How do you think the most successful military in the history of the world trains its troops? Do they bring in outsiders and civilians to do it? Do you think they send the troops off-site for a few hours and consider them trained? Do you think that everyone is considered trained for life because they "shadowed" or "mentored" with one of their veterans?
What good would all of that training be if the sergeants did not witness any of it? How would the sergeants know what to expect from his trainee if he was "too busy" to attend the training? Could you imagine if we could train everyone in the dealership by spending no time and no money?
As a Dealer Principal or a General Manager you spend an enormous amount of your time and efforts, necessarily so, keeping expenses in line with gross profit and industry guidelines. No one can argue the importance and necessity of those endeavors. However, can you state, unequivocally, that you are fairly and advantageously distributing the money you do spend?
In recent years the gurus, consultants and twenty-groups have been harping, non stop, about ROI and all the evils of not obeying this all important calculation. Interestingly, however, that ROI calculation seems to never be applied to advertising, unless of course, the Dealer/GM are looking for an excuse not to make an investment in some vendor's advertising or marketing campaign.
In reality advertising is the one unaccountable expense common to every dealership that, if subjected to the car gods precious ROI calculation, would be eliminated. There are so many simple reasons why advertising is unaccountable to sound business practices:
1) No true baseline exists to measure each ad dollar against
2) Dealerships do NOT accurately count traffic
3) Dealerships inaccurately credit every sale to some form of advertising
4) Dealerships do not accurately source floor, internet and phone traffic
What intrigues me is the absolute refusal by so many dealerships to spend one dime, to invest any time and to make an honest effort to train their MANAGERS!
If you train the salespeople they are trained for a few hours or days before they revert, completely, back to their ways before the training took place. If you train the managers you have the same results however when you add guidelines and true accountability to the mix you now have the beginnings of a truly successful training regimen.
Imagine if you diverted 15 - 20% of the unaccountable advertising budget and invested it in training your managers on a process or a set of principles that you want, a process that you support and want implemented in your dealership? Imagine adding some simple accountability to the plan? What might the results be? Most likely far and away better than any other investment you can make this year!
I have witnessed, first hand, a manager being held accountable to a process and it was startlingly effective. The General Manager had a policy regarding Desking procedures and when it was clearly circumvented by a Desk Manager the GM called him into his office, handed him a notepad and a pen and asked the Desk Manager to put in writing his reasons for violating company policy then he instructed him to sign and date the "confession". When that was complete he simply stated that this is simply a record of your behavior.
I was impressed with how effective this was in that the manager was visibly shaken yet not threatened in any way. He shared with me that he realized that by putting his infraction in writing really opened his eyes to the blatant disobedience that he displayed and that he will, in the future, make sure it did not happen again.
You have an opportunity to do this in your dealership or keep doing what you are doing and keep getting what you are getting.