So You’ve Hired A New Training Director

A Floyd Wickman Blog by Mike Pallin Congratulations, your company must be prospering! I could stop right there and the whole point would be made, but let’s not assume anything.

I say congratulations because for many companies training became a luxury. In times of austerity, belt-tightening and budget crunching, the training department is usually the first casualty. It should be the last thing a company stops doing when markets are tight and times are tough, but the budget decisions often overlook the connection between training and productivity.

I also congratulate you without knowing if you might have made one of the three classic mistakes when hiring a training director.

Classic mistake number one is taking a top producer out of the field to be your trainer. It’s a mistake because top producers rarely make good trainers. They are hunters, alphas, closers who thrive on the commission lifestyle. Most in-house trainers are salaried and appreciate the security and consistency of that type of income. Mid-level producers usually make the best field trainers, and sometimes the best classroom trainers. But the main reason this is classic mistake number one is that taking a top producer out of production and giving them a salary decreases your company income and increases your company expenses.

Classic mistake number two is adding the trainer position to an already overworked manager’s job description. Most managers today already have seventeen number one priorities, and training isn’t one of them. Recruiting is a priority for a manager. Getting deals closed is a priority. Keeping the drama to a minimum is a priority. Leading by example is a priority. Being an effective trainer requires a full time commitment to being an effective trainer, and most managers simply don’t have the time.

And the third classic mistake when hiring a training director is thinking one size fits all; that one person has the expertise to create and deliver all the different training needs; that in-house training is the same as outside training. (I almost said out-house training, because sometimes that’s how we outside trainers are characterized by in-house training directors.)

Some In-house trainers have expertise in social media marketing; some in the mechanics of real estate; some know law, ethics and fair housing backwards and forwards; some are wizards with technology, company tools and systems, and a hundred other topics. Outside trainers, like those of us on The Floyd Wickman Team, claim only one difference from in-house training: We develop selling skills through spaced training with mandatory assignments, accountability, repetition and teamwork. We specialize in helping agents in the bottom half of production get started or restarted. In 30 years, I have never seen an in-house training program that can do that and get the results we do.

We are not out to replace your new training director. We can’t do what they do, nor would we ever contradict what they are teaching. Our job is to save careers by developing selling skills. Together with in-house training, it’s an unbeatable, mistake-proof combination

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