Subaru of Wichita, Kansas, looks outside the traditional car-sales ranks to recruit employees and pays the salesperson a flat fee on the sale of a car, whether a bargain used car or a brand-new top-end vehicle.

Subaru of Wichita's Commission-Free Salespeople Aim for a Fun, Customized Sales Experience

Just the Facts:
  • Subaru of Wichita hires people from all walks of life and teaches them the dealer's own philosophy of customer service and finding the right car for the client, regardless of profit margin.
  • Salespeople are encouraged to take time to get to know customers and make the shopping experience relaxed and fun.
  • They are paid a flat fee per sale.

WICHITA, Kansas Subaru of Wichita is the kind of dealership where everyone has learned to go with the flow. Once the country's number-one Suzuki dealership for five years running, it had to rebrand and rebuild last year, when that automaker went out of business in the U.S. Part of what makes the dealer successful is a philosophy of fun and flexibility that has led to greater customer satisfaction.

Subaru of Wichita even offers to ship any vehicle anywhere in the United States, with no additional charge, and its online video, The Subaru of Wichita Experience, pitches the dealership as a fun place where salespeople will gladly put in some coloring-book time with your kids if necessary.

Social Media Manager Aaron Wirtz says the Golden Rule philosophy "informs everything we do and is our core philosophy."

The dealership likes to hire people without experience in the car business and train them in the Subaru of Wichita way of doing things, he said.

"We've removed the commission motive from the sales process, so our people are much freer and happier to find the car that meets the customer's needs the best," Wirtz noted.

Subaru of Wichita and its two satellite used-car dealerships, Super Car Guys, collectively have about 150 employees. How does Subaru of Wichita keep salespeople motivated? They're paid a flat fee when they sell a car, Wirtz said — it's just not tied to the price of the sale.

 "The per-unit bonus is the same for the 2002 Chevrolet Malibu as for the 2014 Subaru WRX STI," Wirtz explained. "We have happier customers, better online reviews, good repeat and referral business — we want to sell cars but we want them to be right for the customer's needs and budgets."

People coming to work at Subaru of Wichita from other dealerships are even happier, he told Edmunds.

Wirtz said: "We have absorbed employees from other dealerships, and they absolutely love the process because they feel better about what they're doing. Like the signs on the wall say, we're a Golden Rule dealership.

"Ultimately, Wichita is not a very large town, and even if it was, we want to be responsible members of this community and know that our customers are satisfied. In the end, nobody likes a stressful, high-pressure car selling situation, no matter how much money they have or what kind of car they're buying."

Edmunds says: Subaru of Wichita has come up with the right formula for keeping car shoppers happy.

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