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No Training, No Complaining

June 6, 2011

By the title of this column, you might assume that my message this month is directed at sales professionals, but it isn’t. What I want to do is drive home that message to those of you in decisionmaking roles, those of you in control of the information that flows to the employees on the frontlines of your stores.

Steve Jobs, Apple’s iconic founder, has an interesting quote that I often repeat when working with dealership decisionmakers. He said: “You cannot mandate productivity; you can only create a conducive environment where people can excel.” Unfortunately, this often is not the case.

It seems like many dealers spend a ton of time on the “what” and not nearly enough time on the “how.” These individuals use every meeting to hammer home the message that the dealership needs to sell more cars, conduct more customer follow-ups, and mine the customer database. Typically, the meetings end with them shouting, “Everyone needs more appointments for Saturday.” Unfortunately, that’s not going to get it done.

I speak to sales professionals daily. Some are past clients while others are longtime friends from my days on the sales floor. All of them seem to be telling the same old stories. So, I’d like to announce a new rule for you decisionmakers out there: If you don’t train, then you can’t complain about how slow business is, how you can’t find and keep good salespeople, how everybody seems to be giving cars away, and how frustrated you are about management refusing to use the new system correctly.

Training isn’t just about drills or word-tracks; it’s about process, procedure, creating a great culture, improving teamwork and leading the way. If your store isn’t producing at its potential, ask yourself: What new skills have you, as a decisionmaker, given to your team to help them be more successful?

I’m not talking about daily training sessions that recycle techniques from 30 years ago, nor am I talking about buying some new technology product or service to improve business. I want you to encourage you to be progressive and understand the human factor. Let me explain:

Expand or Become Expendable: It is my opinion that tough decisions will need to be made in the coming years, as the competition and flow of information increases and the attack on gross profit continues. I mean, how can we possibly do the same things today that we did 30 years ago?

Not long ago, I was told by a dealer that I was the first person in 11 years to conduct training at his dealership. Amazing, right? I mean, think about this: How much of that information you’ve learned about today’s customer or that new software solution actually trickles down to the sales team? An even better question is: How hard do you push to inject new ideas into the mix or encourage your people to take a fresh look at the way your store conducts business?

Say Hello to Gen Y: My guess is most of the people making up your sales team are in the dark about those customers who were born between 1981 and 1994. It’s unfortunate if that’s the case, because that market is 75 million customers strong. This is a generation that is four times more likely to respond to text messages than voicemails, and currently accounts for 25 percent of all car buyers. Most experts believe that percentage will increase to 40 percent in the next 10 years.

Now, those stats only skim the surface as to what motivates this generation. One thing you can be certain about is word-tracks such as, “What would it take to earn your business?” and “If I could, would you?” aren’t going to work on this generation.

It’s time to move forward, folks. It’s no longer about whether your team is good or bad; it’s about how we can get better. See, as the challenges become more sophisticated, so do the strategies needed to ensure continued success. The good news is, most problems can be attributed to a deficiency of knowledge, which can be corrected fairly quickly. And with the right long-term plan of action, it can be cured forever.

As a decisionmaker in a dealership, you control what information gets disseminated to the sales pros on the frontlines. So, I would ask that you make an effort to seek out a fresh perspective and treat your mind like an umbrella, which, as you know, works best when it’s open.

Cory Mosley is principal of Mosley Automotive Training, a company focused on new-school techniques, products and services. He also is the creator of the “Control Your Sales Destiny” seminar series. E-mail him at cory.mosley@bobit.com.

Comments

  1. 1. howell clark [ June 28, 2011 @ 12:55PM ]

    Cory,
    You are so right about not quite understanding why genY'rs will sit at a lunch table five or six of them and they all have the blackberry or similar tool out pounding away at the person across the table rather then looking up and talking to the person across the table from themselves. I have had to learn the autotrader, craigslist buyer and his or hers electronic communication gambit. I liked the jest of your article but it sure could have used a little more meat with it. I enjoy your column and the freshness of your approach.

  2. 2. Johannah [ February 15, 2012 @ 11:08PM ]

    That's an ingenious way of thininkg about it.

  3. 3. lzptcvoqyx [ February 16, 2012 @ 10:36AM ]

    cPUGxH <a href="http://tsoiykrjvvrr.com/">tsoiykrjvvrr</a>

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Author Bio

Cory Mosley

Dealer Consultant

Cory is a sales training specialist who brings a new-school approach to automotive retailing. Get his monthly take on the opportunities and challenges impacting today’s front-end departments right here at www.fi-magazine.com.

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