LAKE MARY, Fla. – Applied Concepts, an auto dealership sales and performance training company, has officially rolled out its new and updated slate of training programs, courses and coaching products for frontline employees of auto dealerships. The new programs are designed to reflect modern retailing and the way in which today’s auto consumers shop for vehicles in an ever-evolving marketplace.
The new training and coaching curriculum reflects an approach incorporating both the “educate and inform” and the often overused “command and control” methods of communicating. Numerous studies have shown this blended approach is the most effective way to interact with today’s auto consumer.
“Sales methods in the automotive industry have largely remained unchanged for decades despite the constantly evolving way in which consumers purchase cars,” said Jason Jones, CEO of Applied Concepts. “Dealerships that take a more customer-centric approach to sales and adapt to how the modern auto consumer shops for and purchases vehicles will see a significant impact on their bottom line.”
Applied Concepts was founded in 1983 and became one of the top providers of sales training programs for auto dealerships. In 2019, Jones, along with a growth-oriented Boston-based private equity firm, acquired the company with the mission of turning it into the definitive source of training in the automotive industry by completely renovating the company’s training programs, adding new services and hiring several auto industry veterans.
Also new is the company’s e-learning platform that gives dealership employees the opportunity to learn visually with video content and interactive activities. Applied Concepts also introduced a series of elective courses to complement the core program that provide training in multichannel communication, cross-selling sales and services, supporting F&I and other topics central to the strategic objectives of dealerships. A human resources track and cybersecurity program were also added as new offerings.
A study evaluating the company’s new training and coaching programs at a 30+ location auto group showed a 14% increase in gross profit, a 15% increase in the appointment-show rate, a 43% increase in securing contact information, a 29% increase in customers asking for appointments, a 23% increase in discovery questions and a 41% increase in appropriate calls-to-action. Overall, the auto group showed a return-on-investment of 10.9x over the cost of the training and coaching programs.
The company’s current programs, offered through live, one-on-one remote training and coaching sessions as well as the e-learning platform, include:
- Modern retailing: A core program that improves frontline employees’ communication skills and a customer-centric approach to sales.
- Elective courses: Topics such as multi-channel communication, developing long-term customers, cross-selling sales and service, maximizing trade-in profits and how to support finance and insurance.
- Coaching action plan: A customized plan to ensure the training is responsive to and fulfilling its unique strategic objectives and goals.
- Call evaluation: Assess and better identify coaching needs using live recorded calls or generated mystery shopping calls.
- Individual coaching: Provides one-on-one training and coaching to employees to help them improve in specific areas of communication and sales.
- Maximizing leads: How to most effectively turn leads into sales, including navigating online sales platforms.
- Cybersecurity/HR: Courses and training on how dealerships can better secure their data and online operations; human resource training on diversity, harassment and other employee-related topics.