Mike Klauss, Regional Sales Manager at Fenix Parts, Inc., based in the US, has much experience in searching for the right salespeople. He tells Auto Recycling World how there is more to hiring than meets the eye when it comes to retaining the right people at any auto recycling operation.
Our employees are our most valuable asset. We spend a lot of time and resources recruiting, training, and retaining employees. Recruitment at Fenix Parts is done through a series of different mediums such as job postings on our website, Indeed, LinkedIn, recruiters and our most successful source, employee referrals. Current employees have been the best source of referring new hires and talent by far. We offer an employee referral bonus program that incentivizes current employees to refer people they think would be a good fit at Fenix Parts.
All new hires go through a training process, even if they are from within the industry. Long gone are the days of the sink or swim mentality of putting a new hire immediately on the counter with low to no training, which is what many of us experienced at the start of our careers. Now all trainees go through a week-long class that covers a myriad of subjects, including Pinnacle training, sales training, policies, and procedures or, as I like to call it, “The Fenix Way”. In this class, they must pass written tests to complete training and move into their position. One subject that you may be surprised to hear that we cover in training is ethics.
Ethics is a subject that is covered in every sales training class. New hires are warned that management won’t stand behind lying; honesty is the only option within our company. This ranges from being honest on the mileage of the part sold to the cause of delivery delays. During training, I like to share the story of the time when a customer called me about a delayed part. The customer explained to me that the salesman they dealt with had told them that the truck broke down, which was the cause of the delay. In actual fact, the salesman had accidentally left the part as a quote and had forgotten to process the order.
No one likes to admit when they make a mistake but owning the mistake and being honest with the customer is how you create a loyal customer base. I informed the customer of what had happened and provided them with a new expected date, and because of the honest reply and sincerity in our apologies, we were able to save the deal and retain a customer.
The Auto Recycling Industry has long been plagued with the stigma that we run dirty, dangerous operations that can’t be trusted. Even today, our businesses are used by movie and television shows as a meeting place for the bad guys to make their drug deals or trade the kidnapped co-star. The only way to combat this prejudice is by earning the customer’s trust through our employees because, as managers, we can’t sell every part or talk to every customer ourselves. We’re all humans who are going to make mistakes, but how you handle those mistakes is the difference maker between you and a competitor. Our customers want somebody they can trust and rely on because their business depends on it.
After new hire training our employees have continuous training on a regular basis. We use one-on-one meetings for goal setting and coaching on reaching those goals. We discuss and write down personal goals and what professional benchmarks need to be hit to reach those personal goals. For instance, how much more will an employee need to sell to be able to afford the payment on the new truck they are wanting. Aligning personal goals to professional goals and then consistently measuring their progress leads to better success. But these goals must be written down. A goal that isn’t written down, isn’t a goal. It’s a dream.
Investing in the recruitment and training of your sales staff is a lot of up-front effort that, if done correctly, pays dividends in the future. Finding the right people, training them well, setting goals, measuring their progress, and holding them accountable is a recipe for success.
To find out more about Fenix Parts, visit www.fenixparts.com