We are certainly in the people business and many times managing our own team members is more difficult than our customer base.  There are certain “people” characteristics which indicate better potential for success when evaluating a potential new hire or even a long-term employee.
Sales team members, whether in sales, service, BDC or F&I can be boiled down into four categories:

  1. Positive Producers
  2. Negative Producers
  3. Positive nonProducers
  4. Negative nonProducers

It is worth the exercise to walk around your dealership one morning, greet your team and think about each one of them and what category they may fall into.

The positive producer is certainly a category in high demand.  Finding talented individuals who support your vision, spread goodwill and produce is invaluable. Building a team of these individuals catalyzes growth and a fun and fertile environment for the team and customers to enjoy.

The Negative producer has opposing pro’s and con’s.  While the production is needed, the negative attitude can cause viral issues both internally and externally.  The ability to isolate the negative producer can create a compromise in both retaining the production and at the same time containing the negative.  Also, finding ways to team build and encouraging optimism in these individuals can evolve into a positive producer.

The positive non producer is “that guy or woman” that we all love and we can’t pull the trigger on letting them go or finding another utility for them in the dealership.  They are typically great people, maybe they have been onboard a long time and terminating their employment seems like the wrong move.  However, every month when you review their production, it is clear they are not earning their keep.  It is difficult but approaching these team members without the fog of emotion might pave the way to bringing on an additional producer or two.

The Negative non producer.  Our first inclination maybe to attempt to move them to a non producing role on the team to avoid a termination.  However, the negative attitude toward their work, peers and the organization (perhaps the industry) should detour that transition.  Its most likely time for them to go.

Check with your attorney and human resource department on handling employee matters.

He went on to


An effective thought map begins with a list of each step in a process.  For this example, I will use hiring a salesperson.


  1. Identify a need in the dealership
  2. Write a detailed job description
  3. Advertise the job
  4. Interview candidates
  5. Candidate selection processes
  6. Orientation and training
  7. Evaluations

Next, identify the area you want to enhance.  In this example, lets assume you are not very strong at interviewing candidates and you would like to strengthen this area.



We are not fixing anything yet, so be patient.  In this step, we are simply listing all of the steps to interviewing candidates.

  1. Review Candidate Qualifications
  2. Social Media Check
  3. Initial Contact
  4. First Interview

5.   Background Check

  1. SecondInterview


#2 from step 2 – INITIAL CONTACT

  1. Call Candidate
  2. Intro
  3. Ask Deal Breaker Questions
  4. Offer initial interview
  5. Schedule Date and Time
  6. Offer directions
  7. Close

Not only does this process enhance my hiring process but simultaneously creates guidelines  (potential policies) for others to use in the future.  Now its time for us to make an improvement or enhancement.


I have found adding “deal-breaker” questions to my initial call can be a great tweak to my hiring process for several reasons.  It saves time by not interviewing the wrong candidate and it can prevent a candidate from spreading negative information about your dealership.  Here are a few examples of deal-breaker questions:

  1. Do you have reliable transportation to get to and from work?
  2. Do you have a valid driver’s license?
  3. Are you over the age of 18 years old?
  4. Are you able to work legally in the United States?
  5. Do you have two years of previous auto sales experience?
  6. What days and times can you not work?

Be sure to check with your attorney to ensure you are asking questions that you can legally ask.  Sitting back and spending several minutes deciding what questions to ask that prevent you from wasting 45 minutes in an initial interview can make this process more effective.  Also, great questions maybe begin to indicate solid candidates and you may want to add.

This is a small example of mapping, imagine if you were visiting and revisiting all of the steps in a given process overtime.  You would identify new actions for you and your team to try and discontinue.

BONUS: Imagine the impact of walking through this exercise with others on your team.  Collaborating with members of your organization generate many unique ideas.  I call this “Dealer-Storming” (Click here to read the article) and we do it all of the time in our NIADA 20 group meetings.  If you would like to learn more about “dealer-storming” or offer your comments on this article, write me at justin@niada.com.

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