In every industry, managing salesmen is difficult. Automobile salespeople can be a pain to manage. Today’s dealership executives wear more hats than ever before. They’re working on sales, assessing automobiles, preparing reports, predicting, dealing with irate customers, mentoring their millennials, monitoring and adjusting digital and traditional ad spending, keeping up with the CRM, and trying to keep up with their employees’ training and development.

As most of you reading this will agree, far too often, our people’s training and development takes a second place to the many other fires burning in a manager’s office. Unfortunately, if left to smolder for too long, a lack of training typically becomes the hottest burning and most difficult to contain fire.

Turnover is a problem in our sector, and it can have a significant impact on client satisfaction. A lack of constant training and professional development is one of the leading causes of turnover. Salespeople in the automotive industry are expected to work long hours and deal with difficult customers. Many salespeople are driven away before they have an opportunity to master the skills they need to succeed because they believe management is working against them – or is at best apathetic. Managers must be held accountable for their sales teams’ progress. A salesperson’s revolving door is not a prescription for success. The days of flinging twelve green peas at the wall and praying for a few to stick are long gone.

Management must provide something different to each salesman on the floor. New salespeople in the dealership require a lot of care. They must master the procedure, the technology, how to handle the phone, and, most significantly, how to establish rapport and sell automobiles. While more seasoned salespeople who understand the process and technology require less attention, they nevertheless require refresher training and development. Finally, we’ll talk about your A players. Your dealership’s most effective and experienced salesmen need more flexibility and autonomy, but they still need to feel loved by management. If you micromanage your most valued salesmen, you’ll lose them to your competitors. They may not require daily assistance, but they may still crave approval from on high. It’s critical that your A players feel they’re valued and that you’ve got their backs.

Who has the time to do it all? If you don’t already have one, consider hiring a training manager. If this is not a financially viable choice for your store, in-house trainers and a variety of technologies are now available to help. Traditional in-house training is being phased out in favor of more cost-effective digital options. There are curriculum-style online trainings that have been around for over a decade but have yet to catch on, in which each salesperson is assigned video training and takes exams to ensure that they comprehend the information. The most promising new trend is situationally diagnosed one-on-one training. When a circumstance happens where a salesman either proceeded incorrectly or didn’t know how to proceed, technology now allows them to be tagged. The salesperson is then contacted by a trainer who walks them through the necessary next actions to take with the customer. The salesperson can then deal with the customer on their own or with the help of the trainer on the phone. This new blended procedure has shown a lot of potential and has proven to be incredibly profitable for dealerships across the country.

The days of treating everyone the same are long gone. Millennials aren’t the only ones that feel like snowflakes and want to be treated as capable individuals. Each salesperson must be managed differently by the manager. There are numerous trainers and technology available today to assist you in your endeavor. The initial step is the most crucial… as is every subsequent step. Make 2018 the year you invest in building a successful sales team that will stick with you and help your dealership achieve its objectives for years to come. Do not join up for something only to forget about it later. Even if you’ve hired a trainer or enrolled in a technology-enabled hybrid course, you’ll still need to keep an eye on things. Maintain the course and hold your trainer, technology supplier, and team members responsible for their own growth.

Accountability and training. From step one, go over the perception of complexity and focus on understanding the components that fit together to form a successful team.

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