By on August 23, 2018

https://www.flickr.com/photos/autohistorian/25516489743/

There’s a popular notion that young people are ruining the automotive industry. It probably has something to do with the steady climb of average transaction prices and a median income for millennials that’s comparatively worse than that of their parents at a similar age. Plenty of evidence exists that younger individuals aren’t particularly fond of the car-buying experience.

They don’t seem particularly fond of the car selling experience, either. Millennials account for nearly 60 percent of dealer hires but shops lose over half of them every year, according to a study by the management firm Hireology. That’s an impressively high turnover rate that probably isn’t helping turn around stagnating car sales, as it takes a while to master any profession. 

Nissan Motor Co. said it witnessed a 100 percent turnover for its sales staff at its dealerships over the last year, meaning some positions went vacant more than once in a 12-month period. That’s pretty bad, and it puts those shops at a huge disadvantage. New hires need time to acclimate themselves to the job and the vehicles.

Have you ever noticed that a lot of salespeople don’t seem to know anything about the models they’re selling? Turnover is a big part of why that happens. Not everyone who takes the job is an automotive enthusiast and, when that’s the case, they need plenty of time to build their knowledge base. But that’s difficult when cars are only becoming more complex and dealerships can’t hold onto their staff.

Hireology theorized that one of the biggest contributing factors to the employee retention problem is the additional debt younger generations tend to carry. Slapped with sky-high tuition costs, millennials often carry hefty student loans, making a steady income more of a necessity. But dealership pay is frequently commission-based.

There is also a bit of culture shock. Many millennials feel dealers have an outdated approach to selling that doesn’t always fit their values, even if the jobs have the potential to pay well. They are less inclined to be agreeable with the hard sell and haggling — no matter which side of the table they’re on. Earl Stewart, owner of Earl Stewart Toyota in North Palm Beach, Florida, said younger groups despise “bait-and-switch” tactics and the “old boys’ club” mentality that persists at some dealerships.

“Car dealers are selling cars like it is the 1960s,” Stewart told The Wall Street Journal.

However people aren’t buying cars like it’s the ’60s. For some shoppers, disposable income is exceptionally low. More and more customers now walk through the dealer’s doors armed with enough information to keep salespeople from bending them over the hood.

Adam Kraushaar, president of New Jersey’s Lester Glenn Auto Group, said he realized he couldn’t continue to pay salespeople by using a percentage of the gross profit on new-car sales. “They would starve if I kept the old pay plan,” Kraushaar asserted.

Other dealerships have decided to remunerate employees by how many vehicles they sell a month, rather than on a traditional profit-based commission. Online training courses are popping up to help new staff familiarize themselves with the vehicles and the process. Some shops claim these changes make a big difference, but it’s by no means the industry standard. Still, while some dealerships try everything under the sun to incentivize their salespeople to stay, the retention problem remains a serious issue.

[Image: Alden Jewell/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)]

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96 Comments on “Old Man’s Game: Car Dealerships Can’t Hold Onto Younger Employees...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I’ll take the Pantera, and a V6 four-speed Capri (or two).

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      That picture must be “peak Lincoln-Mercury”. Two of my uncles both had Capris, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Sals

        Probably no one cares, but just noticing that the photo (taken in Albuquerque) is making a return engagement. The LM dealer changed hands and then moved twice. The photo’s location has been a Chevy dealer for many years.

        • 0 avatar
          Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

          “Probably no one cares, but just noticing that the photo (taken in Albuquerque) is making a return engagement. The LM dealer changed hands and then moved twice. The photo’s location has been a Chevy dealer for many years.”

          Holy cow… I’d never seen this photo before!!! Not only is that now a Chevy store, but it’s the Chevy store where I was hired as a car salesman in January 1997. Casa Chevrolet, now “Mark’s Casa Chevrolet.”

          Not sure if this timeline is correct, but I believe Ken Johns bought the Lincoln-Mercury store and then moved that dealership across the street; that store is now the Kia dealership where I bought my Cadenza last year. He later took over the old Ed Black’s Chevrolet franchise and moved that to the Lincoln store pictured here. KJ and his wife, Cindy, shared an office at the Chevy store.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        That picture looks to be about circa 1973

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          The dealer looks to the one where I grew up though that was a smaller lot. It looks around 73-74 since the full sized Mercury has the 5mph bumpers and the Pantara has the rubber bumpers. The Capri was their economy car then since the Pinto based Bobcat was not out yet. Note how many are in front so this must have been during the first oil shock.

