The highest rated panel of the 2019 Farm Equipment Dealership Minds Summit featured two Dealership of the Year Alumni. It was no surprise that dealers learned so much from RDO Equipment and Stotz Equipment. We’ve visited them on numerous occasions and continue to be amazed by their home-grown systems that cultivate the exact results they want.
These two dealers are the type who insist on staff training (and measure it in hours), host CEO-led reading groups, and prohibit new trainees from writing up a sale until fully indoctrinated into their company’s value systems, policies and protocols. (There’s no “cost of sales” pressure because they’re insisting on getting the foundation aligned.)
Stotz and RDO are industry leaders in every category imaginable, and their presentations reflected their commitment in sharing what they know to help their dealer brethren.
What was surprising, was the “subject matter” that scored so high. That is, the “onboarding” of salespeople. Our industry has been onboarding new salespeople since the first implement was retailed, so this isn’t a new endeavor. Yet, attendees still packed the room in Peoria, Ill., for this presentation.
Stotz’s Kyle Schneider and RDO’s Mark Kreps both delivered exactly what Executive Editor Kim Schmidt asked of them. But you had to be daydreaming to miss a broader connection to their words about establishing and breaking habits. Virtually everything they said applies to existing sales forces, too. This resonates as I read The Ideal Team Player: A Leadership Fable, a book by Patrick Lencioni that I picked up after his speech at the 2019 Global Leadership Summit.
Onboarding infers “new hires” but developing sales staff (or any staff for that matter) is a journey that’s never finished.
Anyone employ a salesperson that’s attained absolute knowledge and skill, without ever again needing to improve on anything to stay at the top of your earners? I don’t see how old-school ways alone are possible — when technology, customer age/demographics and communication channels are changing by the day.
Allowing one to remain in the same place is a question of tolerance and time. Sooner or later, it’ll come to recalibration of current personnel or for some, starting over.
There were several provocative questions in Schneider’s and Kreps’ session, including one about getting a hiring “do-over” on any current salespeople. Both Schneider and Kreps shared so many practical takeaways that we created a FREE eGuide available here. (Tip: if you want one question to help you “quickly end an interview,” don’t miss this eGuide.)
I was fascinated by Kreps’ explanation of the personality testing that RDO uses (he took the test himself 25 years ago as a new hire), and its power in making (and avoiding) personnel decisions.
RDO tests its people for thinking style and behavioral traits and is growing increasingly smarter about the process. “Someone with below-average scores on learning, verbal skills and verbal reasoning (thinking style) could still look very good to the interviewer with decent scores on behavioral traits like assertiveness, sociability and manageability,” he says.
RDO also took the process a step further. “We got the managers across all divisions together and identified the best performing salespeople,” Kreps says. “We took those tests and merged them to create a profile the ideal RDO employee; the type who will best perform in our own structure.”
He recommends this approach for all dealers. I can tell you that this is an easy exercise to do qualitatively in smaller operations; we did something similar via our EOS process a few years back.
Kreps’ & Schneider’s tips were so valuable that we’ve created a 3-part FREE eGuide series for you. To download your free copies of “Preparing for Sales Success: Hiring & Onboarding — Part 1, 2 or 3,” click here.