So I decided to dethatch and over seed our yard last week and as I am doing it, it hit me....yard maintenance has a lot in common with Automotive Recruiting.

Now let me start by saying, we have a pretty decent yard. It’s not the best yard on the block, but it’s far from the worst. If friends come over it wont get any “wows,” but it also wont get any “yikes!” fact is I probably didn’t need to over seed, I could have cut it, spread some weed and feed and come Spring I would be right back to having a “pretty good” yard. But I don’t want a “pretty good” yard, I want a GREAT yard. And I knew that the only way to have a great yard in 2019, was to put the work in NOW, in the Fall of 2018. There are plenty of other things I would rather be doing early in the morning, late in the evening and on weekends; prepping soil with a thatching rake, spreading seed, covering with peat moss and following a rigorous watering scheduling is hard and tedious work. But every step is vital to having a “best on the block” yard.

So here we are, Q4 in the Auto Industry, things are likely slowing down a bit. Maybe you have some time to reflect back on what you have accomplished this year. It was probably a “good year,” comparable to last year and the year before, not great, but good. So what should you do? Stay the course, maybe take a little vacation now that traffic has slowed down a bit at the end of the year… Not if you want to be great. Now is the time you make or break your 2019. The things you do in these next two months will decide whether you keep plodding along with a good enough store or you set yourself up to be the best store in your city, state, region, etc. Now is the time to “dethatch” your sales floor and dig up any “dead” under-performers that are preventing your “lawn” from reaching its true potential. Now is the time to plant new “seeds” on your floor, and don’t just plant the new seeds, WATER and NOURISH the new seeds. That way when the sun comes back in the spring (Q1 and Q2 2019), you have a strong Sales team with deep roots. Now is the time to recruit for your dealership.

We have a very small window to get this done, to set ourselves up for success in 2019. Sure you can wait until Spring to plant your seeds, but as we have already discussed it takes time and work to develop those new recruits into real Sales Consultants. Are you going to have time to do that during the inevitable Q1 and Q2 rush? Is there even time to have those strong “roots” developed for the summer? Do you want sprouting seeds for your busiest time of year or do you want strong, fully matured Sales Associates? Furthermore, just as Fall offers the optimal air and soil temperature for new grass seed, Q4 offers a unique advantage for Automotive Recruiting. All of your competitors are also “waiting until after the first” to staff. That means by staffing now you get “first dibs” on the current talent pool. With unemployment rates at historically low levels, it won't be getting any easier two months from now.

When we plant our seeds, we don’t just do the front yard because that is what everyone can see, you want your entire yard to be great, side and backyard included. Same thing with automotive recruiting: we don’t just fix our sales staff, sales manager and finance managers and forget about the rest of the dealership. Successful fixed ops recruiting is essential to a great dealership. Automotive technician recruiting is a huge part of this equation, as well as recruiting and on-boarding qualified Service Advisors.

Automotive Recruiting, like lawn maintenance is also an on-going battle. Your new seeds need constant attention and care in the first 2 – 4 weeks. Why spend all the time and money getting the yard prepped and seeded if you are just going to let the seeds die?! Even after the seeds have germinated, the new grass needs fed and watered. Just like in our industry, recruiting is only part of the process. You still need to properly on-board and train your new hires, and you need to continue training them as they develop into legit Automotive Sales Consultants. Probably the most challenging aspect of this process: even if you take all the right steps in these next two months, there is still a chance not all of your seeds will germinate and you will need to do it all over in the Spring.

So here I am, I successfully planted my seeds, they are beginning to germinate, I have blisters all over my hands and a sore back, but I feel great about my prospects for an outstanding yard in 2019 and my main take away is… I should have hired professionals to do it! As you can see above, automotive recruiting, on-boarding and training is hard. It takes a lot of time and effort. Time and effort that you need to sell and service vehicles! Especially at this time of year when customers are harder to come by. Bottom line is now is the time to staff your store for a successful 2019, but let us do it for you!