How-To Guide for Building a Car Sales Training Program for Your Dealership

Change starts at the top—and you can set the stage for sustained success for your dealership by applying the right approach. It’s no secret that the automotive industry is always adapting, which is why NCM Associates works to help your leadership team set an example for the company to follow.

With the help of NCM expert Bob Ringo, we’ve crafted our how-to guide for building car sales training programs for your dealership. Walk with us as we examine every facet of your dealership to grow sustainability for a new era.

Lay the Groundwork for Every Employee

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to successful car sales training programs. Rather, the foundation of any effective training lies within a comprehensive sales manual tailored to your dealership’s specific processes, philosophies, and goals. When orchestrated well, this can become the onboarding bible for new hires—as well as serving as a crucial reference point for every employee.

“Each store has its own process, and it should be fully understood and practiced before taking the first internet lead,” said Ringo. When done right, your sales training manual should do more than just outline steps in the process. Rather, it should immerse salespeople in the dealership’s history, mission, and culture, to improve everyday interactions, such as:

  • Overcoming objections
  • Proper walk-arounds
  • Proper pre-appraisal for trades
  • Presenting leasing vs. purchasing

Additionally, it’s important to emphasize skill-building sections on phone etiquette, email and texting, and the unique aspects of selling used versus new vehicles. This manual can become your team’s go-to resource as they navigate the sales floor.

Prioritize Your Flexibility

Even with a carefully crafted sales manual, it’s important for sales training to be anything but static. To drive both short-term wins and long-term growth for your dealership, it’s critical to continuously inject new sales training methods into your program as it evolves.

First, make your sales manual part of your dealership's DNA. Think of it as a living document. This ensures everyone, new and experienced, is aligned on processes and best practices. Encourage veteran staff to contribute updates, keeping the manual a dynamic reflection of your dealership's evolution.

“Once you have a training manual that management approves... it should become part of the onboarding process for all new salespeople,” said Ringo.

Remember, consistent improvement is key. Adapt your training to current market trends and consumer preferences for a competitive edge.

Building Good Culture Means Everything

A successful dealership isn't just about individual salespeople—it thrives on a strong, motivated team. Your sales training program can lay the groundwork for this positive environment by emphasizing your dealership's unique culture and values from day one. Make shared values and goals the starting point for building trust and a sense of common purpose.

“It should be the responsibility of every Variable Manager to have an ongoing role in the training of all current and new salespeople,” added Ringo. “The best practice is to have a training calendar posted in the sales office and the lunchroom that has training dates, topics and instructor for any given month.”

Establish a visible training calendar that outlines monthly topics, instructors, and whether sessions are mandatory or targeted to specific groups. This creates a dealership culture where training and self-improvement are celebrated—and encourages feedback to identify areas where further training could unlock their potential.

Keep Up With Changes

There’s always room for improvement in the automotive industry. Regulations change, technologies evolve, and customer expectations change like the weather. To stay ahead of the curve, your sales training cannot be a one-and-done endeavor. Whether you're onboarding a new hire or working with a seasoned salesperson, ongoing training needs to be a key part of everyone's job description.

You should prioritize cultivating a dealership-wide understanding that training is the key to continuous improvement. This commitment from leadership will foster a culture where salespeople, regardless of experience level, see training as a tool to reach their full potential and better serve your customers.

Master Your Sales Training Program

A well-designed sales manual offers a blend of structure and flexibility. It establishes clear sales processes that guide your team while empowering them to personalize their approach. Focus on concise language, actionable steps, and tools that facilitate their success in the field.

We hope our how-to guide for building car sales training programs for your dealership can build a clear path forward. Contact NCM Associates to learn more about how we help your dealership!