Plus, 8 sales consultant interview questions you should never ask
Poor hiring practices are one of the primary reasons that the turnover rate is so high in auto dealerships, and why so many dealerships are losing money every time a salesperson walks out the door.
“Most dealerships have a better process for buying office supplies than they do for hiring people,” said Adam Robinson, CEO of Hireology, speaking with Automotive News.
What can your dealership do to attract, hire, and keep the right team members?
It all begins with the type of sales consultant interview questions you ask prospective employees.
Time to hire an auto sales consultant? Interview questions you need to ask (and a few you shouldn’t)
Before launching into these sales consultant interview questions, think about what types of answers you’d like to hear based on your dealership’s culture and needs. If your dealership is high pressure with an intense selling atmosphere focused on making money, you may want a candidate’s answers to be more money-driven. If you run a family dealership where long-term customer relationships are a priority, then you may want to look for customer-focused answers that align with the core values of your business.
- Why do you want to be an auto salesperson?
- Did you play sports or compete on any team in high school or college?
- What is your approach to handling customer objections?
- What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment in life thus far?
- What are your biggest weaknesses on the job—and what steps have you taken to address them?
- Sell me something.
- Do you have experience using an automotive CRM? If so, how have you used the features to your advantage?
- What motivates you to make a sale?
- What are three adjectives a former manager would use to describe you?
- What are your favorite questions to ask prospects?
- How do you keep up with industry trends?
- What are your long-term career goals?
- What do you find most rewarding about working in sales?
- How comfortable are you with cold-calling?
- How would you describe your sales technique?
While you’re asking the great sales consultant interview questions listed above, you should also avoid the following questions because they’re either inappropriate or just plain illegal.
- What country are you from originally?
- Do you have children? Or are you planning to?
- This job requires long hours, as well as nights and weekends—do you have reliable childcare arrangements?
- How old are you?
- (Speaking to a woman) Our sales team is 100% male right now. How do you feel about working with all men?
- How many sick days did you take last year?
- How tall are you?
- How much do you weigh?
Steer clear of any questions that could make people uncomfortable or that could potentially point to discrimination of any kind.
Looking beyond sales consultant interview questions
Asking the sales consultant interview questions in person shouldn’t be your only measure for hiring a new employee.
Look a little closer at cover letters and resumes.
How is their grammar and writing style? Are there spelling errors? Poorly formed sentences? Is the tone too casual? Remember that a salesperson is likely putting their best foot forward when writing their resume and cover letter — if their writing style leaves a lot to be desired, imagine what their emails to customers might look like.
Evaluate their telephone skills in a phone interview.
Before bringing someone in for an interview, conduct a 15-minute phone screen to get a feel for their verbal skills and how they convey their personality over the phone. Salespeople spend a lot of time on the phone, so if they can’t capture your attention, they probably won’t capture your customers either.
Watch body language during the in-person interview.
They’re saying everything you want to hear, but how are they saying it? Are they looking at you while they talk, or looking down? Are they gesturing appropriately with their hands, or are they nervously wringing them? Do they appear calm and in control, or is the right leg vibrating nervously?
An all-around good salesperson will be so much more than someone who has all the right answers to your sales consultant interview questions, but that’s certainly a good place to start.