by John Fuhrman, Director of Training, OptionSoft Technologies
There’s an old story that goes something like this.
A dealer was getting increasingly frustrated with all the technology in his dealership. He purchased all the best money could buy. But when it came to training and support, it never seemed to be in the budget. So people came and went, and the technology never really lived up to its promise.
One day, the whole system collapsed. Nothing. Service couldn’t write RO’s, F&I was stuck with unusable menus and unable to bill deals and the sales desk couldn’t work a deal. Needless to say, the dealer was beside himself. He hated the system, but with what was spent to get it up and running, he had little choice but to call in someone who could repair it.
Since he never enlisted in the company’s training and support, it required that they send someone directly to the dealership. As if things weren’t bad enough, the tech was to be paid on the spot for the work performed. Reluctantly, the dealer agreed and the service/support person was dispatched immediately.
When the tech arrived at the dealership, the dealer was in a cold sweat. Without his technology, he was out of business. He looked at the little man with thick glasses and a pocket protector and pleaded, “Can you fix my system?”
The tech pushed his glasses back up his nose and replied, “I’m certain I can, but I must remind you that I am to be paid immediately upon making the repair.”
“Yes. Yes. Of course,” the dealer stammered. “Whatever it takes.”
With that, the dealer led the little man to the computer room. The tech lightly pushed the dealer out of the way and placed his small tool pouch on the floor. He looked to the right and seemed to listen for something. Almost immediately, he turned to the left and did the same thing. The little technician let out a soft sigh, reached into his pouch, pulled out a very small stainless steel hammer and leaned into the room.
As he made his way next to the blinking lights of the main frame, he ran his hand along the side, stopped suddenly, moved his hand away and tapped sharply with his hammer.
There was a millisecond of silence followed by a lot of whirring. Soon the lights were blinking faster and in a pattern. As soon as all that happened, the service manager ran in to report that all service desks were running. He was immediately followed by the sales and F&I managers who reported exactly the same thing. The dealer was amazed.
He stepped back out of the room and just as he looked at the little man, the technician finished writing out the bill and handed it to the dealer. The dealer took one look at the bill, smacked his head and screamed, “$4,000! All you did was hit my equipment with a hammer.” He tore up the hand written invoice and demanded, “I want an itemized bill.”
The technician shook his head, pulled out his pad and began writing again. When he finished, he handed the invoice to the dealer. It said:
Hitting Computer Equipment With Hammer…………………. $1.00
Knowing where to hit and exactly how hard……………………. $3,999
The dealer handed over the check.
I share this because sometimes the training is more important than the equipment. The absence of training can severely hinder the possibility of using any equipment to its maximum potential. In our business, knowing how to turn it on, how to set up the templates, or even how to maintain equipment is not enough. To make it work, it must serve the department it’s designed for. Service needs to tie in to flat rate manuals. F&I needs to read the VIN and rate service contracts and the Desk needs to use figures to negotiate for sales.
Learning the technology is one thing, but without the training to transform that technology to humans so they can succeed at their jobs is no different than buying chrome wheels to make a car go faster. It may look fast, but it isn’t going anywhere quicker just because the wheels reflect the sun.
Get the tools you need to do the job the way you want. But do yourself a favor and invest in the training that comes with the equipment, so you can bring your people up to speed with regard to their specific objectives.
John Fuhrman, Director of Training, OptionSoft Technologies, will be presenting at Auto/Mate’s User Summit. Fuhrman has been training automotive professionals since 1996. His 13 books on topics like sales, leadership and management have sold worldwide and have been translated into a dozen languages. He has just released his new book, “Yes! -How Noes Prepare You for the Yeses that Shape Your Future,” which auto industry leaders are praising. Dealers can order quantity copies at a discount by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. He has trained over 15,000 sales, management and F&I professionals and can be reached at email@example.com.