One-On-One: Training Your Team Effectively

Purpose: Now that the economy is coming back, we need to make the time to get back to developing our team. Having daily 1 on 1’s with every employee is the most important thing you can do in a dealership.

Having daily 1 on 1’s with a producer (Salesperson, Business Development Specialist, Service Advisor, Collector, Team Leader or anyone that deals directly with customers every day) is even more important because no other position in the dealership faces more daily rejection and can increase profits directly with a great performance. A daily 1-on-1 coaching session will give the coach (sales team leader, collection team leader & service team leader) a chance to build rapport, build the producer’s confidence, motivate, review working activities and develop skills every day.

Training, tracking, goal setting, procedures and policies and motivation are all directly influenced in a daily 1 on 1. Having a good 30 minute training meeting with your team is very important but not as important as a 1 on 1. This holds true at home. Eating dinner together as a family is important, but not as important as 1 on 1 time with your children and your spouse.

Implementation: The first step is to make sure you have written procedures on exactly what and how you want your staff to do

their job. Then you have to have initial and ongoing group and 1 on 1 training to keep their skills up. Since the daily 1 on 1 will have the biggest impact on performance and profits in a department (same if you don’t do them), then we need to prioritize them by scheduling them at the beginning of every finance specialist’s shift. Everyone makes excuses why they don’t do “group” training because the manager is too busy, but there is no excuse for skipping a daily 10-15 minute 1 on 1. Our team will not learn on their own, they need a coach to guide them step by step so they can get better each and every day (the same way a child will not learn in school by themselves without the teacher / coach spending time with them). Rule 1, just like all training it needs to be interesting, informative and valuable to your team. Don’t think of it as a grind session. That’s called a counseling session.

How: Review what you want to cover in your 1 on 1 before you sit down with each individual team member. Pull up their working prospects or accounts in your CRM. Don’t just ask, “What do you have going on?” Review daily work plan and review a recent touch customer. Use this situation to train on a specific skill. You need to demonstrate the technique (practice or call customer to show them how to do it! Then have them demonstrate technique.

  • You are selling yourself just like a customer (1st Impression, Greeting, Build rapport and Investigate for their needs).
  • Get out your Daily 1 on 1 log so you can review the notes and homework from yesterday’s 1 on 1 along with the key points to review today.

  • 1st Impression – Make sure you are on time and free of distractions (turn off your cell phone! Just as we would want a finance specialist’s to do with customer).
  • Greeting – Smile and shake their hand (even if you’re having a bad day, your body language is 55% of your influence. Sit down on same side of a table or desk as your team member.
  • Rapport – 71% of people will do what you want them to do if they like you. Ask a couple “open-ended” questions to get them talking, “How was last night?” or “What did you do on your day off?” If you hear that they have a personal problem that is affecting them (you are their coach, not their marriage counselor. If you feel that this issue will affect their performance today, then get with your supervisor and decide to give them a day off to get things handled). If you’re not discussing or practicing skill development, it’s not an effective 1 on 1.
  • Investigate their biggest challenge when it comes to Customer situations. This will describe the need to work on: customer follow-up, Down Payment Techniques, Vehicle Selection techniques, Worksheet presentation, Prospecting, etc. Have your planner, tracking reports and CRM screen open in front of you so you can be prepared.
  • Presentation / Demonstration – (Why Buy Book, Worksheet & Vehicle) This is where you identify an area of improvement, discuss why ($$$) they need to improve on that skill, and then demonstrate to them how to do it.
  • Best ways to start almost every sentence or follow up when team member says something is with “why do you say that’ or just “why” – it’s “ask why 3 times” to get to the bottom of the problem and it works.

  • Your team member will notice if you say, why, why, why, why, why all the time…so alter with “because.” and just leave the sentence hanging – every finance specialist I know that’s any good will fill in the blanks for you. Example- Team Member- “I didn’t call Mr. Jones.” you “because..?.” And they’ll say, “Well, because I got too busy, etc.” Then try the 1-step – repeat back! “You got too busy?” It works great, they’ll tell you everything or you’ll at least uncover what they didn’t do.
  • Keep your focus on ACTIVITIES not % penetration. You can’t fake volume; you can cheat your way into a %!.
  • End on a positive after the review – good job on something they admitted, brought up, suggested..
  • All 1×1’s are confidential – and believe me, they’ll find out if you tell another team mate or gossip to manager what they told you, then you’re done – they won’t trust you again..
  • Never talk negatively about another employee or manager during a 1 on 1..

Remember, your Team Members, like our children, need your coaching and guidance for their careers like they need oxygen.

Conclusion: The best part of the Used Vehicle business is almost of your success will come down to the choices we make everyday. I hope you make the choice to invest in your team, and training for your people on how to effectively Persuade, Influence and Close customers.