||Recently I attended the VSA (Vehicle Sales Authority) Salesperson Level II Upgrade Course. It is for salespeople that were certified when the program was brand new (in 2002), initiated by the MDSABC (Motor Dealer Standards Association of BC), and facilitated through the community college. The course was upgraded because much of the sales aspect of the original course has been replaced with legal parameters of working within the industry. It is expected that an upgrade course will be offered every three to five years which makes sense if we want to remain current with our knowledge and practices. Two points of particular interest arose during the two-day event and I would like to address those here: there may need to be some changes to current practices within the dealership to conform within the law; and there is some dissension amongst those licensed, that they are paying for an annual license and courses required by the VSA but there is no protection for the salesperson.
Firstly, I had no idea that the automotive industry is governed by FIVE individual laws! And when I say law, I don’t mean a single statement, I mean pages and pages of points detailed within that law. Of some relief, most of these laws are NOT exclusive to the automotive industry, they apply to ALL sales-related transactions, it just happens that the automotive industry is targeted through the government lobbied organization, now called the VSA. Something I learned, was that it is a deceptive act or practice to quote a payment to the consumer including a warranty, life insurance, disability insurance, or whatever, without also disclosing the total amount of the premium before they agree to the purchase. It is a common practice to quote a payment to the customer, noting that the product under discussion only adds $X to the monthly or bi-weekly payment. The practice is acceptable as long as you fully disclose the total amount of the premium before your customer agrees to the sale. Really, for those strong, very experienced performers, this may only require a minor tweak to your presentation to fully abide by the law.
Regarding dissension amongst the industry to pay the fees and course costs to an authority that governs our actions, that was eased by the clear message that the VSA does not tell us HOW to sell, they are here to educate us about the law so we can carry on our business within that framework. There were a number of case studies presented and without question, some of the dealers practices should be questioned if not terminated. I like to reflect on my own personal circumstances, if something like that happened to my immediate family or close friends, I would be upset and looking for recourse. Certainly the VSA deals with some cases where the consumer is misleading with facts and after investigation it is determined that the dealer is not at fault. So in effect, the VSA does work on behalf of the dealerships too. Simply, ensure your business practices are within the law and you will avoid fines and suspensions.
I strongly recommend that everyone attend this upgrade course if you were licensed before the course focused on laws and business practices. Probably most significant to me was that there does not have to be an intention to deceive! The responsibility is upon the supplier to perform all due diligence to determine if the product they are selling is of the standard, quality, grade, style or model represented, whether disclosed verbally or in written form.
What’s YOUR Willingness to be a Top Performer?