“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.” – Dean Kamen, Engineer and Inventor of the Segway and Founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)
Turnover is an old problem in the dealership business, but it certainly persists today: The most recent NADA Workforce Study shows that dealerships lose a mind-blowing 74 percent of their sales consultants annually, up 7 percent from 2016.
Could social media groups be the glue that gets employees to stick? A growing number of industry leaders think that it might be – and much more than that too.
One of the main reasons why sales consultants leave their dealership is a lack of support and leadership, according to CEO of Cars Her Way and automotive insider Lisa Copeland. Poor culture and obstacles to making a good living, especially when just starting out and when at a smaller store, factor in.
“Unless you’re with a huge dealer, it can be really tough to even make a living,” Copeland says. “One thing I encourage sales people to do is join sales communities for support.”
With tens of thousands of members (and growing), private Facebook groups like Glenn Lundy’s #RiseandGrind, Shawn Hays’ Sales Hustlers, David Villa’s Auto Dealer Live, and Copeland’s own Big Sellers Mastermind are quickly becoming the communities of choice for sales consultants. Right from their Facebook, employees can connect with other sales consultants, find support from industry leaders, and grow in their sales and personal skills – things that many have a hard time doing at the dealership.
And importantly, the people facilitating the groups aren’t just knowledgeable; they also genuinely care about their members and want to see them succeed.
Social Groups as a Solution to High Turnover
As a former dealership managing partner herself, Copeland is no stranger to the need for providing employees with various forms of support to help them succeed. Spurred on by the success of friends Lundy, Hays, and Villa, Copeland said that she created Big Sellers Mastermind as a way to reach more people with her pro tips while creating a community that could come to rely on each other.
“I know and understand best practices from working with some of the top dealers in the country,” she says. “Big Sellers gives me a way to reach more people quickly and easily. But just as important, I wanted to bring people together so they can ask questions, talk to each other, and come to their own conclusions, and to new solutions. That’s where the ‘Mastermind’ came from.”
As one of the first to create a private Facebook group, Dan Cummins Chevrolet Buick General Manager Glenn Lundy’s motivation was similar to Copeland’s. He wanted to provide a special space that sales consultants could come to rely on for different forms of support. But his main drive was to give them a positive way to start their day. According to Lundy, there are two reasons why this is so important.
“First, it gives them something to look forward to, a glimmer of hope. If you can look forward to tomorrow, you’ll make better choices today,” Lundy says. “Second, I wanted them to know I’d be there for them – they’re not alone. I’m there to hold them accountable and to show them that they can change their life.”
It’s All About Community
Lundy isn’t somebody who just believes that we can change our life with positivity and good habits – he’s experienced it firsthand.
“I was a lost soul. I was even homeless for a period of time, with no real hope for tomorrow and no one to turn to,” he says. “But I made a comeback. I’ve had a lot of success, and I want to offer help and encouragement so nobody has to feel like I did.”
He blazed his own trail back, in large part through finding a morning routine that worked for him and then sticking to it religiously. This is why it’s so important to him that he provide consistency for the #RiseandGrind group, so that they know he’ll be there every morning, Monday through Friday, at 5:30, sharing inspiration and tips. They can count on it. One of his most popular videos is where he shares his own tried-and-true morning routine with members.
The intention is to create community in an online space – and with almost 20,000 members since January, it’s working – but Lundy is even drawing sales consultants to his physical store, according to Copeland.
“That’s how much they trust and like him,” she says.
Like all communities, the Facebook groups share the benefit of bringing like-minded people together for learning, motivating, conversing, comparing notes, etc. – but then there are the unforeseen benefits too. For example, when the wife of one of the Facebook group’s members was recently diagnosed with cancer, and was without health insurance, the groups were able to come together and raise over $40,000 in just 24 hours to help cover her medical costs.
“Yes, everybody’s online and in different places across the country, but it’s a very real community,” Copeland says. “It’s exciting to be a part of it.”