Breaking the Mold
“We made a conscious effort to attract a different sales consultant,” says CEO Ryan Dolan. “We didn’t want to have the old guys sitting outside smoking cigarettes that everybody sees at car dealerships. Those old school guys were scaring off women, who make about 80 percent of the car-buying decisions,” he says.
So, the execs quit recycling car salespeople from other dealerships. They sought to attract millennials and others who had zero car experience to avoid bad habits. Turns out that millennials were scared off by commission and are motivated by set pay and vacation time. So, they switched to salary-based pay, added in more vacation time, and called them vehicle specialists instead of salespeople.
The millennials can relate to a younger generation of car buyers, who prefer to text rather than talk on the phone.
More women have joined the ranks, bringing a whole new set of multitasking skills to areas like sales and service writing. Dolan says the dealership also is focusing on hiring athletes recently graduating from college.
Dolan Toyota continues to model some popular Lexus amenities such as adding a concierge or “brain center,” which handles all calls, appointments and Internet inquiries and is mostly staffed by salaried millennials. They’ve installed a photo booth with a full-time photographer on staff to take pictures of the actual cars that will be sold online. And on-staff delivery specialists are available to explain the numerous high-tech features of a vehicle, boosting customer satisfaction.
There’s little haggling on price, so the focus is all about the experience.
“My dad understood that things are changing, and he’s allowed us to do it, which has made us successful,” Ryan says. “You have to adapt to your surroundings.”