SALESMANSHIP AS A CAREER. A SOLUTION OF THE EMPLOYMENT PROBLEM OFFERED BY THE INSTITUTE OF MOTOR SALESMANSHIP.
NOWADAYS the automobile has superseded the railway as an object of interest in the mind of the average young man, and in most cases he leaves school with the desire to find work which will be in some way connecteci with the motor trade. Probably the first thought which occurs to a young man leaving school with this ambition, is to find a job as a carsalesman, sub-consciously thinking that thisf unction requires no specialised training and is therefore within the scope of every one. He cannot be
blamed for this faulty reasoning, for contact with some of the salesmen at the Motor Show and at his local car-showroom, who often display an astonishing lack of knowledge will have substantiated this theory.
But in the past year the selling of motors has ceased to be regarded as a haphazard occupation, and the Institute of Motor Salesmanship is setting a standard by which untrained salesmen are being revealed in all their inadequacy. The Institute’s efforts are being admirably supported by the leading manufacturers, notably Austin and Ford, both of whom have given facilities for the Institute to give students a specialised Ford or Austin course (the latter at the Longbridge works), and recommend their dealers to employ men so trained. Sir Herbert Austin, at a recent meeting at Birmingham said :
“Agents who are contemplating the engagement of new salesmen or wish to take into their organisation men whom they can train to fill sales posts would be well advised to get in touch with Mr. Broad. I understand that many successful students have already been placed with Austin dealers. “We have no financial interest in the School whatsoever but we have investigated and satisfied ourselves of its efficiency and have placed facilities at these Works at the disposal of the School solely as the
means of raising the standard of salesmanship within the industry.”
Realising the value of a thoroughly trained man over a self-taught salesman, many dealers are sending their existing salesmen to the Institute for a 4 weeks course, while salesmen at present disengaged are taking advantage of the Institute to equip themselves fully for new positions.
We recently spent a very interesting morning inspecting the In stitute’s premises in Little Portland Street, London, W.1, in company with the Principal, Mr. S. Broad, and were greatly impressed with the good work being carried on there. The training is extraordinarily complete, embracing, besides the actual sales procedure, such points us showroom display, internal office routine, correspondence, the laws of hire purchase and insurance and general motoring, makes and models of cars, driving tuition for customers, technical knowledge, the used car trade, and publicity and advertising. For some minutes we listened to a lecture on the various points of interest and sales value of a popular make of car, the lecturer making use of an efficient projector called an epidiascope which reproduces any picture or photograph from a catalogue or journal onto a screen. Then, as the students settled down to complete a paper on the morning’s tuition, we moved on to the model showroom, where students are trained] to receive clients and to produce convincing argu ments in favour of the purchase of a car. Among the normally used vehicles in the showroom we noticed a particularly disreputable looking car and enquired from our cicerone whether it had any particular use. Mr. Broad’s reply was typical of the thoroughness with which all branches of the Institute’s work is carried out. “Yes, that is our ‘test case,'” he replied, “and represents a used car presented by a client in part exchange for
a new machine. There are 113 tabulated defects on that old car, and the students have to make a list of as many as they can find.”
Mr. Broad has devised a completely water-tight system for following the progress of each student, and the classes are kept down to a small enough size to enable individual attention to be given. A point of great importance to prospective students is that only men who in the opinion of the Principal will benefit by the instruction given, are accepted, so that the percentage of students who have succeeded in obtaining employment through their training is extraordinarily high, being an average of 90%.
The benefit of the Institute of Motor Salesmanship both to the motor industry and to the purchasing public will be obvious to anyone who has given the subject any thought. Gone are the days when the saying “A good salesman can sell anything,” was seriously accepted as an invariable rule.
Motor salesmanship at last seems to be developing into the specialised career it should be, and as the example of the Austin and Ford Companies in taking advantage of men trained by the Institute of Motor Salesmanship is followed by others, so will there be better service both for manufacturers and their agents, and for the general public.