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Stop Wasting Your Money on Phone Training!


Stop Wasting Your Money on Phone Training!

Wait… what? Did I just read what I think I read? 

Yep. One of the biggest wastes of money I see for most dealers today is the $1,000 to $5,000 every month they shell out for outsourced phone training. Whether the budget is used for interactive online phone training videos or phone mystery shops or some outdated DVDs, most dealers are just throwing their money away. Given this, if you’re looking for ways to save money in the face of market softness, I honestly recommend (for most of you) that you eliminate your outsourced phone training expenses before you cut a dime from your marketing budget. While it’s true that I am in the business of training and consulting with dealerships, groups and even OEMs on everything from digital marketing to (you guessed it) how to dominate on the phones, I am indeed advocating that most of you eliminate the expense of phone training.


Simple: it’s not working. Your team is NOT getting better on the phones. They’re not doing a better job of overcoming objections on the phone. Your turnover has NOT improved because you’re spending all this money to train your team. Your unit sales from phone activities (Phone Ups and outbound calls) have NOT increased. You’re wasting your money. Heck, I’d rather see most dealers spend their training budget on something tangible – like billboards on bus benches!


The Definition of Insanity: Paying for More Phone Training

Tell me if this true story sounds familiar: Five years ago, the owner of a small group was lamenting to me about how his sales teams “stunk” on the phones, so he hired an outsourced training company to provide online phone training, monthly phone mystery shops, and one-on-one reviews for his salespeople. For the past five years, he’s used this outside company to train his salespeople on how to sell more cars by winning on the phones; paying more than $100,000 in the process. Today? He laments that his teams “stink” on the phones. Rinse, lather, repeat. I read a LinkedIn post recently that quoted some interesting sales call statistics apparently used in a variable operations class at the NADA Academy. Here are the lowlights of those stats:

  • 90% of calls end with no appointment
  • 63% of salespeople do not ask for an appointment
  • 67% of salespeople do not ask for the prospect’s name

Wait… what? Doesn’t the average dealer spend thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars every year to improve their team’s phone skills; including dollars thrown at technology like call monitoring and call management? Moreover, hasn’t this monetary commitment to telephone dominance been going on for decades in the auto industry?

Yes and yes. Of course, this begs the question: Given that most salespeople still “stink” on the phones even after decades of expensive phone training, shouldn’t we try something new?


The Lack of Progress should be Maddening!

The paradigm with respect to ongoing sales training has to shift at the dealer level. What dealerships are asking for from outside trainers – for example, to teach individual salespeople how to answer the phones – should be driving owners and dealer group executives crazy. In every other industry, this is the job of the sales managers. For dealers, all the Stuker Tapes, Joe Verde CDs and Cardone Online Videos aren’t going to make your team any better on the phones until your sales managers clear their schedules of busy work and start working on sustainable skillset improvements with their subordinates.

Personally, I would much rather be consulting with dealers on how to improve processes to accommodate self-desking, or to become an “Our Price” store, or figure out online F&I and digital retailing. These represent our future growth and they’re here now; but most dealers just want me to teach their salespeople how to answer the phones. By the way, that’s why I put my video sales training online for anyone to use at no charge. Dealers are better off grabbing basic training content for free and using their training budgets to pay for someone to help them create truly great buying experiences – online and offline. … Or, they could use those budgets to pay for bus bench billboards – at least that way they can see their investment working as designed. Good selling!

Steve is the author of Assumptive Selling: The Complete Guide to Selling More Vehicles for More Money to Today’s Connected Customers;" as well ...