Sales Training Remains Key

Publish Date: 
Sep 1, 2009

THE DEALER WHO is in the business to sell units has a very high expense factor to operate in that arena. And the selling cycle (time required to close a deal) to sell a unit is longer than any other selling cycle in the dealership.

Selling cycle equals attention span and ability considerations. Attention span relates to the salesperson’s ability to stay on course and know what to do to get the sale to the "promised land.” That salesperson is the one who can "save your bacon" quicker than any other person in the dealership, or sink you quicker than any other person.

I and my partner, Neil Frame, work with dealers who can blow more solid prospects out of the store than other dealers see in a month. Other dealers make the sale happen at a staggeringly high level. What is the difference? Training. Tired of hearing that? Nodding your head “yes” because you know it's true? Either way you're paying attention, and that's good.

Monthly, weekly and daily training is vital. It doesn't matter if there is one salesperson or 30 salespeople on the floor. Everyone has to be on the same page. Training is more challenging than we all like to admit. If we had to put a number on how many people are real trainers, it could easily be put at about 20 percent. (That's a number based on those that “think” they can train.) Many so-called trainers in a dealership tell us that they know they are weak trainers but they can't afford to have “real” trainers come into the store, and they can’t afford to send staff out to a class. Indeed, attrition is too high to keep sending people to classes.

That drops us right into the crux of the problem. There are two absolutes that must be confirmed before assigning a salesperson to a high-level training initiative. First, does the person have the basic sales and communication skills to be a successful salesperson? Second, does this person fit into your operation? If you can't be affirmative on these two important criteria, don't waste your money. On the good side of this equation, professional training will help to retain the ones that can make a difference for the dealership.

Sales is the department that costs the dealership every day the inventory that "lives on the books". We need turn, we need strong grosses, and we need those customers buying units to feed the Parts and Service Departments.