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Kevin Baumgart

The First 7 Days: Why Onboarding Millennials Is Critical to Employee Performance

Coffee Girl

With each passing day, dealerships have to reconcile the fact that they will need to hire an increasing number of Millennials. What does this mean exactly? Like any normal demographic shift, older Americans are retiring and younger generations are filling their positions.

The big differentiator between now and previous generations is that the incoming group is such a huge segment of the population. According to Pew Research, Millennials – those between 18 and 34 – now number more than 75 million in the U.S., pushing them past the next largest group: the Baby Boomers.

What Does the Millennial Shift Mean for Dealerships?

This is meaningful for your dealership for a number of reasons. First of all, Millennials are in the middle of a job-hopping trend that has been growing increasingly pronounced over the past decade. For example, research from LinkedIn found professionals who graduated between 1986 and 1990 average 1.6 jobs during their first five years in the labor market. Workers who graduated between 2006 and 2010 have an average of 2.85 jobs during the same timeframe.

On top of that, Millennials are pretty stark in their self-assessments of their level of preparedness for the workforce. Bentley University released a study that revealed Millennials give themselves a grade of C or lower on being prepared for their first jobs.

When you consider the ramifications of these trends, you have the chance to recognize the importance of an onboarding program that keeps employees engaged and less inclined to look for work elsewhere.

Make Onboarding a Competitive Advantage

Building a dealership with the right talent will extend into the overall positive performance of the business. Employee onboarding is a fundamental aspect of the overall engagement framework of a top-performing business. With Millennials taking up a growing segment of the overall talent pool, keeping new hires engaged early on is even more important.

Strictly concerning financial performance, having a formal employee engagement program can make all the difference. A recent report from Aberdeen Research found that companies that have programs aimed at building employee loyalty achieve a 15.5 percent year-over-year increase in annual revenue – compared to 12.3 percent for all other organizations (Link to PDF report).

Meanwhile, these top-performing organizations also generate higher annual revenues from customer referrals, and more of their sales team members achieve their annual quotas compared to companies that don’t have an employee engagement strategy.

How Are Companies Creating Impactful Onboarding Programs?

Consider the first week of a new employee’s time on the job. At the end of the first seven days, do they:

  • Have a clear sense of their role within your dealership?
  • Understand your organization’s culture and expectations?
  • Feel as though they are socially integrated?
  • Have confidence in their abilities to fulfill their responsibilities?
  • See a direction forward as they continue along their career path?

These questions can help you get started understanding whether your dealership has an effective onboarding program.

Here are a few tips to ensure you’re keeping Millennials engaged from the very start.

1. Limit Traditional Learning Strategies

It’s important to remember that onboarding is not the same as training. There are certain aspects that will cross over, but, in large part, your onboarding program should be squarely focused on integrating new hires into your dealership. Certainly, you should be taking the time to introduce company policies, benefits and other fundamental information for each new employee. However, your onboarding program should get Millennials out from behind a desk and next to a mentor within your dealership who they can shadow. This will enable them to get hands-on experience and information about the processes and practices that go on during a regular day.

2. Begin Employee Recognition Early

From the very beginning, your dealership should work on integrating ways to help Millennials feel that they’re making significant progress—and you have made the effort to recognize them for it. A recent article for the Society for Human Resource Management found there’s a growing trend among organizations to invest in social recognition tools. A simple “thank you” goes a long way with respect to encouraging engagement among new hires, especially when you’re using social platforms that enable a millennial workforce to do so quickly and conveniently.

3. Customize Their Experiences

Whether or not it’s a positive attribute, Millennials are known for their love of personalization. From their Spotify playlists to their Starbucks orders, customization is a central component of their daily lives. They expect this to transition to the professional world. For instance, it’s common for new staff members to get introductory materials, clothing and other items during their first few days on the job. By adding their name or including references to topics or trends they enjoy, you increase the likelihood that your new hires will have a positive outlook and impression of your dealership.

By understanding how Millennials approach their professional lives and careers, you put your dealership in a better position to create an effective onboarding program that will make your business more productive.

