Archive for the ‘automotive sales training’ Category

Your Strength Is Your Weakness

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

I have been studying both success and failure for most of my life, and I have found the one common trait to both: Your strengths can also be your weaknesses.

If I were to ask a room of people what they would say makes a person successful, I believe they would list many of the following things:

Hard work Good personality

Persistence Good attitude

Connections Education

Money Luck

I have noticed that you can have a good debate about any and all of the above items and what part they truly play in success and failure. However, I have noticed that for all people, the very things that can lead to your success can also lead to your failure.

Let’s evaluate some of the items above.

Hard Work — A strong work ethic is essential in being productive in areas that lead to results. However, you can be working so hard in the wrong areas or in the wrong ways that it just leads to inertia. You can become the proverbial “hamster in a wheel.” Hard work for many becomes a false badge of honor, with nothing to show for it. I know a lot of extremely hardworking, unsuccessful, broke and unhappy people. Even the word “hard” becomes a negative emotional anchor to the word “work.”

“Don’t tell me about the pregnancy, just show me the baby.”

Good Attitude — I think even an extremely negative person would say that you must have a good attitude to be successful. However, I have noticed that often people avoid critical thinking by using a positive attitude as an excuse. You can use all the pithy sayings you want, get in a circle with your positive friends and sing “Kum Bah Ya” until you are blue in the face, but that does not mean you are doing what will make you successful. Frankly, if you do not have the right goals, game plan, actions and review strategies, along with a strong dose of critical thinking, you may be allowing your positive attitude to drive you positively broke. I have witnessed a growing legion of people who spend all day posting positive things on Facebook, Twitter and every other social media source and seem to be giving groups hugs to everyone in their “I’m happy and positive all the time” circles, but yet their business and incomes stink.

“If you are going to talk about it, be about it.”

I am pretty sure that all successful people have their “moments of doubt and pain,” to borrow from a Rolling Stones lyric. I have also noticed that very successful people at times begin self-reflection that would be anything but positive. They are, however, very responsible for results and absolutely ruthless at times in regards to themselves, their actions and results. In fact, they are purposely negative and critical in a very motivating way. Pain can often move mountains, while the pursuit of pleasure leaves many on the couch. Many a person has resolved to be skinny with zero action toward the goal, but became fanatical in pursuit after seeing themselves in the mirror and becoming painfully disgusted. Just talking positive means squat without taking action, having tons of failures, misfires and even the anger that drives you the last step when others would have quit.

Good Personality — More failures have been hired in sales positions in the name of “good personality” than any other single waste of criteria I have seen. The reality is that many great salespeople do not have wonderful personalities, and often can be downright “pains in the ass.” Superstars are incredibly driven people, often to the point of being maniacal and, often, do not suffer fools lightly. High performers cannot stand anything or anyone that gets in their way and sometimes have little empathy, sympathy or patience for those people and things that do. All of this leads to anything but a great personality at times, and will surely not win them any congeniality awards. A great personality means nothing without the rest of the makeup necessary to be successful. It’s just a fact that nice guys do not always finish first. The critical component here is that successful people know what it takes to be successful and have no tolerance for anything else, and that can often lead to anything but a pleasing personality.

The bottom line for everyone is that your strength, unchecked, can also be your weakness. This is why I think many people who succeed also have failed over and over. I think they possess a strong ego drive to get up off the mat and get back after it. However, somewhere along the way, the really successful people discover that those critical points of success are what also drives them to failure. At this point, the successful person creates an internal governor that cuts back the strength to a level that keeps them from going over the cliff from success to failure. Maximize your strengths, but do not let them lead you to failure.

Has Social Media Become An Excuse?

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

You’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and more every day. You post comments, pictures and comment on others posts and pictures. You post articles, surveys, look for affiliations, market yourself and work to create engagement with others. You text, e-mail, FaceTime and do Google Hangouts. You do all of this and yet most of you are truly trying to run and hide.

First of all, let me state that I think social and digital communication is fantastic. I think it should be a part of everyone’s day if you want to share, engage, market and tell your story. Social media and digital communications allow you to reach and connect with audiences you could never reach in ways you could never do without these media.

