Sales Training and Internet Sales

Grant Cardone
How do you think sales training is affected by internet sales, searches and activity. Also do you feel like traditional sales training needs to be modified for the internet and lastly should the internet buyer be treated differently than the walk in or call in opportunity? Grant Cardone
Jared Hamilton
Sales training is needed now more than ever inside a dealership and is not replaced with the web. The core of our business is connecting with people, building rapport, earning trust, presenting, overcoming objections and closing. The internet has not, and will not, change that. This is how I define "sales training" and I believe every dealership employee should be a "people person" with exceptional "sales skills." In addition to sales training, dealerships need to be trained on web marketing, and internet process. These skills are in addition to, not replacements for, sales skills. (IMHO) This training has greatly evolved and is new, thanks to the web. Additionally, some of the objections we face today are new thanks to the information customers get online. Sales people should be as practiced and skilled at overcoming these objections as they are any other. (grant-you need to put these objections and closes on your 85 closes CD. - a personal fav of mine.) Now, should an internet customer be treated any differently than a walking or call in opportunity? I think it all depends on how you treat walkins or phone calls. Not all stores are transparent, honest and open to sharing information with customers of any type. Online most stores are forced by the market to act this way regardless of how they treat walkins, but often the same customer walking into the same store will be treated way differently. I personally think that is a mistake to treat your customer sets with largly different standards. Customers have unlimited choices and the barriers of switching dealerships are incredibly low. Plus, today virtually all customers are online customers. Give customers what they want in exchange for their business and your will be successful. I dont think this is easy, but a well trained sales person will succeed. This is why I believe there is a stronger need for professional salespeople today than in the past. Hence I come back to my initial statement "Sales training is needed now more than ever inside a dealership and is not replaced with the web." The web has made sales training more valuable... geeez... hows that for a rant? Way to get me going.. What do you think? PS - It was good to see you at NADA.
aaron kominsky
Jared has some great points everyone in that dealership should be thoroughly trained to handle what is the now the virtual showroom the real one is secondary like the closing booths however that doedn't mean we should shy away from the walk in traffic and change everything we do Yes online visitors is the begining of a possible relationship so it needs to nutured and monitored daily by someone or a team of highly skilled mgrs who can enhance the potential of a customer driven atmosphere . Now more than ever online training is a must to survive the new geenration of auto sales great question Grant and we need the professionlism to be shared throught the industry!
Stan Sher
I have found that it is great to have daily meetings with role play. It is great to be able to have your internet/bdc department participate in sales meetings. We create a better synergy where the sales staff knows what the BDC says on the phone and how responses to internet requests as well as phone ups are handled. Too many times there is a disconnect in the dealership between two departments and it becomes a he-said, she-said situation. We are trained to keep proper notes in the CRM/ILM so that at all times the sales desk and sales people know what is going on. Techniques should be slightly modified for certain situations but the basics should always stay the same. The basics have been keeping us successful for years, no need to change it, just modify the processes to stay current. Almost everyone is an internet customer. They see your newspaper ad, they call on it. A week later they submit a lead on the coupon that is on your website. Everyone is informed now. This means everyone should be treated like an informed customer. We need to use common sense when talking to these people and add salesmanship skills. Don't treat them differently just update your skills. The road to the sale is still the same even if they are behind a computer.
Joe Webb
Oh, I like this post and it is right in my wheelhouse. Jared nailed it when he said "internet" sales training should be "in addition to". Great way to put it. The Internet is a medium and it hasn't changed the game - only changed the ease of information gathering and customers' expectations. If anything, sales training and internet sales training are more important because we are dealing with a more educated clientele. Time to pick up the game on all fronts. I believe there can be sales training, internet sales training, and internet training. More and more customers are researching online before stepping foot in our dealerships so it is imperative that EVERYONE understands online shoppers and their resource sites. Sales Training and some basic Internet Sales Trainings are important for most employees. However, only those handling internet leads, digital advertising, websites, and solutions need the Internet Sales AND Internet Marketing trainings. It comes down to the relatively new debate (that too many people talk about but don't see in action) that dealers should do away with Internet departments. I find these "experts" claiming this to be short-sighted. Everyone should be able to work with an in-store Internet shopper, but don't tell me that EVERYONE is well-versed at handling inbound leads. If they reviewed metrics, they'd realize that some people naturally have a better appt-show ratio/closing ratio of inbound leads than others. Don't lose sales by letting every darn person in the store attempt to be an Internet Sales Manager - you are just wasting opportunities. - sorry for MY rant, Jared. Stan is correct that role playing is crucial and regular meetings are necessary (if they are handled correctly). Something else I would do regularly with my BDC and Internet team is play an improv game or two before the phones started ringing every morning. I have found that doing this kept my team fresh and teaches amazing listening and focusing skills. Everyone needs training, as Jared said and as we all preach. It all comes down to your store's structure and the personnel you are surrounding yourself with. Sorry for the long-winded post, but this is in my wheelhouse as I said.
Mike Fitzpatrick
All of the points above are great! I would like to emphasize one more time role playing as brought up by Stan and Joe with a story of something that happened to me the other day. My wife and I have been looking at a couple of gyms in our area; doing the tours and listening to the sales presentations. Well, being the consummate car guy I listen through the entire pitch and go right for the "what kind of discount can you give me on this package" question. It was amazing to me the amount of tension that created with one of the sales people in particular. Up until that point he was a great guy and very helpful with everything that we had asked. He was so uncomfortable with how to handle this basic price question that it created an air of tension that he couldn't shake. All too often salespeople fit into one of two categories when it relates to these types of objections/questions; 1) Old car guy mentality where they want to create the tension to gain "control" of the buyer, or 2) Green pea or inexperienced salesperson that can't gracefully handle the objections. With car buyers we all know that it is this point of the sale where they are asked to buy or negotiate that they hate, and they hate it because of that tension. With well trained personnel that have role played through the possible objections that moment of truth can be handled gracefully with very little tension. So to answer Grant's original questions: Sales training doesn't need to be modified it needs to be implemented DAILY for all salespeople. The Internet has made dealerships transparent whether they like it or not and poorly trained salespeople will kill your reputation quicker than anything. Treat all of your customers the same because even if they aren't an "Internet buyer" they still are an Internet user and discuss their experience to the world, good or bad. And Jarod covered the other question perfectly: "In addition to sales training, dealerships need to be trained on web marketing, and internet process. These skills are in addition to, not replacements for, sales skills. (IMHO) This training has greatly evolved and is new, thanks to the web."

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