The Need to Re-define the Dealership Training Model

When it comes to training and the development of dealership professionals, what continues to bear true is that the ambiguous expectations of the results that the dealerships are trying to achieve is the primary reason for dissatisfaction and buyer’s remorse. For this reason, I have reinforced to my clients when I consult or train that “what you cannot define, you cannot reproduce; what you cannot reproduce you cannot measure; and what you cannot measure, you cannot control or manage.” This is the perspective that I teach my clients to use as part of their vetting process when it comes to evaluating professional services, opportunities and especially training where specificity in the deliverables is essential to success.

With this viewpoint, I encourage you to evaluate the current curricula being offered during the on-boarding process of new hires or the ongoing development of seasoned professionals when the call for training goes out. With this same perspective, I ask you if it makes sense to continually offer disjointed content and skill training, i.e. phone skills, in the absence of defined core skills that the learner needs to know to do their jobs. So I ask you again, does it makes sense to continually offer training to individuals without knowing if they possess the prerequisite knowledge to accept the training?

With that said, in an era where the level of competition between manufacturers and the standardization of product quality, features and benefits have leveled the playing fields, does it makes sense to defend the notion that the road to the sale is still a viable stand-a-lone process to teach professionals in 2014 and beyond as the primary strategy when the job description requires them to do so much more? We expect them to prospect, negotiate, follow up, and engage their clients in the social sphere, use the CRM software & other technical tools of the trade without formal education or better yet, certification. As a ferocious advocate for the modernization of the dealership workforce, I reject the insinuation by some that sales people are stupid or incapable of learning the required skills, systems and processes that are necessary for them to flourish in a workplace that does not resemble that of their predecessors a generation ago.

Unfortunately, as I travel and interact with some of my colleagues as well as sales and management professionals, the sad truth is that it seems that there is an acceptance of outdated best practices as hardcore bedrock principles, even though it is proven they no longer serve. I know we can do better.

Selling is a complicated, hard, thankless, and probably one of the toughest, yet most rewarding jobs on the planet. Historically, when dealerships were the destination and when information was available only to a few, selling cars was easy. However, in today’s Internet-driven economy it is even more difficult and frustrating, especially when these professionals lack the defined core competencies that should be the prerequisite knowledge to do their jobs. The solution to solving this problem lies in dealerships embracing the philosophy behind the continuous improvement movement. The solution to increasing profits, improving the customer experience, reducing employee turnover and so much more are all tied to developing the competency of dealership professionals moving forward.