Large windows, new detailed vehicles, sales desks and cars on the lot– it’s a picture not unlike most any Luther store, but this center of action on Brooklyn Boulevard is distinctly different, as industry experts work with new hires who learn, practice and grow their skills.
Sales training grows
- Now 90 days in length
- 3-4 weeks at dealership-simulator
- Customized to store needs
- Finance training on site
The freshly introduced Luther Development Center set up shop in a previous Brookdale store, and this dealership simulator appears to be the only one in the country. Newly hired sales consultants spend their first 30 days at the LDC as part of a 90-day training program. Finance training is also offered.
“Every guest deserves to be working with a well trained salesperson. This effort is meant to address that.”
Matt Hanrahan, director of training, Luther Auto
At its heart, the LDC is an investment in people, explains Director of Training and Organizational Development Matt Hanrahan. “I think that’s what this facility is all about. We’re incredibly grateful to be working for a company that understands that value,” he said.
Show floor comes to class
Attendees have the opportunity to take classroom training and then immediately practice their skills on the show floor. Hanrahan said the idea was borne from a desire by the executive staff and store general managers to attract higher quality job candidates, and reduce turnover.
To make auto sales more attractive to people who might consider a career change, a safety net is needed, some assurance that new hires will be OK economically while they get up to speed, the director explains. Luther’s comprehensive sales training provides that stability.
Looking outside, then back in
Hanrahan said Luther has been very good at comparing itself to others in its industry, but needed to look outside of it for effective examples. “Other businesses do a better job getting people in and setting them up for success through substantial training and coaching,” he said. “There’s no reason why we can’t do that in this industry, but it does require that we change our thinking a little bit.”
Some may ask how the LDC customizes its training to individual stores, each with its own sales intricacies. Hanrahan said trainers work directly with store leaders to match their needs and the LDC brings in the actual vehicles the trainees sell.
Shorter, customized trainings are also offered and the program employs a modular design that’s adaptable. Store employees can become so busy in their positions that they don’t have enough time to get the new person up to speed, and that’s where the LDC is here to assist, the director explained.