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Utilizing the six-step hiring pyramid

August 23, 2004
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles that will address the issue of hiring the right salespeople for your dealership. The six-step hiring process is called a pyramid because it starts with a large group of applicants and ends with the selection of the one correct candidate.
I often get calls from dealers saying, “Gart, we need your help. We’ll give you whatever information, data, materials or anything else you need if you’ll just develop a Salesperson Retention Program for us. We’re sure that if we can reduce the turnover in salespeople, we could build customer loyalty and higher customer satisfaction.”
My response to them has been, “Are you sure you really want to retain the people you have? A lot of salespeople don’t even know about the products they are supposed to sell. They don’t study the training materials that are available or even read the brochures on the units they’re selling.”
In today’s competitive market, you need more than amateur salespeople and order-takers. For your dealership to maximize its potential, you need a thoroughly professional and expertly-trained sales force.
Your long-range success depends on your ability to recruit, hire, train and keep good salespeople. This is an on-going process that begins with selecting the right people for the job, and continues through helping them achieve their full potential.
There are three things a salesperson needs in order to be successful:
– Aptitude
– Attitude
– Training
Aptitude is having the capacity to do the job
Does everyone have the aptitude — the natural ability — to be an effective powersports salesperson? No!
Will training help or change an aptitude problem? No! It may influence it, but it will not change it. If you don’t have salespeople who have the natural ability to do the job, you can train to your heart’s content and it will never work.
You need to recruit the right kind of people. A salesperson must be a people person, one who loves to meet others. They must be uninhibited enough to go out and strike up a conversation with perfect strangers. Good salespeople are born, not made. There are plenty of them out there. You just have to find them, train them and make sure they’re properly motivated so you can keep them.
If you’re a manager, you’re an achiever. You may even be a bit of a workaholic. I was and still am. You have that natural hunger, that desire to see just how far your abilities can take you.
I never had a paper route. That was too easy. You do the same thing every day and get the same pay every month. Instead, I bought my own little printing press. I went around the neighborhood and got bits of news. Then I wrote and published these little newsy articles. I went door-to-door selling my own newspaper. The people bought it because it was about them. They loved it and I made more money than any paper route ever could have paid.
Most sales managers and good salespeople are like that. Creative. Street smart. You don’t want a routine, monotonous job. Selling is always a new experience because each customer is different. You walk in to close someone and you’ve got about 30 seconds to size up the situation and establish rapport. The challenge is the thing! But you must have the aptitude.
Attitude is the willingness to do the job
It is a desire to meet customers one-on-one and to convince them to purchase whatever it is you’re selling. Attitudes can be influenced, but they can’t be created. A salesperson must have the attitude of wanting to sell — wanting it more than anything else in the world.
Real salespeople don’t let rejection get in their way. They don’t take it personally. Oh, it might get them down for a moment or two, but they instinctively bounce right back with an even stronger desire.
For a customer, the toughest salesperson to face is not the one who just sold something. It’s the one who has faced nothing but rejection all day long. That’s the kind who digs deeper within themselves with each rejection. They come out more focused, better prepared and even more committed to making the next sale. The poor customer doesn’t stand a chance. That’s the kind of mind set, the kind of attitude your salespeople must have. psb
Next month, part 2 of Utilizing the six-step hiring pyramid — how to hire and retain the right salespeople.

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