Industry Excellence: Adult learning
New skills initiative for sales staff
PAR Training started development of the Automotive Sales Specialist Award last year when it saw a hole in the area of nationally recognised sales qualifications. The ASSA was launched last month at Surrey-based Wilson’s dealer group, where 10 salespeople were registered as candidates with the Institute of the Motor Industry. PAR’s Head of Learning and Development, John Fogerty, said: “I know as we take this out to the marketplace we’re going to have a good response because there’s such a demand for this.“We’re really all about putting training into practice – the ASSA is about following up the skills people have taken the time to learn.”
Toni Wilson, managing director of Wilsons group, told Motor Trader the programme at her site had been a big success. “I think awarding these skills changes staff attitude because it reinforces what I’m constantly saying to my sales staff – you are professional people and have to present yourselves as professional people,” she said. “I tell them to book appointments with customers formally – you wouldn’t go to a doctor or a dentist without an appointment and customers should think of you in the same way.” Wilsons has asked PAR Training to deliver the ASSA programme as an ongoing part of its staff development process.
Fogerty said this kind of training and reinforcement was particularly important during the credit crunch. “Some businesses think cutting back on training is one way of helping when business isn’t so great, but our primary focus now is to get people to invest in their staff,” he said. “We tell them that it really will pay off and it helps with staff retention too – it’s really never an option to neglect your people.”