For Car Dealers, Training is not a Panacea; It’s a Punchline


Sales are flat – we need more training!

Turnover is up – we need more training!

Grosses are down – we need more training!

We just got a bad review – we need more training!

Salespeople aren’t making their calls – we need more training!

I can almost hear Jan Brady now: “Training, training, training!”

Somehow, training in automotive retail has evolved from “one of a few important tools dealers use to gain a competitive advantage” to “the cure for anything and everything.”

If you’re like most everyone else in automotive who thinks “more training” is the answer to what ails you, I hate to break it to you: training is not a panacea; it’s a punchline. The word itself has become a meaningless excuse thrown around by vendors, managers and even your OEM to explain why industry turnover grew while sales were up or why new car margins continue to shrink.

Training is not only a punchline, it’s become a tongue-in-cheek drinking game on the popular Auto Dealer Live weekly show:


We have enough training in automotive. In fact, I would argue, we have too much training.

By my observation, no industry wastes more money training and retraining their salespeople than automotive retail. Of course, we have to, because turnover is a bigger problem today than it was at the height of the recession. (New salespeople need to be trained, right?)

Every dealership has drawers full of Cardone, Ziegler, Verde and Stuker tapes, CDs and DVDs… and we need more what?

We have more conferences and executive summits and road shows and industry meetings and boot camps and battle plans than any other industry… and we need more what?

You’d never expect to hear someone say “We’re drowning – we need more water!” would you?

Dealers don’t need more training; they just need someone to reinforce the training that’s out there. Dealers continue to buy training, but fail to reinforce the training once a consultant like me leaves the lot. Training won’t cure the issues that everyone in the industry will face when the market softens; but rules, processes and accountability will.

You see, what dealers really need to do is solve their turnover issues. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: solve your turnover issues, and everything else in the dealership is a cakewalk.

Call me if you’re willing to reinforce the training I provide your team, but first consider all of the free car dealer training resources out there and start working on solving dealership turnover… by then, of course, you probably won’t need to call me.

Good selling!

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