I understood it right away because I used to drive a dump truck and other work trucks for a landscaping company. That gave me great experience with commercial trucks and an understanding of their value and their uses. I later became a journeyman auto mechanic in the Air Force and there I worked on a wide variety of commercial trucks, cars, buses. Then I became a salesperson. I've dealt with many retail salespeople who just never seemed to get the commercial truck bug. You've got to get fired up about these trucks. It has to be very interesting to you. It is a whole market in itself. It is really easy to sell your commercial customers a car, but it is a challenge to sell the other way around.

Get the word out to anyone you know in the trades. Keep your eyes open. The best people I have found came from the trades whether it was directly or they had past experience there. Many in the trades need to change because it is just hard on the body. Sales is easy on the body. Once you find some, you may find that they don't feel that sales might be right for them, but you will know whether you think they can sell or not. If you think they can, go for the close. It will be worth your effort I assure you. The trades. My favorite source for commercial salespeople.

Insight #11: I said in an earlier insight that I didn't value pre-employment tests very much. I still agree. There is something that I think is good to have your prospective employee do though. I recommend that you have them write some things. I want to see them write a paragraph or so about almost anything. I want to see them write numbers. In sales, there is a certain amount of paperwork that will require writing. I want to see that they have the skills to do this effectively.

Writing is something that can be taught as well as anything, but it takes some time. You will need to decide how you feel about where they are in their writing and spelling. You will be having them communicate with your customers in writing via thank you cards, letters, flyers, emails and so on. Make sure they have the written communication skills they need. If they are a great prospect except for this, then it is on you to do it yourself or get some help in getting them trained in written communication. Matter of fact, this might be a good time to look at your whole staff in this light and see what training they need. With email being the number one communication now, you need to ensure that their communication skills are effective.

Insight #12: Your own company. Look around your own company. There may be some great candidates right there. Maybe some of them have already been talking to you about how they would like to work up front. This can be a good source of good people. You already know them!

There you have 12 insights I have learned over 25 years in the car business, along with 10 years in the body business. You may have additional insights. Feel free to add any of these that you like to your arsenal. Good people are all around you. Seeking them out is not hard.

Next up: Once you find them. . .now what?

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