Why it is important for a vendor to have practical dealership knowledge?

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Nicole Marcellino

We have all been to training before where the person providing the information to the group has clearly never walked a mile in the shoes of those they are training. Everyone starts to daydream and tune that person out as soon as they hear that one sentence that gives the trainer away. Why would we continue to be engaged if “Ben” has never done what we do every day? He has no idea! Therefore, we must pick and choose our business-enriching training programs wisely. It is always easier to engage when you can relate to the person at the front of the room, and they relate directly to you. If they have an idea of what day-to-day life is like, they will touch on the sticking points that your associates run into and make sure to provide a solution to get them past them. If someone has never sold a car a day in their life, why would a 15-year veteran at a dealership give them any time of day? Why would I even want to listen if I am just having facts regurgitated at me, vs being able to have a valid conversation about the issues at hand and how to navigate them based on real-world scenarios?

When you have a vendor that knows how the process works and can give more insight you ultimately can provide more value. When this happens, more associates succeed and they, in turn, make more money. It is crucial for any business to be able to continue to provide value, not just in one facet but in many. It is also important to grow with the current climate. If things are changing in the world, like a market shortage or boom, we want our vendors to change with it to keep us current. Why would we want to keep an outdated program? If your vendor can adjust and continue to work with your associates through real-time issues, we are still providing value and continuing to grow. This can only be done when that vendor has dealt with those things themselves or something like it and can get into your associates’ heads on a more personal and technical level.

Vendor knowledge of dealership “daily life” and processes will always win out over someone who has no idea. The other reason for this is that they will know which questions to ask before assuming anything about a situation or scenario. A trainer or vendor with first-hand experience knows when to step in and call an associate out on something or when to back off and work around a situation. I would never walk onto an NFL field and claim to know how to coach a player on the team, however, someone who has played football at an elite level can confidently speak to another player about how to make an adjustment or run a play better every time. This brings us to respect. We are more likely to respect someone who has knowledge and confidence in what they are speaking about than someone who may seem unsure or presents information in a manner that makes them seem uneducated. While communication at the end of the day is a huge factor, sales, service, and parts associates can see through the B.S. right away. Make sure when you are picking up a new program that it is going to provide you with consistent value, no matter the current business climate we are in. A cookie-cutter program is never a replacement for a well-versed associate that can have a conversation instead of regurgitating a FAQ sheet.

Ultimately choosing a vendor with seasoned and experienced associates is going to provide a much higher value to yourself and your company any day of the week.

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