To help them cope, said Cole, minority dealers also gather in a Dealer 20 Group setting twice a year to share ideas. For an Asian-American such as himself, it can be a great way to learn about marketing ideas related to Hispanics or one of the other ethnic groups represented in the lineup.

The council has also been working on ways to improve its minority training program once someone does graduate from the academy, said Cole. For now, fledgling dealers may find some gaps in their on-the-job training program.

“Maybe a dealer in Wisconsin is good at parts and service but doesn’t do well in used cars,” said Cole. “Or training in Alabama may work with a great used car dealer who does poorly in parts and service. We’re trying to get them experience in each one of those areas of the dealership.”

Another area that has been under review is the amount of investment dollars a candidate has. “They’ve had candidates that didn’t have sufficient investment funds that have been on the waiting list for a long time,” noted Cole. “They haven’t had the funds they needed to invest in larger stores.”

Anyone looking to get into the program should have at least $250,000 in investment capital on hand if they expect to make a deal. The more money a candidate has, said Cole, the better their odds of success.

Cole doesn’t just talk the talk about helping other minority dealers develop their talents. He partnered with one of the dealers-in-training, who joined him for on-the-job experience, putting up a chunk of the capital needed to buy out a Chevy dealership in a private capital deal. “He is the dealer and I provide a really close mentorship with him,” said Cole.

“I have another candidate that I also believe in,” added Cole. “He went the Motors route and got his dealership in Greenville, Texas. It wasn’t close to home, but for another minority dealer in the GM network, it was a big step toward success.

Vol 5, Issue 9