How many hours per week do trainers work with a horse like American Pharaoh to prepare him to compete in and win the Kentucky Derby? It’s probably easier to measure in years, as thoroughbreds begin early training when they are too young to ride. Eventually, when they are two or three years old they actually move to the racetrack to live full-time and train there. Every day. For a race that will last no longer than two minutes! Then, if they are lucky and healthy and fast enough, they will take a day or two off before they begin training again for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. And remember that only eleven horses have EVER won all three races – The Triple Crown. Eleven horses since 1919 and the most recent one was in 1978.
My point? Many of us may have it backwards. We hire our salespeople, of whom many have never been “on the track,” and expect them to win. We make them run their race every day and stop to train them only occasionally. When they are no longer suited for the track, we promote them and expect them to train the young thoroughbreds and the cycle continues.
We do not have the luxury of time to train Monday through Friday for 8 hours, and then kill it every Saturday. But if we can imagine that every interaction with a customer is our Kentucky Derby, every opportunity to set an appointment is our Preakness, and every chance to close a deal is our Belmont Stakes, then wouldn’t we want to be the best we can be?
Having a dealership full of employees who want to learn starts with having a dealership full of managers who want to teach. There is no shortage of topics on which to train, and certainly no shortage of industry experts who will gladly come into your store and help you get it done. If you are a salesperson and feel like you aren’t getting the training you need to be successful, let someone know! If it doesn’t change anything, consider finding a dealership with a training culture. There are plenty of them out there. Chances are they are a more successful business anyway. If nothing else, try searching YouTube for “Automotive Sales Training.” I just did it myself.
The list goes on and on. Make the most of your slower times by learning everything you can from the resources available to you. Managers, be that resource for your sales staff. If you began your career in a store without a training culture, you might need help if you want to break that cycle. Ask for it!
Respect the Training. Honor the Commitment. Cherish the Results.