You've Found Good People, Now What? Part 3

Final segment on Now What?

See Part 1, Part 2)

Today, I will talk about the specific training of the commercial truck salesperson. All of what I said in Part 1 and Part 2 will apply, but there is some additional training for commercial that is critical to success.

A commercial truck person has to understand what the trucks do and make sure that they fit the need. This entails learning about GVWR and cargo capacities, how loads are placed on trucks and how that affects the balance and GVWR and GAWR. They need to know what kind of bodies go on what trucks and understand the maximum recommended lengths of bodies based on body types, kinds of loads various customers carry and so on and so on. There is a lot to learn, but it is not difficult.

We have a training program that is superb for the new salesperson and a good refresher for more experienced ones. We call it Commercial Trucks 101. You can see a power point presentation of this class at http://www.commercialtrucksuccess.com/ and click on the Training Resources tab. This class has been physically presented at dealerships and over 1,000 salespeople have been through the class. In the class, it takes about 2.5 hours which includes about a half hour to 45 minutes of a walk around of all the upfitted trucks on the lot as an overview. We also have follow up classes that continue this process. I recommend that you develop your training program to be along these lines. If you would like our help, give us a call at 707-480-0959 (Ryan) or 707-434-9967 (Terry). Training is our specialty along with inventory management.

Get the body companies that you deal with to come in during the first week and spend some time with your new people. You need to plan this ahead of time so that schedules can be formed. They can be very valuable in helping the salesperson learn the different body company features, along with hands on training on the lot of their vehicles.

The first two weeks should be crammed with great training. At the end of two weeks, we need to be doing. Even at about a week and a half, get the new salesperson into an activity pattern with a coach at least. We need to know as soon as possible how they will be as a doer. Let's get them started with some prospecting even, again with a coach so they become acclimated to the various work efforts that are needed. This will really require your good salesperson to help here. Make sure it is someone who you know will do this well for you. Start with a light schedule and come back to more repetition training. Work on some walk-arounds so we can get them used to communicating with prospects about the vehicles. Make sure they know where all the switch, releases are and how the dumps go up and down, removing stake gates, how they are numbered in sequence of where they go, all the things they will need to know to demonstrate to prospects that they know their product.

At the two week point, it is time for an evaluation. If they pass this, keep moving and allowing them to stand on their own legs a bit. Start weaning them from the coach and making sure the manager is assigning daily activities and following through. If they don't pass, it is time to make a decision to continue with remedial training, or move on to another candidate. If the latter seems like the right move, make it now and do not delay. Start over ten times if need be, but don't hang on to a warm body just because they are there. Remember, the purpose of training is to find out who you have. You will learn from your evaluation if they are getting it. You've given them a lot of training. How much is sticking? What have they learned? How do they feel about the various vehicles? The Process? The coaching? Debrief them so you know what is going through their mind. You'll know if you have a keeper or a let's try a little more on this one person.

This process is intense and it is extremely effective. It requires a dealership to do a lot of training and to understand the need. But, here are the benefits: You will never have trouble finding good people ever again. You will have as many as you want. You will have much more effective salespeople in general. You will have the new people earning good commissions very quickly. You will create a better team dynamic. You will have a cohesive plan. You will be very profitable. All those would be worth it in my mind. How about you?

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