Almost every dealership has some degree of training, from the manager telling the salesperson, “Here’s how to do a foursquare, now go get an up,” to a more structured and professional routine, perhaps from an outsourced vendor. The problem is, this training can be inconsistent. Or, due to high turnover, the managers simply give up.
And, far too often that training is quickly forgotten and old habits — or even no habits — kick in within a relatively short period of time. In my experience, most complaints about training (or failure to do it) lie in just two simple reasons: I don’t have time, or I’ve done it and it doesn’t stick.
So, what’s to be done?
One key element to success lies in a simple habit many successful people turn to on a daily basis, including industry giants such as Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban and Jack Ma: continuous learning!
Does that mean dealerships should train their staff on a daily basis? In an ideal world, yes. I understand that it’s not necessarily possible, aside from tidbits and job-specific responsibilities. But, what do these multi-millionaires do that anyone can easily do to assist them in success?
I’m not talking about reading Stephen King novels. Rather, I’m referring to content that can enrich lives and careers through improved overall knowledge. In the car business, that could include training material by the likes of Joe Verde, Alan Ram, and Grant Cardone; life skills, management and leadership books by author Lee Iacocca; or books that help keep you in tune with cutting-edge marketing techniques like one of my personal favorites; “Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets.”
There are many great books out there that target all areas of operations. You can ask successful dealers at your next 20 group meeting who they are currently reading, or what they recommend their managers read – they’re successful for a reason!
Many industry titans make a commitment to read an hour each business day (5-hours per week) to enrich their lives, continue the learning process and help strengthen the mental attitude needed to succeed.
Dealerships that train their staff typically do so once per week… maybe. But those employees interested in the success of their careers should invest in themselves through education. Even if non-automotive; reading books by successful people who relay what they have done to navigate a better path in life, or that offer general life improvement skills, can introduce new ideas, change mindsets and improve attitudes — which can only help improve performance.
Turn those zeros into heroes. Encourage staff to educate themselves on their own time and supplement it with in-house training. Today libraries even have apps that allow you to listen to audiobooks (for FREE) on your smartphone. Just a few hours a week of learning and enlightenment can make a huge difference. And, you may well find that your employees end up making more money due to a richer knowledge-base and an improved outlook on life. This will inevitably result in in more success for the dealership, increased profitability and greater employee retention.
Author: John Wingle
John serves as CEO and Manager of LotMonkey, a software solution that helps auto dealers more effectively merchandise on premises. John is the creator of the concept and the company and is a pioneer of strategic visual merchandising within the retail automotive space. Prior to LotMonkey, John founded OnSight Solutions in 2005, a company specialized in visual merchandising services for the retail automotive industry. LotMonkey combines innovation, tech and unmatched industry expertise to deliver a one-of-a-kind software solution that helps auto dealers enhance customer experience and drive sales.