By David O’Brien, President & CEO, Quantum5

While COVID upended the automotive industry and sent us rocketing into a new, digital way of doing things overnight, I think it also highlighted the very best we as an industry have to offer.  Dealership management and staff pivoted quickly to learn an entirely new way of doing business. Showrooms became virtual, test drives were accomplished without ride-alongs, new cars were delivered not on the lot, but to the buyer’s house. New processes were administered and carried out at a blistering pace. And by all accounts, the processes we put in play during this time will continue to provide dividends as we all recover.

So now that we have the digital tools to handle this new reality and we have the processes in place, when does the skills part of the equation come into play? And by skills I don’t mean learning new ways to work the technology. I’m referring to ways to enable the technology to work.

As we move forward and witness the next evolution of car buying, new processes will be important, but I think the ability to create relationships based on needs and values will be key. This next iteration of training will be grouped under a common theme of Social Advocacy Learning.

What skills am I referring to when I talk about Social Advocacy Learning?

  • The ability to create genuine connections and relationships
  • The ability to learn about needs and motivations
  • The ability to connect value to those needs and motivations
  • The ability to lead people to the next step and overcome resistance
  • The ability to create lifetime relationships based on value for each customer

In order to move toward this more genuine-based training, we have to let go of outdated techniques like video-based tutorials and lecture training. To truly be impactful during this next evolution, it’s time for us to embrace role playing exercises, live and virtual game playing opportunities, paths toward certification and the building of like-minded, competitive communities.

Think it can’t be done? All you have to do is look at Peloton and its community of raving fans to see social advocacy-based learning at work. Peloton’s stock is through the roof, its founder was just minted the newest billionaire, and since COVID their bikes have been flying off the shelves. But if you ask Peloton riders the secret to the company’s success, they’ll tell you it all lies within the community. Many members get up at 6 am to ride with their best friends – people from across the globe whom they’ve never met before. Riders will share their latest times online and often are gunning to beat the time of the competitor on the bike ahead or beside them virtually. The company has combined community with gamification and competition beautifully – all resulting in a multi-billion-dollar brand.

The same can work in automotive. Why can’t we develop these raving communities who compete head to head virtually in order to win? Why can’t we take artificial intelligence and use it to drive individual motivations, real performance results and healthy competition for our sales and service teams?  Managers can build top 20% communities where additional training and resources are gifted to the most profitable groups within the dealership. What about rewards for your team tied to learning metrics and improving results? Your managers could join teams much like the top 20 groups, but based on learning and training on how to compete and win in your market. The opportunities are endless and the training program that will pull all of these paths together is available now.

I am really looking forward to this new generation of learning solutions. Much like Peloton’s motto “Better Is in Us,” debuted at the summer Olympics, I believe automotive is at a turning point in the way we educate and motivate our employees. Better IS in us, now let’s go out and train our teams with the amount of heart that has built this industry and made it great!

Register for an All-Access or Limited Pass at Digital Dealer Virtual to learn from David O’Brien who will share the secrets to building up your dealership staff, as well as tactics to infuse genuineness and “heart” into each interaction, and a path forward to train employees in these skills in new and novel ways like certifications, role-playing drills, gaming, and communities that make staff members want to learn.

About the Author

David O’Brien is the President/CEO of Quantum5, a company that combines digital transformation skills with the newest evolution of learning and community to drive results. The company uniquely seeks to help salespeople and service advisors demonstrate skills, genuineness, and advocacy with customers that translate to increased success.

No stranger to the car business, David grew up in his father’s dealership and later worked in training positions with companies the likes of Aon/Resource and Earnhardt Auto Group before starting his company with The Predictive Index. During his time with The Predictive Index, David’s company became its largest distributor in the Americas. While still running that company, he turned his attention to beginning MarCom Results Group, the largest independent provider of phone skills through the Marcom Technologies process.

Author: Alissa Frey

Digital Dealer