February '18

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18 • RV PRO • February 2018 rv-pro.com 18 • RV PRO • February 2018 rv-pro.com Jered Sobel Vice President, Sobel University For Jered Sobel, nothing is more important than helping people go camping. That's why he, and the rest of his family, work hard to teach RV dealers and their sales staff how to get customers into an RV. Sobel serves as vice president of Sobel University, a subsidiary of his family's company, Sobel & Associates, based out of University Place, Wash. The training and consulting company works with dealers, sales managers and sales teams to teach them to be more productive. The business offers a variety of products that include principle-centered selling and a follow-up system to assist sales staff in scheduling follow-up calls and appointments. "We are not going to go and tell them what to do," Sobel says. "But we give them lots of different tools and information, so that they can do what they do at a higher quality level." Over the past few years, Sobel has worked to develop and perfect a multi-faceted onboarding/new hire training product that is based – not on closing techniques – but on morals or values. The new hire training utilizes a combination of watching online videos, reading and a man- agerial review process. It provides new hires with the tools needed to become a high-quality sales professional who can sell a product without using cliché sales tactics. "Today's educated buyers see right through these and are offended by the idea that salespeople think people are stupid to pull that over on them," he says. "We've got to remember that we're working with human beings. Our goal isn't to sell something; rather, we want to help somebody have more quality family time or to help them get out and enjoy whatever they want to enjoy." For this reason, Sobel says, it's important that RV sales teams understand who today's buyers are and operate with an honesty-as-the-best-policy mentality. "Everything we teach is moral or principle based," he explains. "I would never feel comfortable with saying anything to a customer that is not true – not even a half-truth. A half-truth is just a fancy word for a lie." As part of the onboarding program, RV sales staff are required to discuss what they've learned with their managers each morning throughout the training and to fill out five stock cards – similar to flash cards – every other day, which contain product information, such as the year, make and model. The trainees then must use those cards to learn a product and then present it to a manager. The ultimate goal, Sobel says, is to get a dealer's new sales hires productive on-site in 20 days. Sobel says he started work on developing the company's current program after watching the onboarding process for new sales hires at dealerships. The dealers, he says, all had varied systems, but the one thing the sales managers had in common was lack of time to train new sales personnel or time to develop an entire training curriculum. What makes his program unique is that it can be used by and tailored to the needs of any RV dealers, according to Sobel. Sobel, age 29, grew up in the industry. His father, Randy Sobel, launched the business in 1991 as a national sales training and consulting firm. Early on, Sobel says, his father made the decision to focus on the RV industry. During summer breaks in elementary school, Sobel traveled with his father to dealerships. While in college, he worked at the company, even running and managing one of its locations. After college, Sobel says he followed his father's rule: Get real-world experience working for large corporations before coming back to work at the family business. Sobel worked as a teacher and then for a major airline based out of Houston. In 2014, he made the decision to return and work full-time for his family's company. One of his goals for 2018 is to invest in the family's umbrella company. "My plan is to keep growing and developing and staying current as the market and customers change so that I can continue to help people go camping at a higher level," he says. "It's all about evolving from that old perception of what sales was." When asked how he feels about being selected as one of the RVIA's 40 Under 40, Sobel says he considers it a nice honor and attributes his success to his mentors, including his father, and other industry professionals he has interacted with. "Every single person that I interact with is a chance to learn something I didn't know," he says. "My dad has been a major factor in terms of continuing to push me to add something new to myself." LEADERSHIP

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