  • avatar
    thirty-three

    “younger groups despise “bait-and-switch” tactics”

    Thank you Captain Obvious. What would we do without you?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The only place I can remember seeing “young” salespeople is in a CarMax dealership. CarMax is also no haggle.

      Coincidence? I think not.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Last time I checked, Carmax was 1-3k above asking for nearly the same vehicle from other dealers where you can haggle.

        In other words, you’re paying a hefty premium to not haggle.

        • 0 avatar
          Chuck Norton

          jkross22-

          If true(re: CarMax)
          What is that extra $1,000.00 on a 60 month loan per month. Not very much I would think. Probably around $10.00 or so.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “What is that extra $1,000.00 on a 60 month loan per month. Not very much I would think. Probably around $10.00 or so.”

            I never understood this mindset. Why are you okay with just forking over $1000 just like that, just because you bleed it out slowly?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I was simply making a point about where younger people might like to work – not about the viability of CarMax in general.

            i.e. – Younger salespeople want to work in an environment where the cars are treated like selling electronics at Best Buy.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Oh I agree with your original point PrincipalDan, I was specifically bewildered at the “meh it’s $1000, but only $10 a month” sentiment.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            For a $1000 I’ll haggle awhile

          • 0 avatar
            baggins

            even without interest, 60 months of ten dollars a month is only 600 of the 1000

        • 0 avatar
          Chuck Norton

          jkross22-

          You missed my point. Some people are not good at haggling or don’t wish to haggle at all, or don’t know enough to haggle. Therefore-that extra $10.00 a month is worth it to them.

          And I believe CarMax is the biggest seller of used cars in the country. So obviously a lot of people feel they don not want to do the “haggle game”.

        • 0 avatar
          quasimondo

          For some buyers, the premium they pay for a non-haggle experience is worth every penny.

      • 0 avatar
        MoparRocker74

        You can get ‘no haggle’ anywhere. Its called paying the sticker (sucker) price.

        • 0 avatar
          thirty-three

          I would rather pay a broker $500 to avoid haggling than add $1-3k to the purchase price.

        • 0 avatar
          snakebit

          If only that were the case. In some provinces of Canada, province law will stipulate that the price on the car window(new or used)is the price you pay, adding only tax and registration.

          In the States, it’s basically open-season on the buyer if he/she comes into the dealership ignorant and hasn’t done their homework on the internet first.

          First, at minimum, they may tell you the dealership has added a mandatory upholstery sealer they apply to every car and its not optional. You may negotiate the final sale price with your salesman, but when they bring back the purchase + sale agreement signed by the sales manager, you’ll likely notice they’ve added a ‘document fee’ of $200-$500 near the bottom that was not mentioned by the salesperson nor listed on the window sticker. And, contrary to what the salesperson and his boss tells you, both add-ons are negotiable in nearly every state, including wiping them both off the agreement, by law. Check with your state’s Consumer Affairs office. Believe me, they’ll be very familiar with answering questions about these fees, you won’t have been the first car buyer to ask them about them.

  • avatar
    GrayOne

    I’m a “millennial” and also hate car dealers. Why do they still exist? Why can’t I just order the car directly from the manufacturer online?

    • 0 avatar
      jh26036

      Please read into franchise laws.

      AKA, eff the government.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      For a small percentage of people this can work. For the rest who don’t know exactly what they want, they need to see/touch/drive in order to know what they want. Once they’ve decided they want a new car, they want it today. Dealers hold a huge selection of inventory that manufacturers don’t want on their books.

      Most people wouldn’t buy a house online for obvious reasons. Cars are next down the line in significance.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Making factory ordering the only or primary way to purchase a vehicle would likely be a bad idea.

        But, it would still be a nice option for that “small percentage” you referred to. Especially on enthusiast cars. If I’m buying a Challenger 1320 next year I don’t see how the dealer will be bringing any value to the transaction.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          They’ll order, PDI, deliver and take your money. They’re the point of sale, regardless of who owns it.

          Most will be happy to order and sell to you one at little markup through the “internet sales manager”.

    • 0 avatar

      WHy taxi still exist, it is 21 century. Oh DeBlazio!

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      The dealer pays the distributor a pile of money just for the franchise, then ongoing lease costs. They lease vehicles from the distributor’s finance company at high interest and take on pretty well all the financial risk on the sale. They also have to spend a shedload fitting out premises and workshops – at their expense.

