I remember going to a mandatory personal development seminar long ago, one that I benefited from greatly. Yet, I can’t deny my first thoughts about going… As soon as I was notified, I’m thinking, “After 12 hours of working deals and putting out fires, I have to go where? And listen to who? For how long?!”
Anyway, in this excellent seminar, the facilitator stated, “Every garden will be invaded… not to think so would be naïve.” I found myself reflecting on this seminar due to the recent quantity of salesperson recruiting ads both online and in the local papers.
The purpose of this message is simple: I believe it is healthy for managers to evaluate the experience a new employee might have at your dealership upon arrival and for the first 90 days or so.
Part of this evaluation involves analyzing the impact other employees will have on the new team member’s perception of the organization and industry in general. Make certain that we don’t have a few “garden invaders” disrupting our mission of building the ultimate team. Many of us have witnessed the execution of new salespeople by those already on board, just trying to help, of course.
Below, is a hypothetical, facetious, exaggerated and somewhat negative veteran discussion:
Veteran salesperson #1: “Excuse me, you want me to share a limited number of “ups” with someone who, if he does exactly what management instructs him to, will do well, therefore making us look bad… I thought we were running this place.”
Veteran salesperson #2: “Oh please, let me help this kid. I can handle this. In my spare time, I’ll tell him what he needs to know. I’ll make the new kid aware of weak banks, slow F&I people, packs, pencil-whipped commissions, unpredictable income, the kook that orders new cars, the water in the used car department and, of course, the divorce rates of salespeople due to long hours and unpredictable income.”
Veteran salesperson #1: “Oh, I almost forgot, we need to teach him the wisdom of a skipped demo and the 5-liner application before he wastes too much of his valuable time on someone with bad credit or some unrealistic jack leg. I bet I can have him trained and even talking just like me in about 30 days.
Veteran salesperson #2: That is, if he doesn’t blow out like most of them, and it still puzzles me as to why they leave so quickly.”
Yeah, I know, I’m being a bit cynical. But maybe it’s time to assess some things: Are we putting our best foot forward with new team members? Are we being truly supportive? Are we providing the sort of experience that lets new team members know the decision to come on board was a great decision, indeed? Are we making sure there are not people who are “invading the garden”?
Please remember… In the absence of a well thought out plan, the garden (his head), will indeed be invaded.
Develop a plan for quick and frequent monitoring of their progress. Guide their perception of this career opportunity. Build their morale and right the sails before one steers too far off course.
“You must pull the weeds out early, before they take root,” said the facilitator of that seminar, “because they are always easier to pull in the earlier stages.”
Therefore, be sure your one-on-one feedback sessions begin as soon as possible. Keep your finger on the pulse and never assume all is peachy. Good people are still hard to find.
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