The Industry's Leading Source For F&I, Sales And Technology

Article

Hire Introverts to Increase Sales

Dealers are traditionally attracted to flashy sales professionals, but those who are resourceful and data-driven have an edge in the Age of the Consumer.

December 2017, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Mo Zahabi

Consider expanding your recruiting search to include candidates who exhibit personality traits that defy showroom stereotypes. Photo by Kristoffer Trolle
Consider expanding your recruiting search to include candidates who exhibit personality traits that defy showroom stereotypes. Photo by Kristoffer Trolle

By nature, I’m an introvert. I’d rather dig into data than make small talk. I’m more subdued than boisterous. I’d rather not be the center of attention. In short, I have never been your stereotypical salesman. I’ve never had the traits of an extrovert that so many dealers consider critical to sales success. Time and time again, my approach has been met with skepticism. And yet, in my time at dealerships, I was consistently one of the top-performing salespeople.

Of course, many extroverted salespeople are great at what they do, but many dealers are missing top talent by failing to look outside the box when building sales teams. I’ve been off the showroom floor for about 10 years now, but I still see the same patterns in dealership recruitment strategies that I saw then. Dealers are sticking with the salesperson personality types they know, failing to realize how staffing a team with a variety of personalities can improve results.

Hiring for the Age of the Customer

The key to finding the right people for your dealership is understanding the needs of today’s car buyers. We are living in the Age of the Customer. They are empowered to do their own research and question the businesses they choose to patronize.

This increased consumer knowledge means the role of salespeople has shifted. No longer are customers looking for salespeople to tout every shiny bell and whistle of a vehicle. Today’s customers are looking for salespeople who will honestly answer their questions and help them identify the best options by understanding their personal needs. Today’s car shoppers aren’t looking to be sold; they’re looking to be consulted.

This shift in the salesperson’s role means a shift in the skills and traits that makes someone a good salesperson. Here are a few traits to look for in all the candidates you interview, introverts, extroverts or somewhere in between.

Information Beats Showmanship

Today’s customers often know what they want and the price they want to pay before ever stepping foot in the showroom. Nearly 90% of car buyers research pricing online and, on average, spend 59% of their car buying experience — nearly nine hours — researching and shopping online.

Because customers have dedicated so much time and effort to researching cars, they don’t need (or have the patience for) the traditional sales song and dance. They need information. When hiring salespeople, skip the flash. Look for people who have shown a commitment to truly learning about products and using that product knowledge to provide outstanding customer experience.

The first quality your next hire should exhibit is resourcefulness. Most dealers use a variety of different software platforms for a wide range of purposes. These platforms are a big investment, so it is critical to your bottom line that your employees not only use them but also use them well. Today’s most successful dealership salespeople are squeezing everything they can out of the resources their dealership offers, and they see results.

These resourceful salespeople are creating results not just for themselves but for the rest of the business. For example, several CRM providers offer ongoing training. When one resourceful salesperson takes advantage of that training, he will often share his knowledge with his coworkers.

Resourceful employees are also more likely to spot inefficiencies in your processes. For example, perhaps a salesperson discovers a data entry shortcut, such as an integration between the dealership’s service scheduling platform and CRM. That one resourceful discovery will pay ample dividends in the form of saved time and improved customer experience.

A commitment to being resourceful and creative when using dealership technology platforms can also be a selling point for millennial employees, who account for 60% of dealership new hires according to the Cox Automotive Dealership Staffing Study. Seventy-eight percent of millennials were strongly influenced by how innovative a company was when deciding if they wanted to work there.

Your next sales pro also should be data-driven. Countless opportunities are hiding in dealership databases like your CRM, but those opportunities aren’t worth anything unless someone finds them. I see a lot of dealerships still relying on the “gut feeling” approach, but in today’s post-peak market that won’t cut it. The most successful salespeople dig around in data and use it to create opportunities, so look for candidates with data mining experience when you’re hiring.

Much like one resourceful employee can have an impact on the rest of the dealership, one data-driven employee can improve the dealership’s overall bottom line. For example, one ready-to-buy indicator often watched by data-driven sales people is equity. Setting up a report of all customers with positive equity (or more specifically, customers with positive equity coming through your service lane that week, for example) is pretty simple in most CRMs. That one data-driven action taken by one data-driven employee can have a huge impact on dealership performance.

Both introverted and extroverted salespeople can provide your dealership with great results. Keep an open mind and an eye out for these skills when you’re hiring, and you’ll be on your way to building a strong, sustainable sales team.

Mo Zahabi is the director of sales and product consulting at VinSolutions, a Cox Automotive brand.

Your Comment

Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:
Your Name:  
Your Email:  

Blog

So Here's the Deal

Ronald J. Reahard
Addressing F&I’s Internet Problem

By Ronald J. Reahard
A frustrated F&I manager poses an increasingly common question: How do you sell protection products to customers who demand the final price by phone and then show up with a bank check?

(Video) Selling Eight Products Without Losing the Customer

By Ronald J. Reahard
Is offering eight products a bad idea? The magazine’s resident F&I pro says it depends on the producer and the presentation.

He Had a Goal: Remembering David Ressler

By Ronald J. Reahard

[Video] Selling to Short-Term Owners

By Ronald J. Reahard

Done Deal

Gregory Arroyo
Change Is Happening

By Gregory Arroyo
Saddened by the potential loss of another piece of his childhood, the editor tries to put the pieces together when he realizes there’s a good lesson to be learned in a toy retailer’s likely demise.

Who Will Take Up the CFPB's Torch?

By Gregory Arroyo
The CFPB’s acting director tells state regulators there will no longer be ‘regulation by enforcement,” but the editor believes there’s a long list of regulators waiting to take up the torch.

Military Lending Act Guidance: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

By Gregory Arroyo

Resolution Needed

By Gregory Arroyo

Mad Marv

Marv Eleazer
Overcome Your F&I Weaknesses

By Marv Eleazer
His Madness issues a challenge to every F&I professional: Eradicate your bad work habits, diversify your lender spread, and check your God complex at the door.

Proper Deal Structure Moves Mountains

By Marv Eleazer
His Madness has a simple but powerful piece of advice for newbie F&I managers and those struggling to adapt to the way finance sources are rating credit-challenged car buyers.

Show Us Some Love

By Marv Eleazer

Chargeback Prevention

By Marv Eleazer

On the Point

Jim Ziegler
Sharpen Your Survival Skills

By Jim Ziegler
‘Da Man’ has a plan you can use to survive the collapse of the car business and remain profitable through the dealer apocalypse.

Sales Rock Stars Still Exist

By Jim Ziegler
Da Man says $40,000-a-month sales rock stars still exist. He says you’ll find them on YouTube and Facebook Live.

The New Stooges

By Jim Ziegler

Is Your Quick Lube Driving Away Business?

By Jim Ziegler