However, I also think for all the good that social and digital media do, they make it easy to create unintended consequences. One of those unintended consequences is that it becomes too easy to not try more direct communications that are — and always will be — more personable and powerful.

Social media and digital communications, for all their power and ease of use, do not replace in-person communications. They do not replace a personal phone call. Social media should not replace personal hand-written notes and cards. Social media should be used with, but not in place of, traditional media.

I see more and more people hiding behind a keyboard or a mobile phone, scared to death to actually engage with people in an intimate, personal way. Yes, social/digital is easy and can even be preferred by many, but you are a human being and human interaction has dynamics that social and digital cannot replace. Social media has made it easy for people to get lazy and avoid the work that must be done. Social media does not replace selling or shaking someone’s hand, looking them in the eye and asking questions while utilizing empathy and compassion expressed through the human body.

I recommend you think “in person first, phone second and all other media next.” Never forget the power of the human desire for connection. Social media has connected more people than anything in history. At the same time, it has disconnected more people than anything in history. Do not get lazy and use social and digital media as an excuse to hide and be lazy.

Think of emotions that can be created with an in-person visit. Think of emotions that can be created with a personal phone call. Think of emotions felt from reading a hand-written card or note. I promise you that those emotions are more intense than from an e-mail or text. This crosses generations. Young or old, we are all people.

The whole new vs. traditional media argument is a farce. It’s a false argument. One does not replace the other but, used wisely, augments and supports the other. Use social media as a tool and not the solution. You may use different tools to complete a job, but your rarely use only one tool. If you don’t have all the tools, you cannot complete the job. Use all your tools.

For a free special report titled “5 Major Social Media Mistakes and How They Hurt Your Business” send me an e-mail to with the title “5 Major Social Media Mistakes” in the subject line.

Is Time On Your Side?

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Let’s say you start working as an adult at 19 and continue until you retire at 65. In this example, you would have accomplished the following:

46 years of work

2,300 weeks (based upon 50 weeks a year)

11,500 days (based upon five days a week)

92,000 hours (based upon eight hours a day)

5,520,000 minutes

Now, let’s break it down per day:

Eight hours a day, or 480 minutes

I know many of you reading this may say things like, “I never take a vacation,” “I work 12 hours a day” and “I work seven days a week.” I understand some people work more and some people work less. However, my point is that this is just as an average for a starting point.

Now, can we all agree that nobody is truly productive all of the 11,500 days or all of the eight hours a day or all of the 480 minutes a day? My question to you is, how many minutes of each 60-minute hour are you truly productive? Be brutally honest. Are you productive 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent of the time? I think if we all were to be analyzed scientifically we would be shocked how low our total production is.

I am not trying to tell anyone how to live his or her life. I am not telling you to work more or work less. I am not trying to convince you of what is right or wrong or what the correct values are for you personally.

What I am saying is that if you say you want to make more money or have more success or do better in your career, then it will take a deeper commitment with different actions than you are currently doing. If you make a New Year’s Eve resolution for more and you do not change your current habits, the only thing that changes is the calendar.

If, in your definition of success, it means to have better results and to make more money, then it is a fact that you will have to be more productive. You will have to also get more bang-for-buck for each action you take.

The bottom line is that you have to get busier doing the right things at the right time. Spending hours on the job is not enough. Working hard is working a lot of hours. Working smart is getting results in whatever hours you work.

Success is a based upon a series of habitual actions that are, by themselves, often small. “Big doors swing on small hinges.” Too many people are looking for the magic pill or the magic person or the magic moment. All magic is created with a lot of less-than-magical actions.

You must quantify to qualify. Quantify what you are doing to qualify the results and actions that create those results. Take an hour and truly break down what you have done and accomplished. Take a half day, take a full day, take a week, take a month and honestly monitor what you are doing.

People who waste the most time seem to be the most unsuccessful, the unhappiest and the most bitter — and earn the least money. I cannot think of a harder way to work or live. The question of how much time you have is simple. The answer of how you want to live in that time is a lot more difficult.

The Conundrum of Johnny Manziel and Time Tebow

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Whether you are a football fan or not, unless you have been living in a cave you have probably heard a lot about Johnny Manziel and Tim Tebow.  What Tebow and Manziel have in common is that both are former Heisman Trophy winning college quarterbacks.  What they both also have in common is that they are both very much hated and reviled by so many.

