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Bart Wilson

Bart Wilson Director of Operations, Media

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Building a Professional Training Plan for Your Store

When it comes to Employee Management, there are two approaches you can take.  One is Management by Intent, the other is Management by Neglect. Right now, your dealership is being controlled by one or the other (and in many cases, both).

What do I mean?  Let’s look at a simple management activity: setting goals.  If you have systems in place to allow employees to set their monthly objectives and processes you’ve implemented to manage to those objectives, you are managing the goal-setting process by intent.  If you don’t, then the environment, market, and dealership culture manage those goals for you. Salespeople set their expectations based on their surroundings. You are managing goal setting by neglect.

Effective organizations manage by intent.  They establish processes and systems that enable them to dictate the success of their teams.  They don’t let the environment take charge of their operations. This is extremely important when managing millennials.

When surveyed, millennial employees underscored the importance of Management by Intent.  In fact, 87% rated career growth and development opportunities as strongly important to them in a job.  In addition, 76% think professional development is one of the most important elements of company culture.  Furthermore, 66% need formal feedback from their supervisor every few weeks to continue to stay at a job.

Every employee has four factors they need to develop.  The first is Process. This would include sales process, service process, introduction to F&I process, reconditioning process, etc.  Traditionally, dealerships have been successful at building and operating processes.

The next factor is skill.  These include building rapport, overcoming objections, active listening, closing, etc.  A lot of dealerships hire for skills, and there hasn’t been a deep wealth of training on them.

The best way to differentiate process and skills is to think of a process as a road map.  It tells you the most efficient route to get from A to B. Think of skills as driving the car.  The better you are at driving, the faster and safer you will get to your destination. Make sense?

The third factor is product knowledge, and this includes the products you sell and the products you use.  For example, effectively entering a customer into the system in the service drive would be an example of product knowledge.

The final factor is temperament.  The first three factors can be trained, but you should hire for the fourth.  Examples of temperament are attitude and resilience. It is extremely difficult to train and manage these temperaments.

A successful development plan can be demonstrated in a Venn diagram, and the bigger you can make the overlap, the more successful your development.

One of the best ways to ensure you are managing by intent is to build a professional training plan, and this means a training calendar.

Begin by determining the product, process, and skills you need to train on.  Schedule weekly training that will educate your staff. For example, in a given week you could train on a quality email template, the Silverado walkaround, the four personality types, and your dealership mission statement.  Repeat this calendar each week and you’ll be training by intent, not neglect.

The top organizations manage by intent and have automated systems in place that make them more efficient (think CRM).  Create a training calendar and implement a process in your dealership to train your employees regularly.

What do you think?  What are some of the biggest challenges you foresee when implementing a training calendar in your dealership?  How can you find out what your staff needs the most training on? Chime in below. If you aren’t already in a cohort, you can apply here.

Jordan Cronkhite

Thanks for the first session.  Just completed our Quarterly Training Schedule, will email it over to Craig.  Looking forward to the next session.  Jordan

Jason Volny

Jordan, that's great! What was the biggest challenge that you ran across when building a training schedule and how did you solve it?

Jordan Cronkhite

I`d say the biggest challenge was narrowing down the initial course choices.  Seems to be lots of good content.  Put some thought into what would be most beneficial to the team initially and started there.  Tried to get a good mix that would benefit everyone and keep them engaged.

Jack Donato

Just submitted my training plan for Q2.  Looking forward to tomorrows class.

Jason Volny

Jack, thank you for submitting that. There is no class tomorrow, that's just when the homework was due to give us enough time to load your training schedule. You should be getting another invitation to the Tuesday class, 1:00 PM MST.

Also, what product knowledge did you decide to focus on first for your team?

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