The National Automobile Dealers Association is launching a computerized version of its Salesperson Certification Program that is less expensive and much less time-consuming than previous versions of the program.
The program will be unveiled at NADA's annual convention, Feb. 6-9 in San Francisco, said Scott McMasters, the program's marketing director.
The new program's study materials and tests are on CD-ROM, so the program requires no travel. The cost per dealership has been cut in half, to $649, and the per-person cost of $295 to $395 has been slashed to $99. Experienced salespeople can complete the revamped curriculum in about five hours, compared with three to four months for the old program.
McMasters said while many elements of the program have been changed, its goals are the same: to educate sales professionals, improve customer loyalty, increase trust from consumers and improve the image of dealership salespeople.
'The goal is to deliver a program that reaches a broader number of dealers and managers who want to improve their sales force and the reputation of salespeople in the industry,' said McMasters.
About 10,000 salespersons have been certified since the program began in April 1992. It was pitched to salespeople as a way to improve their professionalism and self-esteem.
Several nameplates, such as BMW of North America Inc., Oldsmobile and Buick, have encouraged dealership salespeople to earn certification, McMasters said.
The initial program took three years and $1 million to develop.
Like the previous program, the revamped curriculum covers ethical and legal practices and sales techniques, but all of the material is new or updated, McMasters said.
Among the new material is a segment that covers how to sell to customers who gather information on the Internet. Training in contract and warranty law and IRS cash reporting stipulations have been updated.
Under the program, salespeople who earn certification must be tested every three years to keep their certification, McMasters said. A person can be decertified if NADA receives three verified complaints against the person within three years, he added.
The program also was revamped in 1995 to include people from small dealerships and to attract more sales managers.