From the outside looking in, they are polar opposites in many ways. Tebow is publicly very religious and Manziel is not. Tebow is outwardly extremely humble and Manziel is viewed as being extremely cocky and even arrogant. Tebow apparently lives a very straight arrow life and Manziel has had his share of documented days of partying. Tebow never reacts to his detractors and Manziel seems to give the proverbial middle finger to his. Tebow quotes scripture and Manziel plays rap. Tebow appears humble while Manziel seems to flaunt his ability with a little in your face style.

Manziel and Tebow outwardly opposite in every way but yet both share in common massive doses of venom by the media, coaches, some players and large amounts of the general public. Tebow the humble, virtuous Christian is hated and Manziel the cocky, partying one man show is hated as well. Actually, I am not sure which one seems to be condemned and hated the most. Seems to be a conundrum doesn’t it.

In my opinion, the answer in this does not lie in the characteristics of either Manziel or Tebow or what they do or don’t do. The answer to this conundrum lies with people who are constantly judging others. Often these people judge them but inwardly are wishing they could be more like them.  They are not really hating on Manziel or Tebow. Instead, they are expressing their hatred of themselves and their own perceived shortcomings expressed outwardly towards Manziel and Tebow. Haters hate because that is what they do.

Don’t be a hater and stop judging others. Look at yourself and judge yourself. Work on yourself and let others be. Success and happiness is always an inside out job.

Five Things to Watch in the Meet and Greet

Monday, April 28th, 2014

1) Anchor yourself – Say the word “Showtime” before you greet each customer. This will anchor you to put a little slide in your glide and a little pep in your step. When you say “Showtime”, it makes you smile. You must use physiology to make an impact on the customer. You have about 15 seconds to 2 minutes tops to sell a person. Why? Because they are buying you first and their decisions about you come quickly.

2) Proxemics – the relationship of physical distance among people. When you walk up and extend your hand for a handshake with a new customer you are entering into their personal zone. Most customers have negative feeling when they walk enter a car dealership and then we increase their fear by entering their personal zone too soon. I would invite you to stay more in a social zone (3-5 ft) for the first several minutes until they display they are comfortable.

3) Be proactive – Use the customer’s usual response as your greeting to break down barriers. Example: “Hi folks, are you out beginning to look and shop around a little bit today?” Use this greeting instead of standard greetings such as May I help you or may I assist you. When you use their opening first, it takes it away from them but does so in a positive manner.

4) Give direction and guide immediately – After the customer responds to your greeting, ask open-ended questions that would allows the customer to express themselves and begin dialogue. When you ask the questions, both the customer and you win. Ask a series of generic, non financial data questions. This practices consistency and commitment. When you are consistent with your questions, you create small commitments through answers that make it easier for the customer to answer bigger and potentially more frightening questions later on. This creates rapport as well.

5) After the customer has becomes comfortable, exchange names and handshakes. Salespeople tend to forget the customers name about 95%+ of the time after they exchange them. The one word that will get peoples attention is their name. I will help you gain rapport quickly. If you wait to ask their name, you will be able to concentrate better on retaining it. Use the acronym CARS – Concentrate, Attend to, Respond-Repeat, Save. If you wait you can concentrate on getting their name without being distracted. You can attend to their face and their words as they share their name with you. You must respond immediately and often by repeating their name to remember it. I would advise you to also read a book called the “Memory Book” by Jerry Lucas and Harry Lorayne. There are association processes that make it easier to remember your customer’s names.

How to Create $4000+ Gross Profit

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Tip #1 – Consistent = Persistent – You must formalize your deal proposal or desking approach. All proposals must start in the same way. Although deals and customers are all different and change once you get started, you must have a consistent approach to your proposals that you start off with every time. This will provide expectations for the customer and keep you from being sold by the sales person. There is a sale made every time, it’s either the salesperson or the customer. Don’t allow negative information and usually false information to be re-sold to you.

Tip#2 – Formalize your down payment approach. You kill your gross profit each time you start off with low down payments. There is never a reason to start a deal with just $500 or $1,000 down. It’s bad for you and it’s bad for the customer. You create shoppers or low gross profits. Use down payments that correlate to percentages. It makes sense to the customer.