      They’re not going anywhere.

      • 0 avatar
        ect

        They also (according to NADA) generate ROE of close to 35%, which is far above what most other businesses (including OEMs)can achieve. This economic rent is due to the privileged position they receive under state franchise laws, which in turn is the result of the financial largesse they shower on politicians.

        So, as long as politicians can be bought, auto dealerships will prosper. And consumers will continue to pay the price for that.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The study/survey is ridiculously flawed. How can I make sense of the data on millennials when they don’t give me the data on other age groups??

    Good car sales people, the ones that like it and are good at it, don’t stay at places like Nissan dealerships. You’ll find them at BMW/Audi/MB dealerships, and similar places where they can make money.

    The last car I bought, I dealt with the “Internet Sales Manager”. His job is to deal with people who know exactly what they want. Nice guy, mid-50s. He still had to play the “let me go check with my manager” game, but it was fairly quick, about half an hour in total.

    He told me, in a way I found believable, that he makes a minimum of $100 per car. In his position, he moves 10-12 cars a week. It’s not getting rich money, but it’s a decent living.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      That guy needs to find a new brand. I know 2 internet manager guys, one month they both sold 30 cars each, GM guy made $22,000 and Nissan guy made somewhere in the high teens. If that was at a Mercedes store it would be almost double.

      What’s he selling, Honda civics or is he just bending over on every deal (giving the cars away) and only getting $100 “flats”?

  • avatar
    dwford

    Is this really a story about millennials, or just one of an industry that has always had a high turnover in sales staff?

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Exactly, its also a pretty hot kitchen selling cars and snowflakes no doubt probably leave within the first week in tears.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      Why do you need young people anyway ? Few new car buyers are young.

      Most dealerships demand salespeople with experience in sales.

      • 0 avatar
        Chuck Norton

        Most car dealerships demand somebody with a pulse-nothing more.

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          @Chuck Norton: Winner, winner!

          I had to laugh about enthusiasts selling cars; they want SALESPEOPLE, not motor heads.

          When I was selling cars, I was the “motorhead”, I barely made my minimums every month. The good sales people were the ones who moved the inventory and knew how to talk to people.

          But, these guys could sell refrigerators, siding TVs, whatever. Cars were a good gig for them, but they could sell anything they came across.

          Nobody really likes the 12 hour days, but that’s only way to make any real money. If you want more of a work/life balance, selling cars ain’t it.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            This is correct, good salespeople can sell ANYTHING, product knowledge has little to do with it. Although, having a salesperson who knows a little about the car I want is helpful, getting the best deal without feeling screwed is what it ultimately boils down to

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            Edit: that was supposed to say, refrigerators, siding, TVs…

            @Lie2me: I would say salespeople don’t need an encyclopedic amount of product knowledge. They need *some* product knowledge, but 99.99% of their customers want to know how much it’s going to cost them. Every thing else is just about trivial.

  • avatar
    RSF

    Traditional franchised dealerships have no choice but to change if they want to survive. No Haggle pricing is the way it needs to be done now. I think most people are actually willing to pay a little more just to avoid all the nonsense back and forth of an old school dealership. Most employees would also appreciate more satisfied customers and better hours at the store. Who wants to be at work 6 days a week bell-to-bell?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      How much more would you be willing to pay to not haggle?

      For me, maybe a few hundred. Carmax is usually a few grand more than dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      No-haggle may not be necessary if buyers are willing to communicate online to weed out the worst sales people and dealerships. Walk-ins are setting themselves up for a struggle unless they like that sort of power play.

      I used the local dealership as the Supplier of Test Drive Vehicle, Wherein We Shall Not Talk Numbers and politely made that clear to the sales person. That helped me decide on the car before ever sitting down. This sales person was also commendably helpful and applied no pressure, which became important later. Prices were then negotiated online by contacting the internet sales dept of all regional dealerships. This culled the herd; the good dealers gave a simple price quote, the bad ones tried to get us in the door instead. I found a quote I liked from a dealer 300 miles away, contacted the aforementioned local sales person because she had been so good to deal with, she agreed to match that price, and deal was done. Very easy.
      You still have to deal with F&I office, but it isn’t hard to say “no thank you” repeatedly until they get the point.

      I know a few people who still do it the old way, walking in and sitting for hours getting impatient, fatigued, and frustrated until a deal is reached or not. I don’t think they realize the alternative.

