I’ve always had a hunger for knowledge.
What I was not born with was a hunger to teach.
And as life seems to do, I soon got my head kicked in because learning for myself isn’t even the half of it. The real power to transform my life and my business is when I fell in love with teaching.
But it wasn’t without a struggle.
For me, it started years ago when I went to see my dad about being more than a tech someday. He just smiled and said, “You don’t get to be chief until you build new Indians.”
And in a second I could see that if I ever wanted to get out of the truck full-time, I needed to make my replacements. Unfortunately, I got no further instructions or direction on how to do this, but I knew what I had to do.
I needed to train others to do what I was doing if I ever planned to move up.
So, I began to make-believe there was someone riding along with me and I made notes of what I would be teaching my imaginary trainee. This was actually how the trade manuals that documented how we did our work came into existence.
For the first time, I began to look at apprentices as more than big, strong helpers and more as people I had to envision as becoming techs or installers. Right from the start, I was interviewing them as staff that could be trained by me to work the right way and be effective on their own. Better yet, they could be future leaders of their own team at my company.
I actually got excited!
That is until I had to go home and tell my wife, Natalie, that instead of working the normal crazy hours that the business demanded, I’d be around two less nights a week so I could run training. But, I had a plan. I told her, “I will be running classes two nights a week, which will mean I’ll be home even less, so you have a right to know why. It’s because I’m going to build the kind of staff that I can count on. In a couple of years, I’ll actually be home more often and when we go on vacation, the business will run itself.”
She replied, “Start the classes today!”
And I did.
But first I knew I had to become a better trainer. So, I signed up for and attended Dale Carnegie classes for 12 weeks in a row. I also got a tip from a friend who was an experienced trainer in another field that if I wanted to get better (and I did), I needed to watch myself training others on video. Frankly, it was very painful at first to watch.
But, it was the best thing I ever did because I got much better at training and at a faster rate.
OK, nice story. But what has this got to do with the “Triangle of Success?”
Well, the funny thing is the better I got at training, the better I got at selling when I was working like a tech and the better my sales got for the big-ticket items when I was working as a salesperson. Here’s the neat thing: As I got better at training and better at selling, I also got better at marketing!
And this was when I discovered the powerful “Triangle of Success.”
How did training make me better at sales and marketing? It’s simply this. To become an effective trainer, I had to sell my attendees my ideas and get them to buy into what I was teaching them. It took salesmanship.
Once I learned to see things more from their point of view, sales just naturally happened when I visited prospective customers. I was much better at selling a concept and myself.
Finally, I got so good at seeing what it took to sell one customer that I began to see who were my ideal customers, and this trained me to “speak” to them in all my marketing as sales continued to grow.
Training, sales and marketing are a self-reinforcing and powerful triangle. The better you get, the closer you’ll be to having both the staff and customers you’ve always dreamed of.