Fri Dec 7, 2018
Author: RV News Staff
Grand Design just completed its annual dealer training sessions at the company’s headquarters in Middlebury, Ind. The training took place in two sessions, Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 4-6. Ninety-six representatives from 33 dealerships attended the November session and 98 representatives from 37 dealerships attended the December session.
This year’s “Grand Design University” dealer training, the second time the company has held it, includes a day of classroom time and tours of Grand Design’s manufacturing plant and pre-delivery inspection facility. Reps also train in the “Lifestyle Ladder,” Grand Design’s progression of products that strive to keep consumers in the RV lifestyle from travel trailers up through the company’s Solitude luxury fifth wheel. Another topic is the “Golden Thread of Consistency,” which covers a group of features that all Grand Design units have in common.
Other instruction includes model-specific training, marketing topics and general training in sales techniques. The three-day sessions are highlighted by a presentation from Grand Design’s CEO, Don Clark, that covers company history and culture and the company’s commitment to its dealers. Other topics include instruction in the company’s 288-point predelivery inspection process, company resources available to the reps, plans in the pipeline and guidance on using social media at dealerships.
Attendance at the training is by invitation only. The company contacts dealerships and dealer management members select the sales reps who will attend.
Attendees “are divided about 50-50 between people who have been in the industry a year or less and then some who have been in for probably 30 years,” Grand Design’s Director of Marketing Matt Chupp says. “One of the veterans brought in a 30-year-old business card he had with Don Clark’s name on it. That was fun.” The curriculum is arranged so that newbies and veterans alike can take home some knowledge of value.
The sessions went really well. We’re happy with it. We got really good feedback,” Chupp says.
A couple of attendees contributed to that feedback.
“I thought the training was fantastic, very well organized,” says Darrell Masson, a sales rep from Four Seasons Sales in Virden, Manitoba. “They’re a very professional company in how they presented the whole package to us.” Masson says he got the most from a tour of Grand Design’s manufacturing facility, as well as the sales and product training the company provided. Masson’s company sent 16 participants to the event and all had a positive experience.
“We’ll be sending more employees in any future years Grand Designs participates in the event,” he says.
“It was fabulous. We got to see the camper soup to nuts, where it begins and where it ends,” says Jackie Mitchell, a sales rep for Lee’s Family Trailer Sales in Windham, Maine. The tour of the factory was the most personally useful information, seeing how the units are built. It helps her explain to her customers how much quality goes into the units’ construction, she says.
“The units don’t land here at our dealership with issues,” she says. “Their PDI is like none other on the market.”
What she enjoyed the most was “their attitude. They enjoy what they’re doing. They’re proud of who they work for, of their product. They’re all positive, they work well as a team. They’re all humble. We all commented on that,” she says. “I wish I could work for the company but they’re too far away, but I’m proud to sell their products.”