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Why is Training Like a Gym Membership

Ugh, the “gym membership….” Half the battle is making the conscious decision to get that gym membership. But make no mistake, just because we have a gym membership doesn’t mean we use it. Well, the same can be said for training. While you do have training in place for your Managers, Consultants, Agents, etc., it doesn’t mean your teams are taking advantage of it, using it or actually deploying it. And if they are, it doesn’t mean they’re doing it properly. If your teams aren’t engaged or following the programs to improve their performance, the “training” is nothing more than that Gym Membership I have, but don’t use. It’s on my keyring but I’m not losing any weight!

How to Get Past the “Gym Membership” Mentality and Make Training A Priority

One of the biggest issues we face at the dealership is consistency. Where you’ve finally made a move to acquire training but don’t take advantage of the program. Or worse, your sales consultants don’t take the time to complete the follow-ups or coaching sessions. This isn’t an uncommon problem and usually stems from the lack of engagement from management. As the GM, it’s your job to paint the bigger picture to your managers. Making sure they fully understand the value of training and how it can help them. Think about it, how many times do your Sales Managers wind up having to “take the deal over” because they’re not confident in the Sales Consultants capability to close the deal? Yet, instead of being on board with training, most would rather complain about the same old issues. Until your Sales Managers are fully invested in the intrinsic benefits of training, they’ll continue to get the same results. The reason behind the reason: maybe they don’t want the microscope on them? That’s why most initiatives “are a great idea” at first but then go down in flames after the honeymoon…. It’s human nature to be scared of change; even positive change is change.

Habits take Twenty-One Days to Form – How to Stick with the Program and Keep Up with Your Membership

Taking the leads away until they complete the program is counter-intuitive, contrary to popular belief. They can’t get better at answering leads or communicating with customers if they don’t have the experience. Instead of taking the leads away, let them answer the leads, but make sure to hold them accountable with the training program. And sure, we’ve all experienced the sales consultant or BD Agent who said, “well, I was having a bad day” or “that shop wasn’t realistic. They were just wasting time.” But if we take a step back to evaluate those statements, there’s a glaring problem. That is this: they’re not taking the program seriously. Let’s be honest, regardless if it were a mystery shop or a “real” customer, how many “real” customers have they had the same “issues” with and let slip through the cracks because they were “having a bad day” or “the customer wasn’t serious?” If we let the Sales Consultants or BD Agents have that mentality – then no, the training will not work. But how many sales are we willing to “lose” until we have the mindset that monthly training is important? And until someone creates the “crystal ball,” I don’t know anyone that can accurately describe a “buyer” to me, what about you?

The most important part of getting your Sales Consultants to be consistent with a training program is to build goals. If you were to take a minute and look at their closing rates and missed opportunities, you could create attainable goals for them to meet. And as you review the “missed” opportunities, you can break down their biggest training opportunities. But make no mistake. Having clear, attainable goals helps your Sales Consultants see the potential, and as they continue to train, they will see the results. KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) isn’t just a buzzword used by MBA’s. It’s a way of life. Blood pressure is a form of KPI, ideal body weight is a form of KPI, the grading scale in school is a form of KPI, name it. KPI’s are all around us and have been since the day we opened our eyes yet magically they seem to stop once certain professions are chosen.

Bottom Line: It’s one thing to have a training program, and it’s a whole other “thing” to make sure your teams are using it to improve their skills. If they’re not using it or aren’t engaged, the answer is not to “cut” training, either. The solution is to ensure they understand the importance and value the training has to offer. Creating clearly defined goals and benchmarks for your Sales Consultants to meet. At which point, as the GM, you can hold your Sales Managers accountable for their Sales Consultants performance. This goes for the top performers too. Even those who do use their memberships still need to go to the gym regularly. Why? Well, they know there are other areas they need to improve or work on and it’s not something that simply “stops.” Training shouldn’t be seen as “negative” or as if they’re not performing. You can perform and still train, no? Athletes do it. At my gym, for example, the most physically fit men and women not only show up regularly but they also have a personal trainer with them!

For those that are gym enthusiasts, it’s all about your “form.” Not having the right “form” can hurt your results, or worse yet, injure you. So even your top performers need to have the right “form.” That “form” on the dealer level is training. You can have the best intentions and enthusiasm in the world, but if your “form” isn’t there, you’re not going to realize the desired results. Let’s start using that membership and build the right form and technique so when we’re working with the customers each and every outcome has much greater likelihood of success.

Are you ready to start using your membership?
An innovation-driven business executive with over 25 years of experience delivering leadership to teams of up to 75 overseeing development, launch, an...
We struggle with this.

As my role has shifted to more training this year, I've learned that if I work ground up, from sales up to managers, it fails. I've also learned that if I work down, from managers to sales people, it fails. Impossible predicament you say? Yes, I'm taking the approach of immediate improvement by targeting front line internet sales teams but at the same time, training the managers on how to continue what I'm doing with their sales people. This heavily relies on timing and momentum which is maybe the flaw but it seems to be working so far (still a ways to go).

In your gym scenario, which makes be feel crappy about canceling my membership..., I feel like I'm the Gym manager actively training both the member and trainer at the same time. This allows me to show the member how the lift is made, while the trainer is watching me interact with the member. I can then also speak to the trainer while showing the member how I'm training the lift while the member sees me speak to the trainer on what they need to be looking for. Zoom is key here in order to gather all parties needed as it would be impossible for me to physically hit all stores.

I am also in the process of creating training videos (15 to 20 of them) for most aspects of internet sales and management. I'm approaching those as merely the base reference for our processes and will need to emphasize that they alone won't "fix" an issue. Real-time manager involvement OTJ is key but they'll be able to view the videos if they need to get back to basics.
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That's well said and not uncommon whatsoever. It's been my experience that starting with buy in from the top is the best course. Once they have given the green light then a plan needs to be outlined, approved and it needs to include KPI's, checks and balances and of course performance measurement along with trend reporting. After this is all "blessed," content is next and keep in mind, everyone learns differently. Some visually, some audibly and others situationally by actually doing, visa vi role plays. It also helps to have the to have the industry data to justify why you're working on the specific pieces on which you're working.

For Example: Here's how you want to give directions after you set an appointment, landmarks, car parked, walk into the store, front desk, etc. Not just street names, north and south, etc. Also, be sure to explain "pass up the first gate and turn right in the second gate" sort of things. The good/bad part about this is the first time you hear it some will think "this is stupid" but after listening to 1,000 calls from an outbound BDC following up with missed appointments just over 10% of them had issues with this and they actually were on their way, got close or could describe the building/lot but couldn't figure out the maze to the front door!

Another response to something as simple as giving proper directions is "they'll use google." Sure they will, google has satellites and everything, right? Have you ever used google as a civilian going to a dealership that's on an auto mile? Or how about in an auto mall? I know plenty of people that think the new Colorado IS the Tacoma and vice versa. Show me one salesman that won't perform a proper walk around and test drive on his product if the prospect shows up by mistake and I'll show you one horrible salesman.
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