Time to crack the commision conundrum?

Unless you live in Gloucestershire, you may never have heard of Completely Motoring, an independent based in Staverton, run by Rob Ayland, his wife and three sons. It’s a used car specialist, with around 60 models, from £4,000 to £50,000. Outwardly, the business appears run of the mill, but it has just won the Family Business of the Year category at the Gloucestershire Business Awards and what’s more, the retailer’s admin manager, Katie Young, also won ‘Employee of the Year’.

So, what is this firm’s secret? It appears to sell quality, checked cars and have a friendly service approach, but this is nothing out of the ordinary. It has a newly launched motorcycle showroom but again, so what? However, one fact which does appear out of the ordinary is that no one in the firm works on a sales commission.

The franchise dealership model is dyed in the wool when it comes to incentivising sales staff and the whole sector is based on hitting targets – even though some are reducing the commission eleemnt. But, while it may sound unpalatable, customers do not always enjoy the sales process, even if it is dressed up in pleasant surroundings. And once they have agreed on a car, many say they dislike being sat down and offered finance, insurance, warranties and anything else that can go towards hitting the target.

There is no easy answer. The view that sales people need to be hungry to go the extra mile and will only work hard for a big wad of cash persists. But, low basic and high commission tends to appeal less to women and the millennials. This increasingly makes some dealerships feel ‘blokey’ and old fashioned. There are new ideas such as the pop up dealerships and home test drives, but few dealerships have the appeal of say going into an Apple store, where the vibe is hip yet knowledgeable and customers continue to pay through the nose. Meanwhile, Completely Motoring is planning further openings and next year should achieve £13 million in turnover. So it must be doing something right. Right?

Rachel Gordon
Auto Retail Network

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