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Building a Dealership Sales Team: Who to Hire and Who to Avoid

If you’re looking to build a stellar dealership sales team that will really help increase sales and grow your BHPH lot, you need to look at more than work experience. This is especially true as the way that consumers shop for cars has changed, and BHPH dealerships have to adapt if they want to remain competitive. The same type of sales team that worked 30 years ago won’t work today. So what characteristics make up a winning sales team now? BHPH Marketplace has some insight.

Who to Hire

Today, car buyers are far better informed than they were in the past. The days when a person simply went to their nearest dealership and purchased on the spot are long gone. Modern customers spend hours researching what and where to buy well before hand, and younger car buyers especially are often better informed than their predecessors were – mainly due to technology making research simpler. The modern car buyer is also willing to travel further for the right price and experience. This means that if customers feel your sales team is dishonest, too pushy, or rude and inattentive, they will not only leave for another dealership on their list, but will also share reviews and social media posts that will discourage others from visiting. As a result, the emphasis for a winning dealership sales team in this day and age needs to be on a friendly, knowledgeable and customer-service oriented staff.

Some qualifications to look for while building a remarkable dealership sales team include the ability to really listen, the empathy to understand and respond to customer needs, and the adaptability and imagination needed to think on their feet. Beyond this, each member of your dealership sales team should possess customer service skills, honesty, knowledge, networking skills, phone skills and enthusiasm. Add to this the more traditional sales person characteristics of charm, drive, tenacity, and initiative, and you have the recipe for success.

During the interview, look for more than past experience. Ask potential new hires a few more complex questions, such as how they would handle a specific situation, and gauge their response. How well did they listen? Does their answer involve a level of independent thought and creativity that proves they are able to deal with various situations as they arise? Ask them how they would respond to a customer’s detailed questions about a particular vehicle. Do they have a reasonable level of knowledge? Are they honest in their answers, or do they try to bluff it out? Ask them to describe a past incident when they had to deal with a difficult customer. Did they show patience? Did they maintain a polite and professional presence? Question potential members of your sales team about what they will do to bring in more customers. Do they mention networking, social media, and the like? Lastly, ask them how they will treat a customer after the purchase. Will they take a “make the sale and forget it” attitude or will they stay connected in order to maintain customer relationships for future purchases? A more in-depth interview process like this will help you identify candidates who can help you build a winning dealership sales team.

Who Not to Hire

There are several characteristics that you simply want to avoid when building a dealerships sales team. Some potential new hires may have issues that can not only hurt sales, but also cause harmful contention within your sales team. For example, it’s vital to understand the difference between confidence and arrogance. If an interviewee crosses the line to display an elitist attitude, that is a warning sign. Similarly, it’s important to recognize the difference between someone with healthy ambition and a “climber” who views every other person’s success or promotion as harmful to themselves. These individuals view everything as a win-or-lose competition, and as such are unable to engage in teamwork and likely to cause friction on the sales floor. This may be one of the most common and harmful traits in a sales person, as these are the sort of people who would happily skate their own brother without so much as a guilty twinge, thus creating a distrustful and aggressive work environment for everyone. However, you should be just as careful to avoid the opposite extreme: employees who are apathetic, bored by their jobs, and are clearly only interested in a paycheck. While, of course, everyone wants to get paid for their work, the right employees for your team should also feel excited about making sales each day. Unwillingness to change is another big problem, as every member of a great  sales team needs to be able to adapt. Because a sales person will sometimes have to deal with unhappy customers and stressful situations, you should also avoid hiring anyone who shows signs of being consistently negative, such as complaining about their past position during the interview.

By understanding what really makes a great sales person in the modern world, you can build a stellar dealership sales team. Hiring sales people who possess customer service skills, adaptability, charm, perseverance, honesty, and the like will ensure that your BHPH dealership will increase sales and see more happy customers. That’s important because, as more and more car buyers research online and make long drives to get the experience they want, having the right dealership sales team is vital to your success.

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