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FOCUS – Recruiting Firm Finds Dealer Expo Good for Business

March 16, 2005
Filed under Features

Anthony Cisneros has attended plenty of powersports trade shows, including the Dealer Expo, but never as an exhibitor. This year was the first time for him, and he’s glad he pulled the trigger.
Cisneros is general manager of Associated Partners (AP), the Cheyenne, Wyo., franchise of Management Recruiters. MRI, based in Cleveland, has 4,500 agents operating out of more than 1,100 offices in 28 countries, and generates annual billings of more than $600 million.
“It was an absolutely wonderful show for us,” Cisneros told Powersports Business. “The timing couldn’t have been better for our first year as an exhibitor. We plan on being back.” In fact, AP already has signed up for next year, he said.
Associated Partners specializes in the powersports industry and has been working with powersports companies for eight of the 10 years it has been in business. It has eight professionals in the Cheyenne office.
Even though AP had only a small 10×10 booth in the RCA Dome, close to 500 people visited the booth, he said, many of them simply asking about the services offered by a recruting firm in the powersports industry. The show generated about 70 qualified leads for Associated Partners, and AP picked up 22 new clients at the show, said Cisnerous, including six dealers. “That’s huge.”
Was it a good investment? “Absolutely,” says Cisnerous. “We’ll track it to find out how it turns out, but we estimate that the return on our investment for all of our expenses will be about 100.”
The Expo gave Associated Partners a visibility that it’s never had before. “I thought I was well known,” says Cisneros, “but to my surprise, not everyone knew me.
“We’re much more visible now with a number of organizations that weren’t aware that there was a recruiting organization that specialized in this industry. (Our presence) created an overwhelming response.”
Cisnerous makes an interesting point: Recruitment demand is a good indicator of the strength of an industry.
“(It’s one of the) best indicators of how well an industry is doing,” he says, “because people have job openings. We’re as busy as we’ve ever been.”
Cisnerous says the season is picking up, and he’s hearing increased demand by dealers for skilled employees ranging from service and parts managers to mechanics and service writers. He’s also doing searches for general managers, as well.
Employers also are paying some relocation costs in addition to the normal recruitment fee, another indication of growing demand. “Normally, especially in regional searches at that level,” says Cisnerous, “the guy is on his own. But now they will help with relocation expenses.”

WHY USE A RECRUITER?
“People hire us because it makes sense,” he says, even though the service isn’t cheap. And, he says, it makes sense for a couple of reasons:
- It sends a strong message to employees about the owner’s attitude. “It says they want to invest in the right people,” says Cisneros.
- It’s economical. According to one survey used by Cisneros, the right hire will pay for itself within six months.
- Dealers are pushing harder to build their businesses. “You see more of these dealers taking a more aggressive approach to growing their business,” he says. “They expect to be more than just order takers.”

WHAT DOES IT COST?
There are three basic payment plans offered by Associated Partners.
Probably the most expensive is the urgent, drop everything you’re doing and find me the right person, type of request. That costs the employer one-third of the new employee’s first year salary, with one-third of that estimated fee as a down payment.
Second, when a dealer has an immediate need but doesn’t have the cash flow to pay for the recruitment fee immediately, Associated will work out an arrangement, often doing some type of trade out.
Third, the most common type is the contingency arrangement. In this case, the employer pays 33.3% of the employee’s first year salary only if a hire is made. “They don’t pay anything unless we find the right person,” says Cisnereous. “We assume the risk.”
For more information, contact Anthony Cisneeros at 307/635-8731 or send him an e-mail at acisnereous@mrwy.net.

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