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Ron Henson

Ron Henson Director, Dealership Strategy & Development

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Training: Content, Preparation, Execution

I know that I don’t need to tell you how important training is in a dealership.  Starting on our first day working in a dealership, we are told how important training is, and most dealerships have weekly, or even daily, training meetings. Managers read countless books and websites, dealerships hire consultants, and salespeople and managers are sent to seminars, all in the name of training. A quick search on Google will yield endless results for articles on the importance of training and programs that will help you train your salespeople and service employees. The automotive retail industry is inundated with training programs and consultants.

So we get it: training is important.

And all of this hype around training is definitely warranted, because training is one of the biggest keys to success for any dealership. I’ve seen inexperienced salespeople flourish as a result of a well-executed training initiative, and dealerships with low sales numbers can turn things around with the right training implemented correctly for their employees. But I’ve also seen enthusiastic and talented salespeople fall behind because of a lack of well-executed training. I’ve seen intense (and expensive) training programs fall totally flat and do nothing but cost a dealership money. And I would bet you’ve seen all of these scenarios play out as well.

I have seen different types of training programs succeed and fail, and in my opinion, it has less to do with the training program itself, and more to do with the type of person who is being trained and the how the training is implemented in the dealership.

There are so many different types of learners, and each one benefits from a different kind of training. Some people learn most effectively by watching videos or reading manuals, and some people need to be able to get their hands dirty and actually do what it is they’re supposed to learn. Some people need a lot of guidance and individual attention, while others can work just fine on their own. Deciding on the right training program for your dealership comes down to knowing your team and understanding their training needs.

Another thing that determines whether a training program will be successful is being able to eliminate the “set it and forget it” mentality. A training program is an ongoing process, and it’s important that governance and accountability are established early on. Having a governing mechanism is place to continually check the progress of your employees will help keep the program from stagnating, and holding your sales team and managers accountable for their participation and progress will do a lot to help make a training program successful.

Because we know training is such a big part of dealership life, and because we know that training can be very different from dealership to dealership, we want to know what kind of training your dealership has in place and how things are going with it. We’ve created a short survey, and in the coming weeks we will publish a series of blog posts detailing our findings so that you can learn about the solutions that other dealers have come up with. We would love it if you would take 5 minutes and contribute your thoughts.

We want to use this as an opportunity to shift the conversation from “Training is important,” to “How can you make training work in your dealership.” We all know training is important, but we might not all understand what kind of training our employees need or how we can implement a successful program in our stores.

Let's move some metal.


Ron Henson, Global Brand Ambassador, DrivingSales

Ron is an accomplished dealership operations expert and trainer and has a passion for the car business that he willingly shares by speaking around the globe. He is a highly acclaimed international speaker and has delivered dynamic presentations for companies such as Google, Toyota, Nissan,,, NADA, and NCM to name a few.  He brings a diverse perspective and skill set to his audiences having spent over 20 years in retail dealership operations.


Jonathan Dawson
@Ron, Can I just say a resounding, "AMEN"! Thanks for posting such a wonderfully compelling blog about such an important area that gets discussed more than implemented.
Ron Henson
Thanks Jonathan! I couldn't agree more with your statement about discussion vs implementation. So much room for improvement!

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