Does anyone hire an outside consultant to train new sales staff? Any recommendations?

Judy Van Heusen
We are considering using an outside person, with experience, to come on-site to train some "green" sales people. Current Managers are "too busy", or themselves don't have a proven technique for training, so we are losing potentially great sales people due to poor job performance. Any suggestions??
Jared Hamilton
I have mixed emotions about it and I think it depends on how you are going to do this. IS the person going to come in and train them once and then never return? If so the learning would only go so far and salespeople will fall back into old habits (or create old habits.) Im not against bringing in an outside trainer, in fact just the opposite. I think its a GREAT idea (especially if the staff is getting no training at all.) But I believe sooner or later your managers have to get involved to make the training durable and lasting. Also, you do not want the trainer teaching their material, their culture, you want your culture taught. IF you can help create the curriculum that would be best, bring your culture and their best practices. I have brought in outside parties and its been a huge help by bringing in another source of authority. However in the end, I think there is no substitute for your managers doing both the initial and long term training. What does your currently training look like? Who does the daily and weekly meetings? Do your managers do that?
Judy Van Heusen
Weekly meetings and ongoing training are currently the responsibility of the Sales Managers. However, with last year's economy cutbacks, our Managers are being asked to do more with less, and don't have a LOT of time to work on training. (Especially training someone totally new to car sales) We have found a few potential candidates for sales that don't have experience, and online training and webinars only go so far. We all know people who are trained "in person" get much more out of training, and in the long run, are better Employees. I totally agree that ideally, it is best to have someone come in and work with management first to get a sense of corporate philosophies and practices, then integrate that into a training strategy. And follow-up with trainees AND managers is key. We may also need to look at some "train the trainer" strategies for our Managers to help them better manage their own training of the Employees. Have you used anyone in the past that you would recommend? Thanks "Superman"!
Adam Ross
Judy, I think it's an excellent idea to bring in an outside trainer - but as Jared said, it's necessary for success to first meet with management to get a feel for things like how the store operates, who to go to in order to desk the deal, and when to TO to the manager. Otherwise you get mixed messaging between the trainer and the sales managers, and the Greenpeas get frustrated and confused. It's amazing how many salespeople today do not do a walkaround on a car with a prospect, and step all over themselves when they open their mouths. Proper training and guidance can remedy those things, but they need management's support the whole way through. The managers also need to have a positive attitude about bringing in someone to help their department grow, and not look at it as an insult that they couldn't do it well enough. What will decide their buy-in is how it's presented to them. I like the idea of the "train the trainer" strategy. It helps the techniques learned by the salespeople to stick for a longer period of time. Are you training these salespeople to strictly work the floor, handle Internet leads, or a combination? A great man once told me that training is like an ice cube - it tends to melt over time. As Jared also alluded to, it should not be a one-time effort but an ongoing monthly or quarterly scheduled event. I would first check if there are any local trainers in the area, since you would save on travel and expense costs as opposed to bringing in someone from outside the area. Please call me at (201) 481-1424 to discuss this further - I know several people outside your area who could help. Sincerely, Adam Ross
Bart Wilson
I agree that the management team needs to buy in to the outside training. Not only are they going to be responsible for holding the sales floor accountable, they need to agree with and support the training. If they're not sold I doubt it will stick.
Jim Chamberlain
Both “process control” and “continued training” are the keys to a successful training program. An outside trainer is great for getting everyone focused and pumped up. However, without your managers continuing the training at every opportunity it will ultimately be a wasted expense. Every phone up, walk-in and sale is an opportunity to train. We run with a very thin management staff as well but they are expected to hold everyone accountable to our processes (our processes are what we train on). Develop your processes and document them. What is your road to the sale? How do you handle phone ups? What happens after the sale? What happens to the prospect that does not buy? Document every step in your processes. You now have a “living” document from which you can train and measure results.

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