Provide your team with the auto sales training they need to be confident and successful
Buyers have relied on salespeople for centuries—and companies have relied on salespeople to make money. According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 14.5 million workers in our country are employed in “sales and related occupations.” And yet, you’ll be hard-pressed to meet someone who says they went to college and majored in sales. In many cases, if someone does go to college, they’ll stumble into a sales career at some point after graduation.
That means when you hire new salespeople at your dealership, they’re either totally green, or they’ve just learned through first-hand experience over the years. Neither scenario is unfavorable, but it does mean that if you want a team of salespeople that are all on the same page and have similar core competencies, developing and instituting auto sales training programs needs to be a priority.
Auto sales training: New hires vs. continuing education
Your auto sales training program will fall into one of two categories: new hires and continuing education. There are training programs you will want every single new hire to go through so you can feel confident that each salesperson gets the same foundation. Whether they’re seasoned sales reps or total newbies, you want each new hire to understand how your dealership handles sales from A to Z.
The other auto sales training programs you should develop will serve as continuing education for your existing sales team. You may notice some areas where your salespeople could use a little extra training, or you might want to keep them updated on marketing best practices or compliance changes. Either way, your sales team should always be improving their skills.
Programs for auto sales training to start in your dealership
How you decide to deploy these programs will depend on your dealership’s budget, technical know-how, and internal resources. Some dealerships will bring in sales experts to lead training programs, while others have an in-house trainer on staff; some dealerships may be tech-savvy enough to create online learning modules, while others may opt for an old-fashioned two-hour speech.
Adapt your auto sales training programs to what makes sense for your dealership. No matter what you decide, though, prioritize making your training programs interactive. There’s nothing that will bore your staff faster than listening to a trainer talk at them for an entire morning.
Group instruction is good, but find ways to work in role-playing and instituting a buddy system to give salespeople first-hand experience and hold them accountable. Incorporate video by creating your own, or borrowing from YouTube because videos are a fun, easy way to hold a trainee’s interest.
The following are some program ideas to get you started. They are not divided by new hire vs. continuing education because there are plenty of different ways you can set them up so that they cater to either crowd.
For example, the first program topic below is “Compliance awareness”—you could create one version of this program to introduce new hires to essential dealership compliance 101, and then create another version that reminds your existing salespeople about compliance issues and updates them on recent changes.
1. Compliance awareness
CAN-SPAM Act, the TCPA, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and other areas that compliance is essential.
2. Telephone training
How to answer different types of incoming calls, making outgoing calls, cold calling techniques, when you can and can’t call
3. Email training
Email etiquette and grammar, using CRM templates, customizing templates
4. CRM training
How to leverage the CRM to improve the customer experience and provide more personalized interactions
5. Closing the deal
Language to use and techniques for sealing the deal
6. About the dealership
Internal processes, how things run, history of the dealership, current employees, and hierarchy
7. Management training
An auto sales training program to bring an employee from salesperson to sales manager.
8. The wants and needs of different customer demographics
Getting salespeople to think about how different people may go through the sales process or want to receive information
9. Bringing in business
If too many salespeople just sit and wait for customers to walk in, teach them how to prospect and market themselves
10. Overcoming objections
Teaching salespeople how to get past common barriers to a sale
11. Product knowledge
Details about the makes and models your dealership sells, trends in the market
Tips for effective negotiation with customers
Once you’ve developed the content for your auto sales training programs, don’t forget to create test materials as well. Your salespeople will be much more likely to retain information during the training if they know there is a test at the end. Try to make the tests a combination of written questions and applying the learning in the field. It’s one thing if a salesperson can tell you on paper how to close a deal, and it’s another skill set entirely to take that knowledge and put it to work in a real life scenario.