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Steve  Southin

Steve Southin Co-Ceo

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Making the Best of Time During the Worst of Times

The retail car business in North America can be incredibly taxing on its employees. From 12-hour days to uncertain paychecks – salespeople can go from hero to zero quickly. As we all deal with this COVID-19 virus, many dealerships have experienced incredibly severe consequences. Some have had to close completely while under lockdown which, in some instances, has led to a complete layoff of staff or, at the very least, furloughs. Unemployment has skyrocketed in many areas with skilled and talented automotive professionals at home waiting to be able to go back to work.

I truly believe that one of the most effective use of time for any automotive professional stuck at home is to take this time for some professional development. It can be challenging to focus on training before or after a 12-hour day. Brains get fried and everyone needs downtime. This unprecedented world pandemic offers time that can be taken advantage of, however, to immerse in training.

There are many types of training available for automotive professionals. It doesn’t matter what position in the dealership they are in, there is something for everyone. The lucky employees may be provided with training by their dealerships that they can take advantage of. There are also many automotive industry trainers who hold online training through social media. Oftentimes, however, those may be sporadic and typically focus on a single topic. There are also plenty of virtual training schools out there. Many times, however, they require a monthly subscription which many people cannot afford in these tough times. There are, however, online training platforms that are free (or at little cost) that automotive people can access.

In addition, there are plenty of professionals offering tips and advice on automotive forums which afford automotive professionals the ability to read best practices, interact with their peers and ask questions that offer them professional growth. Of course, live training in which there is teacher-student interaction is the most effective. That is exactly why schools in the around the globe have gravitated towards online learning during these times.

Regardless of what someone wishes to learn, there is training material available. Automotive professionals don’t have to limit their education to automotive topics. This is also a great time to learn a new skill or get better at one. Topics like writing emails more effectively or outside industry best practices can introduce whole new levels of engagement and customer experience skills. Think of GMs relationship with the Disney Institute. There’s a reason that Disney has earned probably the highest level of brand loyalty in the world. Auto dealerships can improve as a whole but salespeople, service advisors and managers can also learn some tactics and skills that they may not otherwise be exposed to.

Take this time to step back and do some soul-searching. Many of us are waiting for the world to reopen and, in some instances, states are starting that process. This is the perfect time to take your skills to the next level and invest in yourself. There may not be opportunities like this in the future to truly dive into self-improvement – especially once everything is back to normal and people resume their 12-hour workdays. Now is the time to retake control and use time wisely. Don’t waste it.

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