      • 0 avatar
        Erikstrawn

        This. When I bought my Jeep, I went to the local dealership for a test drive. The salesman made a few attempts to sell to me that day, but I was firm in that I only wanted to test drive. A couple months later I was ready to buy and I went back to the same salesman. He was genuinely surprised to see me back and worked with me to make the sale.

        The whole concept of the customer test driving, shopping around, and making a sensible purchase is the example dealers use to justify their sales model, but in reality their goal is to make a sale on the first visit.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “the bad ones tried to get us in the door instead”

        I find many if not most dealerships still have that attitude. They feel that if they got you on the lot, they got a sale.
        I’m at a point in my life where I thoroughly research what I buy, do some basic tire kicking (usually after hours) and then walk on the lot when my mind is already made up. If I get a bullsh!t sales routine i.e. upsell, bait & switch etc., then I walk away but not before telling the sales manager that their approach just cost them a sale.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      A better sales model would be fast haggle with a realistic starting price. For my last new car purchase, I asked for bids by email and negotiated with the dealers that came back with prices that were within hundreds of the the KBB and Edmunds average transaction prices. We were able to handle most of the preliminary stuff remotely. I showed up for an appointment, went on a short test drive, was able to negotiate the out-the-door price within about 20 minutes of showing up, and I bought the car. Would have been much better if the finance department hadn’t wasted an hour trying to sell me other stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      No one needs to haggle. Everyone has the option to pay MSRP- rebates, and get it over with fast. That’s what people do at CarMax, and the customers seem very satisfied.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I like cars, and I could enjoy showcasing cars to customers and helping them find vehicles that would fit their needs and wants. But that’s essentially consulting and not what the car sales business is about. What it’s about interests me not at all.

    Small wonder about turnover.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    If dealers want to improve retention, they need to improve themselves. Most dealers still take a “sink or swim” approach to new salespeople with little to no training. The on-boarding process tends to be “these are your managers, and here’s your phone, get to it.” In other-words, they’re OK with poor retention because the mentality is that there’s always someone to take their place. As more and more people in the workforce desire a professional and flexible working environment, dealers will have to adapt.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      I don’t know about you, but I tend to be much more effective in an environment where I feel free to make mistakes, and where I don’t have to hit the ground running.

      In those jobs where I’ve been able to get up to speed with some training and assistance, I’ve been so much more effective and productive – after the initial learning curve, of course.

      I’ve also stuck around longer to boot.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      They won’t adapt because there are always fresh ex-cons that can smooth talk, but have trouble getting hired anywhere else. Dealers don’t care about turnover because if they started to, they’d have to improve pay and working conditions, and no matter what they say, they don’t want to do that. The standard line at the dealership I worked at was “If you want a raise, sell more cars.”

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I didn’t read this. But I see what could be the issue. young people know how to talk to computers but not other people. Selling cars is a craft. What craft if youth spends their day sitting in front of computers? BTW, it took me decades to come across salesman who new more about car I was buying than I knew already. But I guess, they don’t need to know much about it, since this is internet game now

  • avatar
    watersketch

    Bought our Subaru from a 20-something who didn’t know much about cars but was nice and didn’t waste our time and gave us his cellphone#. He worked part-time and there were only 3 salespeople in the dealership and they had less than a dozen cars. We scheduled an appointment, ordered an Outback, and had it in a month.

    Seemed like the way of the future. I can’t understand how the dealerships with 400 cars and 15 salespeople open from 8am-8pm survive.

  • avatar
    ernest

    I got into the car business in 1976, as a noob looking for something to do between college graduation and finding that “dream job.” I retired out of the biz in ’07, from what was actually my 2nd job in that timespan. So, in the words of that insurance commercial, I’ve seen a thing or two.

    What hasn’t changed: hours are terrible, there’s always some kind of customer or co-worker drama, and the stress level increases logarithmically as you climb up the management ladder.

    What has changed: Selling Chevies in the ’70’s was like having a license to print money. My very first month in the biz (July ’76), I made over three grand. Factor in 40 years of inflation and get back to me what that is in 2018 dollars. The business allowed my wife to stay at home and raise three kids, allowed the family to live in a lifestyle they were accustomed to, fund college, and an early retirement.

    None of those things are as likely today as they were then. When GM/Ford/Chrysler all went to employee pricing, and we saw families making $30K/yr getting financed on $50K Suburbans, we knew the game was up. Sometimes you need to know an exit strategy too.

