Are you tired of attending or offering sales training programs that produce some immediate benefits but fail to yield lasting and meaningful results?
Are you so jaded that you believe sales training is simply an expensive waste of time?
Well, if so, it’s not surprising. Most automotive sales training programs consist of one or two days of training, with little or no follow-up. Few are tailored to the needs of the participants, and even fewer involve any kind of follow-up. According to training impact studies, these programs may achieve some short-term benefits like increased knowledge, but they rarely produce long-term improvements in performance.
Given the way people actually learn, is that really startling? Would you expect your child to learn how to play soccer or master the violin after attending a two-day course? Of course not.
For training to succeed, it must be intensive, sustained, and applied. That’s because change is a process, not a one-time event. In addition, if you want to see real behavioral change receive a great return οn your investment, you need to ensure that the training uses proven adult learning and behavioral change strategies that not only boost your salespeople’s knowledge but also enhance their sales capability. This means a departure from the way most dealerships view sales training. Here are several things you can do to ensure that your sales training dollars are used wisely and achieve sustainable and real change in sales performance and productivity.
- Relevant content. Prior tο hiring a trainer, make sure that the training content matches your sales philosophy and is relevant to the workplace outcomes you are looking for.
- Active Engagement. Effective trainers inspire and actively involve their trainees. Look for trainers who understand the importance of motivation and use case examples, role-plays, secret shopper exercises, and other hands-on activities to engage their trainees.
- Ongoing training and support. Arrange for ongoing training that includes regularly scheduled follow-up sessions, along with conference calls, on-line discussion forums, webinars, and other mechanisms that help sustain motivation and promote continuous improvement.
- Coaching.For salespeople to integrate their learning into their daily interactions with customers, they need coaching and other forms of support from their managers. That’s why it’s important to demonstrate desired practices, observe your salespeople in action, and provide constructive feedback. Few people benefit from negative reinforcement.
- Collaboration. Since learning is a socially mediated activity, encourage your staff to work together to improve results. Creating a strong team improves morale, reinforces effective practices, and ultimately adds to the bottom line. If your dealership meets or exceeds its sales targets, both you and the sales team will receive tangible rewards.
- Accountability and Measurement. It’s important to track results. That means not just the number of units sold or the average profit per sale, but other measures that show where sales may be breaking down. For example, how often does the salesperson gather contact information, help the customer pick a vehicle from stock, take the customer on a test drive, begin negotiations, ask for a TO, or follow up with customers who leave the store without buying? Keeping track of these numbers allows you to fine-tune learning effort and make necessary adjustments in your training and support until complete behavioral change has been achieved.