I was a professional trainer long before I ever worked in the contracting industry – two decades. Where did I learn how to train people? In the army – it’s where you typically find the best trainers anywhere with the highest success rate. I was an infantry soldier, so everything I taught had a life-or-death aspect to it. You don’t rappel out of this helicopter right? You die. You don’t learn how to change barrels on a .50 caliber machine gun because the other barrel is white hot, it could cost you your life. I utilized the EDI method of training, Explain, Demonstrate and Imitate. First you explain, they you demonstrate and then you get trainees to imitate. It works well and still forms the basis of my approach to training now almost thirty years later.
I’m also a Certified Training Development Professional, CTDP. I’m part of a nation-wide organization of adult educators focused on continuous improvement in our profession.
Now that I’ve established that I know how to train people, I should also throw in a couple of good sports observations to help articulate where I’m going with this blog post. Okay, here goes … ahem … does the team that wins the Superbowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, NBA Championship, World Cup or Gold Medal at the Olympics not train? Can you think a title-winning sports franchise that went all the way without a coach and a training staff working with them every single day?
Your business is a lot like a sports team. And if you don’t train your people CONSISTENTLY then you are going to have INCONSISTENT performance. So, very simply, training is a process and it is not an event.
You can set aside a weekend every quarter to train your team to success by hiring me or someone from another contractor group (we all teach the same processes and systems) but what you’re going to get is about two to three weeks of exceptional performance and then the old habits will kick in again. In short: if you want to grow your business you have to train your people five days a week for at least fifteen minutes every day. You need to have a training plan in place so that you can respond to the challenges your business is facing because in plumbing, HVAC, electrical and roofing, there are a multitude of challenges that can crop up out of nowhere.
Is your average ticket (how much your techs earn for each call) too low? You have to train them out of it. Are they taking too long on a job? Train ’em! Too fast on a job? Train ’em! Not pricing things properly? Train ’em! Not communicating value to your customer? Train ’em! Not selling enough protection plans? Train ’em!
Yes you can train your team on all these issues over a day or two-day training session – that’s called immersion training. And it works great as a team-building exercise, but to actually have an impact on PERSONAL performance, well, that takes daily training that is engaging, real-time and responsive. Daily training also shows your commitment to your employees. It tells them you want to coach them to success and you’re going to work your tail off to help them achieve their own success, wealth and happiness.
The team that wins the championship trains every day. You can’t win if you don’t, and yet so many business owners in contracting don’t see the value of training all the while complaining their team isn’t bringing in enough $$ for the business to grow. The old addage: you have to spend money to make money. It costs to have a professional like me come to visit your team. It costs money to pay your people to participate in training but that’s the cost of doing business and you’ll get return on investment faster than you can blink an eye!
Training is a process, not an event. Say it with me. Because every team needs a coach, so look around your company. Do you have a coach? Probably not. Do you complain about not generating enough revenue each day? Probably. How are you going to get your people to bring in more revenue?
Right. You need to train them. Look, I’ve been training home service contractors for a decade. I know the systems and procedures I teach need to be taught consistently. Lack of success in contracting is rarely a knowledge problem – it’s an implementation problem. Your people know how to repair plumbing, HVAC, electrical and roofing but they don’t know how to tap into winning success strategies unless it’s taught to them and then they are coached on how to implement.
One final time: Training is a process, not an event. You can’t win the title without training every member of the team.
So why are you fighting the need for training? Oh, right … up front cost. So you look for a happy medium: you’ll hire someone to come in “once in a while” to train your team. Back to the sports analogy again: can you name any pro sports team in recent history that won the championship by training “once in a while”? That’s a half-ass approach. If you take a half-ass approach, you’re going to get half-ass results.
Consistent performance creates consistent results. Inconsistent performance creates inconsistent results. You choose. It’s your business. You know I’m right so what are you waiting for?
Start. Training. Your. Team. Consistently.
And trust me. You’ll make back the money it costs you to train them in a HUGE way.