Customers are picky. They’re not only picky about what they buy, but they’re also picky about who they buy from.
See, if a customer doesn’t like your salesperson, chances are they’re not going to buy from them, even if you have the exact car they want for the exact price they are willing to pay. Why? People don’t like doing business with people they don’t like.
That’s why it’s important that you hire and train salespeople your customers will like. To help you, we’ve broken down five traits every customer wants in a salesperson. We’ve also given you interview questions that identify these traits in prospective employees. This way you can better identify great candidates who embody the qualities customers are looking for before you hire them.
First, your salespeople need to be approachable. That means having a welcoming smile, easy-going presence and fostering natural interactions. Overall, you want your salesperson to convey a sense of friendliness.
Interview question to ask:If you moved into a new neighborhood tomorrow, how would you get to know your neighbors?
“I would seek them out, ask questions, try to learn about who they are and what they like.” Or “I would go introduce myself. I love meeting new people.” Or “I’d smile and give them a wave. Let them know I’m excited to be their new neighbor.”
Overall, you’re looking for a response that indicates the candidate is excited to meet and get to know new people. Introducing yourself to a stranger can be difficult, but you want someone who’s skilled at making new connections.
“I would wait for them to visit me,” or “I usually don’t like to get to know my neighbors,” or “I honestly don’t like my current neighbors, and I tend to not like most new people.”
Not liking neighbors isn’t always a sign of an unapproachable person. But not being willing to meet new neighbors may be a sign the candidate will be perceived as unfriendly by your customers.
Customers don’t trust salespeople. But a good salesperson can break down this mighty wall of mistrust and build a strong relationship with their customers. Breaking down mistrust and building a relationship takes skills not everyone has, here’s an interview question you can ask to determine candidates’ trustworthiness.
Interview question to ask: How would your past bosses or supervisors describe you?
“I’m helpful, get my work done and like to collaborate with others,” or “I’m always reliable with a friendly disposition.”
You’re looking for words like “trustworthy”, “reliable” and “helpful.” By asking the candidate to talk about themselves from someone else’s point of view you’re more likely to get an accurate interpretation of the values they consider important and work to demonstrate.
“I’m not sure how they would describe me,” or “I haven’t had many great bosses, so I don’t think they’d speak very highly of me.”
These responses may be an indicator that the candidate wasn’t a great employee. If an answer like this comes up, try digging in for more information. It may be a misunderstanding, but it also might be a red flag.
Customers want to feel like they’re working with someone who is knowledgeable and can help them make the right decision. You not only want salespeople who are smart, but also those who show a willingness to learn.
Interview question to ask: Tell me about a time you were ill-equipped for a task or assignment. What did you do to overcome it?
“I didn’t have [x, y or z], but I learned [a, b or c] to help me finish the project,” or “I didn’t have all the information I needed to complete this task, but I asked questions and figured out what I needed to make it happen.”
You’re looking for a response that shows the candidate is both resourceful and willing to learn.
“I didn’t have [x, y or z], but it didn’t matter, the project got done anyways,” or “I can’t think of a time where I was ill-equipped for something. Generally, I know everything about whatever I’m working on.”
These responses show a lack of willingness to seek out and learn new information.
You want customers to feel special at your dealership, like they’re truly getting the VIP treatment. To achieve this, you need salespeople who are observant, curious and willing to listen and interpret your customer’s needs.
Interview question to ask: Tell me about a time you saw someone struggling. What did you do to help?
You are looking for an answer that describes a time where the candidate identified a situation where someone needed help, worked with the person to determine a solution and helped the person execute the solution. You want an answer that displays compassion and empathy for others.
“My coworker asked me for help. It wasn’t my job, but I did it anyway,” or “My friend needed help moving, and I told them I would help as long as they bought me a six-pack when it was all done.”
These responses show that the candidate was only willing to help when asked or compensated. It also displays that they don’t like doing work that isn’t “their job” and only do work when it directly benefits them.
People don’t want pushy salespeople. But they do want passionate salespeople. They don’t want someone who’s just trying to sell them, they want someone who will help them find the perfect solution for their situation. You need someone passionate about your dealership, the customers you help and the business you do. Remember: your salespeople represent you.
Interview question to ask: What drives you to do your best at work?
“My family has always inspired me to be the best I can be. I work hard every day to provide for them,” or “I’m competitive with myself. I love the thrill of trying to outdo my own personal best.”
In this answer, you’re looking for values that drive their passion. These values can include, but are not limited to family, self-improvement, money, charity or community.
“I’m not really sure what drives me. I like to come in and do whatever needs to get done,” or “I like to work hard and play even harder. I’m always looking forward to my time off.”
Don’t hire a candidate whose main drive every day will be to clock out and go home. You want employees who are enthusiastic about your dealership’s goals and passionate about helping you achieve them.
When it comes to your salespeople, you want to make sure your customers like them.
By hiring and training salespeople around these five traits you’ll build a solid staff every customer will love—this in turn, will help you sell more cars.
Looking for even more ways to build a superstar sales team? Get our free eBook Revolutionize Your Sales Team And Increase Sales This Month—Guaranteed.