  • avatar
    hausjam

    I am sure they have the same problem I do: finding people who actually want to work. It’s economics 101: when unemployment is at 3% like it is now, 100% of employable people are already working because 3% of the population just doesn’t want to.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      I was listening to a local economist on the local public radio station last week discussing the paradox of low unemployment and low wage growth. He pointed out that the widely quoted UE numbers are artificially low because of all the unemployed people they don’t count. He said a more realistic number is the a6 rate that includes those who ran out of unemployment compensation, etc and those with part time jobs who would like full time ones. When these are counted the unemployment rate about doubles. This number has come down a lot since the great recession but there are still millions to re-adsorb back into the work force. There are spot labor shortages in certain skills. Again, many were driven out of their fields in the last recession and have not been replaced.

      • 0 avatar
        Johnster

        Yes, the federally quoted unemployment figures are dishonestly low and fail to account for a lot of unemployed people who aren’t really looking very hard or who are working part-time and would like to work a full-time job with benefits.

        In my neck of the woods, as employers get a bit more desperate they seem to be finding qualified people to do the work, but who aren’t really “ideal” employees. Some of the new hires are over 40, or they’re overweight, or they have tattoos and weird-colored hair. They don’t wear suits. They might be a person of color or obviously LGBT. (The absolute horror!)

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Actually it is way more than 3% who don’t want to work and/or are worth employing. Try finding people today that can pass a drug test, will show up reliably on time everyday, and have a pleasant attitude towards customers and fellow employees. On the other hand, 3% unemployment also means that the hard workers with no bad habits and decent skills are worth gold and have opportunities galore to move to greener pastures if they don’t feel appreciated. In both cases it means lots of turnover, particularly in the marginal businesses that pay poorly and don’t treat people well.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Full employment is considered to be in the 3% range. Some are chronically unemployed/unemployable. Others are legitimately unable to work. Then there are those as mentioned who have dropped out of the workforce/job search. In the USA the numbers collecting ‘disability benefits’ has increased substantially. In effect in many communities in the USA disability has replaced the social safety network of ‘social democratic’ nations.

        As for American selection techniques, they are draconian. Why conduct drug testing? In Canada, random drug testing is largely illegal. Why conduct credit checks on staff who don’t handle cash? Credit checks discriminate against those just entering the workforce or new immigrants. Why conduct criminal background checks on applicants who won’t be dealing with ‘vulnerable’ people? Again in many Canadian jurisdictions the information released by the police is limited by legislation.

        It seems that the American ‘ruling elite’ have purposely created a system that has resulted in a large number of Americans being permanently unemployable, or reduced to precarious employment as the working poor.

        And of course the litigious nature of American society plays are large role in this.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Arthur, this has to be one of the most intelligent posts you’ve made, nailed it!
          These days employers are looking for “perfect people” to fill even meager part time jobs, so if you have a past imperfect good luck finding a job

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Lie2me: I work on the same premise as those monkeys hammering away at their typewriters. Eventually by accident, I may write something worthwhile.

            As for ‘OneAlphas’ comment I agree fully. Under Canadian employment law, an employment contract must be entered into with ‘good faith’, furthermore the courts have decided that employers have the duty to treat employees “with decency, civility, respect and dignity”. (Lloyd v Imperial Parking)

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            I’m not looking to hire perfect people. I only want three things.
            1. You need to have a clue
            2. You need to give a rats butt about the work
            3. You need to show up

            It’s amazing how hard it is to get all three, especially the last one. Attendance is the number one reason I fail people on probation.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            “Arthur, this has to be one of the most intelligent posts you’ve made”

            well, except for the “full employment is considered to be in the 3% range” bit.

            We haven’t reached peak George Jetson yet.

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          How about the larger question implied by random drug testing, internet monitoring and other “dog leash” activities?

          “If you don’t trust me, why’d you hire me?”

        • 0 avatar
          Funky

          Arthur; Right on.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Why a drug test? Good question. With certain exceptions, say pilots and a few others, I believe a drug test should be illegal for hiring reasons. Showing up for work stoned would certainly be a reasonable reason for a mandated test. But for curiosity’s sake, no. Your employer has no rights to your non-working hours and shouldn’t be policing staff and firing somebody because they went to see Pink Floyd high three days earlier.

          AD – right on about credit checks. They are designed to determine credit worthiness, not the quality of an employee. Forcing candidates to open their private social media accounts should also be illegal.

