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When is the best time to hire salespeople?


In my line of work I am often asked when the best time would be to hire salespeople. When will I get the most people of quality to respond to my help wanted advertisement? My overriding thought and response is usually the same; before you need them. But taking a deeper look at the question itself reveals that in reality this is a multi-faceted question. Is the question a matter of time of year or one week of the month being better than another? Or, should we hire salespeople while there is a big sales event occurring? Or, is it best to wait until I am a few people short and hire a bunch at a time rather than one or two? Does a holiday affect the outcome? Let’s take a look at these questions and share our experience.

The time of year does have both pluses and minuses. Many people think that the winter months, especially the December / January time frame will not work well for them. Their reasoning in colder weather climates is because business is generally slower and weather conditions could affect the outcome. Some people try to speculate the market figuring that people aren’t looking for a career during holiday weekends, vacation season or at other times suggesting time of year has a bearing. The reality is that on any given week there are far more qualified applicants who would most certainly have interest in an automobile sales career than you might think. The times when conventional wisdom would indicate that it is best to hold off, wait until things get better, are in reality the very best of times to recruit salespeople. Why? For example; if very few dealerships are advertising for sales help and you are actively doing so, who’s help wanted advertisement is everyone going to see? You benefit because you are the only game in town. You are cornering the market of qualified applicants. Additionally, when times are slower or perceived to be slower is also a great time to hire salespeople. The reason is you theoretically have the time to devote to a newly hired person to better prepare. Give them a foundation and they will grow and prosper for time to come.

Should I hold a sales event and does the week of the month help or hurt the hiring process? Both of these are great questions because these are things that can affect results. A sales event can be a terrific time to hire as the added excitement puts a buzz in the air and creates the impression of opportunity. This is why some dealerships like to conduct recruiting during the last week of the month. Ordinarily the last week of the month is one of the busiest. Again, activity breeds action, and the action you want is for your applicant to make the decision your dealership is the place to be!

What is better to do, hire one or two at a time or wait to hire many in an effort to maximize the investment? In short, the longer you wait the more it will cost you. Why? Missed opportunity is the biggest reason. Even being only one salesperson shorthanded is a detriment to achieving success both in unit volume and overall gross profit. The situation becomes exacerbated with each additional salesperson you are short. In nearly every instance it is far better to recruit more often and well before the need becomes abundantly apparent. A large percentage of our clients recruit on a quarterly basis, if not more frequently, even if on the surface they don’t have the “need”. Their reasoning has proved sound. They are rarely put in the position of having to cater to the whims of one or a team of salespeople. They don’t run short-handed and are always prepared for the inevitable changes and opportunities that occur day to day, week to week and month to month. They have also found their sales teams perform at a very high level; it is very clear their job at the dealership is highly valued and if they aren’t making a full out effort, someone else will. Lastly, it is easier to integrate one or two people at one time into the culture of your dealership then having many to follow up with.

Hopefully you have gained insight into some of the most asked questions we receive and can implement strategies that work for you. The bottom line is every week is a good week to hire salespeople. However, it would be best to plan ahead and recruit a smaller number of people on a consistent basis. What questions do you have? Perhaps we can help you.

Ernie Kasprowicz
Vice President / General Manager
AutoMax Recruiting and Training, LLC.

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