In our business helping veterans improve can be a challenge.  

They know what they are supposed to know.  Usually they think they are actually doing it.

Poke around in the cupboards of the average dealership and you will find training cassettes from the 70's, training videos from the 80's and 90's and DVD's from the last 15 years.  You could reforest Colorado's wildfire area with the trees that made the workbooks from seminars that are stacked in there.

Your veterans have seen it all.

But there is one video they probably haven't seen yet.

I recently met with a dealership to help their staff improve rapport and information gathering skills based on the desk manager's observance that the salespeople just didn't seem to know their customers that well.  The staff is almost exclusively veterans with 8 to 20 years experience most of them at the same dealership.

After a two hour classroom session I met with each sales person for a 30 to 45 minute one on one.

Step One:  Role play the greeting and information stage on VIDEO

Step Two:  Review the video. 

What do you think the average time between "Welcome to ABC Motors" and "I'll get the keys" was?

45 seconds.

This after a two hour class that included examples, input from the participants and roleplay.

Education does not equal execution.

Step Three: Review the material from class, role play it without the video.

Step Four: Make a new video.  Observed VAST improvement.  Instantly.  In fact, after 3 or 4 minutes of newly discovered rapport building skills it was obvious that we could just turn the camera off.

If you have not used video training with your sales staff there are a few things to keep in mind.

Ground rules:  I am well aware that video makes you look fat,  that you are much much better when you are with a real customer and that I make you nervous.

1.  Make it private.  It's not going to be pretty at first.  So it needs to be just you and the salesperson.  

2.  When you are reviewing let the salesperson lead the review.  They will point out the rough patches.  

3.  Let them tell you how to improve first.  Then if they missed something you can chime in.

4. Role play again without the video.

5.  Make a new video and review it.

The improvement with be rapid and almost miraculous.  Try it and let me know how it goes for you! 

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Comment by Craig Lockerd on July 20, 2012 at 4:56pm

Michal,check these links out,love to hear your opinion on these.

Comment by Josh Bellamy on July 20, 2012 at 12:06pm

Got ya! That makes total sense and I am sure we all have been guilty of that. I plan on using this in our training next week. Thank you for posting..

Comment by Michal Ann Benedict Enders on July 20, 2012 at 11:56am

Josh, I totally agree about the differences in how the customer acts when you approach them.

During this role play I offered up to the salesperson that I was interested in looking at a x model.  As soon as they heard the model they wanted to get keys.  They stopped asking about anything and started telling about why that was a great choice and let's look at it.  Even if the salesperson just asked what was it about the x that I liked it would have led them into listening mode instead of telling me mode.  They are so excited about their product and full of knowledge about it that they ran right over the customer.  On the second time around they were much much better.

Comment by Josh Bellamy on July 20, 2012 at 11:31am

When you role play with the sales team what are you doing as the customer? what are your specific questions or answers to their approach. Customers have many different styles of communicating in the first few minutes, EX: very educated, clueless, know exactly what they are looking for, already on a specific unit...... I understand this is time to gather information and slow the customer down a bit so what is your approach during the Introduction and needs and wants assessment? 

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