Lonski finds dealers in search of top talent
Henry Lonski, founder of his namesake recruiting firm Lonski and Associates, LLC, takes phone calls and emails daily from dealers looking for upgrades in talent. In fact, it’s his job, and the demand for finding quality personnel at both dealerships and other industry companies is growing so fast that Lonski has had to make additional hires to his own staff.
Former Honda zone manager Paul Dunning is the latest to join the Lonski lineup. Dunning has 40 years experience in the powersports industry. He spent 10 years with Honda, managing all aspects of field sales for motorcycles and ATVs. He was hired as a district sales manager before becoming an assistant national field sales manager and then a zone manager. Prior to joining Honda, Dunning owned Mission Honda Yamaha near San Francisco and was the Western sales manager for KYMCO.
Currently, Dunning owns the online sales company MCmanual.com, which sells motorcycle manuals. The company has more than 5,000 books in inventory.
“Over the years, I’ve followed Paul’s career in sales management. He’s a successful industry veteran and held in high regard by fellow powersports industry members. His ethics, credibility and reputation are well deserved, and his experience with dealer networks across North America will be a great benefit and value to our client base,” Lonski said.
With an apparent recovering of the economy, Lonski has found that dealers are turning to national searches to fill positions, some empty, and others not-so-empty but in need of a change.
“The industry is back and it’s rocking,” Lonski said. “I don’t have a choice but to hire. A lot of dealers are looking to if not compare their current talent, at least see what’s out there. As far as technicians and service writers, if I had 10 qualified technicians, I could place them all tomorrow.”
Lonski has seen a recent surge in dealers seeking out social media-savvy employees.
“It’s good to see them wanting to get more involved with social media,” he said. “We’ve seen a big push on social media hires, whether at the dealership level or OE. It’s a great indication of where the industry is. It all bodes well for the industry.”
As dealerships have fine-tuned their operations to work their way through a down economy, Lonski says many are now looking to take the next step.
“There’s a realization that maybe the people they kept over the last three years weren’t the right people, they were just part of the problem,” Lonski said. “Two things happened over the last three years — the dealerships downsized, but I think a lot of dealers realized they downsized with the wrong people. Some of the people they retained were part of the problem, not part of the option to succeed. What’s happening is that service managers, general managers, general sales mangers, are being looked at under a microscope relative to what they should be doing vs. what they were doing.”
Finding the aforementioned service techs continues to be a tall task for dealers.
“A lot of them left the industry, so there’s a scarcity of A- and B-level technicians out there,” Lonski said. “There are a lot of graduates out there, but the service departments are so busy, that they’re shy to take on talent. So there’s a huge, huge groundswell for trained, experienced technicians.”
The lack of movement by techs could be attributed to “dealers finally stepping up and paying them what they’re worth. It’s evident from coast to coast, Harley-Davidson or metric. I’ve been in this business since 2005, and for the first six months of the year I’ve never seen so much activity at the dealer level for good talent.”
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