For the sake of clarity, I have both titled and constructed this post on training in five key areas. Hopefully it will lend itself to comments and additions in totem as well as in each respective category since they are equally weighted in both importance and diversity of relevant values.
I started this discussion with a few basic suggestions for each area, however I am hoping to listen and learn as well as teach in this post since there are a number of training professionals on Dealerelite that can/should contribute some best practices in training. For example - can you say - "Hire The Winners!"
Who - should be trained: Obviously new hires in vehicle sales require training, however, more often than not the same priority isn't applied to service and it is almost never applied to support staff such as operators, cashiers and even office help. Selling a vehicle relies on the same people skills as a selling service or maintaining customer relationships after the sale/service but few dealerships give these critical departments and staff equal time or effort to properly train them to help and value customers.
Also, green peas may require more basic skills but even seasoned pros require tweaking and ongoing training to stay competitive with today's empowered consumers.
What - should be trained, (taught): Basic selling and closing skills may seem like the most obvious answer, however, my experience suggests that the key to maturing and training a successful sales/service or support staff is to prioritise people skills above all else. Human nature is one of the few constants in the auto industry and the phsycology of the sale trumps product and process.
Product and process training must of course be included, however, in today's technology driven world there is a difference between knowing and knowing where to find out. iPad based sales presentation/training platforms, such as the one offered by my vendor partner IntellaCar, allow a sales consultant to refer to their mobile device throughout the sales process providing credible third party information personalized and prioritised to fit the customers profile. It also insures a consistent presentation moving the customer from the meeting and greeting all the way through the walk around, test drive and even disclosing the facts and figures needed to consumate a deal. The time invested by a sales consultant to memorize their products as well as their competitiors can be better spent workig with customers in a learn as you go process supported by their trusty iPad.
When - should you train: Before, during and after the hire as well as the sale! Hire The Winners is the best technology driven tool that I have seen to start the training process since the key is to hire individuals that have the personality traits and people skills needed to succeed; which typically can't be taught. Also, training should be a constant priority in all departments that is built into the sales/service/support processes throughout the dealership. Once again IntellaCar provides an answer in that every time a sales consultant sells a car they are lietrally learning along with their customers.
Where - should you train: Basic training for new hires and/or training on new vendor products/processes, product launches and other specialized training needs should be conducted off site to eliminate the distractions of day to day operations at a dealership and evidence the importance of the training to your staff. Of course ongoing training must be conducted at the facility in real world settings during your sales process as well as in regularly scheduled structured sales/service meetings.
Why - should you train: If you are a dealer or a manager the answer is obvious - to maximize the ROI from your staff, facility and sales/service processes If you are a sales consultant, service writer or support staff - the answer is the same! To maximize your personal ROI from your time, energy and efforts.
Great info, Philip. We are dealing a new breed of well-informed customers these days. Plus with the escalating amount of new technology and vehicle info, it's critical to use today's iPad technology to look very professional, put your finger on any info you need instantly and exceed customer expectations. It's an exciting new world in auto retail that's transparent and very engaging with customers. A recent sign I love says: "The Customer Experience is the Next Competitive Battleground."
I am expanding the question to focus on 3 areas, service department, networking events, and Chamber of Commerce. Make everyone count!
The above post only refers to the three most overlooked areas, in addition to the others.