Tip#3 – Never starts your proposal with your longest term. When you show the longest term you take away your ability to negotiate. When you start with your longest term you are running in fear that the customer can’t afford the payments.

Tip#4 – Always flinch at a counter proposal. When a customer gives you their proposal, make a flinching move with your body. The customer must sense their offer is low without offending them.

Tip#4 – Practice Give/Get – When a customer asks you to give them something different from your proposal you must ask to get something in return. Example – If a customer wants a longer term, you reply that you will be happy to assist them in getting to a budget they want and there are a few ways they can get there. More cash investment, longer term, alternative vehicle, and lease or balloon payment.

Tip#5 – Always asks for more than you expect to get. Gross profit and successful negotiations are indicative of your belief system. If you are confident and believe you are worth a higher amount, you will receive a higher value. Price cutting is a self inflicted wound.

Tip#6 – Don’t allow apples to apples comparisons – Figure out your SDP – Specific Defining Proposition. What make you the best or unique choice? Always raise objections to a higher level issue that will always concern value. Tell your story and tell it well. Let customers know specifically the advantages and value they get from you.

Tip#6 – Find ways to create the top and bottom parameters of negotiating rather than giving the top parameter and asking the customer to give the bottom through a counter offer. Example – Give the MSRP and when the customer states that they want a discount, show them the base price and then the options and equipment that are added to the base price to create the MSRP. Explain that new vehicles today are value priced. The pricing has much less mark-up than in the past. The vehicles are priced at the right value form the beginning. However, there might be flexibility in the options and equipment. Offer a 5% discount on the options and equipment. 5% of the options and equipment will have more perceived value than 5% of MSRP and you are negotiating on a lower figure.

Tip#7 – Don’t over value trades – Everyone wants more for their trade than what is worth. If you compare several different books and value guides you will get several different numbers. Be prepared to explain and show this to the customer. Don’t over estimate the customer’s knowledge of their trade value. We are the experts at the values not them. The books can vary widely.

Make sure to utilize the tips given in the newsletter and article with the above tips to increase your gross profit.

If you would like to sell a ton of vehicles and average over $4,000 for the vehicles sold and do it professionally, call Tewart Enterprises Inc at 888 2 Tewart  (888-283-9278).

Three Things That You Can Do To Make New Salespeople Successful

Monday, March 17th, 2014

I recently listened to an interview with an industry leader and one of the questions posed was “What can dealership leaders do with new hires that can help ensure a better rate of success and reduce turnover?” The answers from the industry expert to the question were have a manager stay full time with the new salesperson for 30 days, make sure the salesperson reads a lot and make sure the salesperson picks up all the trash and cigarette butts they see to ensure attention to detail and a caring attitude.

After hearing this, I thought I’d give you my answers to this question.

First of all, if you hire a monkey and you have that monkey stay with a manager for 30 days, six months or a year, read a hundred books and pick up all the trash he can find, at the end of the time spent, you will still have a monkey. The root of all problems and evils in the retail auto industry is, and always has been, in who, how and why we hire.

The vast majority of dealerships still hire the same way. See if this scenario sounds familiar: The manager wakes up and realizes that, all of sudden, he needs salespeople. Somebody quit or was fired and now the manager realizes he has a sale coming up and he is down one or more salespeople than what he needs. The manager calls the newspaper in a panic and asks to run the usual help wanted ad.

Who usually responds to the newspaper ad? Retreads, people who cannot find a job and lesser-qualified people. In the retail industry, we tend to have an image and self-confidence problem. Most dealership managers do not believe they can recruit high-caliber people. Most dealerships do not have a plan to continually recruit, hire, train and retain quality people; therefore, they act out of need. Needy people and needy businesses never get what they want.

If you are a dealership manager or leader, let me ask you a few questions:

1. Do you have a written and executed plan to recruit team members every day?

2. Does this plan include multiple channels to reach people, including newspaper, newspaper inserts, pay per click, Website, referrals, online recruiting sites, traditional recruiting services, on-campus college recruiting and more?

