In previous Assurant Insider Tips, my colleagues discussed how to set actionable dealership performance standards and leverage dealership scorecard reports to evaluate how daily individual performance maps back to those standards. But for many dealers, the biggest key to profitability isn’t necessarily setting the right performance standards up front; it’s the follow through, from consistent performance evaluations to training for improvement. In this Insider Tip, we’ll talk about the importance of applying dealership training for maximum impact at your rooftops.

What I’ve learned about dealership training in the last three decades…

Over the last 30 years, I’ve held various roles in the auto industry, from the floors of major dealerships to my current role training for the Automotive Training Academy by Assurant. Here’s one thing I’ve learned along the way: the right training can make or break your teams.

At Assurant, we’ve worked with people from diverse backgrounds with a variety of natural talents, and the importance of training for team performance remains consistent. Part of the reason the Automotive Training Academy fits so well in our role supporting Assurant Dealer Services, American Financial & Automotive Services, and industry professionals throughout the U.S. is that the team here has a singular outlook on training.

A process-driven approach to training that successfully drives performance for dealerships should factor in the following:

Ongoing performance evaluations. Regular evaluations against your set benchmarks, combined with ongoing feedback across your team, is key to helping ensure teams and individuals stay on track. Applying a rigorous process to your evaluation checkpoints helps you identify core areas where proficiency can be increased and desired behavior can be reinforced. Leveraging scorecard reporting to inform your team’s performance evaluations is highly effective.

Tailored training: aligned to your goals, based on your performance. The most successful dealership training programs aren’t one-size-fits-all. They’re fully customized to align to a specific dealership’s goals, and they’re tailored to address that dealership’s performance. By taking this type of high touch, highly customized approach to training, you’re able to zero in on areas that will make the most impact across your team and your bottom line.

Interactive learning scenarios. To master customer-centered selling, your team should have a combination of interactive teaching, group discussions and role playing that simulates real-world experiences and models necessary skills. In addition to engaging different types of learners, this approach to training allows your team to practice skills they’ve learned in a low-risk environment, trade ideas with their peers and collect ongoing feedback from their training instructor.

Consistent coaching and evaluation. At the Automotive Training Academy by Assurant, we like to say that training is a long-term game plan, not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing effort that happens beyond the classroom. Coaches shouldn’t offer classes and then leave you on your own to apply what you’ve learned. Instead, they should take a long-term approach with ongoing coaching. We’ve found that the best results come from each trainee in a class being paired with a coach over multiple years. During that time, coaches help individuals benchmark and improve performance one-on-one, as well as provide actionable feedback.

Online and in-person coaching options. A successful training program follows your dealership’s needs. The training program should conform to you, not the other way around. And coaches should be prepared to work with you in whatever environment you need. This could be in-person coaching, online coaching, or a combination of the two. Your coaches should be able to train based on what’s most convenient and what you’re comfortable with.

The Automotive Training Academy by Assurant Difference

The approach we take at the Automotive Training Academy combines all the factors I mentioned above to apply a consistent process to dealership training – and it’s proven to get the results you need. One member of Jim Shorkey Auto Group’s team improved PVR by 45% in the two years following her training with Assurant. The team at Jim Shorkey, like many of the other dealer groups we work with, attributes much of the improved performance directly to our hands-on, ongoing training.

Together, the combination of setting actionable performance standards, tracking against those standards with scorecard reporting and then developing tailored dealership training based on the data in your dealership’s scorecards puts you in a better position to improve profits, meet your F&I attachment rate goals, increase collaboration between the sales and F&I teams, ensure regulatory compliance, and attract, retain and grow top talent. Assurant is a performance partner that works with dealerships every step of the way to drive measurable results.

Learn more about dealership training offered by the Automotive Training Academy by Assurant when you visit our website.