Every day in dealerships sales teams conduct Customer Needs Analysis. You attempt to understand what the customer needs in a vehicle, as well as their resources to acquire that need. What I want to do with you today is focus on a very specific portion of a Training Needs Analysis.

If you start with involving your entire team in the Training Needs Analysis, you will gather much more information than you will ever glean on your own. Employees want to be productive for you. Their self-worth is tied to their productivity level, so if you can help them fill the need between what you want and what you have now to make them more productive, everyone wins.

Step 1 – Compile a list of all the positions in the store.

Get all the “players” on the board. Just like your Customer Needs Analysis, when you want to know if there is a co-applicant or even a possible co-signer – we must identify everyone in the store.

Start with laying out your departments, then begin listing every position within that department until you have listed every position in the store. If you have ever created an organizational chart, this will be easy. We want them organized by department, because later we may find that some topics or areas of training apply to an entire department or more.

Two additional pieces of information are needed on your “players.” When were they hired? How much auto experience do they have? These two additional pieces will factor in, in later steps.

Step 2 – Compile a list of job duties for each position.

On the football field or the basketball court, each player has a specific role to fill and they must know which position they are playing and what their job function is on the field or court. This takes some time, but is easier if your store has a job description for each position in the store.

The one thing I have learned over the last few years is that many automotive job titles don’t tell you anything. You must know all the job duties. If you have poorly written job descriptions, now is the time to update them. Job descriptions are not a laundry list of what-not to do’s. I’ve seen some that are a page and a half of all the things the last employee did that aggravated the dealer.

Focus on the job duties of the position. To get this as complete as possible you should use the job descriptions, but also survey employees in the position as well as their supervisors, and even job shadow. You would be surprised how many things your team members do without thinking about it, that someone new to the position might not know.

Step 3 – Compile all the job/position performance expectations.

Some may ask how this is different from job duties – Job duties are things like “manage the sales team,” whereas the performance expectation may be “to maintain a team of 6 sales team members, capable of selling 70 vehicles per month.” Again, this will take some time to flesh out on paper, especially if you didn’t have job descriptions before you started this exercise. If you don’t have clear expectations, you can’t measure if anyone is missing the mark and therefore needs additional training. Forcing yourself to put this on paper will cause you to clarify things.

Step 4 – Compile a list of equipment and software used for Step 2.

I find this step to be very important as oftentimes neither job duties nor job expectations can be met without the aid of equipment or software. This is an item that you can survey your employees about, they know what items they use every day.

Step 5 – Identify/gather performance scorecards for each employee for the appropriate position.

Do you have current performance issues in the store? List them along with the individual that is having them. Have each employee on staff complete a self-evaluation form and each supervisor on staff perform a performance review of each team member, including the expectations from step 3. Both documents should be specific to the position duties and expectations. Make sure you filter this by the additional items we collected in step 1 – how long they have been employed with you and how much automotive experience they have. You won’t likely have the exact same expectations of the employee who started last month as you would with the person in the same position who has been with you for 2 years.

If you didn’t do a great job in step 1 or 2, you will struggle with this step. Go back and put the effort needed in step 1 & 2.

Step 6 – Compile a complete list of all internal training options.

Create a list of everything that can be trained internally. Review every vendor you work with. Do they have free or paid training? Is it a wiki, or is it video? Does your F&I agent/product provider provide training? Monthly subscriptions to training videos? Internal sales training? Put everything available on the list. You will need it later.

Next week I’ll explore how you can identify your needs: Need = what you want – what you have. Some call it “The Gap.” Read Part 2, here.