3. Do you know what you are looking for? Have you created an “Ideal Employee Profile”? If you were to hire the perfect person for the position you are looking to fill, what would be the complete detail of that person? In other words, what do you want?

4. Do you have at least 50 questions to ask that will allow you to get a complete picture of that candidate? Or, do you ask them if they like cars and people and then drool when they say “yes”?

5. Do you utilize any logic-oriented tools to qualify candidates, such as personality profiles, sales success predictors, background checks and qualifying periods of employment?

6. Do you have a complete introductory training program that includes classroom training, showroom floor training, department introductions, role-play and testing?

7. Do you have ongoing training that includes classroom, online, video, audio, coaching, reading, mentors and outside sources?

8. Is your new person given a work plan to follow that includes complete daily action plans on how to prospect, market, follow up and set appointments, along with phone skills and sales skills?

9. Do you do daily one-on-one coaching sessions with this person to guide him or her?

10. Do you have specific success measurables for new hires to let them know how they are progressing?

11. Are you requiring new hires to set their own goals, and then guiding them on how to do that?

12. Are you giving the new hire a period where they can concentrate on learning and growing without feeling intense pressure to make a sale to pay their bills?

13. Do your managers or leaders have any skill sets or education around any of these functions?

Turnover in the auto industry is, and always has been, horrible. The reason is, as an industry, we do not have a plan to recruit, hire, train and retain people. We hire less-than-desirable people, give them little-to-no training and guidance, tell them to sink or swim, blame them when they don’t succeed and then fire them — if they haven’t quit already.

I strongly disagree with the industry leader and his answers. You can hire people using industry standards, have them shadow managers, read every day and pick up trash and they will still fail miserably.

We have not taken personal responsibility in this industry. This is our problem, not the potential salespeople. Stop making excuses that you can’t get good people. Stop saying that young people won’t work. Stop saying people no longer have good work ethic. Stop it! No excuses!

Warning: You Are NOT the Victim

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

“Our advertising stinks! The owner doesn’t have a clue how to bring traffic in the dealership.”

“Our managers sit behind the desk and talk on the phone to their girlfriends all day and don’t do a thing to help.”

“I need to give our F&I manager the number to the bank, because he obviously has not spoken to them in a while!”

“Low Ball, the used car manager has us buried in all of our used cars.”

“Every flake, mooch and weirdo comes to me. Do I have a sign on my back saying to kick me while I’m down?”

“All everyone wants at this sale is a free gift.”

Do any of those comments above sound familiar? I have heard them all, and too many more to even mention. Hell, truth be told, I have uttered all the above at one time or another in my life. Misery loves company, and company is easy to find. The more crap that comes out of your mouth, the more people will line up to listen and agree. I have never seen a salesperson who is stinking it up willing to seek out and talk to someone who is knocking the cover off the ball. What would they say? “Hey dude, you are crushing it and I suck. I want to stand next to you to see how much I suck and feel even worse in my sucky little world!”

My son is 14 and every day I drop him off at school and tell him the same thing: “Think big, live large and you are in charge.” You are always in charge. If things are good, you are the reason, and if they are bad, you are the reason as well. If you allow even one excuse, you will allow a million.

One time, after a tough defeat in football, my son began to talk about how bad the referees were. I stopped him mid-sentence. I told him if he and his team were better, it would not have mattered. I told him to never blame the referees, coaches or anyone else to me ever again. I did not want to hear it and would not tolerate him promoting his victimhood to me. I told him that even if he thought it were true to not allow his mind to go down that path, because it would not support or grow him in the path of personal responsibility. Just stop it.

There is a fantastic and funny video on YouTube that I invite you to watch. It’s the comedian Bob Newhart playing a psychiatrist and, after a patient would tell him of her troubles, he would yell at her and tell her to “stop it.” Although, I know that not all problems are that easily solved, so many are just that simple. “Stop it.” Stop blaming, tolerating and allowing crap in your mind, your mouth and your life. You are not a victim, so stop it.

We all are human, and we are all capable of wallowing in a nice little pity party while wrapping ourselves in a blanket of shame and blame from time to time. It’s warm, comfy, makes us feel childlike and not in control. Unfortunately, you will never grow up acting like a baby. If your paycheck sucks, you suck. You might not have signed it, but you did fill in the amount. If your sales suck, it is not because the world is against you. The world did not wake up today and in unison say “Let’s make Mark’s world suck today.” Where you are today is exactly related to what you were thinking and saying yesterday.