          Cue SR65 for some nuggets of wisdom…

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Exactly, if someone likes to get stoned on the weekends it’s none of my business, however if you come to work stoned I may have a problem with that

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Last night I went to a concert as was quite surprised to find a tent recruiting electricians. I wasn’t surprised that they were looking for licensed electricians because there is a serious shortage in our area and there are signs everywhere stating how they are now hiring. What surprised me was that they were recruiting at a concert as everyone that was there would almost certainly test positive for Marijuana as I live in a state where it is legal. I’m not sure what their requirements are and if they accept a positive for MJ or not.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          “Credit checks discriminate against those just entering the workforce or new immigrants.”

          Please stop equating “discriminates against” with “illegal”.

          Everyone discriminates against, and for, things. You do it every day. You discriminate against the salad on the lunch menu when you choose a hamburger. You discriminated when you chose the red tennis shoes over the blue ones.

          We make discriminate every day.

          Now, onto the meat of the comment: employers are allowed to discriminate for all sorts of reasons. And they do, every day. They’re allowed to be as choosy as they want within federal law. What you seem to be saying is that an employer must be obligated, by law, to accept anyone who applies as long as the job is posted. That, of course, is insane.

          Discrimination is not bad. Doubt me? Try not discriminating for or against anything at all for a day.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Jalop1991: An employer needs to be able to select the applicant most likely to perform the duties well. And a great deal of research has demonstrated that in the majority of jobs/roles there is little to no correlation between credit score, drug testing, criminal background checks and job performance.

            Furthermore, those applying for ‘executive’ jobs rarely undergo the same type of testing. For example how many applicants for the role of CEO, or political candidates, etc undergo drug testing or credit checks? Quite often at the executive level, they do not even have to undergo a strenuous check of their academic record. It’s called ‘the Old Boys Network’.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          You conduct credit checks on people who aren’t in charge of cash because you want to do the checks on people who do handle cash and don’t want to get caught up in a discrimination law suit.

          Credit checks are also a way to determine a persons general level of responsibility. If you don’t pay your bills on time you might not feel it is necessary to come to work on time.

          Of course there are many reasons that a person who is a responsible person may end up with a low credit score. For example they may have lost their last job through no fault of their own, and got behind on a payment or two. And yes there are many people who loose their job through no fault of their own. Take the recent closure of all the US Toys-R-Us stores.

    • 0 avatar
      Chuck Norton

      McDonalds here pay between $10.00 and $12.00 an hour. Customer service manning phones pay $14.00. While neither is a stellar wage you can rotate weekends off and not have stress.

      As a career salesperson (industrial sales) it’s the “comp plan” and the hours that are the problem. As well as what’s already been stated-the whole car buying process that is (in most cases) adversarial in nature.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    All I usually need from a salesperson is to negotiate a price take my order. In fact, the dealer only needs to keep a couple of demonstrators around for test drives. I’d rather see them put their money in the shop than the showroom. All of this guessing what the customer wants requires way too much capital tied up in a floor plan. I have no problem waiting 8-10 weeks for the car to be built and delivered. As far as I can determine, dealers don’t want to do business this way probably because they need to move the metal they have on hand. I do understand that this model doesn’t work for imports due to the lag times of shipping, but most manufacturers have auto plants located in NA so they could build to order if they wanted to.

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    24 year old here, sold cars at a medium size CDJR dealer for 7 m.o.

    My story – fresh out of college, looking for marketing jobs, but not the type who could sit around and not work. Knew car sales wouldn’t be a permanent gig, but wanting to work at the industry level, figured it didn’t seem like a bad place to start. Worse case scenario I sell some cars, make okay money and eventually move onto better job..which is exactly what happened.

    At our dealership, turnover wasn’t just happening at the sales, but we also went through two general managers and a finance manager. This didn’t make starting out easy, per say. Generally, I enjoyed working with people, they are all mainly nice and I made sure I knew more about our products than any other salesman. This was sometimes frustrating as I was always asked simple questions the other idiots couldn’t bother to look up them on their own.

    However, my idea of selling was different than management, who had a more traditional approach. I wasn’t about all car buying shenanigans, the “we don’t give numbers online, get them to come in”. Funny how the people who liked my laid back approach 9/10 bought from me. If I gave them the runaround, they would move on (probably to 3-4 places, cause most CDJR dealers are similar lol).

