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Have Your Managers Been Taught to Teach? – Paul Cummings

Who’s teaching the managers and trainers at your dealerships in order to make sure that employee training is effective? In part three of our interview series with Paul Cummings, we talk about effective training in your sales department, how to keep training current and informative, and the importance of giving your managers the necessary resources.


Paul: How many you got out? How many you got out? How many you got out? How many you got out? Here’s what’s going on. Here’s how many we’ve got coming this . Why’d you park your demo? This is the new year’s cars that came in, this is our goal for the day. Bill’s number one sales person, he always is, give Bill a hand. How many you got out? One. How many you got out? A half. How many you got out? His other half. How many you got out? His other half. We’ve been doing that forever.

Jim: I know.

Paul: You know why we do that? Cause that’s how we were managed.

Jim: That’s how we were managed exactly.

Paul: So here’s what’s unfair. When’s the last time a dealership … seriously think about this, sent a sales manager to a communication class to teach them how to teach? It’s an art form.

Jim: There’s not question.

Paul: Right. So, if you sit down with a sales manager and I hope you’ll let me cover this ’cause this is really important to me ‘cuase I care about those guys.

Jim: Yeah.

Paul: If I sit down with a sales manager whose never been taught to teach and I said, “Okay let me ask you a question. What’s your learning objective for the class?”

Paul: He’ll go, “What do you mean learning objective?” “Well every class has to have a learning objective.”

Jim: Right.

Paul: “Well my learning objective is to teach my sales people how to handle the, I want to think it over objective.”

Jim: “Okay great. Now let me ask you this, what is the delivery method you’re going to use today? Are you going to use circle train, are you going to use rotation role play, or you going to do I say you say, are you going to do voice mnemonics, or are you going to use a visual aid?”

Paul: By now you’re getting the glazed deer in the headlight looks.

Jim: Right.

Paul: Cause you’ve lost them.

Jim: Exactly.

Paul: For the most part, for the most part. Really there’s some people that have a natural gift to speak.

Jim: Right.

Paul: That’s not the same thing as teaching.

Jim: I know.

Paul: You have to know how to design these classes. So what we’ve tried to do is we have these 20 minute templates already built for our dealers. Here’s the learning objective, here’s the style, here’s how you start, here’s your teachers guide, here’s what you say, here’s how you end and this is how you celebrate that learning experience.And you look like a hero doing it.

Jim: Right. Because then all of a sudden they have something. Okay, I have something to run on, someone is teaching me something. Right.

Paul: So I don’t think it’s fair to expect a manager to all of a sudden morph himself into a world class teacher if you’re not going to train him how to be a teacher.

Jim: That’s right.

Paul: Cause all he know to do is what he’s had done for him and with him, so I think that’s an issue. So on your platform you train the trainers.

Jim: Oh absolutely. Cause your recognize that is being a big part of it. Absolutely. It’s completely unfair not to. What do you say to the dealer that’s listening right now that says, we spend a lot of money on training and then the guy goes to another dealership, so I put a stop to that I don’t start training these people until they stay with me for at least 90 days.

Paul: Okay, well Jim sometimes it’s longer than that, and I’ll tell you what the psychology of that is. I get that, “Paul I don’t want to …” We have a leadership program that we do down at our campus in Walla Wood, we’ve had 200,000 people down there. It’s not an inexpensive ticket, it’s $3,500 a person you have to be serious to come, three days long. Or equivalent to maybe one gross profit of a car. Or one. That’s just me. Right.

Jim: Right.

Paul: Right, but here’s the thing and I want you to think about this. And people go, “Well I don’t want to train him because if I invest the money in him and he leaves it’s been a waste.” Okay, well let’s say he stays two years.

Jim: Right.

Paul: Would you rather him be with you for two years and be effective, and efficient, convert your customers, make high gross profit, and develop you a good reputation or let’s don’t invest in him. Let me quote someone who’s got more money than both of us. Let me quote Bill Gates okay because I was in a meeting and I heard this with my own ears, “If you think education is expensive try not training your leaders and your team members, let them wait on your valuable customers and I’ll show you cost.”

Jim: Yeah.

Paul: So it just doesn’t make sense. I understand the fear. My fear is the amount of money we spend to get someone’s feet to hit our pavement and then we have them waited on somebody that we didn’t invest in, and teach them how to maintain great customer experience. So, the thing is I’m one of the unusual guys in my industry, I do get it. I understand look we’re all entrepreneurs, we look at our financial statements, anything we view as a cost we cut it first. And dealers think educations a cost. I think the lack of education is the biggest …


For more with Paul Cummings, watch the full interview above.

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CBT News
For over 10 years, CBT News has been informing and helping automotive retail professionals grow their businesses and thrive in their careers through an awarding-winning, on-demand streaming platform. With exclusive interviews featuring the biggest names in the industry, daily newscasts, up-to-date market data, and exclusive articles covering the latest trends, CBT News is your #1 source for auto industry news and content.

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