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The Death of the Traditional Dealership: Part 5

The average dealership hires a salesperson and, after a brief introduction of paperwork, allows the salesperson to begin talking to and selling to their customers. Some dealerships may send the salesperson to a meeting room to watch a series of perfunctory training videos and then cut them loose on the showroom floor to sell. Either way, the day of unleashing an untrained salesperson on a well-trained customer is dead.


The days of counting on a steady stream of traffic and allowing salespeople to train through trial and error are over. The margin for error has been erased. The customers are now unforgiving in having salespeople on the job train at their expense. The customers, through the use of the Internet and their information gathering, have driven the competition for their business to another level.


Selling can no longer be taught solely as features and benefits. Selling is an educational, experiential process won by salespeople and dealerships who have worked diligently at becoming a category of one. A new salesperson with a lack of intense education — from cradle to grave of their careers — is doomed to failure or mediocre results at best.


No longer can dealership leaders allow the idea to permeate their business philosophy that veteran salespeople can’t, won’t or don’t need to be trained. The marketplace is unforgiving and cares only about results. An experienced salesperson without continual updated information and education is no better, and often worse, than an untrained new salesperson. The meaning at the root of the word “sell” is “to serve.” At least a new salesperson usually has an attitude of servitude that may be lacking in an often jaded but experienced salesperson.


Death is a cessation of movement and an unwillingness to adapt and accept change. Today’s marketplace demands that businesses be staffed with team members who display “teachable spirits.” Dealerships who wish to be in a position to compete for a customer’s business will have an intense written, communicated and required game plan for continual education.


The average technician in a dealership can have tens of thousands of dollars invested in education, tools and tool boxes. What about your salespeople? What investment is the salesperson making in his tools? What investment is the dealer making in that person who, with one bad contact with a customer, can in the short term cost the dealer thousands of dollars and, in the long term, hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Education is not a sometime thing but an everyday habit. Doctors, lawyers and brain surgeons don’t stop educating themselves upon graduating from school. Would you want a doctor to operate on you who has not been trained on the latest techniques and best practices? I once had a dealer tell me they were waiting to see if a salesperson was going to make it in the business first before investing in him. The only thing worse than investing in a salesperson who does not make in the business is not investing in a salesperson who does make it in the business.


For a free special report “10 Things Your Dealership Must Do To Be Successful” e-mail me at with “10 Things” in the subject line.

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