Dealerships need a well-trained, motivated sales team with positive attitudes in order to succeed.
Did you watch Car Lot Rescue on Spike TV last night? I did - it was both entertaining and inspiring!
As one who’s trained Internet Sales Departments in auto dealerships, it reinforced to me that without a well-trained, motivated sales team who have a positive attitude, it doesn’t matter how much money a car dealership spends on advertising or how good their business development center is at bringing prospects through the door. The customer experience when they arrive will be lacking. Lack of product knowledge, combined with a lack of sales training from management, seasoned veterans and experienced trainers leads to inferior results and people turning over.
By the way - Claude, the Sales Manager, who Tom ripped into for not training his salespeople, was actually my GSM at the first dealership I worked at, 13 years ago. We had an EXTENSIVE new hire sales training program at the time, in which Claude participated, but ownership had been instrumental in ensuring that it happened.
It wasn’t so long ago that salespeople couldn’t work with a customer by themselves for at least 4 weeks - until they PROVED they could be a professional, but that practice is now long gone. For those who weren’t around the business then or forgot, here’s how it worked:
During the first 4 weeks, new salesperson hires would make a minimal salary - like $300 per week or less. They also had to sign an agreement stating that if they don’t complete the class, they need to compensate the dealership back for the wasted time the dealership invested in training them. I only saw 2 people have to give money back to the dealership in the year plus I was working there.
New hires would spend their first 2 weeks in classroom training, learning about the psychology of car sales, the steps to the sale that need to be followed, proper prospecting and follow-up phone techniques, how to properly present a vehicle during a walkaround, how to set up for accessory and warranty sales and much more. Each manager at the dealership had to take an hour out of their already busy day EVERY DAY to train the new salespeople on technique, attitude and how to properly complete the paperwork necessary to sell a car. We’re talking about “up” sheets, credit apps, we-owes, buyer’s orders, odometer statements and more.
In addition, each of those new hires had to perform a walkaround on one model every day for the management and sales team. The team building that would occur during this time was instrumental to the dealership’s success, and the product knowledge acquired was crucial to looking, acting and SOUNDING professional.
After the 2 weeks, each new hire would then shadow a veteran salesperson for another 2 weeks, so they could witness firsthand how the entire sales process is completed and learn from the veteran. Only then, and after passing each model’s walkaround test, were they trusted enough to work with customers by themselves. Wouldn’t customers have better shopping experiences if they were working with trained, professional salespeople? Of course they would.
Who knows of any dealerships that still run like this? Why don’t more do that? I will address that in my next post. Thanks for reading. Please share this article with your friends!