Calling it an industry first, Daimler Truck Financial opens a three-day classroom training course today in Charlotte, NC, designed for dealership personnel that have already completed online sales training and webinars.

“The single, most important goal of this initiative is to help dealers and their teams prepare for a more profitable future,” said Richard Howard, vp-Daimler Truck Financial. “At a time when most OEM’s financial partners are taking cover and reducing investments, Daimler Truck Financial is proactively investing in training tools to help our dealers, thus increasing our value proposition.”

The course is full, Daimler said, as is a second one scheduled for next week in Fort Worth, TX.. It provides comprehensive training in the art of selling finance and insurance products to customers, the company said.

Earlier this year, Daimler launched the Finance & Insurance Academy, a series of free online courses and webinars for sales managers, sales staffs, finance and insurance staffs and dealer principals. The courses and webinars proved so popular, that Daimler decided to pursue the live training courses. More than 700 people have participated in over 1,900 hours of online training.

The training has been so successful, Daimler said, that despite the fact that there is some cost to the dealers to participate, the classes are full.

“We have underwritten the development and launch costs of the overall program, but we are asking the dealers to help pay for the classroom training and for their travel,” said James Molski, dealer training manager for Daimler Truck Financial and co-creator of the program. “While there is some cost to them, dealers know that after their people complete this training, gain a new level of confidence and close their first deal, it will pay for their investment.”

Dave Wirth, director of finance & insurance at ATC Freightliner in Dallas and F&I Dealer Council President for Daimler Truck Financial dealer customers, advised the company on the development of the program.

“The benefit of this training for larger stores is that it eliminates the gap between the front-end sales and the back-end close,” Wirth said. “We need that education and training on the front end so that they are more comfortable with the turn over to the back end. For the smaller stores that do not have a specialized F&I person on site, it enables the sales staff to have the product knowledge and the financing knowledge so they can provide turn-key service start to finish.

“Daimler Truck Financial is the only captive out there that is actively and aggressively taking their dealer group into the 21st century,” Wirth said. “Dealerships participating in the training will see some improvement in just a few weeks. The energy level and the focus of the participants is there.”

Wirth said he held training classes for the ATC dealerships several years ago and saw revenue rise over 300 percent after 12 months.