Confession of a Trainer - Why Training Fails

Over the last twenty years the automotive community has been trained on three things: process, technology and systems training. This has happened in a variety of ways, be it the 10 steps to the sale, the flow of a service drive walk-around, or when things really went poorly, the practice of calling



Scottsdale, AZ– November 6, 2020The #1 Reason Most Training Fails

My name is Dave and I’m a trainer to the auto industry and I have been part of the problem. I thought it important to get that out from the start of an important discussion about the shortfalls of training that we have to address in our industry. I don’t want to pick on anyone because there are a lot of talented, dedicated training professionals in the automotive industry – but I want us to have an honest dialogue about the realities revealed in the last year and the issues we have to address about the learners in dealerships.

Over the last twenty years the automotive community has been trained on three things: process, technology and systems training. This has happened in a variety of ways, be it the 10 steps to the sale, the flow of a service drive walk-around, or when things really went poorly, the practice of calling in the manager to seal the deal.

And while these programs have worked for decades in our industry, what they have left us with is a group of people who can work the CRM proficiently, accomplish the steps correctly and follow a process, without any of the heart that drove the person into a sales role in the first place.

Suddenly due to these training processes, we no longer have salespeople or service advisors who can:

  • Build relationships, understand personality styles and set direction without trying to control

  • Ask questions that got answers about people’s motivations vs their trade payoff and credit

  • Connect the value in a vehicle to what a person uniquely cared about vs what the salesperson cares about

  • Create a process to keep moving forward and handle resistance in a frictionless manner

  • Build life time value by planning activities to stay in community with customers vs transactions

Today’s auto dealerships deserve better! Great sales organizations work on skills, drill on skills, and find ways to create proficiency. Today’s dealership team will survive successfully when they can create genuine relationships with prospects, eliminate the friction points, and create true lifetime value.

So how do we accomplish it?

We don’t pile more on dealership managers!

The dilemma for any dealership around investing in training is “who will keep it alive” after the initial event. For many dealers the answer is, “the managers will do it.” The job of a dealership sales manager or service manager has stayed the same in many ways for several decades, and in other ways it is completely different. Let’s take a quick look at both things that have stayed the same as well as things that have been added onto a sales manager’s role as new technology has been introduced:

Stayed the same

  • Hire salespeople

  • Insure floor traffic is helped

  • Work deals

  • Monitor CSI

  • Manage inventory turn

  • Manage reconditioning expense

  • Manage wholesale and auction purchases

  • Work on CIT with F/I Team

Added/New work

  • Monitor new email leads coming in

  • Monitor salesperson tasks in the CRM

  • Monitor CarWars/CallRevu/Marcom phone calls

  • Monitor equity mining tools/team

  • Monitor VAuto or First Look

  • Use Rapid Recon or recon software

  • Monitor appointment status in CRM

  • Read and return 100 emails

Auto dealerships have good managers who arrive every day with a singular focus – to sell more cars.
 The average manager wants to be effective, help the team succeed, and go home to family while there is still some daylight. Yet every time the dealership takes on a new “something” or “training” it is added to the manager’s list. Somehow we think that this hard working, deal managing, gross-producing machine will just absorb another 20-30 minute activity into their already crowded day.

So what’s the solution?

It’s time to stop bashing sales managers and begin setting them up for success.
 I think we need to acknowledge that they did not sign up to be a trainer and that adding it to their plate has never worked well. Let’s also acknowledge that people under the age of 35 learn differently. Learners today have been impacted by how technology has shaped our patience, attention span, and need for stimulation. Watching a 30 minute OEM video or listening to a person talk for two hours is not their idea of learning.

What is their idea of learning?

Short bits, having fun, solving problems on their own schedule, chasing what motivates them and winning rewards. Learning should involve the ability to be social with others, it should allow us to learn with our community. People should have advocacy over their own learning – the power to make choices and add proficiency to their skill sets. Let’s start using AI to do more than find prospects – let’s use it to bring relevant skill development to our people so the can learn the way they want to.

It’s time to take the training load off of our managers and set them up for success with a training program that enables their staff to learn the way they live. Who’s with me? Or let me know what you think -


About David OBrien: 

President/CEO at Quantum⁵, LLC / Transforming Sales Skill Training for Digital Retailing in Automotive / The First Social Advocacy Platform to Enable Skill Proficiency & Sustainment

All Salespeople need the skills for the Digital Transformation of Selling! Car dealers especially need the ability to help their Salespeople and Service Advisors with the skills to make Digital Retailing happen. But training has to evolve. Focusing on systems, scripts, "steps" and avoiding core skills that make the processes work has to change. We use AI to help us with everything else - why not learning. We live in community - why let let community help skill proficiency. Why not let people learn the way we live our lives - with fun, in short bursts, winning life's challenges and creating our own directions. What if you brought all of that together? Come meet Quantum5 and see. The culmination of 30 years helping others grow is in the solution designed by David and his Co-Founder Ken Herfurth.


Media Inquiries: 

Laurie Halter 
Charisma! 503-816-2474 

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