Acting on what you know
Being an independent training company has its advantages and
disadvantages compared with other training providers, owned by
banks, finance houses and vehicle manufacturers. The disadvantages
are very clear. There are no guarantees as to where your next deal,
job or client is coming from, and you have no captive audience
compelled to use you.
One advantage, however, is the ability to offer unbiased
recommendations without evasion or reservation of any kind. We can
guarantee our dealer clients that any recommendations made or
advice given is delivered without any politics or third-party
We aim to improve their business’s profitability, and to ensure
that everybody in their sales function has a clear understanding of
the business’s objectives, aims and aspirations. We tend to
summarise this process with two important key words: ‘confident
Way too many trainers deliver training courses to dealer
delegates which only transfer knowledge. The vast majority of these
training providers are manufacturer or finance-house linked – for
example, a manufacturer running a training course on a particular
model, or a dealer group buying half a dozen CD-ROMs to ensure that
staff have provable technical competence within the guidelines of
the FSA to sell general insurance products.
The section that is missing from most of these training courses
is confidence, and sadly all-too-many delegates leave training
courses with new knowledge, skills, or abilities that through a
lack of confidence they will never use, and thus never profit
Proactive F&I sales
It is no coincidence that the dealerships or dealer groups that
are most profitable have a clear focus on delivering professional,
independent training to their selling teams, ensuring that all
delegates that attend regular training programmes are confidently
competent in the areas in which they are expected to sell.
We have recently worked with dealers whose staff know their
stuff, but lacking confidence, they take no action, and they just
aren’t sharing what they learned with customers. The impact on the
business’s F&I profitability is clear to see. What’s important
is to enthuse, energise and encourage the sales teams to use their
knowledge to sell products, and improve F&I income for
themselves and their employers.
I remember when I first came into the motor industry, and
F&I profits were often considered to be the icing on the cake –
but we live in a different world now, and this revenue stream is no
longer merely an option, but rather a must-have to ensure business
viability and business profitability.
The inordinate amount of regulation has all but suffocated our
traditional add-on revenue streams. But those motor businesses
which understand and value professional independent training are
enjoying a healthy return, good finance profitability, FSA
compliance and happy F&I provider partners.
To summarise, after Christmas dinner this year, we had 16 people
who all KNEW how to wash the pots, but only two of us actually
ended up doing them. Now, where’s my Marigolds?
The author is director of Profit Training Ltd,