5 ways to turn around dealership turn-over!

This special report will instantly and dramatically change the way you recruit your next salesperson!

5 strategies and tactics that WILL turn around your turnover:

  • No matter how your current top performer is doing there is someone out there who can raise the bar and challenge them
  • No matter how long you have been trying to recruit you are probably making 3 mistakes that keep you from finding a rock star
  • What is one thing that you must do with every applicant
  • How to see if they can sell regardless of what their resume says
  • The key difference between recruiting and hiring

I’ve been working (nationwide and with all brands) to help managers recruit, hire and develop superstar salespeople for over a decade and the rules don’t change because people don’t change!


(If you believe people change outside of an act of God, don’t bother reading this just keep doing what you are doing. – If you agree with my premise, READ ON!)

The most successful companies in the world have structured and proven processes for hiring personnel. Your approach needs to be proactive, productive, and prepared.

There is an old expression, “Dig your well before you are thirsty.

I’ve always said, “Complacency is the cancer of the car business.” Whether it’s in our sales process, advertising campaigns, or in our people. I wonder who said it first, “People are like trees; you are either growing or you are dying.”

Challenge #1 – My top producer(s)

Ever wondered why it only takes 6 months to get to 10 cars then it takes another 12 months to get to 12 units, and then it takes another 24 months to get stuck at 15 or 18? Most dealers count themselves blessed if they have salespeople “stuck” at 18 units. The truth is “stuck” is still “stuck”.

The solution: Recruit a rock star to threaten the comfort zone of your top people. “Okay? How?” you ask. Simple. Start by using language “superstars” and “rockstars” respond to instead of weak words like below.

Those were real life examples pulled off craigslist.com (names changed to protect the innocent.)

Studies show that 52% of salespeople give up after only one rejection. Only 4% will try more than 4 times. Yet today, it takes 8.4 rejections to get a yes. And what makes the difference between someone who will face that rejection one time and quit or 40 times and never quit, is purely personal (self-esteem).

Your ads say, “We are looking for professionals to join our team.” Blah, blah, blah, who cares?! Is that really what you want? Or are you looking for sales superstars to challenge the status quo and scare your top producers into action? Stop using passive emotionless language like “professionals”, “team”, and “goal oriented”. Start using words like, “Hungry”, “Driven”, and “Determined”.

Unless you actually pay people just to show up dressed nice and play nice stop asking for NICE!

Right away I know you are thinking, “I don’t want a caveman, or a lot lizard who cherry picks customers and skates my people.” Neither do I. And that’s not what we are going to get. But I’m sick of going to dealerships and meeting “nice”, “polite”, and “professional” salespeople who are also, passive, petrified, and poor. We hire a nice person who is afraid to persuade, influence, and sell.

A key aspect of a strong salesperson is one with self-esteem and personal ambition. Don’t you love it when you hire someone who innovates, expands upon and improves every single task you assign to them? This self-esteem and need to please can make these people seem overly eager-to-please in a job interview. Maybe even come on too strong. Don’t let a little bravado put you off; it is the quintessential ingredient in every superstar.

Challenge #23 Mistakes most managers make

First, as I mentioned you are not looking for what you really want and so you almost never find it. It’s a simple rule of psychology called “Myopic thinking”. It comes from a term used by Eye doctors “Myopia”. my·o·pi·a n.

1. A visual defect in which distant objects appear blurred because their images are focused in front of the retina rather than on it; nearsightedness. Also called short sight.

2. Lack of discernment or long-range perspective in thinking or planning:

If you are a myopic manager you are thinking of RIGHT NOW. “I need to hire someone, anyone, please just respond to my ad and start working, we will train you, we promise!!!!”

Second, your ad has to ask for the qualities and characteristics you are looking for in a way that those people are most likely to respond by saying, “Hey, this ad is for me!”

For example here’s a possible line from my ad, “If you are a rock star then you can prove it in under two minutes. When you call you will have two minutes or less to prove you are not wasting my or your time. If you are not absolutely sure you can impress me in less than two minutes you are not a good fit.”

Do you think “nice” people who “like cars” and “like people” respond to that ad?

Third, most managers don’t use every tool at their disposal. For instance, do you use a personality test of any kind? What about structured interview questions? Do your interview questions have a scoring structure built into them? What research or homework do you make your candidates do before contacting you?


CRAZY, BORDERLINE INSANE, BUT TRUE FACT! – Over half of all craigslist ads for sales don’t have the name of the dealership or the website and those that do, don’t ask the applicant to do any research before applying! – I KNOW IT SOUNDS CRAZY BUT CHECK IT OUT AND SEE!

Challenge #3 – One thing you must do but most don’t

Reject the applicant. I can’t stress how important it is to do this simple thing. We are in a business of objections and rejection. We are in a business of persuasion, influence, selling, solving, and overcoming, but we don’t ask the applicant to do any of that.

