It is evident that much of the training that we execute on the dealer level is relatively the same content, no? In that, the topics that we train on have not evolved; other than new tools that can assist you in how you approach the process, itself. All of which poses a few questions; why are we continuing to train on the same topics, and what can we do to move to the next level? That is enhancing what we already do.
One of the reasons, perhaps, is the high level of turnover on the dealer level. For every new hire - with some lasting just a few weeks to a few months - the dealers (for those that are doing training) are shelling out thousands of dollars to train their new staff. To then have to spend the same money to train their new hires. The other issue we face is that the content, itself, has not evolved; wherein, before you hire the next trainer or training company it is best to review the following:
Just Because We Make the Effort to Train Our Sales Consultants Does Not Mean the Training Worked. How to Offer Relevant, Meaningful Training.
There is this notion that by the act of training, itself, your issues can and will be resolved. This is especially an issue when your sales managers typically offer that they are too busy and forget to tell their sales consultants about the training; despite having been planned for weeks in advance. The moment that your staff realizes that your managers are not engaged with the training they can quickly lose interest. I cannot tell you how many times I have experienced this excuse and issue on the dealer level.
The other issue this poses is that even though your sales consultants and managers might know the answers; or have a solid understanding of the content. What they do not often know and fail to realize is that the reason you wanted this training - in the first place - is because you want the sales process (or other processes) to be approached differently. The idea that your dealer's culture cannot effectively change - or necessarily see the benefits of the training - if not everyone is following the same new approach.
The other concern with this mentality is that it can create a very confusing environment for your new hires, no? The new hires are trying their best to act on what they learned, but if your sales managers are not aware of the changes, the new sales consultant might not be doing it the way the sales manager wanted. As such, it can create not just confusion, but more importantly, it can create disinterest. Disinterest leads to disengagement. Yet we still - not always, but mostly - tend to say “well the new hire just did not have what it takes.” So while that can be the case in some instances, it certainly is not the case for all of the new hires your dealership lost.
Top Things To Avoid When Hiring Training For Your Sales Team. Most Importantly, Speak With Your Managers First.
Not Speaking With Your Managers First.
This is not to say that you cannot make decisions without them. However, what this does offer is making sure that your managers are on the same page with the training. If you make a decision on training - telling them it was what the owner wants - without speaking with them it can cause dissension from the beginning. The other benefit of talking with your managers first is to understand better what some of the potential breakpoints are. In doing so, it gives your managers the chance to offer what areas have potential. The goal with this approach is to provide your managers with the opportunity to open up - having a meaningful dialogue - to come up with a unified approach.
Not Getting Involved Yourself And Taking the Time to Speak With the Training Company. Let Your Managers be Involved.
It can seem more natural just to let the training company have free reign when it comes to training without having spoken to them first. Instead of using this approach, it is best to review their training material making sure their processes are what you are looking for. However, more importantly, you need your sales managers buy-in. Otherwise, it is that much harder for the training to be effective. It is also just as important to explain to your managers that this training is to help them; not to browbeat them or overstate their failures. If you say something to the effect of “we hired training because you are failing as a manager” or "you are to busy to train, so I just hired a company" then it is not going to help the manager, and it certainly is not going to be executed on the dealer level.
Showing the Trainer Reports Without Checking their Accuracy. Trainers Might Eat this Up. Get With Management First.
I know first hand how frustrating this can be. There is nothing worse than getting called into the GM’s office because a report was pulled - one that you do not use - so the information was not accurate. At which point, the trainer was outlining everything you must be doing wrong. It is not a pleasant experience, because there is also nothing worse than trying to explain why the report is inaccurate. To then try and have a diplomatic dialogue to clarify that the report you actually want to view is “report name.” To which the trainer has already capitalized GM’s attention as to what we are potentially doing wrong. To avoid this approach, it is best first to review together which reports you use, and what are some of the areas that have an opportunity for improvement. In doing so, when the trainer does arrive, you will have already reviewed, collectively, which items need focus — allowing the conversation to entail how they are going to approach the opportunity vs. trying to actualize the opportunity with inaccurate reports.
Training can be very beneficial to the dealership. But not all training is created equal. Where the dealer is just as responsible for ensuring that their management and staff are made aware of not only when the training is, but the purpose of the training. In doing so, you will most likely get the much-needed buy-in from the management. It also then gives you (as the GM or owner) key performance index’s to measure after the training. Whereas, if the managers (and select sales consultants) did not participate in the training because they were to busy then you cannot expect them to be in alignment with the new process changes.
At the end of the day, make sure that you are working as a united front versus you against them; and while that might not be the intention or purpose of you bringing training to the dealership, the perception can say otherwise. Internal perception is just as important to consider when it comes to retention.
How do you handle training? Do you work together as a united front to select the trainer and training content?