surviving to thriving blog image

Reskilling Dealerships for the New Normal from Surviving to Thriving

No one could have predicted the ways in which 2020 would expose organizational vulnerabilities while simultaneously forcing those same organizations to quickly adapt and build resiliency into their business models.

We’ve seen companies that have already gone digital recover and in some cases, flourish during this time. And customers are no longer just driven by convenience, but also by health and safety concerns further exacerbating the situation, creating a call to action for the industry to wake up and take charge of the future.

Companies are falling into the trap of thinking that revolutionary technologies will solve their current woes. Sadly, that’s not the case. 70% of digital transformation efforts fail to ever reach their goals. To avoid this failure, the research shows the answer starts with preparing your people for the new way of selling and servicing and creating a culture to enable this important shift.

We see that companies like Cadillac and Hyundai have already moved to a selling model that includes a new role: the digital sales agent. By simply visiting their websites at certain times during the week, you can instantly enter a live video session with a sales agent who will give you a vehicle walk-around from a virtual studio and advise you on how you can have the vehicle delivered to your home.

In order for a model like this to work moving forward, it will require a transformation unlike any other. We’ve seen business development centers evolve from call centers to internet centers. The next evolution will include a live virtual component. Dealerships will need to be retrained to bring about the oxymoron of a contactless high-touch experience. Wrap your head around that concept! You may find that the product or delivery specialist accustomed to using the existing digital tools becomes the hero people rely on to help upskill the rest of the dealership.

Employees will need to be reskilled for a new normal that includes the proficient utilization of virtual and digital tools for a process that needs to account for the drivers and realities companies like Amazon, Tesla, CarMax, and Carvana are helping shape. The journey to this new mastery requires a performance-based outcome approach that starts with the learner. For instance, a traditional two-day face-to-face brand immersion course may now look like a four-week journey that includes a 30-minute high-octane opening and welcome. The experience would include challenges and activities to be completed between the live virtual sessions and learning that’s consumed in bite-sized pieces via different modalities. Each session would provide a chance to apply skills and role-play the desired behaviors that reflect the brand and dealership values, including personal real-world examples brought to each live learning session. Below is an example of what such a journey could look like.

The state of the world currently provides two advantages for successful change to happen: urgency and shared context in the knowledge that everyone is going through this together. There are a wealth of best practices and solutions being developed and improvised during this time. GP Strategies is working with our clients to ensure the success of their transformation and adaptation efforts despite the challenges. And the stakes have never been higher, with the safety and livelihoods of many intertwined and dependent on our actions. Right now, businesses are focused on surviving. But by developing the right skills and preparing for the new normal, they can soon be thriving.

About the Authors

Simon Huang

Simon Huang currently oversees the Global European Automotive Practice for GP Strategies. He possesses 16 years of automotive experience with two premium luxury OEM’s having led the national sales and product training organization and held various leadership roles in product planning, digital marketing and corporate strategy. He has worked globally in collaboration with global OEM headquarters and the dealer network to define and execute the strategic direction for various sales, marketing, leadership, customer experience, product and technology launches and initiatives. Prior to joining the OEM’s, Simon was a management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young creating business value developing cutting edge practices for Fortune 500 companies.

Leave a Comment