September 6, 2019
PLAN FOR THE FUTURE BY INVESTING IN YOUNG COMMERCIAL TRUCK SALES PROFESSIONALS
The trend of the average age of the commercial truck sales consultant has become evident: most all are well into their late 50’s and 60’s. Recruiting and training the younger generation into commercial truck sales may prove to be not only a significant, but a vital component to producing and maintaining the industry of commercial truck sales- keeping your business a thriving one.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BRINGING THE YOUNGER GENERATION INTO COMMERCIAL TRUCK SALES
There’s a vast amount of experience currently employed at dealerships, however, a deficiency in technology awareness and application due to the fact that many employees were brought up in the manual process of a car deal in contrast to one involving technological utilization. In the long run, the implementation of technology in several different areas of a business can lead to an increase in efficiency and productivity in a day to day’s work tasks.
People buy from whom they know, like, and trust. The younger generation of potential sales consultants are very socially oriented. They are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many other platforms. This candidate feels far more at ease connecting via these portals and their targeted younger audience feels more comfortable responding.
With an expanded set of communication skills, the younger generation is able to garner what type of communication a specific customer wants- and accommodate to it. With younger buyers needing commercial trucks, young sales professionals will implement diverse relationship and sales strategies, developing the industry as a whole.
Commercial truck sales is in demand of young, enthusiastic blood who aren’t afraid to get out there and see customers. Many dealers rely mainly on referral and repeat business and don’t have the time to get out and call on new customers. The younger generation can do just that, creating new customers for the dealership and bringing fresh communication strategies from dealer to customer.
Years ago, a new sales person could wait around the dealership and pick up “walk in’s” to grow their business. Unfortunately, most dealerships go through new hires in a few months. With the younger generation becoming an integral part of the future for commercial truck sales, developing a process will be key to long term success for new hires.
TIPS FOR RECRUITMENT
- Remove the “Car Biz Stigma.” There are great opportunities in this business to make a good living with few restrictions or limitations. Work to promote not just the industry as a whole, but all the various careers offered in it.
- Traditional automotive pay plans may not prove as successful for outside commercial sales since it has a longer sales cycle and requires long term commitment. A strict draw/commission based pay plan may not appeal to younger people with the hours and time involved.
- Have them sell a tangible product to businesses that also drive work vehicles. An example would be someone from Aramark who sells supplies and uniforms to companies like plumbers or electricians.
- Look for an outside sales person from the same geographic area. Why? They have existing clients.
“WITH THE CHANGING OF HOW PEOPLE DO BUSINESS TO BEING MORE TECHNOLOGY BASED, IT IS IMPORT TO BRING IN YOUNGER PEOPLE THAT UNDERSTAND THAT NEED AND ARE ABLE TO SATISFY IT. IF WE ARE NOT ABLE TO ATTRACT A YOUNGER GENERATION TO FLEET AND COMMERCIAL SALES WE WILL HAVE A HUGE VOID IN THE MARKET.”
-ALEX KADISH, COMMERCIAL ACCOUNT MANAGER, SUTTON FORD
TIPS FOR TRAINING
One major component driving the younger generation away from a career in truck sales is that they simply don’t know about it. Increasing awareness and visibility of commercial truck sales as a whole will better attract young candidates.
Don’t set your new hire up for failure early in the process. Lack of training, too much emphasis on cold callings, and lack of inventory can diminish a career before it begins.
Training for a younger sales person can involve a twofold process, both technical and soft skill based. It is essential the new hire knows the technical aspects of the vehicle from GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) to CA (cab to axle). Soft skills involve sales training, marketing training, time management training, and social media as it relates to commercial vehicles sales. The most important skill involves networking and referral based selling.
If necessary, consider supplemental training from people that know and understand the commercial sales industry well. There are numerous consultants that provide specialized training or “boot camps” specifically for commercial truck sales professionals, both on-site or through the web.
Many body manufacturers and upfitters conduct training sessions and programs focused on commercial bodies and equipment. Attending a wide variety of these educational sessions will provide the young commercial truck sales professional with more confidence and a better understanding of the upfit opportunities.
Other options include:
- Standardized training (industry-wide regardless of the OEM Branding.) Make the message consistent. Provide diverse and more immediate buying timelines on the Commercial/Fleet side vs. Retail.
- OEM Training such as Ford’s Business Preferred Training/ Commercial Vehicle Training. Training such as that offered by Body and Equipment Manufacturers.
- Online training and web based tutorials. These allow a given salesperson to do the training on their own time and later reference the training as needed.