2nd NOVEMBER, 2016

The 4 reasons Car Sales Executives tell us why they want to leave their job

In our experience, there are 4 key reasons Sales Executives want to change jobs. We thought we would share some of these points to begin a discussion around how the industry might address some of these issues.
1. "I want to be a Sales Manager"
They are craving more responsibility, professional development opportunities and overall, a clearly-defined career path.
Arguably, the most common reason given by Sales Executives enquiring about a career move. Most successful senior Sales Executives we speak to do not want to become pigeon-holed as purely Sales Executives who will continue to churn out high numbers for their dealership over the next few years. They are craving more responsibility and professional development opportunities and overall, a clearly-defined career path which will present them with opportunities over the coming years.

Some larger dealerships have made efforts to create additional layers of management in their businesses to satisfy the desire of senior Sales Executives to take an upward step. The emergence of Assistant Sales Managers and New and Used Sales Controllers has become more prevalent in 2016, which is welcomed, as long as it is not merely a stop-gap to prevent key staff going elsewhere. We've spoken to candidates who were initially delighted with the offer of a promotion, however they soon found out that it brought little in terms of additional responsibility, financial reward and/or real professional development.
The Solution: When a dealer is looking to offer an internal promotion, think beyond simply bestowing a new job title on the person. The initial excitement for a candidate in gaining this 'new position' will soon dissipate when they realise that there isn't a whole lot of substance behind it.
2. I want my weekends back
This is another very frequent response we hear from candidates, many of whom have young families. While we all acknowledge that Saturday working is the norm for salespeople in the automotive sector, this requirement to forfeit weekends is, in our view, one of the most critical barriers that will inhibit the industry when attracting key sales talent from other sectors and conversely, will force existing Car Sales Executives to look at other industries, which don't have this Saturday requirement.
The Solution: I'm not too sure anybody has an answer for this quite yet as Saturday is the most financially rewarding day of the week but unless this issue is addressed by the industry, it represents, in our view, a ticking time bomb which could have significant impact on the ability of dealerships to retain key talent. Some dealers offer days in lieu during the week for Saturday working but for the most part, this has little impact as weekends are family time.

In addition, in today's 'always on' environment, where Sales Executives are constantly on their mobile devices, there should be recognition for this 'after-hours' contribution from employees.
3. "Promises were made to me at interview but have not materialised"
Anecdotally, one of the factors contributing to candidates becoming disillusioned in their role is the fact that, on occasion, a dealership fails to live up to promises made at interview stage. While the intent on behalf of the Hiring Manager or Dealer Principal was to set out a clear and concise outline of the candidate's ability to earn and the range of benefits and career development on offer, this can get lost in translation. Sometimes the hiring process can be rushed and this information is not always documented correctly, which can lead to confusion further down the line when an issue arises.
The Solution: It is important that as part of any hire, there is total clarity as to the role on offer, its benefits and the level of performance required. Still too often, we see examples of candidates who are hired without a robust job description, detailed contract of employment or outline of specific sales performance targets expected. Without this clarity, the two parties may have very different views as to how an OTE figure might be achieved, which can ultimately lead to confusion and disagreement.
4. "I want to work for a Distributor"
This reason mainly comes down to the desire for an improved work/life balance. There is a perception among the retail side of the business that somehow, working with a distributor is a Monday to Friday, 9-5 experience. Very similar to point 2 above, the desire to have weekends off is the main driver here. On occasion, senior Sales Executives are willing to make this transition, even if it brings with it a reduction in earnings.
The Solution: There is no right or wrong answer here; all we are trying to do is highlight the typical responses we hear on a weekly basis from experienced Sales Executives.
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