Talk about acceleration. Car dealers went from viewing the Internet as a business threat to considering their Web sites an essential part of operations -- in about a decade.
But who should be driving these increasingly important dealership tools?
That question looms large amid the rapid evolution of e-commerce in automotive retailing.
Ken Lees, with nearly 20 years experience working with dealers, decided to provide answers. His effort, too, is unfolding with Internet-like speed.
Lees, 42, of Virginia Beach, Va., designed a curriculum for training and certifying automotive Internet sales specialists.
The curriculum had a trial run in April with the Hampton Roads Automobile Dealers Association (hrada.com). Now, the training is going national.
The reason: "There are specific dos and don'ts of how to engage with a consumer utilizing the Internet," Lees says. The course tries to spell those out.
Lees developed the program with help from Evolve 1 Performance Development Group, of Houston, an automotive training company. Those attending the test paid $2,995 for the five-day class.