Q: It seems as if we are getting blessed with a wide variety of candidates for car rental frontline positions. What are some items we should consider while going through the selection process?

Jeff T. — South Florida

A: Now is the time to find the best talent for your operation. Good candidates are out there and they are coming our way because of the spike in unemployment and they are in search of a quality company in an established industry. It is about time our industry caught at least one break!

Being mindful of the following items will help you and your team in the selection process.

Define Your Unique Recruitment Proposition

Knowing why your organization is a great one to join and defining the main advantages of career development, compensation structure and personal growth are just as important as knowing when and who to hire.

Look for candidates with the ‘SEE’ Factor

Three key attributes that all candidates for a service-based sale role should have are sincerity, empathy and ego (SEE). Sincere candidates build relationships and demonstrate them; empathetic candidates understand people and can build rapport very quickly; and ego-driven candidates want to be recognized for results and held accountable.

An interviewer can easily determine these attributes by asking behavioral-based questions. Open-ended questions that allow candidates to expand on their experiences being sincere, empathetic or motivated by recognition are most effective if presented in the second interview stage.

Beware of too much frontline experience: “Journeymen” sales associates who approach you for employment may bring more baggage and questionable sales techniques than value. Ask these candidates to role play the rental process, check their dialogues and see if they have been through any professional service-based sales training.

A defined service-based sales training process will allow your company and your recruitment team to think outside the box and look for candidates with very diverse, non-car rental experience.

Q: I have a group of young sales associates who are in a stagnant place and need some additional motivational tips. Do you have any good lead-ins for my next sales meeting?

Mark H. — Fort Worth, Texas

A: Now is the time to have your team focused and engaged. Using April and May as staging periods for your summer volume season will allow your company to capitalize on every revenue and sales opportunity.

Here are some items to be mindful of and to implement:

  • DO NOT start hiring in late May for summer help! If you are reading this in late May and have not hired the remaining two or three team members, it is not too late, but you will have to settle for less-qualified candidates. The most effective operators have their associates hired at least one month prior to high-volume seasons.
  • Set short-term, month-by-month goals and a seasonal revenue target. Balancing your team’s focus on individual sales goals month by month, coupled by a team revenue goal for the entire season, will keep them in tune to your business objective.
  • Establish “Power Hours” and critical shifts in which managers have to be on the counters assisting associates and customers. All too often managers confuse activity with productivity. Having them set the operation up prior to high-volume spikes will allow them to be at the counters when it counts.
  • Implement a balanced incentive plan. The most effective frontline and management incentive plans are based on incremental sales yield and customer service. Balancing your incentive plan with recognition from senior leadership will tie together the motivational drivers of each.

Email your questions to Auto Rental News at chris.brown@bobit.com.

For additional articles and news from the Auto Rental News May/June magazine issue, click here.