We have all heard that saying “Practice makes perfect.” Well, I am here to tell you that is a straight lie. Practice does NOT make “perfect.” If you are practicing the wrong things, then you are not becoming perfect, you are only ingraining wrong things into yourself or your team. Practice makes permanent, practice develops muscle memory and reflexes. It is important to understand the distinction; ONLY perfect practice makes something perfect.
There is a reason why our industry is plagued with an average of a 70% attrition ratio. That is terrible! Our industry is hemorrhaging with both attrition and mediocrity and the main reason is that dealers do not have a viable (even adequate) training strategy. Think about it, most sales managers tell sales consultants that “Car sales is like owning your own business” but the problem with that statement is that there is way more to being an entrepreneur, a business owner, than the “road to the sale” and product knowledge (if they even make those bare minimums mandatory).
First of all, in 2018, there shouldn’t be a separation between the showroom and the internet sales / BDC department. The phones and the internet are the NEW showroom! There should ONLY be “internet dealerships.” Yes, I think there is definitely major value in having appointment setters aka BDC Reps or “Internet Sales Coordinators” but that does NOT mean there should be separation between them and your showroom.
There needs to be FULL integration and a legit hybrid system / philosophy and strategy in place. In order for this to actually be viable, there needs to be training on both sides of the spectrum and cross training. **I encourage you to join me at Digital Dealer 24 for my session “Blueprinting a High-Functioning (and Profitable) Internet Dealership… NOT a Department” where I’ll give you a step-by-step plan to set up a synergistic and high-performing sales ecosystem for your store.
Before I get into the “what” should dealership personnel be trained on, let’s explore some reasons why dealers either do NOT invest in training, or do not train their people the right way:
- The cost. They say training is too expensive. I find this to be utterly absurd! Dealers spend approximately $640 per car sold in advertising or $64,000 per month in advertising! To NOT train your showroom sales team and / or your internet sales / BDC team makes no sense whatsoever. How can dealers spend a tremendous amount of money on driving traffic, on technology, on various other things but little to nothing on the front lines team that handles all of those opportunities?
- High Turnover. Some dealers say they don’t invest in training because of high turnover. Come on! One of the reasons for high turnover is that dealers do not train or do not provide valuable and relevant training.
- They have someone Internal To Train. There are dealers that think by making their sales manager or someone else train the new hires or conduct random or even consistent training is sufficient. The problem with this is that MOST of those people are NOT qualified to be instructors or trainers. Just because they are a successful sales manager or successful sales consultant does NOT make them qualified as a curriculum development specialist or instructional design specialists or even as a trainer. Additionally, every minute, hour or day(s) they are training or trying to develop content to do so, takes them away from their core competency as a sales manger or sales consultant.
- They Have OLD Training Tapes or Workbooks they use. This goes right back to “Practice does NOT make PERFECT”… practice makes PERMENENT! Dealers, PLEASE realize that if you are training on antiquated training tapes from the 90s or Early 2000’s, you are hurting your organization. Yes, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” These outdated materials/programs may offer small nuggets of relevant and viable information here and there but that does NOT mean it’s safe to use them for your organization’s overall training strategy.
There should be a clear trajectory from and for A:
Sales Consultant with 0-3 Months Experience
Sales Consultant with 3-6 Months Experience
Sales Consultant with 6- 12 months Experience
Sales Consultant with 1-3 Years Experience
Sales Consultant with 3+ Years Experience
BDC Rep / Coordinator with 0-3 Months Experience
BDC Rep / Coordinator with 3-6 Months Experience
BDC Rep / Coordinator with 6-12 months Experience
BDC Rep / Coordinator with 1-3 Years Experience
BDC Rep / Coordinator with 3+ Years Experience
The dealer principal and management should begin with the end result in mind and map out exactly what:
- They expect from each individual for those different time on job / experience levels
- They want those individuals to know (information, curriculum, technology, etc…) and be able to do (execute) fluidly
*Everyone in the organization from the dealer, managers and employees (including new hires) should be able to understand what their “career path” is. Whatever position they are hired for is not where they will have to stay forever. There needs to be that clear trajectory from position A to position B or from position A to Position Z or any combination. This will be powerful for evolution as well as morale.
The chart above offers an example curriculum for a sales consultant in 2018. Spending the time / resources on developing comprehensive training curriculum such as the example above will pay off for your dealership in the long run.
My advice for 2018 is to TRAIN your people! Oh, and please, do not sacrifice your actual customers in the process by letting your employees practice on them!) I recommend investing in virtual training programs that offer 24/7 video on-demand, training, tracking, testing and certification. This type of training is both an effective form of training and the most cost effective.
KEY POINT: Proper training requires a strategic plan and investment but it will 100% pay off for your store(s) if done the right way. Develop your overall training strategy and designate persons/programs qualified to deliver up-to-date curriculums specific to each person’s role, experience level, and career path, and your business and team will benefit in the long-run.
If you would like further information on this article or a FREE strategy session, please email me at email@example.com.
Author: Sean V. Bradley, CSP
Sean V. Bradley, CSP is an entrepreneur, published author, speaker, and award-winning international trainer. He is an eight-time NADA/ATD convention speaker and a FranklinCovey Certified Facilitator. He has earned the coveted “CSP” designation in the National Speakers Association. Sean is also a member of the elite “Million Dollar Speakers Group” in the NSA, as well as a State Association Speaker and Trainer. He has spoken at over 217 NCM and NADA 20 Groups. Sean has personally trained over 25,000 automotive sales professionals in 1,100 unique roof tops.