Foundational Topics    September 7, 2021

Top 6 Reasons Car Dealerships Need Sales Training

Anthony Sudon
Anthony Sudon

Since 1983, Applied Concepts has worked with 10,000+ dealers, ran workshops for 7,000+ dealers, and conducted 2,000,000+ one-on-one training sessions. So you can say that we're well plugged in and keep our eyes and ears open. Our view is that car dealers could benefit from professional sales training more than almost any other industry. The reality is that the utter lack of training is resulting in wasted opportunity and poor financial performance—not just lost sales, but lost lifetime customers; wasted advertising spend; and negative experiences that damage your brand. 

But there's a solution—let sales training companies do what they do best. Here are our top 6 reasons why you should outsource your sales training.

#1: Improves Dealer Performance

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The most successful dealers view sales training as an investment that pays for itself many times over rather than an expense. We recently did a study of a large auto group and we compared their financial performance before and after they started sales training. The results were clear: the average store increased their gross profits by 10.9x the amount they invested in training. 

#2: Improves Customer Experience

At its very core, a commitment to sales training represents a commitment to improving your customers' experience. You may think your team is already A+ (though that's rare), or you may know your team needs a lot of work. The fact is that every team needs to stay fresh, modern, and on its toes so that the customer experience is smooth throughout the entire buying journey. It only takes one misstep to lose not only a sale but also the associated service and F&I revenue.

#3: Staff Retention & Growth

Training is a win-win for the dealer and the staff:

  • Retain Your Team: Study after study shows that employers who provide robust professional development to their employees see much strong staff retention, which is cheaper and more efficient than constantly having to source and train a new crop of reps. It's hard to build momentum without high retention.
  • Develop Your Team: If you're not learning, you're not growing. Look at successful people throughout history — they don't stumble into success. They push their own limits and become their better self. Your team needs to be reminded that there are always opportunities to be better. There is always another call that could be made, there is always a new relationship to be made, and there is always a smile to shared.

"67% of dealership salespeople will leave within a year of being hired. This poor retention rate is followed in short order by service advisors, and technicians. Altogether, it reflects an industrywide struggle to hire and keep the right employees."

Cox Auto - Want to Improve Employee Retention and Satisfaction? (August 7, 2018)

 

#4: Efficient Advertising Spend

We see a lot of dealers "throwing good money after bad". They try to spend their way out of poor lead handling or a poorly trained staff by adding more and more leads into the top of the funnel.

Let's look at it this way:

  • How much do you spend per year in advertising?
  • How many leads do you get per year from that advertising?
  • What is your appointment show rate and set rate?
  • 󠀽👉 Now ... What would the impact be of improving your show rate and set rate by only 1% over the course of 12 months? How many more vehicles would you sell? How much more service and F&I revenue do you generate?

You'll achieve a much higher ROI on taking your least efficient advertising spend and using it to train your team to better handle your hard-earned leads.

#5: Let Your Managers Do What They Do Best

Who trains your new sales reps? In many stores, it's the sales manager, internet manager, or general sales manager. The unfortunate reality is that your managers aren't really setup to succeed in a training role. They're too busy. They're not incentivized to invest in their staff's long term development. And they're not trained to be trainers.

Effective sales training programs require content creation, feedback loops, expertise in modern sales techniques, accountability, spaced repetition, and educational theory, none of which is really within the wheelhouse of your average manager.

#6 Raise the Bar

How do you measure success? How do you define what's acceptable versus not acceptable? And how often do you revisit that standard?

Even if your team is A+ across the board, which is rare or even impossible, you need to constantly raise the bar by developing a "new normal" of performance. You've probably heard the expression, "If you're not moving forward, you're falling behind", and that's incredibly appropriate for sales organizations. Challenge your team to get just a little bit better every day, every week, and every month. 

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