How to Train a Sales Team to Sell More Cars

how to train a sales team

Training is a key component of any dealership’s long-term plans. It unifies your team’s approach to sales, fine-tunes your brand identity, and can consistently deliver one of the biggest ROIs of anything you do for your business. 

However, if you don’t know how to train a sales team properly, it can also be a huge waste of time and money. It’s not enough to give your people some videos and occasionally bring in a presenter. Today’s sales strategies are complex, and training is a specialized skill that’s not often present in-house. 

You’ll need an expert in both the industry and modern sales strategies to get it right and deliver skills that translate to your bottom line. That’s why we’re sharing our step-by-step guide on how to train a sales team—and how to spot a great training partner. 

Step One: Establishing the Basics

The very first step to master when learning how to train a sales team is the initial teaching of basic skills and concepts. Whether you’re working with everyone at once or a single new hire, the process is very similar. There are several good ways to go about it, but no matter which one you choose, you’ll need a balance of listening and activities to make sure it sticks.

The Presentation

First, a person, video, or software presents the information. Presentations should be less than twelve minutes to hold your team’s attention, and six minutes is ideal. Videos or software should make liberal use of color, animation, and subtitles, as this is proven to increase engagement. Live teaching benefits from whiteboard demonstrations, dynamic movement, and colorful, labeled backup materials.

Active Engagement

After the initial session, perform an interactive group activity to start modeling the information. This can be a discussion, a Q&A session, roleplaying, team competitions, activities, creative projects, etc. The critical point is that everyone immediately starts using the information to solve problems. 

This helps immensely with retention versus a single lecture or video. Vary the nature of these activities for each segment to avoid predictability and ensure you cover the needs of all four learning styles (visual, aural, tactile, and reader).

Using this format, you can develop full-length instructional sessions by combining multiple listening/activity cycles. It can be difficult to know what information to present and how to pace everything, which is why a dedicated training partner can be a valuable ally and resource. 

Step Two: Coaching

Once your team knows the basic information, you’ll need to actively coach them over time on these skills with the sales scripts they’ll be using on the job. Obviously, you can’t keep team members off the floor for weeks while they learn, but you should be checking in with each person individually by going over the calls they actually took for your dealership.

This step is one of the most overlooked when learning how to train a sales team. So often, the initial presentation is followed by…nothing. Without active coaching on the content over time, new skills typically don’t become habits and fade quickly, and that devalues your investment. Real, durable skills take around 20 hours of dedicated practice to become useful, and up to six months to fully master. 

That being said, all it usually takes to keep a sales team on track is a few minutes a week with a coach to highlight a key point or two so they can practice on future calls. In a perfect world, weekly coaching sessions are a great interval for meeting with each employee. This gives them time to absorb the content of the last coaching, as well as work on their new skills on the job.

Step Three: Check the Learning On the Job

Next, you’ll need to evaluate your sales team’s performance, but it’s not as simple as it sounds to get the info you’ll need. People who know they are being watched or tested will change their behavior, an effect known as observer bias.

Mystery shopping is a key component of any modern training program because it evaluates your sales team’s actual on-the-job performance. These calls mimic real customer interactions, and an experienced coach will know how to ask the right questions and test whether new information is sticking. Any training partner worth their salt will rely on mystery shopping to generate actionable reports and insights for future work.

Step Four: Follow Up and Retrain

Now that you’ve got the mystery shopper’s report in your hands, analyze it to see where things went well and where there are areas that may need to be polished up a bit.

Follow up with shopped employees as soon as possible so memories are fresh. Begin by thanking them for their great work, and celebrate the successes they achieved during the shop to start out on a supportive and positive note. Next, address the targeted areas of growth as opportunities to refine skills and earn more money.

In the following weekly sessions, polish out any final blemishes until everyone’s hitting their stride. 

Training Partners Save Time and Money

As you’ve probably noticed while learning how to train a sales team, this is a very time-intensive process that requires great skill on the part of the trainer. In many cases, partnering with a top-notch training agency that does this sort of work every day is the best way to get the most out of your investment. 

Phone Ninjas is staffed by amazing coaches with decades of experience in the industry coaching automotive professionals to even higher levels of excellence. We know what it takes to get ahead in automotive sales and deliver a complete package of training, coaching, and evaluation so you can focus on running your dealership—not worrying about whether your salespeople have what they need to capitalize on opportunities. 

Our clients routinely see foot traffic from phone calls triple, even quadruple, when working with us, and we can help you develop every aspect of your dealership’s strategy. Contact us today for a free demo to find out how easy great training can be with Phone Ninjas. 

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how to train a sales team

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