“If you’re not happy, there’s the door” might have worked circa 2019 (or 1978), though not recommended, but does that work now? More importantly, have we really spent enough time trying to determine why so many Sales Consultants, Sales Managers, and BD Agents leave the dealership? Could we increase retention by deploying on active and ongoing training? These are good questions and questions we should be focused on as we continue to face the uphill battle of retention.
A new statistic suggests that more than 43% (DSES 2021) of current employees are actively looking for a new job?! Why are they looking for a new job? It’s been said loud and clear that employees want training. They also want to have a clear understanding of their career path. Imagine doing this as part of a plan vs. throwing someone into a role without training or providing a clear path! Believe it or not, there are several career paths in the auto industry – if anything, we’ve proven to pivot and create roles to handle the current issues we face.
So Then Where Are We With Training?
Well, discussing the importance of training isn’t new. Knowing the value of training isn’t new. But acting on offering dealer-level training IS something new. And when you think about it, it poses the question, “why do we fight against dealer level training so hard?” Do we spend more time and energy fighting against training – losing revenue from turnover – than if we just embraced it? Aren’t we tired of using the same playbook (or no playbook at all), following the same unconventional haphazard ways that leave us puzzled when things go wrong? It seems exhausting, doesn’t it? And when you “google earth” yourself up to the 10- or 30-foot view, who honestly wants to associate with someone that actually says “I don’t need training, I don’t need to get better at my job….” Read that again. Why would any business retain anyone, management or otherwise, with that mentality? It’s NOT always verbal, actions speak loudly.
So, while the conversations remain the same, the actions based on these conversations remain unchanged. Where you might’ve had your Sales Managers take a demo – while they’re desking deals – not paying attention, to which they say, “We don’t need that I think we’re good.” Or worse, you get a free mystery shop, and one of the first comments from your Sales Managers, Sales Consultants, or BD Agents is “well, I knew that was a mystery shop” or “that was a fake customer, do you want me to waste my time.” To which, in many cases, the GM might respond to the vendor, “now’s just not a good time to train. You can follow up with me another time.”
It’s these comments and responses that should have us concerned. Regardless of what they “think” or “assume,” the call or lead doesn’t mean they should handle it differently. Every lead and phone call should be dealt with at the same level of customer service, following a process and of course with a true sense of urgency. Without following a process, how can we effectively handle breakpoints or offer guidance?
Sure, we might offer a “one time” online class or share an article – that gets left on the floor or thrown in the trash – but is that really training? Sharing advice, tricks, or tips is never bad, but is it beneficial to share tips and tricks when your teams aren’t sure how to apply them?
The bottom line is the dreaded question, “are we losing more employees than we think due to lack of training and guidance?” And are we willing to continue to lose otherwise good employees because we don’t want to train them? More importantly, are we willing to lose highly skilled employees – who sell 10-15 units a month – because we don’t want to invest in their future?
If you’re tired of losing employees and starting at square one before you can even hire the next sales consultant, it’s time to start a conversation. To start, sign-up for your complimentary mystery shop.