The two hot topics of conversation of late, actually all of the time, have been how to find more cars and how to hire more and better people. That same conversation occurred 20 years ago and will occur 20 years from now. The reality is that there is no simple fix to either of these problems.
If you think hiring a rock star buyer will solve your inventory problems in the end you will probably make them worse. If you think hiring a full time trainer/recruiter will be the fix-it for your need for sales people then it’s probably not going to work out all that well. But of the two, hiring the recruiter/trainer will probably work out better than the buyer. These are the two toughest problems facing all automobile dealers and there is no one fix and voila it’s done.
Finding great players is a fulltime, never ending job. It’s just like being in the coaching field. Great coaches are always scouting and recruiting. If you are looking for a magical ad to put in the paper that’s going to attract your next superstar you may be waiting quite a while.
If you are looking toward the next great job fair and think you’re going find 10 college graduates for your sales team that will carry you to the promised land you are in for a very long day. It doesn’t happen. It doesn’t work that way. If you wait to hire people when “you need” them you are never going to find the people you need.
You and your assistant coaches have to be recruiting every minute of every day. You should be recruiting your customers, the sales clerk at the shoe store, your next-door neighbor, the waiter or waitress you meet at lunch or the enthusiastic hostess you met at Applebee’s. One of the most successful General Managers I know was working at Wendy’s when he started selling cars.
I love college graduates. It’s not so much what they actually learn, but it does show they can stick to something. However, the odds of them sticking with you are not very good. Most college graduates don’t see selling cars as a “step up” in their life.
What you should be looking for is someone who feels they missed the boat and this is their big chance. Someone with a year or two of college is a great selection. They think they screwed up by not finishing school and they see what you offer as a super opportunity. And of course it they have a sports background all the better. They are used to getting knocked down and getting up.
As for finding more inventory…Hey coach it’s the same thing. It’s a constant thing. There is no one answer. If you are going to succeed in finding used car inventory you cannot leave any stone unturned. Trades, mining your customer base, online auctions, auctions, for sale by owner and any other brilliant idea you can come up with. But, none of them in and of themselves will give you the inventory you need. If you are only looking for cars when you need them you are going to end up with a lot of cars you don’t need.
When it comes to finding people and finding inventory they both require an ongoing effort by the entire management team. When you dabble in finding people and cars when you most need them, it’s like plowing a field uphill with a mule.
When you can convince your management team that we all have to look for inventory and people in multiple ways then you will at least have some control over your destiny.
It still won’t be easy, but the alternative is far more frustrating and a lot less rewarding. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs