Firms team up for dealer services – September 4, 2006

Two companies are working together to provide dealers easier access to training opportunities and a new approach at hiring salespeople.
RPM Group, the largest 20 Group company in the industry, and Dealership University (DU), a training company, recently agreed to partner on the two projects, said Sam Dantzler, president of RPM Group, formerly known as the Lemco Management Group.
The first of the two projects is a merging of the two companies’ strengths. “They had the format we were looking for to put some of our (training) online and we had the content they were looking for,” Dantzler said. “So it worked out really well.”
The training, initially for sales staff only, will be available for all dealers, not just those who are RPM?Group members. Dantzler said RPM Group and DU are hoping to launch the program for sales staff this year and could look at other training programs for service writers and managers in ’07. The cost of the program has not been finalized.
“Everything we’ve done is live and in person,” Dantzler said of RPM Group’s training. “And that’s pretty costly. Either you have to send a guy to us or we have to send our trainer on the road. We firmly believe a blended training approach is the way to go.”
The blended approach will include in-person training and two types of online training: using on-the-Web training modules and live, interactive training.
The second project the two companies will work on — an effort to make hiring faster and more efficient — will start with salespeople and, if successful, continue with service writers and potentially sales managers.
The venture calls on RPM Group to find members of the public that would be interested in starting a sales career. RPM Group will use ads on Monster.com and other employment sites to get a pool of candidates. Those candidates would then be given two days of free sales training. At the end of that period, the candidates would decide if they were still interested in sales. If they were, they would complete a full training course — about 15 online courses — and then be eligible to hire.
“It provides a cultivating environment that’s never been there before and it addresses a huge issue that every dealer faces, which is turnover,” Dantzler said of the program.
Dantzler expects the first candidates, which will be trained in Denver, to be ready by the end of September and placed locally.
A dealership would pay a placement fee, which has yet to be decided upon, if the newly trained employee stays with the dealership through an initial trial period.
“When you look at what it takes to run an ad, get the people in, interview them, train them, your time and your sales manager’s time, the (cost of hiring) is astounding,” Dantzler said.
Besides finding a job, there’s added motivation for the newly trained salesperson to succeed in their new position.
Once they commit to take the full training course, they pay a tuition fee. That fee will be waived if they get through the initial trial period at the new job.
The training fee, Dantzler said, ensures the candidate will be focused during their training and come out “as polished as they possible can be” so they can succeed at their new position.
Besides a possible placement fee, the dealer would pay for any relocation costs and any screening tests, whether it’s a background check or a drug screening.

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