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From: Jared Hamilton
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Bryant Gibby

Bryant Gibby Used car manager

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Sales consultant certification

     We are recently having some issues with our newer salespeople getting certified with Ford. We used to not care if our salespeople were certified, but lately we have put a lot more emphasis on it. Even though it has been more of a focus lately, we were one of only a few dealers in our region that missed out on a bonus from Ford because we didn't have 80% or more of our sales floor certified. It is a particularly sore subject because I would have got paid on a % of that money for Ford.

 

     As a result of missing out on that money from Ford, we have changed our policy on new hire certification to 90 days for base certification and 180 days to be master certified. There is a lot of tests involved to become master certified so I feel like 6 months is plenty of time to get them done. With that said, we are still having lots of our guys complain and request more time to get the tests accomplished. We are now making it mandatory that they meet those deadlines and they aren't that fond of the new policy.

 

     I'm sure most manufacturers have certification testing similar to what Ford offers. Do most dealers require their sales consultants to get master certified or are we an exception to the rule? Also, do you guys think that 6 months is enough time to get all the testing done? Let me know what you guys think so I can prove a point to our salespeople!

Aaron Root
You are being way too generous. If these salespeople have been anywhere else, they would be required to successfully pass and maintain some form of certification. Whether it is tests, CSI, sales or a combination. All new hires should do this so they can be trained using best practices. Older salespeople should do it so they can keep their job. Why don't you monitor internet use to see how much time they are spending on Facebook or ESPN. One to Two hrs a week should tackle this task no problem.
Keith Shetterly
Don't know your market area, but whether it is in the job description from HR or not put it IN THE PAY PLAN. Salespeople are coin-operated, and it's not a bonus to be certified, it's a req't to get PAID. A good friend of mine, a GM, gave zero commission if salespeople didn't meet her terms. After the first paycheck, the salespeople fell in line.
Ric McCoy
Whether required by the OEM or not, do you really want your sales staff speaking to your customers unprepared and lacking the basic product knowledge of the vehicles they sell. We spend way too much money getting the customer in the door, on the phone or on the internet to not require the staff to be certified. I agree with Aaron about being "way too generous". 6 months is to long. 90 days at the most. You have to make it important, and have a sense of urgency to complete them. Certification is a requirement of the position. It also tells you if your employee is looking for a job or a career. The job seeker will not want to spend the time educating, they are only looking for the quick buck. Keith hit the nail on the head. Put in in the pay plan. I wouldn't want to have to explain a $0 check to my wife. Education starts at the top. The road to success is always under construction. Bottom line... No certification, no check.
Jill B
Do you want uneducated staff blowing through your ups you paid a lot of money for? Not certified = not taking an up. It's a new program we've started. It's going well, and they are motivated to complete it quickly.
Bryant Gibby
Point taken. I like the idea of encorporating the certification in to the pay plan. We are only having this problem with a few individuals. For the most part we are really good about staying on top of our certification. Thanks for the input!

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