Over the past few decades, we’ve seen an amazing evolution in many facets of the automotive industry. However, one of the biggest problems automotive professionals face is the lack of employee retention, especially among salespeople. We speak to dealers about these issues all the time, and when we bring up sales training to help reduce employee turnover, we usually get two answers. The first one we hear a lot is “we have sales training that we’re happy with and we feel is more than adequate.” In reality, this process usually consists of basic manufacturer training and having a manager or experienced salesperson showing them the process of finishing a car sale. After a few days of that, the salesperson is left on their own to make sales.
The second response we hear often is “sales training is a waste of money, why invest time, money and effort knowing how high the turnover rate is of salespeople in our industry?” While we understand the logic of that thinking, we do believe that lack of sales training is actually the root of the problem. Lack of training, guidance and mentorship leaves salespeople feeling isolated, often causing them to go work somewhere else.
In order for someone to be a successful car salesperson, basic manufacturer training and learning how to deal with common objections aren’t enough. If you want to have incredibly well-trained salespeople and reduce your turnover rate, you’re going to want to implement the following 6 things in your training program.
Every salesperson needs to know the ins and out of their products in order to sell effectively. In automotive, this is especially important as most customers come to the dealership with knowledge of the vehicles they’re interested in through online research. For this reason, you need to know more than the basic features of the vehicles that are found online. Make sure your salespeople get the opportunity to test out all of the vehicles. This means using the Bluetooth infotainment system, learning how to use the adaptive lane assist and any other features of the vehicle. Having to figure these things out in the middle of a customer demo is not a good look.
When customers come to your dealership, you need to treat them like they are your number one priority while maintaining a professional demeanour. Your sales team should not speak to customers as they would speak to their friends, they shouldn’t swear or use slang and they certainly shouldn’t get defensive/hostile when the customer has an objection. Keep your interactions with customers friendly, informative and courteous and you’ll see a lot more success. Find someone senior in your sales team who does this well and have them teach the newcomers how to do the same.
A great thing about CRMs is that most of them have their own learning platform for your new salespeople to get familiar with navigating the CRM. It should be mandatory at your dealership that every new sales member needs to complete the learning program and demonstrate they understand how to use the CRM. A salesperson who is comfortable with their dealership's CRM is a more time-efficient and organized salesperson. This allows them to easily follow up with leads, stay in contact with customers, find information about a particular customer and so much more.
If you really want to show your sales team you care about their growth you have to be willing to invest in outside training for them. If they come to you asking for you to cover the costs of a particular sales course, consider buying it for them as long as it's not incredibly expensive. This should do wonders in reducing the turnover rate at your dealership because your team will truly feel like you're investing in their development. Here are a few training resources that we recommend:
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