Here’s the idea:

Applicant: “I would really love an opportunity to work for you guys.”

Manager: “Thanks, but we are really looking for someone who has a track record of over coming objections, dealing with rejection, and with a strong sense of self, and quite frankly, even though you have had experience in (Fill in the Blank) I am not convinced you are a good fit for what we are looking for at this time. Thanks for your interest though…” (silence)

Applicant: “Oh, okay, um, well, I guess I understand. Thanks for your time.”

Manager: “Thanks, we appreciate you checking us out.” (silence)

Applicant: “Oh, okay. Bye”

Manager: “Bye.”

That’s what I am talking about. On the phone or in person I reject every candidate I talk to. No exceptions! You are a rock star you will feel challenged not defeated and you will correct my ignorance of your skills.

Challenge #4 – How to see if they can sell regardless of their resume

Ever wanted to know what kind of salesperson they will be before you hire them and are stuck with a “mistake”? Most salespeople fall into two categories of selling styles:

  1. Consultative (empathetic)
  2. Motivational (impositional)

But how do you know what you have if you have never seen them sell. Here are two tests you can give in the interview to get a feel for their selling style and what you will have to coach them on if you decide to hire them.

Testing, testing, testing… Houston, we have a problem!

I’m surprised how few managers have the applicant sell them something before or during the interview process.

Before the “face to face” interview-  Most salespeople today have to do some form of correspondence over the phone, email, and even text messaging now. Why not have the applicant sell you on setting an appointment to see a car or have them leave a message as though you looked but didn’t buy and they need to follow-up. Just ask the applicant to treat you as though you were a customer and to call, email and or text you to get you back in the door after you had went home to think about it. Tell them over the next two days you want them to follow-up with you as though you were one of their future customers. Pick out a model and everything!

During the “face to face” interview- Have the applicant be roleplay as though they were a salesperson selling water for a water bottling company. Place a water bottle on the desk and say, “You are a salesperson at ABC Bottling Company. I have walked in the front door and you are behind the counter. I walk up to the counter and ask, I am interested in buying bottled water for my company. What can you tell me about your bottle water?”  then slide the bottle in front of them and shut up.

(This next part is really interesting!)

Here’s what will happen… Either they will start asking questions (Consultative Selling); What kind of company do you have? What sizes are you interested in? Do you currently have a supplier for your water, or is this a new need? OR, they will begin to sell (Motivational Selling); We have the cleanest, purest water around. Our prices are competitive and our reputation for quality and on time delivery is the best in the industry.

Now you know what you are working with. Motivational selling is powerful because (when done right) people buy the confidence of the seller and it creates a lot of positive energy and momentum towards the sale. The negative side is that (when it is done wrong) it can come across aggressive and opinionated. Consultative selling is powerful because (when it’s done right) it creates a true sense of partnership and relationship with the buyer and tends to be a higher level of customer satisfaction. The negative side is that (when it is done wrong) it can take too long and the process can feel too passive and almost indifferent to the person buying or not buying.

Challenge #5 – The key difference between recruiting and hiring

Here is the philosophy I teach the managers I work with.

  • Recruit constantly
  • Hire occasionally
  • Train consistently
  • Provide accountability
  • Fire quickly

If you are not doing proven processes and structured interviews you are truly gambling with the two greatest assets your dealership has; Your Salespeople and Your Customer.

You are also wasting two of the most valuable resources you will ever spend; Your Time, and Your Money.

Recruiting is an ongoing process. Hiring is an occasional event. Please don’t just recruit when you need to hire. And please don’t hire because you “need” to hire.

If you would like help creating a process or would like to take action right now, but cannot dedicate the time yourself, we can help. Let me know what your needs are and I will try to help.

P.S. If you want we can recruit absolute top producers for you. Contact our Director of Client Services to schedule an interview and collect information about your dealership and the number of positions you need. We’ll bring you talent like your company may never have seen before.

Here’s who to contact:

Jonathan Dawson

Director of Client Services

Phone: (612) 387-7776

Email: jon@recruitthewinners.com

Jonathan Dawson has worked with over 1000 dealerships nationwide. He has experience as a marketing executive, trainer, and strategic consultant. Jonathan is the author of “Needle in a Haystack” – How to recruit the winners.  He is also the author of the Best Practices Workshops and Sellchology Workshops. Jonathan has identified and developed the concept of Proactive Marketing and Proactive Selling that have proven to provide the main structure of truly great companies and he has developed more than 100 unique methods to implement them.

1 Comment

  1. Andrew Melamed on September 29, 2016 at 10:09 am

    This is a great article for anyone determined and driven to get into the automotive industry. If you are hungry to be successful in your interviews and your career you should always know what the employer wants from you (you are selling yourself and your employer is the customer. Its always about them.) The insight of what dealers should be looking for helps you prepare for the interview and helps you weed out the weaker dealerships.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.