Most dealerships out there won’t hesitate to drop several thousand dollars on an advertising campaign to drive more traffic into the store. They’ve got an advertising budget of 300…400…or even 600 dollars per car to sell more vehicles. Yet when you ask them what their training budget is they look at you like you are speaking Chinese to them.

Think about it….most dealers complain about how our staff handles our customers, yet we spend money to drive more traffic for them to mishandle. Is it the salesperson’s fault? Of course not! Our hiring process in the automotive world leaves a little to be desired. “If they can fog a mirror” is the phrase that comes to mind. We hire them, hope they will figure it out as we have them shadow a “senior salesperson” who probably has some terrible habits of their own. Doesn’t look like we are setting them up for success.

Is it the manager’s fault? Man, most sales managers are being asked to do more and more with what feels like fewer and fewer hours in the day. With a turnover rate of 70-100% at most stores, I think they are constantly on-boarding new staff with little opportunity to actually spend some time training.

So think about this. We will spend a ton of money on advertising to drive more traffic, we will hire just about anyone, throw them out there, and then complain when they don’t handle our customers as we would want.

I know the consumer does 19 hours of research and visits 1.2 stores so they are much more educated than ever before and maybe require less from our sales staff than ever. However, our goal should be 1. Not the .2 that they visit. People buy from people they like. A well-trained salesperson can overcome those objections and handle situations that poorly equipped salespeople crumble in. A study done by salesforce says that 71% of people base their buying decision on trust and believability. If our salespeople are fumbling over basic objections and can’t tell the difference between a stated objection and an actual objection, unfortunately, we are losing.

So what is the solution? A training seminar? Bring in a sales trainer for a day? There are problems with both of those. Research on the Forgetting Curve shows you that people will have forgotten 50% of what you’ve taught them within one day and 85% within a month. So no matter how good the trainer or how amazing the seminar was, nearly everything they learned is going to be forgotten.

Training isn’t something you did, it’s something you do. And that’s it. If we treat training as an event rather than a process, it will never stick and we will be constantly frustrated by the lack of results we are getting. The only way to get better at something is repetition. Repetition to the point where it is unconscious. Think about when you first started driving…your hands were 10 and 2, you checked your mirrors every 2 seconds, you read every sign on the road, you noticed every car next to you, you were hyper-alert. And now think about your drive home last night. You most likely didn’t pay half as much attention as you would have when you started driving. Shoot, you probably pulled into your driveway before wondering how you actually got home. It’s because you’ve done it thousands of times and at some point, it becomes an unconscious act. That is how we need to get with training our staff. It needs to be done so often and with such frequency that the staff handles objections without even thinking about it. When a customer says “your price is too high”, the salesperson’s response should come naturally. Just as if it were a normal conversation without even thinking about it.

So what is the solution? Training. Daily training. Role-playing. Sounds terrible, right? There are a ton of solutions out there to help train your staff, I’m not going to get into pitching my solutions on this. But just know that training your staff is more important than advertising. We have more business walk out the front door than we probably could handle if we could just close better. So, training your staff is garbage. But constantly training your staff is gold.

What happens if we invest all this time, money, effort, and energy into training and our salesperson leaves? I’ll pose this question to you, what happens if you don’t spend any time training them and they stay?

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