If Retaining Salespeople Were Easy, Everybody Would Be Doing it

No kidding.   Seriously, so what can be done?  To be sure, there are many strategies to employ, different schools of thought and much to present at a later date.  For now, let's explore one possible solution.  To gain a different perspective, it may be helpful to start at the end, at the moment a quality salesperson tenders their resignation.  How did it get to this point? The very first thing you need to do when a salesperson tenders their resignation is to react immediately.  No excuses, no delays, do not wait until after the morning meeting.  The number one priority becomes speaking with this salesperson. The second must is not to mention the potential resignation to anyone else. This works for both parties and is extremely crucial.  This will allow the salesperson to save face with their peers should you successfully change his or her mind. Also, preventing the would-be resignation from becoming common knowledge will go a long way towards preventing wild rumors that could spread, suggesting a big pay raise was offered to retain the person. It is imperative that we listen attentively to what the salesperson has to say.  Try to understand the exact reason(s) why this person intends to resign. If you fail to find out for certain or accept the real reason(s), you will have no chance to keep this salesperson. You will also want to understand what opportunity is available to this salesperson; more money, less stress, more interesting work or perhaps more stress but a bigger career step. Give an unfiltered review to your immediate superior, even though this may be uncomfortable. You will have to carefully think through your arguments and focus on why it is in the salesperson's best interest to stay. [...]

By | February 11th, 2012|Sales Person Retention|Comments Off on If Retaining Salespeople Were Easy, Everybody Would Be Doing it


Employee retention is a huge key for any successful business.  I’m not just talking about okay or average employee retention; quality long term employee retention is a HUGE factor and is the real key.  One amazing fact is that while money is and will always be a factor in retaining employees, it is not the only factor, in fact money is not normally the number one reason that key employees give for leaving a company, when asked, business and employment experts will generally say financial reasons rank on the lower end of the top ten.  I’ve seen several studies and in most of them only 12-15% of employees left their employer because of the money, HOWEVER 85-90% of employers THINK that money is the reason why the employee left.  I’ve heard before, and this rings true, “employees don’t quit the company they quit the management.”  So let me tell you three KEY things that you can do right now to be a better manager and a better leader to keep your key players intact. Train yourself.  The only way you can effectively train others (step 2) is if you know the material that you expect your people to know, yourself; and to stay ahead of the curve to continue learning new things.  If you are a sales manager reading this, most of the time this line runs through your head, “Why do I need to know _____, I’m not on the front line anymore – I’m a powerhouse on the desk!”  Well the reason you need to is exactly that, you have to have the ability to do more than just inspect what you expect, YOU HAVE TO FIRST PERFORM WHAT YOU EXPECT.  I am [...]

By | February 5th, 2011|Sales Person Retention|1 Comment

T’was The Night Before Payday – A Car Dealers Christmas

'Twas the night before payday, when all ‘cross the lot Not a creature was stirring, there weren’t no ups; The cars were all cleaned on the showroom with care, In hopes that some traffic soon would be there; The crusty, sour peddlers were complaining ‘bout keeping their families fed, While visions of small paychecks danced in their heads; And Managers in their swivel-chairs, and F&I taking a nap, Dreaming of a customer that would buy an E.S.C. and gap, When out on the lot there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the desk to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore across the showroom and through the front door with a crash! The cars on the lot were all covered with snow Dozens of white lumps; how to tell them apart no one would know, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a Sales Trainer and 8 recruits full of cheer. The sharp recruits were prepared with much more than just word-tracts, I knew in a moment it must be AutoMax. More rapid than eagles his trainees they came, The Trainer whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; "Now, Green-pea! now, Newby! and all of the rest! It’s showtime get selling this is your true test! To the phones! to the lot and showroom floor! Time to bring new-life to this car selling store!" As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So out to the lot the recruits they flew, With snow-brooms and energy and good attitudes. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the phones The prospecting calls gave [...]

