As a Dealer Principal, General Manager, General Sales Manager, Sales Manager or Service Manager you always look for maximum productivity from your front-line employees, yet many treat them like the least important investment, rather than taking the opportunity presented to help them achieve success and lifetime careers.


Your business spends a lot of money to recruit and hire sales and service staff and give them the opportunity of being the first impression our customer receives when they enter your dealership.  We often do this by “turning them loose” with the minimum investment of time in training.


I have a lifetime career of working in dealerships since the mid 1960s I always found it stressful when required to hire and develop talent. But I have learned how to make this one of the most satisfying and rewarding tasks and help others achieve success.


How do we break the costly cycle of hiring groups of people with the hope of getting just one to stay on as a career? We often call this working with “green peas”.


I, like some of you, recruited people to work in my store, sat them down in front of training videos and subsequently had them “shadow” the senior person at the position they were hired for. I hoped for the best. I am sure you have heard “the definition of frustration is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. Let’s stop doing that!


What is the solution?


The obvious remedy is to develop a process that already exists in almost every organization that is proven to be very successful. Sales Training!


Over a lifetime I have discovered that if when hiring we take a little more time to find the right candidates (using some sort of profile screening tool) for the right job, and then invest the time to make them the employee you want. Let’s take the guess work out of the equation.


Every profession from the military to professional sports train every day in preparation for the execution of the act. The training is multiple times what the task requires, and it should be hard. These people are the best of the best and they still train so they don’t need to “think”, they can react naturally. Our military forces train as hard as they fight! The NFL trains for weeks to play a 60-minute game!


We all wonder why sales and service people succeed or don’t and tell ourselves that the good ones were born naturals and the failures just didn’t have what it takes. Who hired those that failed?  We in management did!  What did we see or feel that caused us to hire them and then what did we do to develop them?


Our managers are inherently our former best sales or service employees, and the hope is that as a manager they would mentor their new hires and impart their successful processes onto them. Of course, this doesn’t always happen, and we end up doing the recruiting, hiring, and firing all over again.


History and experience have shown us that this cannot be accomplished during one meeting or having a new hire “shadow” one of the more experienced people. Your experienced staff are not enthusiastic about training an employee that will likely become their competitor for business.


Experience and success are why someone becomes a manager and that is what needs to be imparted to new hires to make them aspire to be the best they can be.


Training is an everyday event. It isn’t always the same but should have structure and pertinent content. It should be looked forward to and not a chore! Remember, to be successful in sales you must develop personal skills as they will account for 80 to 90% of the effort.  Product knowledge is only about 10%, at best.


Customer service is an art, not a science, and you can teach art to anyone who wants to learn. With enough training and encouragement, we can develop talented people who are examples to our customers of our brand. 


Mentoring is the best form of training as our best people have elevated themselves to the management positions in our organization. Rather than having a new hire follow or shadow someone of a position for which they were hired, what about having them spend time with the managers that hired them and that they will report to?


People inherently want to succeed and will put in the time when they are shown the potential results that can be achieved.


The famous saying …. “How do you get to Carnegie Hall…. Practice, Practice, Practice!!!!!


Ted Guinee

PHD (Papa had Dealership)
















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