Dealerships Finding High Turnover Among Millennial Car Sales Staff

“You can’t find good staff nowadays.”

It may be an old joke, but it’s one that many auto dealerships are feeling nowadays. In the dealership workplace today, about 60 percent of hires are from the Millennial generation, according to Hireology, and more than half these new, youthful employees turn over yearly. It would appear that long hours, working on commission and spending weekends on dealership floors is proving to be a hard sell, and haggling and hard selling don’t appeal as much to a younger generations of car sales reps.

Additionally, low pay to start in car selling may not seem possible for Millennial Americans struggling with large amounts of education debt.

“With extra patrons strolling into dealerships armed with pricing data pulled from the web, salespeople are discovering it tougher to retain the higher hand in negotiating an automobile’s ultimate worth,” wrote Adrienne Roberts for the Wall Street Journal. “That has prompted earnings on new-car gross sales to shrink lately, and together with it, the potential fee a gross sales staffer can earn upon closing a deal.”

While some dealership managers are having to spend more time coaching and even reconstructing the way they pay commissions for Millennial sales staff, the news isn’t all bad. Millennials, after all, need to buy vehicles, and it (perhaps) takes a Millennial to sell a car to another Millennial. According to Auto Trader, younger Americans shop for cars differently than their elders.

“The Next-Generation Car Buyer” study by found that millennials are more open to buying a car from less well-known brands – think Kia or Mazda — than other car shoppers. They’re also partial to German and Japanese brands, unlike older Americans, who are often loyal to American brands.

Then, of course, there’s the Internet and social media affecting car sales.

“While Baby Boomers are most likely to be introduced to their next new car at the dealership, word-of-mouth research such as a recommendation from a family member or a friend drives Millennials’ car-buying decisions,” wrote Auto Trader’s Nick Palermo. “Millennials may have less experience buying cars than older Americans, but the automotive landscape has changed dramatically over the past few decades, as has shoppers’ access to information about vehicles and even dealer inventories.”

In a word, older Americans may want to emulate some of the research-first buying habits of millennial consumers, and dealerships need to adapt better to younger Americans: both as buyers and as sellers.