By Al Davidson
Car dealerships employ 1.1 million people in the U.S. and are one of the classic examples of sales people at work – almost everyone has had to deal with a car sales person at some point. But according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the traditional car sales model is under pressure: car dealerships are struggling to recruit and retain sales people. It’s a tough business and a somewhat outdated business model; fewer young people from the millennial generation want to go into careers as car sales people, and car dealership sales staff turnover has increased significantly in the past few years.
It’s not just a matter of paying people more money; if you want to retain millennials in your sales team, you need to adapt your business model and align with their values.
How to Make a Sales Team More Productive
Here are a few tips from the example of struggling car dealerships for how you can improve your sales workforce retention and sales team productivity:
Adapt to Changing Times
Many car dealerships still operate as if this is still the postwar era, when customers had fewer choices and were highly loyal to one brand of car. Haggling with car dealers was a rite of passage for previous generations, but many customers today don’t want to do that – they’re shopping online instead. And lots of millennial sales people don’t want to haggle or feel like they’re being deceptive in squeezing a higher price out of the car buyers; they don’t want to play that traditional haggling sales game that car sales people often have to play. One millennial car sales rep was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying that he had moral objections to the traditional style of car sales, and that’s why he decided to work for a dealership with a no-haggle, one-price policy.
It’s not the 1960s anymore. Just like car dealers need to change with the times, your business might need to revisit and update your business model too.
Deliver Stability and Meaning
Today’s millennial sales talent craves stability. Lots of millennials were affected by their experience of living through the Great Recession, and they tend to want to work for a company that can provide a more stable income than a purely commission-driven car sales job. Millennials are more likely to want to work for a company that operates with responsible values and that builds relationships for the long-term, not just doing one-off transactions or putting excessive sales pressure on their customers.
A recent survey of millennial sales talent found that millennials’ Top Five considerations when choosing a job are:
- Work-Life Balance
- Promotion Opportunities
- Meaningful Work
- Job Stability
- Fun Work Culture
It’s fair to say that the typical car dealership environment is not known for work-life balance or job stability – so you can understand why dealerships are struggling to retain younger talent. But it’s not too late to change! Many of these elements that millennials want to see in a workplace are within your control to provide.
Re-evaluate …read more
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