As I talk to dealers I have been finding that some of the best and most successful operations use ongoing training. It is mind boggling to see how some dealerships forget about the importance of ongoing training. On the other side, I see some dealerships that actually do make the investment and commitment to keep their staff trained. While it is standard for the OEMs to have set training guidelines for the different departments to not only have product knowledge, but also follow certain rules and regulations. The problem that arises is that some dealers just do not know how to organize a training plan for their staff.
Picture this: your dealership just had a trainer spend a few days where the sales and/or internet staff was trained on lead management process as well as phone call handling. Everything seemed great while the trainer was there and the staff was fired up. In fact, when the staff went live on the phones and responded to leads even better than they did before. The team was on pace to show real big improvements and everyone was happy. The trainer left the dealership after creating an action plan for management to spend three times per week training and motivating the department in order to have them perform at the expected level.
What happens when the dealership does not follow the action plan? The best example is when the training company does a mystery shop to the dealership after only three weeks of training only to find that the call was not handled the way that it was trained. This is disappointing for the trainer that holds high integrity as well as dealer management when they listen to the phone call. This is a clear example of a training plan that is not properly followed. While the initial training was performed the dealership did not invest more time to keep up with the regiment.
It can be that managers are so busy with their duties of managing a department and making sure that customers are always happy that there just is not enough time in the week to take on the this task. This is the exact reason why effective training companies offer continuous training for staff at an affordable cost. The on-site training is the boot camp that helps to build a department and help create solid sales professionals. The continuous monthly training should be mandatory for dealers to keep staff trained and challenged at all times. It is important to have mystery shops as well as call monitoring where different situations of a phone call can be critiqued and trained.
Think of continuous training as a workout regiment for someone that wants to be healthy. When a diet is started the body is forced to go through an intense plan that includes a meal plan and a workout schedule. If the workout schedule is not followed and forgotten then the process is changed. Once that process is changed or skipped the results that we look for are not seen.
When I was a BDC director, I made it a point to spend three days per week training my staff. I would listen to phone calls and see where my team needed training and would focus a 30 minute training session on that. I did this for one whole month before it became a habit. Franklin Covey says that “it takes 21 days to form a habit” and be consistent with it. A training session should always be on the schedule because repetition is the key to being great at something.
StanSher is the founder and president of DealereTraining, a premier automotive internet sales and digital marketing consulting company. For more information, please feel free to call732-925-8362or email[email protected].
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