Remember that this generation is less loyal to their employers than previous ones, meaning your onboarding strategy is even more likely tied to the long-term success of your business than you may have originally thought.

Special thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing their insights on onboarding process. Learn more about Hireology. And join NCM’s experts for more actionable guidance for hiring the best people for your team in our Finding Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plan classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/the-first-7-days-why-onboarding-millennials-is-critical-to-employee-performance/

NCM Associates

#AskNCM: Why are Labor Sales Important to Parts?

Why is labor important?

“Well,” says NCM expert, Rick Wegley, “labor-to-parts sales ratios typically show almost a dollar for labor,  dollar for parts on almost every ticket, if we do an overall big picture view.”

Get Rick’s recommendations for how you can keep technicians in the bay and keep Parts sales going by focusing on labor.

Have another for Rick or the other #AskNCM experts? Leave a comment below! 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/askncm-why-are-labor-sales-important-to-parts/

Terry Wichmann

My Favorite Sales Wordtracks to Defend UV Gross Profit

Thinking man

Used Vehicle sales continue to be a critical part of any dealership’s strategy.

Quarter after quarter, used vehicle sales continue to perform: in July 2016 alone, it’s estimated that more than 3.6 million units sold. But no matter how aggressively you promote used vehicles, your dealership won’t make the most profit unless your sales team is consistently and firmly defending the gross profit on each and every vehicle they sell. Saying this is easy, but it’s often difficult to effectively train sales staff to protect each vehicle’s profit, leading to diminishing returns on sales.

To help train your sales team, here’s my simple—but effective—wordtracks to protect the gross margin on UV sales. I’ve used them for years. And this is a tool I frequently recommend to my consulting clients.

Defend your used vehicle gross profit with these wordtracks

(In this example, the selling price of the car on the dealership website and “on the windshield” is $14,750.)

1. Use the first 30 seconds to introduce yourself and the dealership.

Here are my recommended wordtracks:

- “ Our dealership/dealer group has been in business for __ years because we treat our customers very well and we know that price is important when a customer purchases a car (or truck) …”

- “You may be aware that __ thousand customers purchased used cars and truck from our dealership/dealer group last year.”

2. Get the prospect back to the dealership after the demo.

After a demo ride with a prospect, the salesperson should instruct her to park the used vehicle near the entrance Service Department. As she gets out of the car, the salesperson should say “… let’s go back to my desk and I will show you what we found and fixed on this car/truck.”

3. Do a trial close.

If possible, walk the prospects into the showroom through the Service Department and comment, “This is where you will bring your car for oil changes and other maintenance ….” See how the customer reacts.

4. Demonstrate the vehicle’s value.

After the prospects are seated at the salesperson’s desk/table, you should say, “I will get the value folder for this car and show you what we found and fixed on this car.” The salesperson should review each item in the folder with the prospect and watch for their head to nod in agreement a “trial close.”

After the review, sales staff should summarize the folder: “…and that’s why we know the selling price…$14,750…on this ___ is a fair price.”

The prospect’s response will tell you the next moves. If she responds, “I’ll give you $13,500 for it right now,” the salesperson now knows that the prospect likes the car, but she is trying to get it for less. The salesperson’s job is now to defend the gross. (“$13,500” is not yet an offer; it is an indication that the prospect is willing to buy the car).

5. Defend the gross against price objections.

Connect the reconditioning to the current price. Your salesperson should explain, “If you had come to our dealership and purchased this car ‘as is’ before we completed all the repairs on it, we may have sold it to you for less than $14,750.”

Review the value folder again, paying particular attention to the clean Carfax and intern internal repair orders which reflect all the repairs which were performed “at our (internal) cost.”

Reinforce that these documented items are the reason “we know that $14,750 is a fair price.”

6. Protect gross profit from counter offers.

If the prospect counters with “We’ll pay $14,000 right now,” the salesperson should try to overcome the price objection without taking an offer to the Sales Manager.

