Major dealership groups often hire top-level people with lots of talent but little or no auto-retailing experience.

Such prospects need to get up to speed on the various aspects of dealership management, including how the used-car department works. To help there, Manheim has created a remarketing workshop.

“It’s for up-and-coming folks as well as people hired from outside the industry who show long-term potential,” says Susie Heins, who oversees the program as vice president-dealer sales for Manheim, a provider of vehicle-remarketing services centered on auctions.

The training program came from a proposal at a Manheim dealer-advisory meeting with large publicly owned dealership groups such as AutoNation, the country’s top dealership chain.

“We asked what we could do to take the next generation into the car business,” Heins tells WardsAuto. “One of the things they talked about was soup-to-nuts remarketing training.”

It includes basic material, but it isn’t a 101 course for rookie salespeople assigned to the used-car lot. Instead, it is a management workshop for business professionals who have been around the block, but not necessarily in the neighborhood of pre-owned vehicle operations.

“Some participants are people that already work for a dealership group and got a promotion,” Heins says. “But a lot of others are new to the industry. Often, large dealer groups look for folks with no ties to the industry and who haven’t been at another store.”

Dealership groups show an interest in prospective store managers like that because they usually don’t come with previous-employer baggage, and they adapt easier to their new employer’s core values and operating style.

“But they still need to learn the basics,” says Heins, who formerly worked as an advertising manager for a Virginia-based dealership group, Checkered Flag Automotive. “The groups want participants to understand the whole used-car business and what it means to a dealership.”

The remarketing training covers both wholesale and retail vehicle pricing, as well as trade-in appraisals. Also covered is how to determine the extent and cost of prospective reconditioning to get a vehicle front-line ready.

“That’s a very hands-on exercise,” Heins says. “We also train on how to use information technology and leverage data. We show how to read the data and figure out the best places to buy or sell a car, based on market demands.”  

Some attendees previously worked at a technology company or an automotive vendor.

“They may be new to dealerships, but they have strong management and coaching skills,” Heins says. “That’s what a lot of dealership groups are looking for; someone who will foster the next layer of talent.”

The remarketing training workshops range from a day-and-a-half to five days.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com