Some dealership sales people perform poorly because their hearts aren’t fully in it, says Luis Garcia, training director at Safe-Guard Products International, a finance and insurance services provider.
That half-heartedness is because they really would rather work somewhere else, he adds. “A lot of them are transients. They lost a previous job and would take it back if it were offered to them. They are not dealership-career oriented.”
Enough employees like that can claw into dealership profits. It comes down “to hiring the right people, not transients,” says Tony Duaquier, a training director at American Finance & Automotive Services.
He recommends scouting for talent outside the auto-retail industry.
“If you see a standout employee at a restaurant or a shop, ask them to come in to talk to you,” he says. “You don’t have to hire them right there, but you can discuss opportunities.”
College campuses are good spots to recruit dealership prospects, says Kelly Wadlinger, finance director at Faulkerin central Pennsylvania.
She holds a degree in biology and “never had plans to go into the car business,” she says at the 2011 F&I Management and Technology Conference.
She doesn’t look for “the typical sales personality,” but instead “for someone who has done volunteer work and who shows dedication. Then I tell them about how the car business offers a lot of potential, and suggest they give it a try.”
Good help sometimes is hard to find, but it is worth the effort, says Roy Bavaro, director-corporate marketing for DCH Auto Group, a New Jersey-based dealership chain.
"From a sales perspective, you need certain skills, and some people applying today just aren't qualified," he says at a J.D. Power and Associates auto industry conference in Las Vegas. "It is a sign of the economic times."
On the other hand, he adds, "are we looking for an auto-sales person or someone who can represent our brand and what we do, without carrying those old habits?"