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Efficient retailing No.11: Recruiting right people is key to business success

In the 11th of our series of insights into running an efficient dealership, Thurlby Motors managing director Chris Roberts looks at recruitment.

Look at any successful business and one of its key attributes will be the quality of its employees. This one element is the cornerstone of sales volumes, customer retention and resulting profits. Without it, performance becomes a struggle with only limited success possible. So how do we find and recruit the right people for our businesses?

Let’s start with the basics. Most of us use either general advertising or agencies to recruit new employees. The brief for both will generally focus around an outline of a skills set for the role. However, it’s also vital to think about the general fit of the person within the organisation. In my experience this is equally, if not more important than the knowledge and skill level of the recruit.

Ask yourself how many times you have employed someone who had all the abilities the role required, but simply lacked either the personality or the interactive character to fit in?

When advertising, or briefing an agency, make sure you ask prospective applicants about their character. For example, using words like “driven”, “customer focused”, “dynamic” etc, all help to position the type of person who should apply. Admittedly, you will still get applicants who lack these characteristics in real life, but the interview can specifically follow the brief and candidates can be asked to give evidence or demonstrate why they feel they meet the criteria.

A further benefit of using targeted words is that any advert associated with your company may also be read by prospective customers and as such is a chance to further promote your business.

Positive words help to build a picture of how the business is run and what kind of experience a customer can expect if they pay a visit. Don’t miss the chance to send a positive message even on a recruitment advert.

The mix of any team is important and blending skills across employees to maximise your opportunity is a worthwhile exercise. In sales, think about your customer base and the differing personalities you will need to maximise business.

Customers are young, old, male and female, so try to build the team so all have someone they will feel comfortable with when they visit. In a normally male dominated industry,
I have worked with several businesses where the mix of employees has seen a higher proportion of females in the workforce and this has paid dividends, not only in terms of balance, but also in terms of customer retention. Like it or not, women generally build better relationships with customers than males and evidence suggests that repeat business to sales women is higher than their male counterparts. Maybe controversial, but true.

Finally, when recruiting, where possible think about people who may have the right skills, but not industry experience. Given the right attributes a non-industry person can quickly acquire product knowledge, but will often come without any bad habits gained elsewhere.

Successful business starts with good people and good recruitment is the key.

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