    I wanted to give it a year before applying to corporate gigs, but when we got a new GM who talked more about himself than trying to help us, I knew it was time to go. Got a great marketing position at a brewery and am happy/miss the craziness at the same time. Our owners were great, so I do still help them with online marketing.

    So that’s my experience as a millennial in the car biz

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Jobs of this type, cars, real estate and insurance have traditionally been 80/20. In that 20% of them make 80% of the sales. Hence the high turnover among the others.

    Still have to agree that based on the hours, working conditions, pressure from above, etc, that most millennials that I know would not find this an invigorating work environment.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Don’t forget that it takes a certain personality type to thrive in sales, especially the high-end stuff.

      You have to be gregarious, extroverted, optimistic, thick-skinned, competitive and morally flexible.

      It’s like being a leader or an artist – you’re either born with it or you aren’t.

      I suspect that the reason you get such high turnover in car sales is because it’s actually a very specialized occupation that requires a certain amount of natural talent – and is therefore fit only for a very few people.

      It’s not something that just anybody can do.

      The people who’re good at it – the ones who have the salesman’s personality – become sales managers, advertise open positions for salesmen and then can’t figure out why most can’t hack it because to them, selling really IS as easy as breathing.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “It’s like being a leader or an artist – you’re either born with it or you aren’t.”

        Untrue. Sales is a combination of skills that can be learned, and the degree to which they are mastered determines success. Some people’s prior experience starts them higher up the ladder, but it really comes down to simple human interaction, which the majority of people can develop.

        I spent most of my career in operational management roles then switched to a sales role. The biggest challenge was getting organized and productive to touch on as many leads/prospects/customers as possible. Even if you’re bad at sales, you’ll eventually close a deal if you canvas enough. Working as many as possible also hones your skills to show you what techniques work the best. As time goes by, you find yourself getting deals you didn’t think you could.

        • 0 avatar
          Johnster

          I keep hearing that introverted people can often be successful sales people because they have better listening skills and will (usually) get the potential buyer what they are asking for, instead of… (whatever is sitting on the lot?) But, I’ve never seen it happen myself.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Interesting theory, but I have yet to run into a “introverted” car salesman

            Lol, I picture a scenario of me trying to talk a salesman into letting me buy the car, “Please take my money I really do want to buy a car today, really, I’ll pay sticker”

  • avatar

    I’m just at the leading edge of Millennial, and generally don’t like the association, but oh well. I’ve been quite happy selling cars for many years. The old tactics don’t work, but that doesn’t mean their aren’t new ways to earn your customers trust and business. Anyone who hates dealers and think they should go factory direct should probably go work in the car industry for a few months. The prices would go up, the customer concern would go down, and darn it, you need motivated by profit sales folks to do a good job. No one enjoys teaching old people who to use 21st century technology, we do it several times a day for free, all in the hopes of someone moving forward towards purchase. I’ve seen tons of turn over, but very rarely is it because they don’t like the job, more so because they aren’t good at it. It’s really something anyone can do if you lower yourself to just being likable and parroting whatever your sales manager tells you to say. But to be good an independent isn’t an easy job. Generally I’ve made $60k a year in the industry in a suburban area. I also work 60-70 hours a week, so it comes to around $20 an hour. Not bad pay for no education requirements, but most folks I know wouldn’t do the job for that, and most folks I see try, don’t end up making that much. While I might not earn a paycheck every week, I know I can move to any city or town in the USA and have a job offer on the same day. I love it, but I also understand why it’s not for everyone.

    • 0 avatar
      anomaly149

      “Anyone who hates dealers and think they should go factory direct should probably go work in the car industry for a few months.”

      There’s really no love lost from OEMs to dealers. Absolutely zero.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    Is it possible that those who are happiest selling Nissan cars are those who know the least about them? ;)

    On a serious note, this seems like a very unpleasant job to have. I get the sense that many people in the job are “between things” or looking for a second chance.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    Most of the car salesmen I know make $45-60k per year with crap benefits, no paid vacation or sick leave, and retail work hours. You don’t own your book of business, and are reliant on a favorable combination of factors 100% beyond your control (inventory, incentives, dealer spiffs, weather, etc.) to bring home a decent paycheck for the month. Beats working at the mall, but if you’re a good salesman, there are countless other industries that will pay better for the same skill set.

  • avatar
    Chuck Norton

    genuineleather-

    Very good post.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I’d say it’s more like young people are ruining the old way the auto industry operates at the dealer level.

    They don’t like to be sold something and because there are so many of them, the industry has to change to accommodate their preferences or lose their business.

