Are you doing all you can to avoid sales department turnover?

salesmanSales staff turnover remains a big issue for automotive dealerships but the trend turned in a positive direction in 2013, according to CNW Research’s Retail Automotive Summary as reported online by Auto Remarketing.

Turnover rates for sales people at new-car dealerships dropped to about 111 percent last year from 124 percent in 2011, Art Spinella, CNW president, told Auto Remarketing.

“Though these numbers still seem unusually high, Spinella noted that historically, new-car dealership sales personnel turnover has been above 100 percent for decades,” Auto Remarketing reported.

That doesn’t mean turnover is high across all dealership departments.

“Technician turnover continues to be a bright spot,” Spinella told Auto Remarketing, at barely 15 percent last year.

Meanwhile, office staff turnover has been slower than in the past, according to the CNW report.

The results echoed a study last year by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). The Dealer Workforce Study also showed high turnover rates for sales people (62 percent in 2012), with turnover among female sales personnel around 76 percent, Auto Remarketing reported.

If your dealership is having trouble holding on to sales people, here are some factors automotive industry experts suggest you might consider:

How you qualify sales people. You don’t want just warm bodies, but people who project a professional demeanor, have bullet-proof product knowledge, recognize sales is a process, are team players and do what it takes to “delight” customers, wrote Don Graff, an automotive industry consultant.

How you train sales people. Don’t simply follow “the salmon-going-upstream approach – if they survive then we will invest some time into them,” wrote Paul Sansone Jr. of 66 Automall in Neptune, N.J. “Train, train, train, train” to give your sales people the tools they need to earn a good living.

Whether you overwork your sales people. High rates of dealership employee turnover might be due in part to long hours, according to NADA. When employees work over 45 hours, turnover increases.

Whether you’re paying them enough. “Consultants working 50 to 60 hours per week earn 4 percent more a year than their counterparts working [only] 40 to 45 hours,” reported Auto Remarketing.

“Let’s face it. We are not brain surgeons or scientists,” wrote Sansone on the Auto Dealer People blog. “We are only selling cars. If we hire motivated, personable people that care, we should be able to make it a personally and financially rewarding career.”

– Mark Macesich

Posted in Economics, News, Selling

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