Are You Educating Your Staff?

Are You Educating Your Staff?

I wrote about this topic back in July. Educate Your Staff – Invest in Knowledge 

At that time I suggested that you organize a training program during the winter downtime. Well, did you? Are you already experiencing the fruits of your labor?

Hopefully, you did. But if you’re like a large portion of the industry you got caught up in the day-to-day and never implemented a program. Well, it’s not too late. There is still a little time to invest in your staff before the season gets into full swing.

And if you don’t have enough reasons this post on SMBCEO.com Why Invest in Training Your Staff gives you more reasons to get moving and do something.

So there you have it. Do something today to start a training program and schedule. Your bottom line will thank you for it.

Educate Your Staff – Invest in Knowledge

Educate Your Staff – Invest in Knowledge

This post first appeared on Powersports Business, July 18, 2017. 

Ben Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

“Investment in knowledge.” Truer words have never been spoken, but unfortunately, too many dealerships across the country look at education as an expense, not an investment. They claim they don’t have the time, it’s too expensive, or they just don’t know where to go and get it. They get caught up in the day-to-day of operating a business and as a result, continuing education is overlooked. I’m here to provide solutions to those excuses so your staff can acquire the knowledge they need. Knowledge to create a better experience for your customers and ultimately lead to increased sales and revenue for the dealership.

Here are the three excuses that most dealer managers use to avoid training or educating their staff.

Excuse #1. We’re busy and don’t have the time. This explanation seems valid. The dealership is running wide open each day, and it’s hard enough to find a chance to eat lunch, let alone sit down and learn something. Right? Well not so fast. What about a quick 15 minutes each morning while everyone is just getting their day started? Or 15 minutes at the end of the day?

Here is an idea that I think will be effective. Make each staff member present a sales technique or product demonstration; each morning could feature a different person. At first, let them decide what they want to demonstrate, but as everyone gets more comfortable with the task, assignments can be made featuring relevant products or techniques. Follow these sessions up with a monthly, more in-depth training session. Buy bagels before the shop opens or pizza after it closes, bring a distributor or manufacturer rep in have them teach you about their product.

Excuse #2. It’s too expensive. I’ve seen an interesting article to this point passed around LinkedIn recently. Person #1 says “What if we educate our employees and they leave?” Person #2 replies “What if we don’t and they stay?” You can’t afford to have an uneducated staff. Here is the reality of retail today. The education of your customer is greater than ever. They’ve done their research, and they know about the product they want to buy. Your staff needs to be the expert. They need to understand what they are selling inside and out. If all your employees are doing is taking orders, why would a customer not just place the order online from the comfort of their own home? A more educated staff adds value to your dealership.

Excuse #3. I don’t know where to get it. This one is by far the easiest to overcome. Education is everywhere.

Begin your search within the dealership. Ask your staff to cross-train each other. Look at the catalogs, brochures and sell sheets that the manufacturers provide. Reach out to the distributors and ask them to help. What about the manufacturer’s reps? Ask them to give training to your staff.

Look online. Manufacturers websites are typically full of information about the products and their features and benefits. Use this information to train your employees. YouTube is another great place to search for information. You can use this medium for more than product training. Sales techniques, marketing, social media, etc. You can take courses in just about anything online. You just need to look for it.

Don’t forget about industry events and seminars. The AIMExpo is hosting 32 sessions of training this fall in Columbus. Are you or your staff attending? If so, you need to make sure you sit in on these valuable sessions.

So all of these ideas are great but how do I implement a training program like this in my dealership? You simply do it. That’s right, take the first step and start. It will be difficult at first, and they’ll be mistakes along the way, but starting a program is the first step. It can be simple initially and then grow as you find the confidence and see the results.

If you already have an education program for your staff, I’d be curious to hear more about it. What are you teaching? What is your procedure?

Invest in your staff, and treat them right. Your customer will thank you.

Do you Attend Off Site Training Seminars?

Do you Attend Off Site Training Seminars?

Helmet House and Shoei recently hosted an off site training for their local dealers in the New York/New Jersey area. (Read about it here) From what I could tell it looks like it was pretty well attended and knowing the rep in the area I know for sure the information was valuable and on point. But, I can’t help to wonder how many dealers didn’t take advantage of this valuable sales tool.

How many dealer principles or general managers are so short sighted to see these seminars as time away from work for their employees instead of the valuable asset they are? I’d be willing to bet a pretty good amount are.

Over my 25+ years of powersports business experience I have seen these types of events come and go, mostly because of a lack of dealer participation. The vendors or manufacturers spend the time and money to set up these seminar, invite the local dealer staff and then conduct a seminar for 4 or 5 dealers. It’s just not worth the effort.

With more information being available online your customer is better educated, dealership staff needs to as well. Spending time researching and learning about the products in your store needs to be a part of your weekly tasks. The same as cleaning helmets, restocking shelves or doing inventor, product knowledge and education need to be an included task.

So how many shops integrate training as an ongoing initiative? Do you attend off site seminars?

I’m curious to hear your views. Let me know.

Create your own user feedback survey

As always the ideas expressed above are my own and I make no claims to the success or failure of implementing them. They are suggestions to make you think. Please vet all ideas against your business plan before implementing them.

Education – The Key to Success

Education – The Key to Success

Ben Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Truer words have never been spoken, but unfortunately, too many businesses across the country look at education as an expense, not an investment. Similar to my feeling about employees, not just dealer principles, attending trade shows, you’re front line staff needs to learn. There’s a similar saying when it comes to education that I’ve seen passed around LinkedIn recently. It’s something like this. Person #1 – What if we educate our employees and they leave? Person #2 replies what if we don’t and they stay?

Invest in your staff, and treat them right. Your customer will thank you.

The press release from Bell Helmets on Powersports Business sparked this article. They announced the introduction of a Dealer Training Website consisting of 5 modules ranging from brand education to specific model education.

We’ve already talked about some seminars being hosted at AIMExpo this year in a previous post, but with 32 sessions available over two days, there is sure to be something valuable for each member of your staff.

Other brands reply on in store education from brand reps, and the distributors often pitch in as well helping to train your staff on the features and benefits of their specific products.

And don’t forget about the internet. It’s chock full of information to use to your benefit.

How do I implement a training program in my dealership you might ask? You simply do it.

Start with a short 15-minute session during your weekly meetings. Assign a different staff member each week to conduct the training. Have them teach the rest of the staff the features and benefits of a product. Studies have shown that when you learn something to teach it later, you retain more knowledge and information. Set up a monthly schedule and hold each person accountable.

Follow that up with a monthly, more in-depth training session. Buy bagels before the shop opens or pizza after it closes, bring a distributor or manufacturer rep in have them teach you about their product. The investment will show in increased sales.

If you already have an education program for your staff, I’d be curious to hear more about it. What are you teaching? What is your procedure?

If you don’t, why not? It’s very simple to implement. Trust me your customers will thank you.

As always the ideas expressed above are my own, and I make no claims to the success or failure of implementing them. They are suggestions to make you think. Please vet all ideas against your business plan before implementing them.