FINANCIAL SERVICES MANAGER TRAINING: HAVE YOU STARTED YOUR JOURNEY?
Dealer principals and financial services managers have many choices for training programs and I strongly believe in training and in its numerous benefits. A problem occurs, though, when the focus is on a supplier’s products rather than what is important to the dealership and its customers.
With manufacturers focused on CSI, customer loyalty at a premium, and conflicting competitive intelligence, it is important to have clear training objectives. I was recently asked to share my insights on what a dealer principal or financial service manager should consider when evaluating a training program.
A PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY
No efficient, deficiencies-focused training can be a one-day or one-week affair. Training is a journey, not an event. It should be ongoing, tailored to the individual and include a commitment to in-dealer and face-to-face support. Experience has shown a condensed learning session followed by regular one-on-one followup visits to the dealership delivers increased profitability, higher CSI and promotes customer retention.
Evaluate the design of your next training program. Participation is one of the leading ways to enhance learning, while video recording and playback reinforce best practices and allow the financial service manager to practice without the risk of financial loss.
Also look for collaborative group discussion, role-playing and performance evaluations; these methods are proven to drive long-term behavioral change and deliver the desired results.
CURRICULUM IS KEY
A vital component of evaluating any training curriculum is in knowing how it was created and asking for proof of its results. Even if you aren’t exactly sure on what your training course should entail, you have a pretty solid idea of what skills you want to walk away with.
A good training provider will understand this and will be able to share testimonials or other examples of proof that substantiate their educational claims. When assessing your next training event, ask for evidence of sound fundamentals and proven results.
TRAINING FOR RESULTS
A successful training event provides the attendee with a proper evaluation, a plan to execute, and tools to measure results.
As the pivot point between the sales department and the service department, the successful business manager plays a key role in not only generating profit but also sustaining customer retention and fostering dealership loyalty.
Customers walk into the business office with, consciously or unconsciously, a set amount or tolerance for how much they will spend. It is important for the financial services manager to be shown how to maximize this threshold to the benefit of all parties involved.
I cannot stress the importance of selecting a proven and effective training program. Look for a comprehensive follow-up plan, a commitment to ongoing dealer support, an effective evaluation and expert field support. Choose wisely and an increase in dealership-wide profitability will follow.
David Wilke is an experienced automotive professional with over 10 years of Canadian involvement in retail and business-to-business partnerships. He is currently the national training manager for LGM Financial Services Inc. He can be reached at 905-510-7150 or David.Wilke@lgm.ca.