Five Low-Cost Resources for Dealers and Their Employees to Stay “Skilled-Up”


Training and professional development are essential to staying up-to-date on industry trends. From new automobile technologies to consumer buying habits, the automotive industry is forever changing. While everyone can agree that training is more than appropriate for dealers, it is no secret that it is a challenge to find helpful resources, conferences, and workshops that are affordable. Staying “skilled-up” should not always break the bank. Therefore, here are five resources that can help dealers gain new skills and offer training to employees without costing an arm and a leg. Take a look at the below resources and feel free to share them with colleagues.

Industry Webinars

There are a number of dealer-friendly websites that provide free webinars, eBooks, and online workshops for auto dealers to utilize. Force Marketing, Podium, and CDK Global address issues like website optimization, attracting millennial shoppers, customer retention, email marketing, and using data to increase sales. CDK Global does have a paid training plan that dealers can take of advantage for more extensive training, but all three mentioned above have free resources for dealers to jump right into. CBT News also includes numerous helpful videos that touches on topics such as sales best practices, customer communication, and various online marketing strategies.


2018 is shaping up to be an excellent year for conferences aimed at providing professional development and networking opportunities for auto dealers. While some of these may not include room and board, everything else that is included with the registration cost is definitely worth taking a look at.

  • 2018 NADA Show and Expo – This in-person workshop event includes over 100 education sessions taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada from March 22-25 in 2018. Attendees can earn CEU credits, join six different workshop tracks, and participate in peer-led and collaborative discussions. Workshop tracks include: dealer/executive, employee recruitment, digital and traditional marketing, legal and regulatory, fixed operations, and variable operations. The cost for members to attend between now and March is $400.
  • Digital Dealer 24 Conference and Expo – An event sponsored by Cox Automotive, this conference is attended by 90 of the 100 U.S. Dealership Groups. Sessions address topics such as maximizing human capital, e-commerce and CRM strategies, digital and traditional marketing methods, and dealership growth best practices. Next year’s will be held in Orlando, Florida from April 10-12. Registration pricing has not yet been released.

Training Programs

If dealer do not have the time or resource for a multi-day conference, there are still many options for those who still want to “skill-up.”

  • Marketing, User Experience, and Coding Courses with General Assembly – General Assembly provides in-person workshops and online classes for people who are looking to learn new skills in digital marketing, entrepreneurship, coding, and user experience website design. They have brick and mortar buildings located in most major cities, and during each quarter they have a select amount of free in-person workshops as well as three-hour courses below $50 per person. They also provide considerable discounts for first-timers.  This is a great low-cost option for dealers who want to give their marketers a chance to pick up some new skills for their professional development and to contribute to the dealership’s overall marketing plan.
  • NADA University – The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) developed a university for on-demand dealership training. Workshops include real-world training, simulations, and assessments. If a dealer has a 1 to 299 sales volume, then annual dues are $205 to $315 per year which is roughly $17 to $26 a month. This offering by NADA allows dealers to give employees the opportunity to receive on-demand training using their personal computers. Even if a dealer cannot afford to send everyone to an annual conference or pricey workshop, this is a great way to make up it and still keep employees up-to-date on industry practices at a low cost.
  • CBT Automotive Network – CBT News has a ton of resources for in-house training and staying up-to-date on industry trends. One that can definitely benefit dealers and their staff are the Straight Talk video sessions. David Lewis, national trainer and automotive retail industry consultant, host videos that address everything from helping dealerships stand out from the crowd and adopting methods that can facilitate lasting growth. Also to be noted, Car Biz Today magazine, a monthly publication also available in digital format. 

There are a lot of resources dealers can take advantage of to keep themselves and employees current on industry trends, and learning new skills. Approximately 74 percent of employees feel they are not achieving their full potential at work, and seven out of ten employees feel that training and professional development opportunities inspire them to stay at a company. Therefore, it is essential to provide as many chances as possible for training and helpful resources. The above are a few ways dealers can do this at a lower cost.