Don’t you love a good headline? Those attention-grabbing headlines elicit a worst-case scenario, don’t they? I’ll leave it up to your imagination on what they might have searched for – but what if they were actually searching for “online sales training?” Did you know that online sales training for the automotive industry is searched over 12,000 times each month?

That’s a lot of searches! With many searches comes a lot of training material, videos, and those infamous “get trained fast” schemes. However, there is no such thing as a “quick fix.” Sure, you can watch a video or even take a class, but simply “doing it” isn’t the same as “living it.” Training, and thus coaching, is still ongoing. Using and applying the training learned in stages is more practical and more likely to result in long-term success.

If you’re in the early stages of looking for the right training program – kudos to your dealer for recognizing the importance – it can be challenging to know which program is best for the Dealership. To make the best decision possible, you must first identify your objectives. More importantly, understand how the training will be applied at the dealer level. Training cannot be crammed into a day in-person session in the lunchroom or a one-time virtual session.

I can’t tell you how many times dealers have paid thousands of dollars to hire a trainer for a “one-day training program” only to have their Sales Managers not follow up with their Sales Consultants or BD Agents. Or worse, their Sales Managers and General Managers were not present during the training sessions.

We keep saying things like “it starts at the top” or “we need our GMs and Sales Managers to be engaged,” but this is a critical component that frequently falls short. Why do we fall short when it comes to Management engagement? It’s not a simple question. However, it is a question that must be addressed before implementing a dealer-level training program.

And no, this isn’t one of those “let’s change their pay plans to reflect training” ploys. It would have already worked if it was as simple as “fixing pay plans.”  Not only does this rarely work, but it also shouldn’t have to resort to changing pay structures to ensure that our management works to enforce training. Instead, we must examine why they have adverse reactions to the word “training.”

One of the most common objections I’ve heard to training is that “training can affect my pay.” The notion is that if they can manage their “way,” they can control their paycheck. And, while it might have merit on the surface, at the end of the day, it’s your Dealership and your bottom line. By ensuring that your Dealership has adequate training for growth and development, you can control and protect your profitability and revenue.

Another thing to consider is that it’s OK to focus on one core component at a time. We’d all be selling 25 vehicles per month if the training was “easy.” So, while the market is hot right now, and dealers are largely relying on smaller teams to sell more, this is all smoke and mirrors. Make no mistake, once the market settles, and dealers face a flood of inventory – with floor plan expenses rising – it will become an increasingly competitive market with lower front-end grosses and lower overall GP. That is the nature of a hot market cooling down. 

And, no, I’m not talking about going into panic mode. It’s about taking the opportunity to strengthen our dealer teams to refine our efforts. Not to mention that even in a hot market, we continue to miss out on opportunities. Consider how many potential customers have slipped through the cracks. How many leads have gone unnoticed? How many customers were brushed off? If you don’t believe this has occurred or that it isn’t a big deal because of limited inventory, what do you think will happen when there is a lot of inventory, and that customer who was brushed off the lot or whose inquiry went unanswered is ready to buy?

We must not overlook the customer who did not purchase today because they will still be in the market tomorrow.

Do yourself a favor and sign up for a complimentary stealth test. You won’t be disappointed in the training or your Sales Consultant’s approach after they’ve been trained.