Lindsay Fleege just returned from the Netherlands and she is excited to train. Fleege is the key account program lead at Valvoline for global products, and in her four-year tenure at Valvoline has led countless sales-, product- and soft-skills courses in the US and around the world.
“It was a great experience,” she says, “I was there for a week. I’m one of a handful of people at Valvoline who are DDI/M4-certified [Development Dimensions International]. DDI focuses on leadership and management skills and enables us to teach contemporary strategies in communicating for success, team development, and learning how to delegate and empower others.”
Fleege is one of the key leaders at Valvoline developing the Trusted Advisor Program. She says her focus is on developing individuals in both sales and technical roles.
“Many people have great qualities but get thrown into management roles and struggle to express themselves well, communicate poorly or don’t know how to express empathy,” she notes.
For shop owners, service advisors and even technicians, this is a huge issue. Fleege says you’re always selling someone on something, whether you’re teaching them training or upselling service. Under the same umbrella, understanding how to communicate can lead to huge personal and professional gains.
“You have to know your audience and tell them why what you’re imparting is valuable,” she says, “and it’s about passion, knowledge and engagement.”
For technicians and advisors who struggle to communicate or never had to before, getting over this hurdle can be quite a leap. Fleege says Valvoline is helping level that playing field and that the Trusted Advisor Program is a dynamic step forward.
Train for a Hands-on Future
The Trusted Advisor Program and Valvoline University work together to create a holistic training and retainment program greater than the sum of its parts.
“The most important way to benefit from the Trusted Advisor Program and VU is to understand they work together to deliver training across many platforms,” Fleege says.
“We encourage online learning through VU and then back it up with hands-on classroom training with the Trusted Advisor Program by offering comprehensive course offerings that can be customized to your shop and its needs, products and services.
Fleege notes that Valvoline has committed to ensuring the people they train actually retain the skills and knowledge from that training; in the virtual world, it’s all too often in one Zoom-conferenced ear and out the other. She says they’ll push people outside their comfort zones by walking them through the scenarios in which they’d actually need their training—not just rote procedures and questions from common customers.
“Right,” says Steve Price, senior training and development leader at Valvoline, “we take a holistic approach to training; we don’t want to teach you just how to talk about the product; we want to teach you more. We teach the knowledge as well as how to sell it; how to become a consultative seller by putting you in real-world sales scenarios.”
“Training is so often overlooked or undervalued,” Fleege continues. “If I ask about a Valvoline product at an independent shop, many of the service advisors or owners don’t know enough about the product to speak about it confidently. Relationships are built on trust, and the Trusted Advisor Program focuses on installers in order to ease that burden.”
Price says that Valvoline knows getting a customer isn’t enough; you have to learn how to keep them, and that means building a mutually beneficial relationship. Together with Fleege and the rest of the SAP and VU teams, they’ll be building the training processes for the salespeople to further enable them to work with, develop and foster long-term growth with their shop owner partners.
“The biggest issue we strive to do is to elevate our associates’ mindsets beyond product salespeople,” Price says.
“You’re truly a business solutions provider. Another thing we try to train—and this is fairly unique about Valvoline—we and our marketing teams try to build programs that address the pain points of shop owners.
“Now you’re asking about their goals and problems. You’re garnering trust by asking higher-level questions. It’s amazing to see how the lightbulbs go on in the more novice sellers because they realize how much they can learn in advance.”
Fleege agrees. “Where can we provide value?” she asks.
“Yes, we want to sell you our products, but the goal is after a year we can consult a business review and see that we have helped grow their business.”
It’s easy to quantify growth—simply look at a spreadsheet, the house books, the red and the black. It’s much harder to quantify opportunity and the development that comes with it, but Valvoline is committed to doing just that with the Trusted Advisor Program.
How will you quantify your team, your shop and your future? Valvoline can help. Check out partner.valvoline.com to learn more.