Training—It’s the “New Normal”

“Training” is a term often used in the dealership environment for many different types of activities, covering many different departments of the dealership. Training can mean attending industry events such as NADA, learning about the latest changes in your OEM’s drive train, or even learning proper phone etiquette, for example. What is constant, however, is that training is essential to the success of every dealership department. Continuous training should be the mantra of every dealership; it is critical, in the twenty-first century to stay on top of new products, services, technologies, and ideas.


Training, of course, is not exclusive to the auto dealership industry. Sports teams train every day; the Army trains every day. Teams, no matter what kind, all train for the same reason—to win! When things don’t go right or competition gets tougher, they review what happened, change the game plan, and train to do it better the next time. So, why shouldn’t your dealership team do the same?  


Excuses often get in the way. Excuses such as “it’s too expensive” or “we don’t have time.” Training may cost some time and money, but the cost of failure is much more expensive. Fear of change can create hesitation too, but delaying new actions can cost you dearly. Old habits and routines get outdated and stale. New training will refresh those old practices and eliminate unwanted behavior.


Sales staff, service department, and the business office should all strive for improvements and growth. Selling skills, product skills, and professional skills are all needed to have a strong team. There are many resources, industry training services, and self-improvement tools available. Several important functions to consider for training are:


·         Operational: Processes, internal controls, separation of duties, compliance


·         Administrative: Conflict of interest, cross-training for vacation replacements


·         Educational: Product training, sales techniques, customer relations, call management


In the training process, create a “care and share” environment where everyone wants to achieve a common goal. It will produce a sense of self-worth and build teamwork. Remember these points. They can all be applied to the dealership culture and practices:


·         Knowledge is power! Get it and use it.


·         Competition is good. Two blades will sharpen each other. Consider sports rivals Magic vs. Bird or Ali vs. Frazier. Each became a better competitor because of the other. Their rivalry was the driving force; they were obsessed with being better and winning. And they absolutely hated losing.


·         High achievers are motivated to excel.


·         Success requires a good game plan and well trained players.


Accomplishing these training elements can create many benefits and rewards such as consistency, improved performance, reduced errors, increased efficiency, execution, and compliance. Even improved profits can be realized. So, let continuous training be the “new normal” for your dealership. Train every day, as often as possible. It will make your team the better competitor.


Sherralyn Peterson is an automotive incentive specialist, with 30 years of automotive experience. She helps dealerships prepare for Audits, conducts Compliance Reviews, performs staff training, and resolves Incentive issues. For more information, call 312-310-8380, email, or visit





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