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Seven secrets for successful sales recruitment

Posted by Ashley Karr on March 10, 2020

Staff turnover can be very high in car dealerships and replacing employees is extraordinarily time consuming and expensive. Losing a member of staff earning £25,000 a year or more costs an average of £30,614, according to an Oxford Economics study, so it literally pays to get recruitment right. Our seven tips reveal how to bag the best salespeople to grow your business.

Examine your remuneration package

Salespeople in auto retail traditionally work on a commission-based model, often with a low basic salary. But some dealers have flipped this on its head and now offer higher basic salaries with lower levels of commission. The idea is that staff feel more secure about their earnings, which are closer to conventional pay practices in other sectors, but they still retain a financial incentive to close sales. Some businesses also offer employees shares in the company to provide a further incentive to see it prosper.

Search outside the sector

Customer service is so high up the agenda that many dealerships are looking to recruit staff from other sectors. Hospitality is a popular one, as it focusses heavily on the customer experience, while the broader, non-car retail industry is also ripe with talent. Looking further afield also widens the pool of potential employees, so it’s absolutely worthwhile.

Consider finders fees

It might be old fashioned, but word of mouth is still one of the best ways of bagging a top salesperson. Let existing staff know when you’re on the hunt for new talent and offer a reward for referrals that lead to a successful hire.

Evaluate your recruitment company

No one likes changing suppliers and sticking with the same one just because they’ve always been there is easy trap to fall into. Ask yourself whether or not your recruitment company is delivering the results you need and, if not, discuss how they can better meet your requirements. If there’s still no improvement, it’s time to look for an alternative.

Ask for digital skills

Selling is one thing, but are you asking candidates if they can use digital technology to their advantage? Are they clued up with the latest paid search tactics? Do they know how to work with third-party listing sites like CarGurus? During the interview, ask for examples of when they have used technology to good effect in previous roles.

Offer flexible working hours (where you can)

Nine-to-five isn’t for everybody, and an increasing number of employees are looking for roles that fit around other commitments. If you don’t need staff to arrive at 9am sharp, then there’s little sense in insisting they do, so offer realistic working hours that suit your business but allow a degree of flexibility for those who have other obligations when they’re off the clock.

Think differently

Auto retail is still a male-heavy industry and just 16.8% of those employed in wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles in the UK in 2018 were female, according to Catalyst. Consider whether or not your business would be appealing to female employees and, if not, why not? Initiatives such as shared parental leave, zero-tolerance on sexism, and a female presence in senior decision-making positions can make a workplace more attractive to both female and male staff alike.

Similarly, young salespeople are underrepresented in auto retail. As baby-boomers retire, it’s vital to draw in youthful employees. A decent entry-level pay packet will automatically bring in a greater number of higher quality applicants, while rebranding sales as a consultancy-style role can make it more appealing to younger applicants. First-time jobhunters expect training and career progression as well, so make sure you’re offering them.

Topics: dealer success, hiring