Use one of the following scripts to protect the vehicles gross profit:

  1. “What financial formula did you use to determine that this car is worth only $14,000?  We price our used cars and trucks very competitively on the internet; that’s why we sell so many of them: __ thousand alone in 2015. If we didn’t price them competitively, people like you wouldn’t find them on the internet.”
  2. “I imagine you spent several hours on the internet searching for a car like this one; you drove __ miles to our dealership to see it so you must feel it’s a fair price.  No one drives __ miles to see a car if they feel the price is too high. But, I understand you don’t want to ‘pay too much’ for this car.  But I think you know that $14,750 is a fair price. So, that you can go home and tell your friends that you ‘got us down’ on the price, you can purchase the car for $14,700 and still go back and tell your friends that you ‘got us down’ on the price.”

At this point, if the prospect continues to offer less than $14,700, the salesperson should take the offer to the Sales Manager who should attempt to close at $14,700.

How does your dealership defend the gross? Tell us below. Have more dealership concerns? Meet with Terry or another NCM Consultant to identify opportunities for improvement in your store.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/my-favorite-sales-wordtracks-to-defend-uv-gross-profit/

Susy Campbell

Five Must-See Places in Kansas City

Each year our Institute hosts hundreds of students for training at our Kansas City office. The Travel Solutions team and I thought you’d like a list of things to do in the “City of Fountains” during your evenings. So, ignore some of that homework and hit the town with these five KC favorites!

1.  Country Club Plaza               

With its Seville-inspired beauty, the Country Club Plaza is Kansas City’s crown jewel. The shopping district offers spectacular fountains—and, for a city renowned for them, that’s saying a lot!—and a stunning light display during the holiday season.  But it offers more than just shopping: The Plaza (as we call it) has delicious restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

Just a few minutes away from the hotels we typically book for NCMi courses, and it is an excellent choice for an evening out. One warning, though, storefronts close by 7 p.m. most evenings, except for Thursday nights when shopping goes strong until 9 p.m.

2. Power & Light District

Just a few minutes North of NCM’s headquarters is the Power & Light District. While the Plaza focuses on upscale dining and shopping, P&L is about partying! Anchored by the Sprint Center, which hosts concerts year round, you can also enjoy exceptional nightclubs and fantastic sports bars. A favorite spot is the Alamo Drafthouse, which shows movies in an 18-years-or-older environment that bans cell phones and has in-seat food and beverage service.

3. Hollywood Casino at the Speedway

If playing slots are what you like, then the Hollywood Casino at the Speedway offers over 2,000 slots and several traditional table games. It overlooks the iconic Kansas Speedway, and if you plan your trip at the right, you can join 100,000 geared up NASCAR fans at the Sprint Cup Series. And be sure to come hungry. Hollywood Casino has five restaurants including Final Cut Steakhouse that serves steak and seafood.

You’ll need a car to get there from NCM. So, let us know if you want to go, and our team can make the arrangements.

4. Historic 18th and Vine Jazz District 

Little Richard, Fats Domino and others have sung about “Coming to Kansas City” since 1952. Why? Because during the Jazz Age, Kansas City was known as the “Paris of the Plains,” and its nightclubs and speakeasies left an indelible mark on American Jazz. (Just ask Charlie Parker!)

The Historic 18th and Vine Jazz District celebrates KC’s rich Jazz heritage. Explore this uniquely American music form at the American Jazz Museum. Discover the fascinating history African-Americans in baseball at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. And, aficionados only, stay up late—really late—for an early morning jam session at the Mutual Musicians Foundation where KC’s current jazz and blues artists play after their Friday and Saturday night sets. (Definitely worth extending your trip for. Trust us.)

5. Liberty Memorial

The only National World War I Museum and Memorial in our country, the Liberty Memorial was built in 1919 after a group raised $2.4 million (the equivalent of $34 million today) to honor the men and women who had served in “the war to end war.” In 1921, all the supreme Allied commanders dedicated the site, the last time the five gathered. Needless to write, if you’re a history buff you don’t want to miss this award-winning museum which houses one of the largest collection of WWI artifacts in the world!

