Making the Right Choice: In-House Trainer vs. External Training Partner

When contemplating introducing a training program at your dealership, the decision to hire an in-house trainer or opt for an external training partner is pivotal.



With a global pandemic reshaping consumer demand and expectation, not to mention our sales teams, staffing models, business practices and sales process over the last several years, the need for training has never been more prevalent than it is today. When contemplating the introduction of a training program at your dealership, the decision to hire an in-house trainer or opt for an external training partner is pivotal. The choice hinges on various factors that affect your dealership's growth and success. 

In-House Trainer: The Pros and Cons 

  • Influence and Control: Having an in-house trainer provides control over the content, curriculum, and messaging. This aligns with the preferences of control-oriented dealership leaders who desire a hands-on approach but may limit breadth or diversity of content. 
  • Additional Resource: An in-house trainer can serve as a valuable resource for filling in when needed, especially during busy periods or staff absences. However, it is crucial to recognize that training is a full-time job, and a trainer should focus on training-related tasks to optimize your team’s learning and development. 
  • Limited Knowledge: In-house trainers may be highly specialized in their previous roles and responsibilities but limited across the entire spectrum of organizational training needs. 
  • Training in Isolation: They may lack exposure to new training styles, content, ideas, and instructional design, potentially resulting in stagnation in training approaches. 
  • Measurement Challenges: Measuring the effectiveness of an in-house trainer's efforts and aligning them with dealership goals can be complex, as training metrics differ from standard performance metrics. 
  • Extra Costs: Establishing an in-house training setup requires investments in resources like Learning Management Systems, training facilities, equipment, and other related expenses. 
  • Trainer Poaching: There's a risk of talented in-house trainers being lured away by other dealerships, leaving your dealership without a training resource and a gap in continuous improvement. 

External Training Partner: The Pros and Cons 

  • Economies of Scale: External training partners offer flexibility and specialization, allowing you to access training expertise as needed. They can provide training in various areas and adapt to your requirements, potentially saving costs compared to hiring multiple in-house trainers. 
  • No Additional Payroll Costs: External training partners eliminate the need to add a new role to your payroll, saving on costs like payroll taxes and benefits. 
  • Expertise in Diverse Areas: Full-service training solutions gain you access to a team of training experts with experience in various dealership aspects, ensuring comprehensive training coverage across your entire organization. 
  • Progress Tracking: Proficient training partners provide tools and methods to track your team's progress over time, offering valuable insights into the effectiveness of training and return on investment. 
  • Focused Training: External training partners are dedicated to training, ensuring a consistent focus on developing effective training content and bringing new and relevant content to your teams based on market shifts and demands. 
  • Curriculum and Instructional Design: Training partners are knowledgeable about curriculum and instructional design, enhancing the engagement, effectiveness, and retention of training materials. 
  • Control: While you do not completely lose control with a good training partner, most will challenge you to embrace practices that are relevant to the consumers demands of today and challenge you and your teams to change with the times and consumer needs and desires.   

In conclusion, choosing between an in-house trainer and an external training partner is a crucial decision for your dealership. Regardless of which path you choose, the emphasis should be on effective training, accountability, and aligning your customer facing teams with your organizational goals and objectives. For a more detailed evaluation, consider the following checklist: 

Evaluation checklist Hire an in-house trainer vs. Contract with an external training partner


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