Nobody goes through life unscathed. There are ups and downs and each up and down will support you in your future if you allow them. If you want to be successful, you must allow yourself to be successful. The first step in allowing yourself success is to take responsibility for wherever you are at, good or bad. Eliminate all images and messages of victimhood. Wherever you are at is perfect. It is exactly where you should be. Where you go from there is up to you.

If you would like my free Special Report “How To Break the Chains of Average,” e-mail me with the word “Average” in the subject to

Four Ways to Improve Your Meet and Greet Immediately

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Too often salespeople are being taught to have a “power greeting”. Salespeople have been traditionally taught to walk directly up to people, stick out their hand, aggressively give a firm handshake, exchange names and welcome them to your dealership. Sounds good, however let’s review potential pitfalls to traditional meet and greet approaches and how you may improve them.

People in out society have 3 general comfort zones: home, work, and vehicle. Most of us spend about 90+% of our time in these comfort zones. A dealership has never been considered a comfortable place to visit. When salespeople greet customers too strongly and then invade their personal space by pushing their hand out towards them, they intensify the uncomfortable feelings that usually occur. The old phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” is true. Therefore, we have to break down any existing barriers and make clients feel as comfortable as soon as possible.

Tip #1 – Recognize Proxemics (The relationship of physical distance among people and the resulting patterns of interaction and behaviors.)

When a salesperson reaches out to shake a customers hand when they first arrive, we are encroaching on their personal zone of space (about arms length). We are also increasing the customer feelings of apprehension and anxiety. Therefore, as a defense mechanism, the customer protects themselves by replying, “I’m just looking and shopping right now. But, I will come get you if I need you”. To counteract this, try greeting the customer a little quicker with your words, eyes, phrases and body language. Stop your physical approach about 3 to 5 feet away (social zone).

Tip #2 – Use the Pre-Framing Approach to your greeting.

If you know that 95+% of customers usually reply, “I’m just looking and shopping”, use their usual response in your greeting. Example – “Hi folks, are you out beginning to look and shop around a little bit?” This meet and greet pre-frames the usual negative response in a positive fashion. It now makes it hard for them to say, “No, we are just looking and shopping”. Also, you have given the customer the impression it is okay to look and shop. This makes the customer feel at ease and less pressured.

Tip #3 – Wait to exchange names and handshakes if possible

Most of the time, when a salesperson exchanges names and handshakes, neither the salesperson or the customer remembers each others names two seconds later, let alone an hour later. Because of the high level of apprehension and the human tendency to size each other up, neither the salesperson nor customer is focusing on the names as we exchange them. Therefore, we can’t remember what we don’t retain. If you observe handshakes during most meet and greet situations, when the hands fall to the floor, so do the names. By waiting for the apprehension to recede and for a little rapport to occur while profiling and conversing, the chances of both the salesperson and the customer of now remembering each other’s name increases dramatically. Try using the following acronym – CAR – Concentrate, Attend To, Respond. Concentrate as you greet people, Attend to their name when you exchange them and Reply numerous times using their name. Remember, contrary to popular belief, most people don’t feel comfortable shaking your hand in the beginning of the meet and greet.

Tip #4 – Anchor yourself positively before approaching a customer.

Your success as a salesperson depends upon your ability to stay in a positive selling attitude and convey that to each customer. Many of the customers and situations we face are not positive in nature and don’t result in a sale. Therefore, how you reprogram your brain immediately after a negative or lost sale is crucial. Before you approach a customer, try having a predetermined positive mental anchor to see in your minds eye. In your mind, picture a customer who has bought a vehicle recently that was delights. See them waving to you as they drove off in their new vehicle. As funny as that sounds, your actions and results in life are tied to your thoughts.

We must create as many RPE’s – Recent Positive Experiences as possible. Positive mental pictures can help you put a little slide in glide and a little pep in your step as you greet the customer. Positive, strong emotions, enthusiasm and humor are the keys to having your message heard. Positive anchors can assist you in better communication with your customer through better voice tone, voice inflection and body language. Remember, most sales are won or lost in the first five minutes! Continually look to improve your meet and greet to improve your results. Happy Selling!