The WWI museum is closed on Mondays, but is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. So, if you want to visit this national treasure, I recommend you come in for class a little early or stay an extra day in KC. And, if you’re staying, don’t forget to visit our lovely Union Station and its interactive science center and planetarium!

Whether you’re coming to KC for training, need help getting to an NCM 20 Group meeting or want to take a well-deserved vacation, let NCM Travel Solutions do the planning for you! Get your free travel quote.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/five-must-see-places-in-kansas-city/

Lindsey Quinn

5 Reasons Why You MUST Attract Digital Car Shoppers

Headline after headline tells us that the internet is playing a huge role in new vehicle sales. But just how important is it to the bottom line? NCM staffers did the research, and the results are clear. Your dealership is missing out on profits if you are ignoring your digital marketing strategy.

Digital Marketing InfographicDon’t miss out on online car buyers. Get even more insights on how to build a high-performing digital presence for your dealership.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/5-reasons-why-you-must-attract-digital-car-shoppers/

NCM Associates

#AskNCM: How can I stop my out of control shop expenses?

“Our shop supplies expense is out of control,” a service manager asks Steve Hall. “Do you have any tips or best practices for controlling it?”

Managing car dealership expenses is always a concern because of its immediate effect on the bottom line, explains Steve. Get Steve’s advice for simple steps you can take to reduce shop costs.

Have another for Steve or the other #AskNCM experts? Leave a comment below! 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/askncm-how-can-i-stop-my-out-of-control-shop-expenses/

Chelsea Magee

Dealership Blogging: Does it really work?

Businessman thinking

Everyone loves free information. And free information brings in customers. In a fact, 90% of future car buyers report that they search online for answers to their questions about their next vehicle purchase or service.

Three strategies for blogging success

Because of this push for knowledge, blogs are no longer a luxury. But you have to do it right if you want to get the best results for your dealership.

1. Become an industry expert

Defy the stereotypes! Show future buyers that dealing with car dealers actually can be better than eating worms! Online research can frustrate customers, partly because we often let third-party sites educate them with inaccurate and confusing information.

Blogging is one of the best ways for your dealership staff to establish authority and expertise. Once Google realizes you’re an authority on the topic(s) customers are searching for, you’re going to see increased traffic from search engines. And who doesn’t want to drive more traffic to their website?

2. Stick to a schedule

I often see dealerships post a few blogs and end up quitting. You have to blog regularly and remain focused on providing high-quality information. Did you know that Google knows the difference between high and low-quality? This is one of Google’s 200 ranking factors!

Make sure you create a schedule you can maintain by creating an editorial calendar.

3. Tackle current issues

Talk to your staff and find out the “top ten” questions they answer on a regular basis. You can do this for both Sales and Service. Make sure to write posts about your local area and events because this will also boost your local relevancy. Another hint? Review everything! Customers often add the word “review” to many of their searches.

Keep in mind that you must write fresh content instead of copying and pasting from your manufacturer’s website. Google and your customers know the difference.

The icing on the cake? Ongoing communication is like marketing: You have to stay top of mind with your clients. How else are you going to provide customers with a steady stream of information without scaring them away? Customers may ignore your ads, but blogs include content they actually want to read. Supplying this content gets them to your website and helps humanize your dealership.

Join Chelsea for Kain Automotive and NCMi course, How to Lead in the Digital Marketplace, for more actionable insights and strategies for digital marketing.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/dealership-blogging-does-it-really-work/

Alan Ram

Education isn’t training!

guy_laptop

It seems that anybody who is anybody in the training sphere has an online platform. Because of this, it is important for you to understand exactly what you’re getting and what you’re looking for from any trainer or training program. Dealers call companies like NCM and mine, every day, to ask for training, and some will make it a point to specifically ask for live training. What they want is for someone to come in and talk to their people, for several hours a day, for a few days, explaining whatever it is they are trying to teach.

The problem is that this is not really training, it is only education. At the end of this type of “training,” the Dealer is satisfied because his salespeople are pumped up about all the stories that they heard in the conference room. However, when the trainer follows up he is told that the salespeople were excited for about a week after he left, but now they are back to doing what they were doing before.

