What motivated you to start your business?
DL: I have always had a talent for motivating people, and with my years of experience and automotive knowledge, it seemed like a great fit. I’ve always felt our industry needed to change and adjust with the times in order to succeed. However, so many salespersons are still taught the same outmoded sales processes because of lacking leadership. Why? Because most managers are never taught the value of leadership as a management principal.
Tell us about the evolution of the services/products you provide.
DL: David Lewis & Associates was founded in 1986 as an F&I training company. To this day we still provide a majority of the F&I training in the industry. About 25 years ago I had an experience at a dealership buying a car for myself that truly inspired me to buy what I did not plan on buying. For many years I have been telling dealers about this encounter and how they should embrace this manner of “Inspirational Selling.” In 2003, friends and dealers encouraged me to write a book about the experience and philosophy. So I wrote my first book titled “The Secrets of Inspirational Selling”, which has more than 80,000 copies in circulation among automotive professionals. Today it is the foundation of all of our training concepts“
What sets you apart from your competition?
DL: Clearly, our concept is to put customers in the driver’s seat with regard to controlling the process and flow of the sale. Most sales processes utilize pressure and intimidation, still using outdated trial closes. When we interview consumers, they tell us they hate this process. We teach a concept that removes the pressure and allows the customer to feel they are in control. Ultimately, this releases their defensive pressure. Once their defensive wall comes down, the sale becomes easier to close.
In 25 years what have your main challenges been and how did you overcome them?
DL: Our main challenge has always been to get the dealer to recognize the need for training, and then commit to training their staff. Dealers invest so much money in their facilities, advertising and inventory, yet they invest a minimal amount in those who sell their products. Almost every instance of mediocre results can be directly traced to the training invested in the individual. Salespeople are taught by managers who continue to pass down old school training methods and those salespersons become the next generation of managers without being provided any leadership training. I’ve always wondered, why hire and promote if you are unwilling to invest in the people you expect to make your dealership the success it should be.
What are your short and long term goals for DLA?
DL: We have a clearly defined growth plan for the next five years. Our resources are committed to opening up training centers in strategic locations across the country. Our training centers will provide dealerships with a one stop environment for all of their dealership training needs.