Technology comes and goes as fast as it’s developed, even faster in some cases. But the one thing that isn’t going anywhere is your phones! Customers actively call into dealerships to “inquire about availability” or to ask “what your best price is.” So, while the phones aren’t going anywhere, neither is the need for active coaching! Sure, some might sign up for a few mystery shops here and there, or that shot in the arm event session training, but that’s not the same as offering ongoing active coaching for your team. Think about it for a second, when was the last time you had a bon-a-fide training plan for your team? Something strategically laid out, something well thought out, something customized to your store and something that’s both scalable, allows for checks and balances, committed and that you saw through fruition? And no, this isn’t the Saturday morning sales meeting hyperbole, either. You see, without having a solid plan in place – ongoing active coaching – that proactively addresses your store’s (and team’s) break-points, you’re shooting darts hoping that one of the ten throws will land you a bulls-eye. Or, in our case, an appointment.
So, while hitting a bulls-eye, one out of ten times is better than not getting any – what about all of those other “throws” (aka phone calls) that your store is actively throwing away? And let’s be completely frank, we’re not intentionally throwing those chances away. But if you don’t have the right technique to hit that bulls-eye, your results will never be consistent. Not to mention, it’s just as easy for your Sales Consultants and BD Agents to become disenfranchised. While they’re disappointed to have missed out on the opportunity to set the appointment, they know they’ll get that next chance tomorrow. But that mindset isn’t what’s going to make them successful. And it certainly doesn’t help the store where profit margins are already thin. Your dealership should ingrain the idea that every single opportunity counts – because it does, it always has. This business of “today it matters more” or “now it’s different” really doesn’t make any sense to me because I can’t think of a time that I was ever “okay” was squandering opportunities or losing money, can you? Can your owner? The better your strategy and mindset are – the stronger performance they’ll have with the same number of opportunities.
The question this poses is how do we start Active Coaching? How will Active Coaching help my dealership?
Before you start active coaching, you need to set clear objectives with your teams. We have to realize that their performance is not going to change overnight. It takes effort on their-end, your buy-in, and your dealer’s overall willingness to adhere to the active coaching method. This is not about creating benchmarks right away, either. The idea that once they’ve had one session, you’re now expecting them to perform as if they’ve been doing it for 10 years. Even those who’ve been doing for 10 years still doesn’t mean they’re good or effective at what they do. Instead, the goal should be building a sustainable foundation on what active coaching/training means for your dealership. To start, that’s working on tackling the core basics of how to handle the phones. For those of your Sales Consultants or BD Agents who swear they have the perfect “intro,” they also need to participate in the training. Having everyone answer the phones with the same technique and process allows you to better dissect break-points and how to use them to enhance their performance.
Once you’ve been able to tackle the core basics with active coaching – now having a solid foundation – you can build on that layering in progressive techniques. It’s adding those building block techniques through active coaching that will make the difference. As training through just mystery-shops only tackles one part of the issue. For example, the mystery shop is the dartboard – your team missed the shot most likely caused by that ‘break-point.’ But that break-point isn’t something that goes away. It’s what shows you what the area of focus needs to be. So that when they’re in their active coaching sessions, they’re learning not just what their break-points are, but more importantly, how to overcome them!
And as they’ve had their one-on-one active coaching, you can start reviewing the mystery shops with ease as you work towards refining their skill-sets individually. As their performance gets better over time, and your Sales Consultant or BD Agent start to get better or near-perfect scores – there are still objections that will trip them up. Hence why it’s critical to keep the training plan going strong. Continually providing your teams more tools at their disposal to handle these objections so they will perform even better! Remember, start athletes always show up to practice and continue to practice as long as they’re professional athletes!
If you’re still not convinced you need active coaching – think about it from this perspective. We continuously talk about “human capital management” and how we’re going to get better at what we do. But at what point do we instead talk about what we’re actually going to do? Aren’t we ready to stop this auto-loop of a conversation and use the solutions out there? Make no mistake, though, not all trainers are “trainers.” It’s a process and one that doesn’t end after a few sessions. Let’s fix the root cause of the issues knowing that the phones aren’t going anywhere. And instead of throwing the dart with the hopes of hitting a bulls-eye one out of ten times, you start hitting it six out of ten times. A trainer can’t stand behind each of your team 24/7 but a scalable active coaching method serves that very purpose.
Are you ready to be proactive vs. reactive and start active coaching?