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I'm trying to answer the above question. If you have any research or materials that addresses this question that would be great. What would even be better is to find out from Dealers themselves how much they end up paying out in the training of their sales staff on an annual basis!

Thanks so much for your assistance!
Karolyn

Tags: Dealership, Sales, Training

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Karolyn,

I once worked for an Internet Sales Training company and I am familiar with rates for a number of different trainers. Dealers will pay whatever they feel they will get in return. I would say that fees in the range of 1500 to 2500 a day are not uncommon and may be sliding downwards with the economy as some of the better trainers are trying to work with the dealers. A good Internet Manager is going to be able to put a lot of the puzzle together on their own once they figure out where to look and they can minimize the amount of outside training needed. Ralph and others have provided some great insight and tools for those willing to invest their time to read them.

The second route is training through workshops and conferences. Digital Dealer is a great source to get started and offers some benefit for those in the middle stages of learning. Check out NCM 20 Groups Bootcamps for a more direct approach and a focused curriculum.

I think the better question is, with all that is available, how much should they be spending. I would recommend they spend a minimum of $2500 a year and a maximum of about $5,000 if they are taking adantage of free sites like this and vendor training. I would stay away from any trainer who is more than $2000 a day and be wary of any trainer who only recommends a single solution for websites, leads and other technology-they are probably getting a kickback.
Scott brings up a valid point regarding "wolves in sheep's clothing" consultants... I have many years of dealer consulting experience and can testify that there are many trainers/consultants who are actually salespeople for a company's products. They are easy to spot... Any consultant who will not work with whatever technology a dealer has currently in place, or whose primary focus on change recommendations involves replacing one supplier with another. However, here's where Scott and I may professionally disagree... I find that the trainers/consultants who are at the lower end of the cost range are typically subsidized by a solution provider, and will tend to be more focused on selling the dealer than helping the dealer sell more cars. The best automotive trainers and consultants will cost more than $2,000 a day inclusive of all expenses (per diem), and over $1,600 a day if the dealer covers expenses other than the consultant's time. For the 2 years before I left Reynolds Consulting Services, my consulting fees were $2,400 a day inclusive of all expenses (per diem) and I was booked solid for about 3 to 6 months in advance. I sincerely believe that the dealers I worked with prospered many times more from the systems I designed and implemented than the fees they paid to Reynolds for my services.

I do want to point out where I believe the best value in training and consulting is... Finding the right consultant from a company who is also one of your dealership's primary technology suppliers. This is where you take a look at say, whoever supplies your CRM system, or your dealership's websites, or even the DMS to see what training and consulting solutions they offer. The best time to acquire these services is when the dealership is negotiating a contract for the technology system itself. The reason for this is that the salesperson just wants a contract and often times thinks of consulting as more of a nuisance than a valuable feature. When push comes to shove, the sales teams will often times "give away" consulting days to get the contract done. (I can hear my old bosses at Reynolds and my new bosses at ADP groaning right now!). Once a dealership has negotiated this "book of days" with the technology systems supplier, the key is to then find the right consultant within the company and not just take the green pea, new consultants that they want to pawn off on you because you got the freebie days when you secured your systems contract. This is easier than you think... Simply call 4 to 6 other dealers that the supplier already gave you as their "reference dealers" for the system you have now purchased... Find out who THEIR consultant was, then demand the same individual. Never mind where they live or accept other geographic related excuses... It costs more money to fly short hops than it does to fly cross country. If the "good ones" are too booked, then ask when their next available date is and reserve it for your store. It is better to wait for the right consultant than to waste your training days by being the suppliers training ground for their new consultants!

Even if you get your consulting services from an affiliate of a technology provider that your store uses, if they are any good you will find that they know how to work with many other systems in and around the one your store has purchased from his/her parent company. Guys like Jeff Silverman at Reynolds Consulting and Ed Sullivan at ADP Digital Marketing Consulting are experts on systems supplied by each of their company's competition and have become very proficient at getting these systems to work with each other.
All of the comments here are correct, valuable points and only change based on the perspective of the client. Anyone who is in the consulting-for-dealers business, myself included, wants to get as much as possible while providing a value. In the market today, the difference between $1,500 per day and $2,500 per day is, many times, the difference between getting the business and not. Consulting for groups and/or on behalf of an OEM brings different (higher) rates.

But back to Karolyn's question: most (not all) dealers don't spent much on training, and almost nothing on truly educating their staff. Training is throwing a book at someone and having them read so they can get the what to do. Education, mentoring, coaching is much more valuable, takes longer in many cases and deals with the why and how. If this is too literal, it is intentional and not word play.

As Ralph pointed out so well, if you're paying a vendor and you're getting a system or software, get the education from that company and from their best qualified, most engaging staff member. Then to Scott's point, the person running the Internet department should be responsible for the ongoing support. No matter what, it is wise to have at least one outside person come in quarterly as things are changing so quickly in the digital environment (six months ago, how many consultants were truly talking about online relationship maintenance?).

A fair amount of money for a small store may be $500 to $1,000 a month on an online training system where as larger dealers and groups should likely spent at least $2,000 per month to keep up on 'training' all the way to $5,000 per month. It's ultimately up to dealer management, and most of them have to be at least more than a little challenged in this area, especially in today's 'cut everything' mentality.

The greatest asset at every dealership is the staff, not their inventory or facility or anything else. Sales is truly a lost art at car dealerships (at least since the 80s'). Considering the average salesperson handling Internet leads today along with the 'floor' sales staff, the more expertise and knowledge brought into the dealership, the better.
Ralph,

You and I are on the same page. I was not including expenses in my calculations and you bring up a great point, many vendors have people who understand how their product fits into/supports the sales and customer retention process. Often times this is because they worked in and managed Internet or BDC departments.
Hi Karolyn,

The dealers in my 20 groups average around $44 per vehicle retailed, new and used, per month. So if a dealer sells 100 total retail per month that would be $4400 per month or $52,800 per year.

In some cases, alot of that expense goes towards paying for factory provided materials that arent as useful as hiring a professional trainer to focus on specific needs.

Hope this helps.
Steve

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