How to train your dealership staff the right way

By Josh Cupit - Aug 09, 2021

As much as we’d like to believe that salesmanship is a natural-born gift,

...the truth is that as with anything else, it’s all about training. So what I’m about to tell you is going to sound crazy.

Forget training. When it comes to digital retailing and ecommerce tech, training isn’t your top priority.

Crazy, right? And yet, when we look at the dealerships who are thriving right now, their first step (after getting a digital retailing platform, of course) wasn’t training their team. It was defining the processes that would ensure success.

You’ve probably heard me and other industry figures impressing the need for good digital retailing platforms. These platforms were the way forward before the pandemic, and they’re rapidly becoming the standard in the automotive industry.

Thousands of dealerships and even a growing number of automakers have turned to omnichannel digital retailing tools to drive their businesses forward. Pre-approved “certified programs” encourage dealerships to join the trend by choosing an OEM-vetted platform.

It’s clear that digital retailing is here to stay,

...but the tool is just the beginning. As more of your competitors join you in digital enlightenment, choosing the right tool only gets you so far. After that, it’s your execution that differentiate your dealership.

The first step in a successful execution is to make sure that you have a true “omnichannel” platform. We know the stats about how many times customers bounce back and forth between in-store and online, even during a pandemic; it’s a lot.

Your online solution needs to allow customers to shop the “omnichannel” way: creating a deal in-store or online, and then seamlessly carrying on with their purchase as they weave back and forth between your store and your website. It all needs to feel like a single, frictionless experience. That’s where your process comes in.

Every dealership is different, and while I can’t tell you exactly how to define your personalized digital retailing processes, I can tell you this: the biggest pain points are the transition between online and offline, and the initial lead-handling procedure.

Online to offline is simple—the sales specialist should already know all the details about the digital shopping cart, and should take over where the website left off. This falls apart when leads aren’t allocated in an orderly and proactive way, starting with the very first point of contact.

So how do you fix that first point of contact and ensure a seamless customer journey?

If you haven’t guessed already, it’s your process. Whether it’s your BDC or your sales reps, or even your internet manager, you need to start by defining the person or people who will manage inbound leads, and then script the process from there.

This process should leverage your online sales platform to the fullest, enabling the customers to shop themselves rather than encouraging them to come and let you sell to them. Make them aware of the online flexibility, and help them through their digital purchase.

Of course, your team always needs to be available for the level of assistance the customer requires. Offer to guide the customer through the online process remotely, and make it clear that they can pick up their purchase in-store if they need a more personal touch.

In essence, you need to have a standard procedure that never makes a customer feel unsure of their next steps. If your car buyer feels confused by the process, or is subjected to a different experience online versus in-store, friction builds up and slows your momentum.

When your entire purchase is predefined, including the transitions between dealership and website, you not only keep the customer happy, but you make it easy to tweak your training and processes based on data—where the customers are falling off, what seems to drive the best engagement, etc.

That’s what your modern dealership needs to look like.

Build a data-driven process for everything, and then train your team to make the most of it. It’s simpler for you, more engaging for customers, and it sells more cars. This is your win-win-win opportunity. You can do it.

Since 2011, Motoinsight has been working with dealerships and OEMs to realize a new vision for the automotive industry through our leading solutions including MotoCommerce. If you’re ready to find out how your dealership can thrive in the digital future, visit Let’s redefine automotive retail, together.

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