    In this case they’re being reasonable, because the dealer model sucks.

    Also, young people have these weird zero-tolerance attitudes toward pollution and safety, not realizing that pollution is the unfortunate byproduct of some productive activity – like making electricity or providing motive power for a car – and safety is a tradeoff, like anything else in life.

    In this case they’re being UNreasonable, considering how clean and safe cars are nowadays.

  • avatar
    saturnotaku

    Dealership employees knowing squat about the products they’re hawking is not a new problem. Far back as the late 80s, early 90s I was schooling the sales bros on vehicle trim levels, content, etc.

  • avatar
    riggodeezil

    The old-skool car sales model is the bees-knees. In fact, just think how be cool it would be if everything worked like car negotiations. Imagine going into a restaurant and being able to haggle over the price of your bone-in ribeye. “Aw geez, I really wanted it with a sweet potato but I guess I’ll take the crummy old regular potato if you knock 10% off and throw in some mixed greens. Yeah, sure, go ask the manager. I got all day. Oh yeah, and I got half a ham sandwich from lunch that I’ll be trading in …so long as you chislers don’t try and screw me outta what it’s really worth.”

  • avatar
    Funky

    Based on what I’ve seen (my limited view as a customer), I think I’ve noticed the younger folks who stick around long-term seem to be the locals who decided to go straight to work, or possibly to community college rather than those who are looking for work after their recent university graduation. The other long-term employees seem to be older folks who are close to or are past retirement age. There seem to be very few in-between the young and the older who stick around. But that’s just what I think I’ve noticed as a customer.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Everyone wants no haggle ..until they go to buy, then they want a deal.

    I worked at a Saturn dealer back in the original S series era. They were making very little on a sale. This is why when I left the lot was nearly half full of used cars.

    Anyway, it isn’t even rocket science today. 15 minutes on the internet will likely find you a fair price and a dealer willing to sell it to you. It isn’t 1974.

    When I got my Fiesta ST I had a dealer straight up tell me that the ST wasn’t eligible for rebates because STs were so popular. When confronted with the Ford web site showing I was eligible for 5000 in rebates they said they could do 2500. There is your no haggle dealer.

    I called elsewhere and had to drive a couple hours, but I got the price I was willing to pay and all the rebates. Point is it ain’t rocket science nowadays.

  • avatar
    FWD Donuts

    In the market for a new Charger R/T.

    Geez, Louise, what a clown fest. Find the car online. Call and ask for a quote. Out of the several dealers I called — only one had what I called an acceptable experience. Spoke to a salesman, his manager, who had the authority to make the final call on the deal, called right back. Super aggressive number off the bat. I had a few questions — expertly answered right away. Care to guess who got my business?

    Downright stunning how many dealerships are run by complete morons.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    I thought it was a requirement, chiseled in stone somewhere, that any salesperson know absolutely nothing about what they are selling.
    On another note concerning things Arthur Dailey and others mentioned, I know of quite a number of people that work a full time day job and then do something like uber or park cars, at night. All that to get the purchasing power one would have from a part time job 40 years ago.
    So there’s lots of great jobs out there, so great that many people have 2 or 3.

  • avatar
    AtoB

    “I’m not looking to hire perfect people. I only want three things.
    1. You need to have a clue
    2. You need to give a rats butt about the work
    3. You need to show up

    It’s amazing how hard it is to get all three, especially the last one. Attendance is the number one reason I fail people on probation.”

    @ BRN

    The real question is what are you offering? In my experience when I come across employers screaming “employee shortage” I usually find:

    Low compensation (low pay, no benefits, etc)
    Poor advertising
    Overly stringent qualifications
    No on the job training, must hit the ground running.
    Bad management.

    How much are you offering vs the cost of living for your area? Do you offer benefits or do you expect your employees to depend on social services for those? Are you targeting your “help wanted” ads where you target employees will see it? Do you treat your employees like cheap rented mules?

    • 0 avatar
      AtoB

      Forgot to add to the list:

      Doesn’t actually want to increase headcount but existing headcount is complaining about being overloaded.

      This is when employers make ludicrously low ball offers to applicants who rightly say FU. Then the employer can go back to his headcount and say “I tried but there’s a shortage, now get back to work!”

      Of course if there really WERE a shortage such employers would lose their existing workforce; that is assuming recruiters are actively poaching and there’s no “gentlemen agreements” between employers to refrain from such practices.


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