What’s the problem?

The first problem: Even though the salespeople were sitting in that conference room for eight hours, their attention span only lasted for about twenty minutes.

The second problem: Everyone learns at a different rate. Some people can hear something once and understand it, some need to hear it fifteen times or more for it to sink in.

The third problem: Repetition is the mother of learning. Training is not about a one-time pump up session, it’s all about repetition.

What real training looks like!

Even if the trainer actually did simulate or train during that session, now what? That’s not enough. Professional golfers don’t just hit a bucket of balls once every six months. They hit bucket after bucket of balls daily. This is why I’m a fan of online platforms. Why would you take hostages in a conference room for hours on end, when that same training could be delivered online at everyone’s individual pace, fifteen minutes per day, in a way that also tracks and monitors. It’s that easy!

Then, you need to simulate. Someone should be doing this at your dealership on a consistent basis. You can role play different skills for a few minutes every day. That’s all it takes, and that’s training! Let’s quit confusing education with actual training.

Use Your Power Tools

Online platforms are invaluable tools to help you get the job done. Managers need good tools. A contractor could just use a hammer and screwdriver to build a house, but couldn’t he get the job done much faster with power tools?

Online platforms are the power tools that management should use to get the job done better and faster. They make training sustainable in the real world environment of the dealership. Live events can be great momentum builders, and can be useful when concept and processes are being discussed and collective feedback fuels the conversation. Both live events and online platforms have a place in making sure you have a solution that accomplishes your goal.

Ready to train your team? Check out in-person training options through NCM Associates, and discover our online platform, NCM OnDemand. Alan Ram’s Management by Fire course offers additional tools for your dealership training needs.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/education-isnt-training/

Brent Carmichael

4 Essentials for Big Sales in the Dog Days of Summer

cooling down for dog at the beach

The dog days of summer are here. The typical BHPH dealer will sell 30 percent to 35 percent of their annual units in the first three months of the year. They will also realize about the same percentage of their annual profit in the first quarter.

So, if you got off to a slow start this year, summer could be the only way to salvage your annual sales; however, it’s going to be a lot harder.

But you can profit in the summer—with the right plan.

Good sales in the summer are no different than selling in the first-quarter heydays. It just requires more focus and drive because your customers have less money and can be harder to find. The four steps I outline below will give your team the skills and focus on making sales, even in the most challenging months.

Step One: Develop the right skills

The first of the key ingredients, and most important, is simply training. Well-trained salespeople can sell any time of year.

Set up a training schedule to get your team on point. Both phone training and basic sales skills training should be done weekly, at a minimum. Specifically, address how to overcome objections; role playing is a good way to accomplish this.

Educate your staff on how to set effective appointments by recording and reviewing the calls. Lot traffic is at a premium during the dog days, so make sure your people know how to handle effectively what opportunities they do have.

Step Two: Keep up appearances

Appearance is critical. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about your employees’ appearance, which should always be neat and professional, but your overall lot appearance.

Over my many years in the business and as an executive conference moderator with NCM Associates, I’ve discovered that the No. 1 reason BHPH customers choose a dealership is that it looked good when they drove by. Let’s take this at face value and make sure your lot is the best-looking one in town!

Fortunately, improving your lot appearance isn’t difficult. Make sure it is always neat and orderly.

Arrange vehicles evenly and with a good mix of colors and styles; don’t have them face all four directions of the compass! Host a lot party or rodeo at least once a week to force yourself to keep the lot fresh.

And don’t forget the cars themselves. You should consider the vehicles on your lot as your mannequins and treat them the way a fine department store treats theirs. Keep them fresh, neat, clean and always ready to sell. That goes for overall lot appearance as well. A fresh coat of paint and some weed killer can do wonders.

Step Three: Entice your customers

Successful dealerships understand that you can’t just wait for clients. Good marketing brings people to your lot; develop a plan that offers attractive incentives.

Summer is a time when repeat and referral programs really pay dividends. And it is also a good time of year to focus on referrals, not just with your customer base but with outside companies and people as well. (If you are not already paying referrals to non-customers, it’s something that you should give some serious consideration to. I can assure you some, if not all, of your competitors are doing it.)

