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Are you ready to talk training, training and more training? If you’ve ever engaged in a successful training program, you know it’s an ongoing process. But, you have to be more than consistent if you want to continually improve. You need a solid foundation.

by Tasha Willingham

With remote sales on the rise, your callers expect good service on the phone before they ever get to your dealership. And the best way to turn callers into customers is by providing exceptional phone service. You can’t get that without training, training, training.

Training for phone calls is different than attending to a person in the showroom. There are no visual cues to help you read your customer, making training that much more important. If you want to deliver strong results on the phone, turning callers into customers, this is what you need for a solid phone training program.

Train in Group and Individualized Sessions

Truly good phone training programs provide instruction in both group settings and personal sessions. By diversifying the settings in which you deliver instruction, you’re attending to multiple learning styles and reinforcing instruction in various contexts. Teaching in these various settings also lets you address large-scale concerns as well as personal worries so that you are attacking your trouble areas from multiple angles.

Use Role Playing as Part of Phone Training

To truly prepare for difficult situations, you must train for them. Most accomplished athletes will tell you that part of training is muscle memory‚ teaching your muscles to respond to physical stimuli. Attending to your customers via phone is similar. You want to practice those “muscles” until proper response come easily.

Role playing also prepares staff for dealings with tough questions and problem customers. “Role playing encourages participants to use their imaginations and their instincts in responding to the myriad situations that confront them” states the Harvard Business Review.

One-on-One Checkups Help Validate Training

Training is great, but it will only take you so far. Your staff needs to be accountable for the training they receive or it’s a waste of investment. Take the time and effort to follow up and provide one-on-one checkups. recommends short, frequent checkups to reinforce the skills learned in training programs: “Walk around every day and hold one-on-one conversations lasting three minutes More short discussions are better than fewer long ones.”

These short meetings also give employees an opportunity to ask questions which they may not feel comfortable doing in larger group settings and work on their own individual strengths and weaknesses.

Provide Personalized Feedback After Training

A good phone training program allows for personal touchpoints where direct feedback is discussed so that it can be internalized and used in future situations. Brainshark reports that, “When training is reinforced by in-the-field coaching, companies see up to 4x the ROI from training programs alone.”

Progress Reports Keep Training Fresh

Progress reports are a great way to continually validate learned skills. Individual touchpoints are great, but they are also time-consuming. A good phone training program will involve written, concrete feedback for personnel so they can understand areas they need to work on and where they are excelling. Written progress reports also act as a reference (similar to a manual or guide) so that staff can consistently grow and progress and see how they are improving.

Analyze Your Calls to Ensure Effective Training is Taking Place

After a successful phone training program has been executed and you’ve followed that up with various touchpoints, it’s time to see how it performs in the field. Review calls with your staff so they can see what is working in real scenarios and what needs more work.

Focus on Strengths and Improvement

No one employee is perfect. When providing feedback to your staff, offer constructive criticism and praise for their strengths, rather than focusing on shortcomings. Your people will grow and strive to improve if they feel supported and encouraged.

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