Over and over, dealers in the kitchen & bath industry express the need for quality training materials. Similar to a sales-and-marketing mindset, training materials must be engaging. And no matter what format they were commenting about, dealers agree that boring, confusing, or incomplete material is not helpful and therefore altogether unnecessary. Moreover, outdated materials created significant frustration because that incorrect information translates to misinforming customers—and ultimate embarrassment for the dealer.
From our research and experience in the industry, we know that training means revenue. In a 2018 survey, Ten Pound Hammer found a clear connection between training and sales and profit. Of the dealer respondents, 83% denote that improved training will make them more profitable, 78% believe it would help them sell more product, and 87% say it would give them more confidence in a brand.
We know training leads to connection and further revenue. But how do you do it?
The channel is only as good as the training materials.
E-learning tools are double-edged swords. Although many of those surveyed selected a preference for eLearning (48%), the associated comments voiced significant trepidation about the platform. Dealers have had negative experiences, expressly pointing to the need for better material.
Another commonly mentioned drawback to eLearning was the inability to have a question-and-answer portion of the training. But they did note as a benefit the ability to go at one’s own pace through the materials, pausing and repeating sections as needed. Respondents also strongly support eLearning as a tool that allowed for continued reference after the initial training sessions were completed.
Time is often the enemy.
Per the survey results, dealers overwhelmingly prefer hands-on training. Event-style training at the manufacturer is considered the gold standard. However, they are conflicted about the cost in both time and money associated with this ideal training format. Dealers can’t afford to spend valuable time away from their business, and they have only a limited number of staff that could participate. Providing additional training elements that are less time-intensive is critical to any dealer-focused program.
Other common qualities of successful training
- Frequency – many times across the entire survey, dealers asked for training to be provided more regularly
- Variety and flexibility – dealers expressed the need for training in many forms, across multiple functions
- Access to experts – the knowledge (and efficacy) of the trainer is critical to training success. Dealers need product and category experts they can question and confidently trust.
Ten Pound Hammer has created content and programs for clients across a range of industries. Click here to request a copy of our white paper on the relationship between sales and training.