Marketing also extends to your Web presence. Make sure your website is up to date. Read through your “About Us” sections and any testimonials — do you need to make changes?

Review your employee introductions — has anyone left or been promoted? Do the photos need to be replaced? Reviewing photos is of particular importance if you display inventory: I was on a dealer client’s website the other day, and the inventory photos had SNOW on the vehicles!

It’s also critical that you check any advertised specials. You don’t want someone stopping in for a deal that’s no longer current!

Step Four: Get your message out

If you want to make the most of the dog days of summer, make sure people know about you. In this very competitive industry, advertising in some form or fashion is a must. The two most popular advertising media are, of course, television and radio. And, contrary to popular belief, use doesn’t drop off in the summer.

Advertising is only effective when it reaches the right folks with the right message. When promoting in these channels, remember to advertise to your customer, not yourself. Chances are your buyers watch different television stations than you do and may even listen to different radio stations.

Select ad placements where your clients are watching and listening. If you aren’t certain what media your customers are using, survey both new and existing customers to gauge their entertainment preferences. In other words, just ask them.

Moving past traditional media, there are many options in social media to get your message out. I won’t go into them here, but I recommend you get the basics by reading this great article from Trevor Robinson, NCM Associates’ director of retail solutions, training and development.

As you can see, the formula for selling in the dog days is the same as selling in the heydays. Although there are usually fewer opportunities, you can capitalize on what you have when you pay more attention to detail.

And it doesn’t need to be expensive—the two most important I outlined above are the least expensive. With the right mix of training, lot maintenance, and marketing and advertising, I know you can keep the dogs at bay.

Join the NCM Institute its upcoming Buy Here Pay Here class, BHPH Collections: A Customer-Centric Approach. Article originally published by AutoRemarketing on May 31, 2016. Be sure to check out more insights from them.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/07/4-essentials-for-big-sales-in-the-dog-days-of-summer/

Kevin Baumgart

Four Fundamental Steps for Hiring Product Specialists at Your Dealership

car salesman talking to young woman inside showroom

Our automotive customers have shared that employing product specialists helps improve customer experience and loyalty, while simultaneously lowering employee turnover. When executed well, everyone is better off—the dealership, from improved customer satisfaction; the new employee, with a clearly defined career path; and the customer, who drives off your lot happy and ready to refer their friends.

Why do you need this position? Today’s consumers are more informed than ever, and the traditional sales approach isn’t working like it used to. Customers don’t want a sales pitch when they come to the dealership—they’d rather leverage their own research to speed up the buying process and purchase their new vehicle as quickly as possible.

Traditional salespeople and this new breed of product specialists are not cut from the same cloth. This new group of jobseekers is harder to recruit and retain, forcing you to bring your recruiting A-game.

Step 1 – Learn what makes great product specialists

Based on data from Hireology’s Talent Coaches—our team who works with dealerships to help them recruit and hire great resources—there are several key factors to look for when hiring a product specialist:

  • New to the industry: You want your employees to be molded by your system, not bringing bad habits into your dealership.
  • Ability to be a sponge: If they know nothing about the car business, then they must be prepared to absorb information and put it to immediate use.
  • Comfort with technology: New specialists should have the ability to learn the multitude of vehicle features and convey them to the customer in a digestible manner.
  • Puts customer needs first: Successful product specialists do what it takes to make the customer happy and find the car that’s right for them.

When we look outside the auto industry for product specialists, we create a near-limitless supply of job seekers. As long as a candidate has the fundamental building blocks for success, he or she could be the exact employee you’ve been seeking.

Step 2 – Discover the best candidates

Dealership executives must know how to find and recruit preferred talent when it comes to building a team of product specialists—which means sourcing your candidates. You need proactively to determine where you want to locate top talent. Think about using job boards such as Indeed.com, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Snagajob so you can source candidates from the world’s best job sites.

