Achieving Your Training ROI

Studies show the two biggest reasons for employee turnover are limited advancement opportunities and lack of training for a specific role. But investing time in training and sharpening the team’s skills also should pay off in improved results.

John Stephens 1, Senior Vice President-Dealer Services

April 22, 2016

4 Min Read
Achieving Your Training ROI

Everyone knows training is an essential component in running a dealership that is successful, profitable, efficient and ethical.

But commitments to it vary widely among dealers. Below are some common hesitations among dealers when it comes to training and tips to help overcome the wrong mindset and maximize your ROI.


Many dealers question why they should invest time and money to train people who may leave. But in reality, this idea is just not valid.

Studies show the two biggest reasons for employee turnover are limited advancement opportunities and lack of training for a specific role. Through training, you have the potential to increase job satisfaction by empowering team members to expand their roles and grow their careers.

Sending employees through developmental, performance-based training courses is also a good way to recognize them for accomplishments. They will appreciate the investment you are making, and it has the potential to help reduce turnover and retain top performers.

Time Away From the Job

Another question some dealers ask is how they can justify taking income-producing employees away from the sales floor, F&I desk or service drive for training. If this is one of your concerns, consider this story about a woodcutter:

A woodcutter was hired, given his axe and direction. He started out strong and his boss was quite pleased with his work and shared that feedback with the new woodcutter. This motivated the woodcutter to work even harder in the days to follow. But even though he swung the axe as hard as he did when he started his job, his production (number of trees cut) declined each day. He then went to his boss and apologized, saying he must be losing his strength.

Then, the boss asked the woodcutter a simple question, “When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” To which the woodcutter replied, “Sharpen my axe? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees.”

The lesson here is that investing time in training and sharpening the team’s skills should pay off in improved and sustained production results. Time off the floor simply is part of that investment.

No Results

Every dealership has experienced training that produced no results. Consider the format. Was the trainer a talking head or was the course interactive and participatory, tailored to address current challenges?

The training methodology you leverage truly must be conducive to learning to be successful. Choose training that best fits those you are looking to train to get the most bang for your buck.

After the training, you also must start benchmarking the performance of those trained. For instance, if an F&I manager has an average product penetration rate of 30% before training, use growth in that rate as a benchmark to measure future success.

Always be sure there are mechanisms in place to track production following training. Benchmarking and tracking results are key elements to ensure positive training outcomes. Benchmarks also motivate team members when they can see and track their own results.

Retraining After Training

One way to avoid having to retrain your team members after sending them through formal training is to get your managers to buy in to the training. They need to participate in the course, understand the curriculum and endorse it in the dealership. There is no point in training team members without the endorsement of management.

In addition, it’s important you select training that is right for your dealership. Get engaged and understand not every organization trains the same way. Some apply conventional wisdom that all training is the same and present a canned approach. Other trainings use methodologies that vary greatly.

Take time to understand your specific training goal and identify the challenges that need to be addressed. Identify and leverage the right trainer to meet those objectives and get full support of the dealer’s managers to get the best results without the need to retrain the team.

Selecting a Training Partner

Not all dealerships are staffed to effectively train their teams across all disciplines, and there is support for training available from many sources. The key is identifying a partner that meets your needs.

The right training partner should:

  • Be proven industry experts. Understand the company’s background, reputation, culture, certifications, and the experience of their employees.

  • Use effective training methodologies. Ensure the training company can articulate and substantiate a clear methodology.

  • Provide methods to demonstrate success. Ask the company how they prove their training effectiveness and success with sustainable training relationships.

  • Be a trusted industry partner. Research the training company to understand their corporate values, history, current business accomplishments and other companies with whom they do business.

Finding an effective training program and cultivating an environment where training will be beneficial will deliver countless benefits to your operations and bottom line. By capitalizing on effective training, your dealership will be poised to reduce turnover, improve sales and F&I penetration and cultivate a team of top performers.

John Stephens is senior vice president of Dealer Services at EFG Companies. He can be reached at 972-445-8910 and [email protected]

About the Author(s)

John Stephens 1

Senior Vice President-Dealer Services, EFG Companies

Subscribe to a WardsAuto newsletter today!
Get the latest automotive news delivered daily or weekly. With 5 newsletters to choose from, each curated by our Editors, you can decide what matters to you most.

You May Also Like