You've Found Good People, Now What? Part 1

Finding good people is not nearly as hard as keeping them. The first few weeks are critical for you and your new hire. Based on my own experience and the experience of many that I have seen and worked with as a consultant, I will share some valuable points on keeping your good people.

The first point is that the new salesperson (or any employee for that matter) must have structure to their training and their time. You have to provide this. You cannot be effective if you spend time and money finding good people and then do not have the tools and training in place to make sure they become effective as quickly as possible.

They will need tools. They will need a desk, a computer, catalogs, phone list, phone instructions, employee list, just to name a few. If you don't have these simple things ready, you aren't ready for the good people. Preparation is important. Be ready for them by ensuring that the tools and things they will need to become familiar quickly are in place.

Next, have your training schedule and training classes mapped out and ready to go. Please do not rely on the factory to do this for you. I have seen this time and time again where a manager will hire a salesperson and then have them sit at a computer watching factory training and taking 55 factory training tests. This is very ineffective. The reason the factory has this at all is because the dealer body was not doing effective training. To find and keep good people, you need good, effective training. If you cannot do this, then hire it out, but I highly recommend that you do not have them sitting at a computer for the first two weeks doing the factory tests. Certainly they can be of value, but if this is your only training or your best training, you are in trouble.

Regarding the factory training videos, I would have your people do one or two of these a week and that is it. The rest of the training needs to be hands on, good training by you, your staff or someone you hire. Get good at training and you will have a non-stop supply of good people. Training is how you keep them. Good people are well trained in order to be effective for you and for themselves. You cannot short cut this portion and be effective. Get excited about training and make sure you have the best training on the planet. Let the factory supplement your training instead of the other way around. Lead. Create leaders with your leadership. Training will make all the difference--I guarantee it.

Learning the product quickly is of primary importance. Here's the best way I know to learn the product fast. Issue one brochure for each product you have to the new person. They will read the brochure over and over in the first week. Encourage them to take them home at night, look them over, bring them back the next day. Next, get them in every vehicle. Give them the keys and a coach and go get some experience. Open all the doors, hood, trunk, move the seats, fold down the seats, tilt the wheel, test the stereo, look underneath, take it out for a drive. This is what I call the 1-2 punch. Read and re-read the brochure and then experience each model car or truck. I tell you that everything that they need to know to effectively sell cars and light duty pickups is in the brochure, then they just need to be able to navigate each vehicle and know where all the latches are and so on. It's really easy.

So I would leave the factory tests as a long-term, short space training (meaning one or two a week) and have the rest of your training be done in your own store using your own products along with the brochures. Then I would add in having a coach, which could be a good salesperson on your staff, to help them bring the brochure knowledge and the actual experiencing of the vehicle together to form a sales-focused procedure aimed at an effective presentation to a prospective customer. A manager could do this as well, but having a good salesperson would be the best. They should work together about a week by watching, doing, watching, doing, reviewing. A customer just needs a few facts to make a decision about a vehicle, so the real question is which facts? The experienced coach will help with this. Make sure and take care of the experienced coach in having them do this extra effort in all fairness.

More tomorrow.

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