Hireology’s Talent Coaches also recommend attending college career fairs and to build a strong social media presence for your dealership. Include on your dealership’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter pages such information as company culture, career opportunities and employee reviews. This helps ensure your dealership remains present within this ever-growing channel for job seekers.

Keep in mind that it’s important to have all your employees share this information and motivate them to want to share it. Otherwise, your social media efforts will seem forced or manufactured.

Here’s our breakdown for candidate discovery:

  • Publish jobs to the most effective job boards
  • Share positions using your social media accounts
  • Transform your website into a customizable job site
  • Use mobile-friendly job applications
  • Apply candidate pre-screening surveys
  • Create an employee referral program

Step 3 – Attract the right talent

There are two critical factors for attracting qualified candidates to fulfill your product specialist roles—the job post (which includes a job description) and the career site.

Most young job seekers aren’t actively considering traditional auto sales as a career option, so highlight the fact that you’re hiring for a product specialist position to drive more interest in the millennial market. Let job seekers know this fundamental difference in the job description and post.

Here’s an example format to follow when creating a Product Specialist job description:

Job Title: Product Specialist

Company: Jon Doe Automotive

DEALERSHIP AND ROLE: Be sure you tell applicants why your dealership is a great place to work and why this is a fantastic role within the company. Describe these vital details in a paragraph or two before you mention the benefits, responsibilities and qualifications.  This step is critical to developing their interest and drawing them in to apply.

BENEFITS: Add any benefits that your dealership may offer for employees, such as 401K, medical and dental insurance, paid time off and other perks.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Have bullet points listing all essential daily tasks, duties and any other obligations that are needed to be a top-performing product specialist at your dealership.

QUALIFICATIONS: List all things that require a product specialist to thrive to at the job, such as ideal personalities, skill sets and anything else you would consider needed in a qualified dealership employee.

Click here to get Hireology’s sample product specialist job description that will drive applicants.

Take advantage of a career site:

Updating the dealership career site is indispensable when attracting today’s product specialist job seekers. Design, word choice and other essentials play a major role in attracting applicants and top talent. Don’t let a non-existent or old careers page slowly fading on your website get in the way of finding great product specialists. Be sure you’re utilizing a streamlined career site so you can attract quality talent to your dealership. 

Step 4—Interview (twice), Verify and Hire

After you build your talent pool with a number of candidates, it’s time to interview your top choices for your product specialist positions. Starting this process with a phone interview is the best way to weed out the best candidates from the other applicants. From there, it’s highly recommended to conduct in-person interviews with the preferred candidates so you can get a better feel of who these people are and whether or not they might be qualified to work at your dealership. Lastly, before you make your hiring decisions, it’s always best practice to verify your candidates via background and reference checks.

Here are some tips on each phase of the process, so you can make sure you’re hiring qualified employees:

The Phone Screen—To get a better sense of who the applicant is, make sure you ask about his or her careers plans, their generals likes and dislikes, and their job history. Finish up the call by providing any information you have about your open product specialist role. Phone screens are an excellent way to save time by weeding out less qualified candidates and focusing on in-person interviewing only those that are qualified.

The Face-to-face Interview—These interview questions are different compared to the phone screen. Use this time when to learn more about the candidate and measure his or her work behaviors and personality. Skill assessment tests are the best way to gauge fully how qualified a candidate is for the job and are highly recommended.

Verification—The last step of any good interview process contains background and reference checks. There are easy ways to complete these processes without having to spend extra time on your end; be sure to do your due diligence when researching preferred vendors.

Wrapping Up: Product Specialists are the Future

The sales team structure at dealerships is changing. More dealerships are finding success with product specialists: their recruiting efforts are improving, their customer satisfaction is improving and their overall business is on the right path for thriving in today’s market.

Don’t let your dealership fall behind your competition when hiring new sales employees, especially on the product specialist end. It’s time to start employing product specialists so you can improve customer experience and loyalty, as well as achieve the hard-to-reach goal for every dealership—lower turnover.

Special thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing the results of their study. Learn more about Hireology.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/07/four-fundamental-steps-for-hiring-product-specialists-at-your-dealership/

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