Any experienced dealer or new-vehicle salesperson should know that the last three years have been anything but normal for the North American auto industry. Demand and profit levels have both been sky high and credit terms generous, while supply has been so tight that consumers found a new willingness to pay full sticker — and often more — just to secure a vehicle.
Oh well ... it was great while it lasted.
At their convention last week in Dallas, dealers found themselves facing an interesting question: Is it necessary to retrain their sales teams in the basics now when there may no longer be five customers waiting for every vehicle on the lot?
The answer is an unequivocal yes. Salespeople, consumers and dealers will benefit from the training investment.
At their core, franchised dealerships are a service business, and their fundamental product isn't a vehicle with four wheels, but a sales experience that mixes equal parts trust and advocacy with product knowledge and convenience. Dealerships should be a place where a consumer can become informed about their transportation choices and be able to act on that knowledge with confidence and security. They should be able to find out about financing options that best benefit them and to fully understand how all of the technology on their new vehicle works.
In short, done right, it's a tough job. And unfortunately, the largess of most of the last three years means that many new hires in automotive retailing don't know how the job is supposed to go, and those with more experience have probably forgotten how hard the job actually is to do right.