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A virtual classroom comes to the industry – December 4, 2006

December 4, 2006
Filed under Features

A powersports company has started a new training method for members of a dealership’s staff that occupy frequently high-turnover, but crucial, front-line positions.
The new training method is Dealership University’s version of a virtual classroom, where instructors teach online classes in a live and interactive forum. Tory Hornsby, general manager of the Atlanta-based company, believes Dealership University could be a pioneer to bringing the virtual classroom to the industry.
The online training calls for the dealership to download free software (Macromedia Flash Player) from dealershipuniversity.com. The software allows dealership participants to not only view the instructor during the class, but also interact with them via chat boxes.
The classes, which will initially focus on selling, are about an hour to an hour and a half long and cost $150 for dealerships that are not members of Dealership University. Members get the service for free. Hornsby said the company currently is running specials that could reduce the price for nonmembers to $100.
“So many dealerships aren’t willing to train their front-line staff because of turnover,” Hornsby said, citing the costly transportation and related expenses that traditional training usually includes. “Who’s not willing to spend $100 to train somebody on how to do their job better?”
Dealership University began the online classes with a series of sales classes that will include “Attitude and Appearance” on Dec. 13, “Product Knowledge” on Jan. 3 and “Phone Skills” on Jan. 10.
Hornsby said the online training will move into parts, service and F&I departments in the new year.
Each class will be limited to 35-40 students. “If you have too many people in there, it becomes less powerful for each learner,” Hornsby said.
Class participants will take test tests during the class. The results of the tests will be given to both the participant and the dealer principle. psb

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