Blaming the lack of motivation entirely on your dealer staff? It may be time for sales managers to look in the mirror.
In the latest management meeting at your dealership, how were those sales numbers looking? Were you happy with them? Or, like many other sales managers around the country, did you see a lot of room for improvement?
It’s normal to want to achieve more sales and higher profits—that’s why businesses exist, after all. However, do you find yourself and your fellow managers blaming dealer staff motivation—or lack thereof—for the less-than-stellar numbers?
According to a Gallup study, which looked at workplaces in 142 countries, only 13% of employees said they are engaged at work. 63% of employees said they are not engaged, which was defined as lacking motivation and less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes. The other 24%? They were classified as “actively disengaged,” which was even worse—they were unhappy, unproductive, and likely to spread negativity to coworkers.
If your management team is blaming this lack of motivation on the employees themselves, though, that frustration is misguided. Your dealer staff isn’t just inherently unmotivated — there can be many reasons, several of which may trace back to you, your fellow management team, and the way you’re running the dealership.
Where’s the disconnect happening? It’s time to look at some of the reasons your team may be uninspired and apathetic at work.
Get to the root of the motivation problem with your dealer staff
Why can’t your team seem to find the drive to care? Here are seven possible reasons:
1. They don’t feel appreciated.
How does your dealership thank employees for jobs well done? Your staff is only human — they know they’re getting paid to do a job, but they still crave some positive reinforcement. Aside from regular “thank you’s” and pats on the back, think about what you and your management team can also do once in a while like surprise lunches, team-building field trips, or monthly birthday parties.
2. Your advertising efforts are sub-par.
Your salespeople are relying on you to help them get a steady stream of qualified leads through that front door. If they’re working their tails off to prospect, but you still won’t create a free Facebook page or invest money in digital marketing efforts, they’re going to get frustrated and ultimately, unmotivated. If you won’t optimize and prioritize your advertising budget, why should they bother?
3. There’s no organization or support for the sales team.
In a study from Staples Business Advantage, only 21% of respondents said their business supplied them with the latest technology. Workers productivity is directly linked to the tools you provide, so it may be time to take a hard look at your current CRM — if you even have one. Is your sales team just flying by the seats of their pants to keep things organized? Or do you have a state-of-the-art automotive CRM that streamlines everything and helps them stay organized and feel connected?
4. Your current systems and plans aren’t perceived as fair.
If you were a salesperson, would you be happy with the way leads are distributed? How about the current commission and bonus plans? Be honest. Consider seeking the feedback of your dealer staff to find out how they feel. Let them take an anonymous survey so they aren’t afraid to be honest, and ask them a) if they think these plans are fair and b) if they don’t, what would they propose?
5. They feel like their voices aren’t heard.
It can put a damper on employee motivation when your dealer staff feels like their opinions don’t matter and no one is interested in listening to them. Actively solicit employee feedback on a variety of topics, let them run sales meetings sometimes, and keep those lines of communication open.
6. The turnover rate is depressing.
Turnover is notoriously high in auto dealerships, and watching friends leave regularly can be hard for employees. Some parts of turnover are unavoidable, but focus on what you can change and improve. Make it clear that employee retention is a high priority for your dealership and work hard to keep those people.
7. You don’t support their professional development.
Even if your employees like their positions, there’s always that underlying desire to get better. When you offer professional development opportunities and skill-building activities for your dealer staff, you’re putting your money where your mouth is and showing them you care about their careers.
Employees are burning out. They’re doing more work and feeling stressed out and underappreciated. Figure out the situations within your dealership that may be holding your staff back from excellence, and make an effort to prioritize their happiness.