Peugeot are replacing the existing ‘Introduction to Car Selling’ programme with a blended learning solution that combines e-learning with more traditional, face-to-face practice and feedback opportunities. EBC, the Manchester e-learning specialists, have programmed the e-learning elements, and Huthwaite International have provided the research base to underpin both the face-to-face training and the related elements of the e-learning.
Jill McGarry, who led the research effort, commented that, “Huthwaite’s task was to discover what it is that effective salespeople do when they are with customers in the showroom. We used behavioural analysis to identify the spoken behaviours that were linked to success, as well as those that led to unsuccessful outcomes. The resulting behavioural models were then used to create content for both the sales skills elements of the e-learning and, crucially, the face-to-face training.”
The resulting programme combines: a paper-based first phase completed in the dealership; highly participative residential classroom training, conducted at the Peugeot Business Institute; and e-learning modules which lead to in-dealer exercises and activities. The e-learning includes assessments and knowledge checks - all designed to be user-friendly and based on minimal existing computer skills and IT knowledge - which allow the learner’s progress to be monitored. Tutors from the Business Institute can then use this information to reinforce progress and support any individuals who seem to be struggling with the ‘remote’ elements of the programme.
When talking about the programme David Davies, Peugeot Sales Training Manager said: “We currently offer a three-week induction course for our dealers which is highly regarded by them. However, we are faced with new challenges. Customers today are better informed, have access to more information and expect higher levels of service. To remain successful we have to respond, and a key objective is to ensure that new people into our industry are helped to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Our solution is a blended approach which uses precourse work and ‘traditional’ training enriched by self learn modules delivered over the Internet. The mix of delivery mechanisms means that learners acquire the underpinning knowledge away from the training room, and use the time at the Business Institute to concentrate on developing their face-to-face selling skills.”
The research Huthwaite carried out has enabled Peugeot to differentiate what it means to be skilled in a situation where individual customers are making important, high-value decisions. Interestingly, the behavioural model that applies differs significantly from high-value, business-to-business sales and, as David Davies says, “One of the changes being made in Peugeot is to put into place training that reflects the knowledge Huthwaite has given us about what the best salespeople actually do.”