Former dealership GM turns to consulting
Liz Keener, Managing Editor
August 26, 2013
Filed under Features
Breckenridge takes Harley background into new role
Last year, A. Jason Breckenridge hit a crossroads. He had spent the previous decade improving business operations as general manager at a pair of Harley-Davidson dealerships, after doing the same in the auto industry seven years prior.
But Breckenridge was no longer appeased by the daily paperwork that a GM encounters, and he knew he needed a change.
“I’ve always been kind of that natural trainer kind of person. I kind of got burned out a couple years ago and wasn’t really sure what direction I wanted to go into,” he said.
Breckenridge thought hard about his strengths and what he had enjoyed throughout his years in the powersports and automotive industries. He realized that training had fueled his passion, so he decided then that he would be come a consultant and founded Twenty LLC in October.
Sales training expertise
Twenty LLC’s focus is hands-on training, working with dealership employees in smaller groups, rather than spending all of the time preaching philosophy. Breckenridge prefers sales training, but can consult on almost anything in dealership operations, except for accounting and mechanical work.
When Victory Solutions, a follow-up system provider in the powersports industry, learned of Breckenridge’s consultancy, the company brought him in to do all of its corporate training. Victory Solutions was a great fit for Breckenridge because he specializes in training on over-the-phone sales.
“I teach the sales staff on how to make an effective call,” he said.
When working with Victory Solutions, Breckenridge goes into dealerships after Victory has vetted some leads using special promotions. He then teaches the dealership staff how to select the leads that turn into high-quality prospects and trains them how to turn those prospects into buyers.
“In one of the last dealerships, we started with 750 leads, and they ended up selling 22 bikes out of it,” Breckenridge said, adding that the 750 leads were shaved down to 100 credible prospects, with 22 percent of those turning into sold bikes.
“There’s not a single dealership that we haven’t gone into and sold at least one bike with what they’ve offered,” he said.
But phone training isn’t the only service Twenty LLC offers. Breckenridge can also train dealerships on handbook creation, legal issues, setting up pay plans, hiring, inventory management, sales process, F&I and more.
“My specialty is to go in there and to fix it, and I’m really good at fixing things really, really quickly,” he said.
What drives Breckenridge is the challenge of seeing a problem and finding a solution. He admits to being somewhat of a tinkerer with business operations.
“I’ve always been kind of an efficiency nut myself. If there’s a better, faster more cost-efficient way to do it, I want to know,” he said.
Breckenridge also finds joy in watching his students use his processes to succeed. At one Harley-Davidson dealership, he worked with a salesperson who was hesitant to trust him, but after the phone process was taught, that salesperson attracted all three of the prospects he called into a dealership visit. Of those three, one decided not to buy, one was credit-challenged and couldn’t buy, but the third made a new vehicle purchase. The salesperson was, in turn, grateful for Breckenridge’s leadership.
“To me, that’s really kind of an emotional high. It’s fun for me,” Breckenridge said.
To lead dealership staffs, Breckenridge draws on his years of experience training his employees. When he was in the auto industry, Breckenridge served as the trainer for a 2,000-staff dealership group. It was memories of working with those salespeople that drove his new career.
“To me, the fun part of the business was getting out and dealing with my employees one-on-one. I spent a lot of one-on-one time with my group,” he said.
When at each dealership, Breckenridge not only works with employees, but he also consults with management to assure that the salespeople will absorb the education that will help the store succeed. His goal is to leave the dealership with the strategies they’ll actually use going forward.
“You have to look at: What does the general manager want? What does the owner want?” he said. “You have to take what they’re interested in, look at their staff and see what works for them.”
Having been part of both the powersports and automotive industries allows Breckenridge to easily step into a dealership and teach best practices because he’s been in the GMs’ shoes.
“I think that’s the big bonus. I’ve had customers curse and yell at me. I’ve had employees sue their employer. I’ve had employees fight me on sales process,” he explained. “When you throw this out — ‘I can’t get my salespeople out of their seats to talk to their customers,’ — I’ve been there.”