In the auto industry today, you typically have 2 choices when it comes to training your salespeople. You can either give them modules of videos accompanied by multiple-choice tests or you can send your salespeople to a general sales seminar. While these methods of training have no doubt been helpful in ramping up sales pros in the past, in this article we’re going to discuss the shortcomings of each and what needs to change in order to bring automotive sales training into the modern market.
The vast majority of dealerships that offer training to their salespeople opt into programs that consist of videos followed by multiple-choice tests. There are several positives to this kind of training that have kept it so prevalent in the industry. For one, it is fairly hands off meaning managers don’t have to take time out of their busy day to train sales pros and dealerships don’t have to hire trainers. It is also convenient for the sales pro taking it because they can go at their own pace through the modules and, since it’s entirely online, they can do it either at the dealership or at home. But, what is being sacrificed for the sake of this convenience?
- No clear path - The modules that today’s video training comes in don’t display a clear path from the beginning of the sale to the end of the sale. You are left to sort your own way through the modules and puzzle it together yourself.
- Doesn’t test for retention- It's important to understand the difference between retention and recall. Recall in simply reiterating information from memory and retention is how well you grasp the content of that information. Multiple-choice tests only test for recall, so there is no way to test if the sales pro has legitimately retained the information and can use it effectively on actual customers.
- Zero role-play - One of the most important ways to train new hires is through role-play because it most closely simulates what talking with an actual customer would be like. Unless you have managers going out of their way to role-play with your new hires, there are no role-play requirements incorporated into these video trainings.
Sales seminars, often referred to as “sales bootcamps” alleviate some of the issues we see with multiple-choice testing. Because they are in person, there usually are opportunities to role-play which tests the sales pros on retention rather than recall; however, seminars come with their own unique category of shortcomings.
- Price – Sales seminars are notoriously expensive. In fact, the top-rated sales seminars are priced at several thousands of dollars per ticket.
- Short-lived - Sales bootcamp typically only lasts for a long weekend which means the fantastic best practices like role-playing with others only last as long as the seminar does. Seminars do not provide the continuous training sales pros need.
- Not specifically for auto – To attract the largest crowd of people they can, most sales seminars are just that: general sales seminars. While a good amount of sales training can be applied to many industries there are specific procedures that need to be followed by automotive sales professionals which will not be taught at these seminars.
What the Industry Needs
The automotive industry needs the benefits of both of these training strategies in one: a convenient, time-saving technology that integrates retention testing through role-play. That is the real answer to training sales professionals right from the start and eliminating the massive turnover issue seen across the auto industry. Until the auto industry modernizes their training process to the standard that many other industries have raised their training to, we’re going to continue to struggle retaining new hires.
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