Dealership staff training tends to receive short shrift because dealers are so focused on meeting sales cycles and quotas mandated by manufacturers. Training is set aside in favor of hitting aggressive monthly sales numbers. Salespeople continue up the ladder with no real professional training under their belts.
Also, dealers receive little to no training even as compliance becomes more prominent for dealerships. Instead, the focus is on improving profit margins.
Why Is Training So Important?
Government regulations continue to increase; federal regulations require strict adherence to rules for sales, BDC, F&I, fixed operations, HR and IT. If you don’t hire and retain the right talent, you have no continuity of knowledge and become stuck in a training cycle.
Stop thinking of sales staff as being replaceable and start developing each employee. Let them know you appreciate their length of service and celebrate their successes. When you retain top talent, you get repeat business. Customers like working with people they know, which creates a memorable car buying experience.
What Do Salespeople Do Wrong?
Salespeople who receive no training have no clue how to optimize their performance.
- They think selling starts with the salesperson.
- They don’t use the dealership CRM.
- They can’t distinguish good leads from “bad” leads.
- They don’t personalize their follow-up.
- They never request online reviews.
Selling begins well before a lead comes to the dealership. Most prospects have engaged in intensive research about the type of vehicle they want. Marketing and sales need to track and nurture leads, providing content that builds on what they’ve viewed before and follows their apparent interest.
The dealership CRM ensures the dealership staff doesn’t drop good leads and the dealer is better equipped to identify which salespeople could improve their performance. While dealers implement and update their CRM, they can determine what measurable criteria identify a good lead and how to cut leads that aren’t worth following.
When the sales team understands that leads begin their search long before they talk to a salesperson, and have embraced using a CRM, the staff can engage fully with prospects. Sales staff starts to talk to leads like they’re people. The generic email blast is jettisoned in favor of using a follow-up to provide customized information that meets the customer’s needs.
Finally, requesting online reviews at the beginning, middle (if possible) and end of the sale helps offset negative reviews.
Put training on the calendar and make it a priority. Then prepare for training by delivering the right information at the right time.
- Prioritize follow-up tasks. Help the team get organized to make the most of their time.
- Increase the quality of conversations with foreknowledge. Sales can study what each lead has researched to prepare for an effective sales engagement.
- Improve phone skills. Phone records can identify those who need help learning how to follow-up effectively.
- Understand the customer’s real budget. Pay more attention to price than to payments.
Above all, keep training short. A team can only absorb so much in one sitting, and a busy dealership prizes efficiency.
Hire a third party to help determine compliance needs and offer suggestions for the current training program. If there’s no program in place, have the consultant help put together online classes to enhance training. Make compliance training mandatory and make sure everyone receives a certificate of completion. One survey showed 73 percent of consumers are more comfortable buying from a dealership that has certificates of completion on display.
Require online classes for both existing and new employees. Schedule regular performance reviews, benchmarks for promotions and salary increases. Have everyone help with quarterly audits internally, so they work together to find issues and optimize online class development.
Salespeople deserve better than to arrive at the top of their ladder without the appropriate training to help them optimize sales and ensure compliance with federal regulations. Consult a third-party consultant if needed to put together online classes and put training on the calendar.
Make the time so sales can take the time to learn to do sales right.