Mentorship programs are an exciting concept for car dealerships but are also very useful because of what they provide to companies. These programs, when done right, are cost-saving and can encourage other auto retail professionals to take on more responsibility or transition to a new role.

What are dealership mentorship programs?

So, what are dealership mentorship programs? Are they worth it? A dealership mentorship program pairs new employees with veteran dealership leaders to grow valuable skills and learn from each other. For example, the veteran can share practical industry skills and selling advice. The new employee may have fresh ideas that can inspire the veteran worker.

Are mentorship programs useful?

Mentorship programs have many benefits, especially in the fast-paced industry of car dealerships. There is not much time to train new employees, so pairing new employees with veterans can decrease the time it takes to learn valuable information about their job. 

When a new position is open, mentorship programs also help leaders and managers choose a suitable fit for the role based on the qualifications and comments of the mentor.

Related: Coach, Consultant, and Mentor: How they differ and why it matters

How to build a mentorship program

Not all mentorship programs are built the same, but the basic steps are listed below for your reference.

Create a template

First, start by creating a template and understanding what you want the program’s purpose to be. What will the mentor and the mentee gain? Are there training programs that can benefit both of these people? Consider these questions while writing a rough template of the mentor program. If you need to, consult with an expert or leader in the local automobile industry.

Personalize the mentoring programs with pairs

Once the template is complete, the car dealership owner or lead manager can personalize each program by placing the mentors and mentees into pairs based on strengths and weaknesses. Don’t let the mentors and mentees choose each other as friends can be biased. Finding people who fit well and don’t have conflict is ideal.

Speak with veteran car dealership employees

As soon as the pairs are complete, speak one-on-one with the veteran automotive retail professional. This conversation should be professional but personal and about the growth that the veteran and the dealership want to see. They likely have questions about their role and how to complete it well.

Check progress

Find a way to track the progress of each of the mentors and mentees. It is good to print out physical copies of report sheets where both parties can reflect on the training and mentorship received. The boss of a dealership or manager in charge of the mentorship program should also implement a door-open policy to discuss if the program does not work. Not all mentors and mentees have similar personalities, and these personalities can clash, causing problems and discomfort.

Overall, a car dealership mentorship program is a wonderful idea for dealerships that want to continue growing and expanding their influence in the area. Providing training and an expert or veteran mentor to new mentees is a professional development opportunity for both parties to grow in the dealership and move up in position.

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