Chris Vitale of Phone Ninjas acknowledges that technology often comes and goes as fast as it can be developed, or even faster in some cases. This is not the case with phones, however. Beyond within our personal lives, in business settings customers actively text and call into dealerships for various reasons such as inquiring about availability to for information on the best prices available.
Similar to how phones are not going anywhere, as a result, neither is the need for active coaching in professional dealership environments.
Chris speaks to how many companies rely on just a few mystery shops or shot in the arm event-session training rather than investing in active coaching for their teams. Think about when the last time was that your organization set aside time to develop a comprehensive training plan for your team that is well thought out, customized, is scalable, and provides the opportunity for checks and balances. Without a plan in place through active coaching that address breakpoints you are just throwing things darts to see what sticks the bullseye — and this is simply not enough.
Here, Chris Vitale discusses how dealerships can harness active coaching to improve call quality.
Considering What Your Organization is Missing
Even if your organization is hitting a bullseye one out of ten times, which is much better than not hitting any, Chris Vitale urges managers and administrators to considers all of the other opportunities that are being thrown away as a result. Sure, we may not be doing so intentionally, but without the right technique results will never be as consistent as they could be.
On top of this, it can be easy for Sales Consultants and BD Agents to become disenfranchised and unmotivated along the way. Regardless of if they know they will get another chance tomorrow, the knowledge of this mindset does not prepare them for success, nor does it positively impact profit margins and existing processes. Dealerships need to maintain the mindset that every opportunity counts, and we can instill this ideology through active coaching.
The First Questions- How Do We Start Active Coaching? How will Active Coaching Help My Organization?
When educating others on how to begin active coaching, Chris Vitale urges teams to set clear objectives first and foremost. Recognizing that performance will not change overnight and will require a team’s effort, your investments, and a wiliness to adhere to active coaching strategies is key.
Chris maintains that this is not about the need to create benchmarks right way, either. After all, it is not realistic to expect employees to leave one session and implement what they have learned as if they have been doing so for years.
Instead, Chris Vitale points to the importance of building a sustainable foundation that is based on what active coaching means for your organization and the needs of your team. One of the primary steps is working on tackling the basics of how phone calls are handled at your dealership. Training should be wholistic and get everyone involved —even those who claim to have the perfect intro and sales techniques. This is because we want to ensure that everyone answers the phones using the same techniques and processes, as it provides the opportunity to better address breakpoints and use this knowledge to enhance their performance as a whole.
Following Up by Layering Progressive Techniques
After tackling the basics with active coaching and establishing a firm foundation, it is important to build on this progress through layering in progressive techniques for best results. Chris Vitale notes that these building block techniques will make a world of difference when addressing the changes that need to be made.
While Chris points to mystery shops as an industry standard for working toward active coaching, he speaks to it only addresses on facet of the issues at hand. To expand on the dartboard analogy, the mystery shop in this instance would be the board, and the team’s missed shot was most likely caused by the breakpoint or root cause of the ongoing issue.
Breakpoints are not something that simply goes away, they instead serve to show what areas we need to focus on for continued success of our organizations. This way, when employees are in active coaching sessions, they are not just learning what ongoing issues are. They are learning how to overcome them as well.
After kickstarting progressive techniques through active coaching, you can begin reviewing resources such as mystery shops much more easily as you build towards refining your employees’ skill sets on an individual basis. Even as performance improves and your Sales Consultant or BD Agent receives near-perfect scores on tests of their acumen, know that there will still be objections that trip them up. This is okay and a natural part of the process.
This is part of the reason why it is critical to display a dedication to the process of improvement. Providing teams with the support and tools to improve their performance and handle objections is a vital step. Even the most seasoned professionals need to practice as a means to remain at the top of their game.
Still Not Convinced About Active Coaching?
If you are not convinced to explore your need for active coaching, consider things from this perspective. We often talk about “human capital management” and how we are going to eventually get better at all of the things we do.
Still, at what point do we begin the conversation by conversing about what we are actually going to do to get there? Chris recognizes that we should ask ourselves whether or not we are ready to stop this auto-loop and instead use the solutions and learning opportunities that are available to us. This process does not end after a few sessions, it requires a strong follow up to fix the root cause of issues with the knowledge that phones are not going anywhere in big business.
Instead of throwing the dart with hopes of hitting a bullseye one out of ten times, with active coaching you may be able to start hitting six out of ten times with only room to grow from there. Trainers cannot be expected to be behind your team members 24/7, but with a scalable plan for active coaching they don’t have to.
About Chris Vitale
Chris Vitale is a business development professional and administrator who is currently Vice President and Partner at Phone Ninjas. Chris has built a reputation on his experience bringing innovative strategies and transformations to businesses within a variety of industries, continuously demonstrating a track record of success developing and implementing data-based tactics to make strong strategic decisions.