You Hired ‘Em, You Trained ‘Em, You SHOULD Keep ‘Em: Retaining Top Performers

Turnover and attrition are two words almost synonymous with auto sales. It is an accepted fact of life at car dealerships to the point where the common attitude is, “Oh well. Next!” It would be naive to think you can hold on to every good person in your employ but you also don’t want to hire and train salespeople for every other dealership in town. For right now just focus on your store, not the industry as a whole or your region etc. just your store. Keep your eye on that which you have control. Depending on your tenure you can probably think of anywhere from a handful to dozens of solid performing sales representatives that moved on for one reason or another. Where would you and your dealership be if you were able to retain some or most of these quality peddlers? Okay, snap out of that daydream. I am in no way suggesting you will ever be able to keep all of your top performers. Stuff happens, life happens we know this but how about minimizing losses and keeping the majority of them? Below are three suggestions to assist in maximizing salesperson retention. Hire ‘em, train ‘em, keep ‘em. You Have To Hold Them Accountable The first area in building employee loyalty is accountability. Hold all your people accountable, the low performers as well as the top producers. Some of you may think that having standards and holding people to them with consequences for their actions will run off good people. Quite the opposite is true. I’m not talking about micro-managing people to death. Hold salespeople accountable to production, punctuality and professionalism. When your big dogs see that you don’t put up with [...]

By | November 12th, 2010|Sales Person Retention|1 Comment

Retaining Top Performers, Is Easier Than You Think…

The automotive industry is notorious for turnover in their sales departments, which makes retention of good salespeople a critical concern for sales managers, general managers and dealer principals. In fact, it's such a major occurrence that it has come to the point where attrition has come to be just part of dealership life, well I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be that way! Think back over the years at all of the sales people that have come and gone. Sure, some of them you were happy to see go, but others... not so much so. What if you could create your "dream team" so to speak, a sales team made of all the best closers and prospectors that have worked for you in the past, where do you think your sales would be today? It All Starts With the Selection Process It's important, for long term sales force retention that you hire the right salespeople from the very beginning. It's a sad truth that most employees are in the wrong job. In fact, a recent study suggests that only 25% of the work force in the United States are in the right job, according to skills, interests and/or job satisfaction.  What that means is that 75% of your sales force is in the wrong field! Those are the 75% that are costing you real money, a loss in productivity and wasted time in development and training, not mention sales, sales and more sales! A sales person can cost you upwards of 3 times their salary to hire and train their replacement, that's a lot of lost gross! Here at Automax we have a sales talent screening process, keep in mind though [...]

By | October 18th, 2010|Sales Person Retention|8 Comments

Retaining Your Sales Staff Begins With…

Retention begins with attitude and ends with training. Simply put, if your head isn’t in it, you lose.  The car business, for better or worse has always been a business of negativity. The LEADS are weak? You ARE Weak!!!! That was the motivation. If you want your staff not to be “weak”, train them properly, role play, share your knowledge. Make them better.  Unfortunately, most managers do not possess the time or talent to train. Can the dealer afford to take your best managers off the floor to train the salesstaff? By the way, do you know what we mean when we say “Training?”  Training isn’t just presenting information to a group of dead faces. Training is a four step process: First you explain, Then demonstrate, Then observe and then, Correct. The process never changes.  If you just explain, you are short changing your staff by three steps.  They will NEVER improve. Knowledge is not power. It is the use of the knowledge that is powerful.  We just cannot put words on a board and magically expect a group of “professionals” to take it to heart. We need to show them that the information presented will make them better.  Having knowledge and not to utlize it is worse than not having the knowledge.   That is why we have profession trainers.  They not only have the knowledge, they can translate, show, train and correct so your staff will no longer be weak, and neither will you. Want to retain, then train…  Your thoughts?

By | September 23rd, 2010|Sales Person Retention|3 Comments

Did You Hire Em Dead or Kill Em After You Got Em?

Ok, so you have run your automotive salesperson help wanted ads, you have scheduled the respondents for an interview, you put them through your physiologically based interview, and they have passed personality tests, background checks, drug tests and DMV. You initially “trained” them either in house or used an outside source such as AutoMax Recruiting and Training to do all that for you. Now they are ‘Plug and Play Professionals” Now comes the job of retaining who went through the training. They are now on the floor ready to take “ups”, first customer comes in, new salesperson greets them just the way they were trained to do, customer grabs a brochure and leaves. You call the salesperson over and ask what happened and he or she says something like "Oh they were just looking, on lunch hour, wife was next door shopping, asked for directions, car was getting oil change, killing time while his partner robbed the bank next door”, and he heads to the coffee maker for a cup of joe, you get the picture. In your frustration of this being the 15th customer that visited your showroom today without one sale, in your best Alex Baldwin voice from Glengarry Glen Ross you tell him in no uncertain terms “Coffee’s for Closers, kid” and he cowers back into his office. Near the end of the day you remember yelling at the “greenpea” and you go sit down and tell him “I have great news, you are going to be trailing Five Car Fred the rest of the week” “Five Car has been here 13 years and has a lot of time on his hands” {He only sells Five a month] “He will [...]

By | September 22nd, 2010|Sales Person Retention|5 Comments