One of the requirements to be an authorized VMI Dealer is for each dealership location to have staff trained in both in our sales, Certified Mobility Consultant (CMC) and technical, Certified Mobility Technician (CMT), classes. This 2 ½ day training for both CMC and CMT personnel is both classroom style as well as hands on, which is the best way to learn. From the customer perspective, a knowledgeable sales staff is invaluable. The overall purchasing experience is essential for success and without well-trained staff to guide the customer, it is not possible.
VMI’s training programs are recognized by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association and NMEDA‘s Quality Assurance Program (QAP) requires that dealers’ technical staff be trained and certified on the products they represent.
The CMC class is taught by Randy Schiller, who has been with VMI for four years. Randy’s curriculum consists of class room style where he reviews all the VMI Products including wheelchair minivans, full-size vans and platform lifts. Randy also does a in depth training on the various disabilities that our common in our industry which helps the Mobility Consultant give a more accurate recommendation in terms of what product may be a best fit for them. As with any sales training, we also go over time management, prospecting, best practices, etc. On the last day, Randy holds a Walk-Around training where dealers will get an opportunity to show off their best stuff in terms of demonstrating the key features and benefits of a 2011 Honda Odyssey with a VMI Northstar conversion.
Throughout the 2 ½ day class, there is also a round table discussion, which is led by Jannette Conrad, VMI’s Dealer Relations Manager. Jannette holds an hour discussion with the dealers and there is no discussion that is off limits. The goal of this round table is for dealers to give recommendation to VMI on how we can better service our dealers. Over the past two years, we have implemented the following that were a direct result from these round table discussions:
- New online inventory with real time updates, holds, and a robust search capability
- Photos of used vans online and used report cards for dealers
- Used Inventory with less than 30,000 miles
- CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) program where we survey customers about their experience with our dealers
Our CMT (technical) class is taught by Tiger Desmarais and Scott Carpenter who between them have over 30 years at VMI. Three years ago, VMI moved from classroom only to hand-on training to accompany what the technicians are learning in class. Tiger & Scott break up their class into groups, then set up a large room with various VMI products and “break” the van or lift. They give each group a real life scenario as to what problem the product is having and together, the group fixes the van or lift based on what they learned in class.
As the vehicles become more complex, the knowledge needed to troubleshoot and repair them increases. No longer is a good mechanical background the only prerequisite. A solid understanding of electronics and computers is becoming more and more necessary for the well rounded technician.