How eLearning is keeping car dealerships’ wheels turning

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How eLearning is keeping car dealerships’ wheels turning

Engaging online content that can be tailored to upskill vehicle sales teams and representatives while improving supply chain management processes is proving to be a game-changer

Johannesburg, 21 September 2023 – Despite a stressed business and consumer environment, South Africa’s vehicle sales market remains relatively steady.

Though August sales figures released by the Automotive Business Council (naamsa) indicate a drop of 3.1% from the time same time last year, inflation falling within the 3%-6% target band suggests an uptick can be expected.

The majority of new vehicle sales (83.8% in August) occur through dealerships, and indeed many have recorded better-than-expected results at certain points this year.

A large part of this success can be attributed to dealerships’ efforts to attract customers and establish brand loyalty.
Detailed training programmes are also rolled out to staff so that every member of the business understands not only their own roles but how they fit into the broader organisation.

In recent years more dealerships are turning to eLearning for this purpose, particularly in cases where they may form part of a larger auto group that has interests around the country.

Remote sales teams have become very popular, and eLearning can ensure consistency of training and messaging across all locations.

“Everyone from sales representatives and managers and new hires to customer service representatives and manufacturer representatives stands to gain from e-Learning,” says Paul Hanly, founder of learning solutions provider New Leaf Technologies.

He says learning management systems (LMS) offer a wide range of benefits. These include:

  •  Customised solutions: These can speak to product knowledge, sales strategies and customer engagement aligning with the specific business.
  • Convenience: Staff can access content anywhere and at any time.
  • Self-paced learning: Not everyone learns at the same speed, so dealer sales representatives can spend more working through course material they find challenging.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Physical training can be expensive if travel and accommodation expenses need to be incurred. eLearning removes these costs.
  • Rapid response: The auto sector changes all the time and dealer staff need to be able to respond accordingly. An LMS allows users to swiftly update new information for learning purposes.

“What is really exciting about these systems is how they can be tailored to dealership requirements,” Hanly says.
“You can even input real-world situations that mirror what might occur in a sales situation on the showroom floor. Every customer is different so being able to prepare for the different types of complaint or how to close a deal is sales gold.”

A person buying a vehicle for their family, for example, will differ markedly from a car enthusiast, so these mock scenarios can be incredibly useful in tailoring different sales pitches and recommendations based on customer preferences.

eLearning, Hanly says, can even play a role in improving supply chain workflows.

“Some of the eLearning modules created can teach inventory management principles that assist staff to understand how to optimise stock levels and improve cash flow.

“In terms of these processes, eLearning also allows staff to be updated on ordering, supplier relationships and inventory management in real time. Furthermore, the modules can extend to demand forecasting, where team members are taught forecasting methods to make informed decisions in supply chain management.”

Efficiency of eLearning is now beyond question in the dealership space, Hanly adds.

Staff are trained to adhere to standardised procedures which yield a high level of accuracy in the supply chain. The result is that costly mistakes can be minimised and even eradicated in some cases.

“Perhaps the biggest advantage is that supply chain disruptions, which in the past few years have become fairly common with the Covid-pandemic and war in Ukraine, can be mitigated by staff who know how to deal with them.”

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About New Leaf Technologies

New Leaf Technologies provides “best of breed” learning software and services to corporations, training companies and educational institutions throughout Africa and the Middle East. Its products include aNewSpring, a cloud-based Learner Experience Platform (LXP); New Leaf LMS, an enterprise-grade Learner Management System; and Wisenet, a sleek student management system. The company also offers over 20 000 off-the-shelf courses and tailor-made course content, shareable through these platforms, as well as a turnkey design and production service, to create holistic e-learning experiences.

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