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MARKETING – The Final Interview, Hiring and Orientation

January 20, 2005
Filed under Archives

This is the seventh and final article in a series that addressed the issue of hiring the right salespeople for your dealership.

Once you have selected your best candidates, use the final interview to seek answers to any questions that came up in the earlier stages. While you do this, carefully study each candidate’s reactions.
State any reservations you may have about each candidate. This lets them better understand your concerns and expectations. Take this opportunity to make sure they also reveal any concerns they might have about the job.
Review the job with each candidate. Be sure to include discussion of compensation, job description, dealership policies.
Go over the compensation program, specifically how commissions are calculated, along with any other items that may affect their paycheck (spiffs, bonuses, etc.). If you have any perk programs (demonstrators, special purchase plans, etc.), make sure they understand and are in agreement with all the details. Review the benefits package. You may want to take a quick refresher course from your “Personnel Manager” before meeting with the candidates.
Review the written job description in detail. The candidates must clearly understand every single point.
Every dealership should have policies covering trial periods for new employees, business hours, employee conduct, dress codes, etc. It is imperative that you cover these with each candidate at this time so there won’t be any questions or surprises after you make your hiring decision.

HIRING AND ORIENTATION
Once you’ve made the decision to hire a candidate, inform them with a phone call. Provide them with copies of any written materials about the job (job description, policy manual, etc.). Provide brochures and other information about the products they will be selling. Make sure they get these in advance so that they can study them prior to reporting to work on the first day.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD
ORIENTATION PROGRAM
The orientation is crucial to ensuring your new salespeople get off on the right foot. Take whatever time is necessary to make sure they feel comfortable in their new job.
Try to include the following elements in your orientation program:
n Create a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Provide refreshments.
n Complete all necessary paperwork (employment agreement, state and federal tax forms, social security forms, etc.).
n Give them a tour of the dealership. Personally introduce them to other employees, particularly the department managers. Point out the location of all first aid and safety equipment, emergency exits and employee facilities.
n Give them a brief history of the dealership, including highlights of its growth and success.
n Review the compensation and benefits program. Reaffirm that they understand all aspects of each plan or program..
n Thoroughly review job responsibilities (including the Customer Log) and policies regarding dress, personal conduct, employee parking, etc.
n Provide a sample package of all documents involved in writing up a sale (contracts, sales agreements, warranty cards, credit applications, etc.). Make sure they understand how to fill out each form.
n Discuss your training programs for both product knowledge and selling skills.
n Encourage them to ask questions. This is the time to answer whatever concerns the orientation may have created.

THE 90-DAY EVALUATION
Once the employee has been working for 90 days, conduct a formal performance evaluation. Perhaps the employee has not been responsive to the performance-improvement suggestions you have made. Now is the time to terminate.
If the employee has responded, yet you have serious doubts about their potential in sales, now is the time to terminate.
Finally, if the employee is performing well, has responded to your suggestions and input, and looks to be on their way to becoming a good salesperson, give them the recognition they deserve. You’ve found yourself a winner!

- Author, speaker and educator, Gart has been retained by every major powersport manufacturer/distributor. He is a frequent keynote speaker for national motorcycle conventions and state Motorcycle Dealer Association events. Visit www.gartsutton.com.

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