Why Dealerships Struggle: Part 3

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

What is the plan at your dealerships for training your team members? If it is what I have seen at most dealerships, it’s not enough. As a matter of fact, if you are operating at the industry standard, it’s embarrassing. Dealerships that struggle always have people who are not trained enough or trained properly.

In 2011 NADA stated that the average automobile dealership in the US spent $654 per vehicle on advertising. How much per car was spent for training? I don’t know the exact answer but know but I know it was not much. In all struggling dealerships, the necessary capital requirements of time, money and effort have not been spent to create a winning team through better training.

Automotive buyers are far more educated than ever before, however the average dealership is operating at about the same training level that has always existed. Yes, the dealerships have more factory requirements for product training but that should be considered a given that all salespeople know the product. What I am talking about is what really improves your team and moves the needle. – Sales skills, people skills, life skills and marketing skills.

The majority of automotive dealers are far more concerned with their advertising and marketing than their people. That may sound harsh but it’s true. Many dealers talk about caring about their employees but do you really care about them if you are not giving them a chance to succeed. It may be that most dealers consider advertising and marketing as having an immediate pay back. Advertise today and see traffic tomorrow. Most dealers spend a ton of money to bring customers in the door but none on what to with them once they are there.

Many dealers are skeptical of investing in their people because of turnover. There seems to be a lot of skepticism around the ROI of training employees because they may spend money and then the employee is gone. This reminds me of the old saying “The only thing worse than investing in people who don’t stay is not investing in people who do.”

The other response I hear a great deal from dealers is, “I expect my managers to train my employees.” I would agree that managers should definitely train and train every single day. However, let’s look at that idea a little deeper and ask some questions.

#1 – What are your managers education and expertise in the area of training? Does being a manager mean you know how to train?

#2 – What all do you want your managers to train on? Are there many areas in people skills, life skills and marketing skills they wouldn’t know much about?

#3 – Are your managers getting done all the things you want them to do now? If they are not, are they most likely to take this additional duty on?

#4 – Is it smart to have all your training and education come from within your organization?

If you want to recruit, hire and retain really good employees then you must offer a road map for their future that includes training and career advancement. Good people are not looking for a job they are looking for a career, opportunity and a dream. Employees can find a paycheck anywhere but exciting dreams are hard to come by.

Take Enterprise Rent A Car as an example. Probably the best recruiting, dream-selling company there is. If you visit any Enterprise Rent A Car location you will find a college graduate, with proper attire, a big smile and intelligently working a trained process and actively pursuing their career goals.

Enterprise recruits hard on college campuses and offers a strong growth oriented career path. These college-educated and capable young folks are taking a rental clerk job because of a dream. The real numbers show that after two years a very large percentage of the employees leave after two years because they don’t believe the dreams are going to happen but the rest wind up doing very well within the company. Compare what an automotive career has to offer in compensation, career and rewards. An automotive career is light years above Enterprise Rent A Car. So why don’t dealerships get those types of people most of the time?

Most automotive dealerships never even try to get better people. Many are still stuck in the dark ages of running an ad in the newspaper when they NEED people. Secondly, most qualified job seekers would never have a clue about the career and money potential in the auto industry.  The hard truth is the prevailing culture and environment of most dealerships would not allow those dealerships to recruit, hire or retain better people. The whole environment is set up to recruit needy lower level people and perpetuate turnover. If that is not the case at your dealership you can accept my apology and my congratulations on the effort you are putting in to improve your professionalism.

If you don’t believe training works then look at McDonalds. McDonalds takes lower level potential employees and combines massive training and incredible process and gets consistent results in thousands of franchises. If McDonalds can train can you?

Confidence comes from competence. Competence comes from training which in action forms education. I have often referred to training as like sunburn that wears off. That’s exactly right and that is why training done every day becomes lasting education. Training is an everyday thing not a sometimes thing.

You must have full commitment from the leaders of your dealership to education with full accountability and no excuses. When this occurs you change the dynamic of your dealership into one of a better culture and winning mentality. Without constant education your dealership will always struggle. Winners educate and take action everyday.