The Train Game is More Important Than Ever
The car business has come a long way in many areas, but employee retention is not one of them. Turnover in the Sales department is still high.
When I bring up the topic of sales training and how important it is for employee retention, I get one of two responses. Some managers believe their current training process is adequate, because that’s the way they learned. The “process” may be basic manufacturer training and a manager teaching the road to the sale for a day or two. After that, the salesperson is left on their own.
The other response is that training is a waste of money. After all, why invest in employees when there’s such a high turnover rate? I understand that thinking, but I also believe that lack of training, guidance and mentorship is one of the primary reasons why there is such high turnover.
To be successful, salespeople need to know a lot more than basic manufacturer training, the road to the sale and how to overcome a few objections. Comprehensive training programs should cover the following points.
In-depth product knowledge is very important. Most car shoppers spend hours researching online. Salespeople need to know more than basic make/model features. Make sure your salespeople get an opportunity to test drive all your vehicles and learn how to operate the entertainment and navigation systems, how to hook up phones to Bluetooth, and how the adaptive lane assist and self-driving features work. The more they know about these features, the more excitement they will convey in their vehicle presentations, which will make the customer more excited about the product.
I refer to this as the “Disney experience.” You may not have a red carpet in your showroom, but every customer should feel like they get the red-carpet treatment. Salespeople should not talk to customers the same way they talk to friends, use slang or curse words, or get defensive in the face of hostility. They should always be friendly and courteous. Remember the phrase the customer is always right? A professional sales trainer can help salespeople who need this type of training.
Most CRMs have a learning management system (LMS) and optional training courses to take. Learning how to use the CRM truly makes a salesperson more efficient. Becoming a CRM expert means you can follow up with leads more quickly, mine for new leads, stay in touch with customers and get referrals, and deliver a better customer experience.
In this day and age, I recommend social media training. If you’re a sales professional in any industry and you’re not using social media, you’re at a disadvantage.
There are many resources for sales training. I recommend trying some or all of these:
- NCM: 20 groups
- CRM vendor
- Sales trainers
- Facebook groups
How to Get Senior Management Buy-In
As a salesperson, you can’t expect training to be offered to you. If you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, but you want to be successful and put in the time to learn, then you have to be proactive.
Go to your manager and say, "I want to get better. What resources can you give me?" Tell them you want training, but realize that sometimes in order to get something you have to give something. Are you willing to give them a six-month commitment? Be honest and say, “I’m not sure I can be successful at this job, but I think I would feel a lot more motivated and confident if I had training. If you agree to give me this training, I’ll commit to staying here. If my numbers don’t improve in six months, then we can re-evaluate.” And please, if you give a commitment, honor that commitment.
If your manager offers to teach you his knowledge base, you may have to insist on a different type of training. 2021 is not like 2000 or 1990, when some of these managers learned how to sell cars. There are new tools, new technologies, and new ways of doing things related to social media. These are all things you can use to make yourself more successful.
Occasionally a dealer may get lucky and hire that rare superstar who doesn’t need training. For most people, a successful sales career doesn’t magically happen. It takes time, hard work, perseverance and a willingness to learn. Success is a lot more likely to happen to those who receive ongoing training.