Thanks to the internet, customers are savvier and more informed than ever. At the same time the automotive industry is constantly changing and innovating. In fact, in the automotive industry, customers spend an average of 14 hours researching before buying a vehicle. Hence, when they walk into a dealership they expect someone with at least the same amount of knowledge as them so they can be advised properly.
Therefore, dealers need to make sure salespeople are up-to-date and even more knowledgeable than car buyers to reach their sales targets.
To keep car dealership staff a step ahead of shoppers, include the following in their training:
- The features of each make, model and their unique value proposition.
- The options that every vehicle offers.
- Vehicle's certifications, what are they and what do they mean?
- Proof points about your price. To be able to compare them with the competition.
Moreover, a study made by MaxDigital about the automotive industry reveals that 76% of dealers have hired people without any automotive experience at all. While 62% said they've even hired people with any type of sales experience. That makes it even more important to prepare your salespeople. When they are trained and armed with all the information they need, they feel more confident and empowered to perform well.
Source: 2018 MAXDigital Survey
Without adequate training, sales processes and the approach to consumers, salespeople will slack on performing well. Hiring inexperienced salespeople and not providing a proper training results in high turnover rates and makes it more challenging to reach sales goals.
If that wasn't enough, as stated by a recent study, the average cost of recruiting, training, and the loss of productivity for each salesperson is $45,000 in the automotive industry. That gives training a higher priority than reaching sales targets because if salespeople are not prepared they won't be able to sell.
Investing in employee training allows dealerships to offer professional development programs that increase their:
Ultimately, all of this translates into lower turnover rates and improved sales performance, hence increasing sales and customer satisfaction.
Offer customized training to dealers
As the manufacturer you likely developed product knowledge material and espouse the expertise to train and educate dealers. To deliver this value to your dealerships create educational and training material in formats that are easy to understand and communicate to their salespeople. Keep in mind their needs and learning preferences, providing them with choices that fit into and around their work schedule.
Technology allows asynchronous access to knowledge and in different formats. Digital learners prefer to watch videos while others prefer audio, interactive sites, webinars or video chats. On the other hand, traditional, synchronous educational methods allow for in-person interaction and clarify doubts in real-time.
Considering these two profiles, you can prepare your educational content in two formats:
- Digital: they embrace new technologies to learn
- Traditional: prefer face-to-face, aren't digitally savvy or don’t have access to devices
Technology-based learning solutions
Technology is continuously evolving in both the automotive and learning technologies industries. The automotive sector is just getting up-to-speed implementing social and collaborative tools. Voice over IP conferences, virtual meetings, apps, and webinars have provided an easy way to connect learners in different locations with trainers or with their peers.
Keeping up the pace is a challenge so you need to take advantage of these technologies to speed up the learning process of your salespeople. A mobile learning technology like gamification apps are a good example of how you can use technology for your corporate training.
Leveraging gamification to train your salespeople will allow you to test their knowledge and let them learn about:
- Product knowledge
- Sales skills
- Company knowledge (values, mission, etc)
- Customer handling/service at the dealership
- Onboarding training
- Internal systems and processes
- Automotive compliance training
- Marketing content
Moreover, according to research, gamification increases employees' engagement. As a result, companies experience higher productivity and employee retention because they are knowledgeable and accountable for their own progress.
Having your employees motivated and engaged increases their performance, which translates to more capable salespeople, happier buyers, and a more productive dealership.
If you're ready to go the extra mile, try virtual training. But first you need to know if the dealerships are ready for it. Therefore you want to know if the staff is:
- Tech savvy
- Keen to innovate
- Non-resistant to changes
Dealership salespeople will have access to virtual learning environments where they can train with simulated customer meetings in the car dealership. Virtual learning has several benefits:
- It allows them to put into practice all they've learned before without interacting with real customers.
- Salespeople will be confronted in the virtual dealership by demanding customers and learn how to react in different scenarios.
- Sales veterans in the dealership can help by transferring them their particular knowledge and experience to deal with any complex situation they may face in the virtual training.
- It is a fun and dynamic environment where salespeople can learn and satisfy their curiosity dealing with customers in different ways.
- Reinforce the knowledge acquired through the gamification apps and other technological solutions.
Using the right technological training tools, your salespeople will be ready to sell your vehicles and customers will be much more satisfied.