As an auto dealer general manager, you’re responsible for everything from bringing the newest inventory onto the lot to making sure the employee bathroom gets cleaned. No matter what you’re dealing with today, somehow, some way, all of it contributes to the one overarching goal of the business: making sales. And when it comes to the bottom line, one of the biggest parts of your mission is training and coaching your team into world class closing machines.
Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day, and a lot of your attention is divided up managing nitty-gritty details like reports, forecasts, inventory, HR, marketing, budgets, and an endless stream of new developments and issues. Everyone wants a piece of your time, and sometimes it feels like the last thing you can do is actually help your team sell cars!
As a result, nearly any auto dealer general manager will need to bring in an experienced coaching agency to help deliver the consistent and effective sales training their employees need. These companies write scripts and work with your people over time to ensure they deliver high-quality, uniform, and consistent customer service that converts leads into sales. However, while getting the right coaching agency with the perfect strategy can completely revolutionize the success of your dealership, the wrong plan will waste your investment, frustrate your people, and tank your monthly goals.
Here’s some of the top strategies GMs should look for from a coaching agency to reliably increase sales and take their team to the next level.
Finding a Coaching Agency that Works
In the automotive industry, the ability of a salesperson to connect and serve your customers remains the fundamental driver for profitability and return business. As you well know, sales in the automotive industry are highly nuanced; you may be the general manager, but a generalist coaching agency simply won’t have the depth of knowledge it takes to make a real impact on your monthly targets. Make sure you partner with a team that’s got a proven track record in the industry that’s backed by broad expertise in auto sales.
In addition to solid credentials, references, and results, you should expect to see a portfolio of strategies that are effective and reliable supporting their work. When selecting a company, an auto dealer general manager should keep an eye out for the following elements in their game plan:
- Active one-on-one coaching over time for your team.
- Detailed phone and sales scripts tailored to your dealership’s needs.
- Follow-up reports and coaching based on real-world practice and mystery shops.
Active Coaching is King
Harvard Business School recommends taking several months to perfect a new skill. They also note the importance of learning from an experienced teacher who’s mastered the techniques they’re teaching, and note that many people learn best when not being taught by someone responsible for evaluating them at their workplace (like the auto dealer general manager!)
So, if real growth of a skill takes time, effort, and a lot of personal attention from a coach, what’s the smart play?
Easy: bring in a company that works interactively with your staff in a one-on-one capacity over a span of time sufficient to truly master the skills they need. And before you start worrying about lost productivity, you should know that effective teaching doesn’t mean hours and hours of training. The most elite coaching agencies can make measurable improvements to a sales associate’s game in as little as 20 minutes a month. They’ll give your team real tactics they can deploy right away without interfering with their time on the phone pursuing sales goals.
Detailed and Custom-Made Scripts
Some dealerships are hesitant to use phone scripts because they view them as limiting to their most talented salespeople. That may have been true 25 years ago, but the industry has changed a lot since then. Customers are experiencing branding, messaging, and content online long before they come into contact with a live person, and it’s extremely difficult to maintain continuity and consistency of their experience without guidance and structure.
Deep, branching scripts written for your dealership by experienced automotive sales professionals can give your team a consistent on-brand message. They keep salespeople on track, and eliminate random language that’s not moving a customer towards conversion (or actively hurting the chances of closing!).
And in difficult moments, these scripts help your agents effectively handle challenges with grace and kindness. After all, these moments are those rare opportunities to convert an angry person into a lifelong customer with great customer service.
Mystery Shops With Follow-Up Support.
Without a real-world evaluation of your team’s skills, all the coaching in the world doesn’t mean a thing. It’s critical to test staff knowledge with an initial baseline survey and follow up evaluations in the workplace. Traditionally this has been done with receipt surveys, email questionnaires, and customer comment cards, but these single-point methods of data collection often lack actionable data and limit the opportunity to ask meaningful follow-up questions.
Mystery shops, however, are extremely effective strategies for analyzing performance quickly and highlighting specific teaching points. By posing as a customer, a mystery shopper will experience exactly what your customers do, then evaluate the success of the training and the overall customer experience. Multiple data vectors can be collected, and spontaneous follow-up questions on important areas of improvement can be engaged in as needed.
Of course, the very best mystery shopping companies don’t just leave the training at a single point of contact. These moments serve as the basis of ongoing training to solidify new techniques, and will repeatedly confirm performance in real-world situations.
Pick the Right Partner
An auto dealer general manager must be a master delegator as well as administrator. If you bring in the wrong coaching agency and strategies to your business you’re wasting time and money, and that will ultimately show up in dropping sales.
Phone Ninjas is a highly experienced active coaching agency with a proven track record of improving an automotive dealership’s overall sales and customer service skills. Our customized scripts unify your team’s sales approach, and ensure that all your employees are confidently and consistently driving your leads towards conversion.
Our active coaching takes place over months of short, highly-individual sessions that leave an auto dealer sales manager in a largely hands-off capacity, free to focus on your other responsibilities. Our coaches have extensive automotive industry experience, so they’ve seen and heard it all. We know the strategies and techniques that can help any auto dealership general manager develop their sales team, and we even offer two free mystery shops to lay the foundation for how we can help them improve.
If you think Phone Ninjas can help your dealership team excel, call us today to schedule your free demo!