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Various trainers and consultants are viewed as anything from industry experts to industry washouts. Some dealership owners owe their continued existence to one or more of these people, and some owners want nothing to do with them. As with any profession, they are a mixed bag. Their role is not to run the store, take ups, or close deals. The job is to rapidly improve the organization, or individuals within the organization, leading to greater profitability.
Fortunately for the industry, the best promotional strategy for many of these firms is to give away free samples of what they know. Most are confident they know enough and can facilitate execution well enough that it makes sense to give away many of their best ideas. On any given day, DrivingSales is packed with a number of examples. There is a spillover benefit to dealers from these trainers and consultants.
Dealership disappointment with trainers or consultants is often a result of insufficient buy in. These people can’t work miracles; even their best ideas will not work if they are not executed properly. The organization’s leaders still need to do the leading. Things also break down when the trainer can’t properly train or consultants don’t properly execute on their ideas. Some are good at articulating theory, but not so good at putting them into action in the areas the dealer needs help. The fundamental role of these professionals is not to generate fancy new ideas; it is to facilitate execution. If the store leadership didn’t already buy into the core ideas, the opportunity to execute would not exist. Ideas are for getting attention and for offering a better system within which to execute.
Sharing ideas is a great way to get attention for this type of business. It is certainly better than the practice of trying to fluff one’s own self up by attacking vendors or alternative solutions. We see some trainers position themselves as the grand defenders of dealers in a holy war against vendors, and some vendor trainers who can’t say anything nice about anything they don’t sell. But these are the rouge exceptions. Most trainers and consultants know their role is to execute and get results for individual dealers and dealer groups. Bloviating is for pundits who don’t really produce anything but entertainment. In this fast paced market, automotive retail needs trainers and consultants more than ever, at least the ones who can achieve results.
Although I don’t do this kind of work today, I spent much of the last 21 years consulting and/or training for automotive and other industries. I’m proud of that work, the achievements I helped organizations realize, and the profession of helping businesses as an outsider. Automotive retail employs many full-time trainers and consultants. Some are independent, some work for a training or consulting firm, and some work for a specific vendor. Within the Vendor Ratings section of DrivingSales, 17 firms are listed for Sales Training, 49 for Internet Training, and 35 for Dealership Consulting. Many of the people involved know each other, refer each other, and share ideas. They have a positive role to play in both thought leadership and execution, but they get paid for the latter.