Installers who are well-trained are installers who are invested in their partnership with you. Think about it: do you want to sell the brands you know nothing about, or do you want to sell products and services that have earned your confidence? Just like you, installers will work harder for channel partners whose products and practices they understand very well. You need them to know the features, benefits, technology and differentiators of your inventory so they can establish solid, trusting relationships with buyers.
People usually forget 50% of what they’ve learned in no more than one hour after learning it. After a week, that number climbs to 90%. Do you really think one-time training sessions and certification courses are the best way to educate your installers — and, more importantly — keep them educated?
In today’s strained and uber-competitive markets, many businesses are spread thin trying to do more with less. It’s become harder to get installers the in-depth training they need to truly become experts in the products you sell. With demanding work hours out in the field, installers very likely don’t have time to sit down at a PC and complete online training courses. Even more likely, by the time they’ve done their work for the day, they don’t want to think about a certification or training program. They want to relax and enjoy their personal time.
So how do you make it easy and fast to train and educate installers?
One of the best ways to make the training process more efficient is by using a training incentive program – specifically, one that installers can use quickly and easily on their smartphones.
Smartphone Technology Makes Online Training More Efficient
Your channel partners use their smartphones every single day. Suppliers are keeping track of sales performance and market trends; distributors, manufacturers and end-users alike are tracking shipments; installers are using GPS to locate jobsites. We live in a society where business and fun are more blended than ever, so you can bet that, in between business uses of their phones, your B2B partners are checking news, sports scores or reading personal emails and texts.
The best part about a smartphone training app is that you can integrate other features into the program that not only improve your installers’ knowledge, but help your business grow overall.
Instead of trying to compete with the convenience and usefulness of smartphones, meet your installers there. When your incentive program is available through a smartphone, it greatly enhances the program’s appeal. Installers are likely to forget all about your incentive program when they’re off the clock, but say they notice a push notification or text alerting them to a new training quiz or survey.
Suddenly it’s quick and convenient to participate in training incentives. By using a mobile app or mobile-optimized version of your online training incentive program, you can deliver training content to contractors and dealers through the on-the-go medium they’re most immersed in.
Then they can go back to their Twitter fight or their cat videos.
1. Smartphones: Where everybody knows your game. Smartphone users associate their phones with fun and games just as much as they associate it with business. This can work in your favor. Use gamification techniques that make it fun and rewarding for installers to complete training quizzes. Post an online leaderboard featuring those who are leading the charge in building their skill sets or certifications. Give them something to win and strive for. Pretty soon, they’ll be “playing” your training game instead of Fruit Ninja.
2. Better marketing means higher engagement and ROI. Both for you and your training program participants, it’s convenient that smartphones can act as a marketing, social and business device all at the same time. Online training incentive programs like Incentive Solutions’ provide you with smartphone-ready communication tools, so you can reach participants through text, push notification or email – whichever contact method they select as a preference upon enrollment. By keeping up a steady stream of communication with participants and using exciting, attention-grabbing marketing strategies, you can keep program participation (and, thus, your return-on-investment) at a steady high.
3. Ongoing training with online training content. How long do you think your installers retain training and certification information after learning it? According to research by Learning Solutions, people usually forget 50 percent of what they’ve learned in no more than one hour after learning it. After a week, that number climbs to 90 percent. With that in mind, do you really think one-time training sessions and certification courses are the best way to educate your installers and, more importantly, keep them educated? Probably not. Online incentive technology has powerful, configurable data delivery capabilities, meaning you don’t have to rely solely on installers cramming onetime certification courses or day-long training sessions into their brains. You can create and deliver limitless, ongoing surveys and quizzes, keeping important information fresh in installers’ minds by making it easily and readily available on their smartphones.
4. Collect new data and develop better B2B marketing strategies. The best part about a smartphone training app is that you can integrate other features into the program that not only improve your installers’ knowledge, but help your business grow overall. If your vendors join you in an incentive program, for instance, you can work with them to create sales promotions in which installers earn extra rewards for being more informed about particular brands and products. You can also use smartphone camera and UPC scanning technology to send vendors sales claims and earn rewards for qualifying sales.
With the data collected from these promotions, you and your vendors can both build a customer database that helps you adjust your sales goals and update training content to go after the most lucrative marketing strategies.
Using new smartphone technology, it’s easier than ever to execute effective dealer incentives that engage and train your installers. Don’t rely on one-time training course or certification information that your installers will quickly forget. Use smartphone technology to deeply integrate training into your business culture, making your workforce more knowledgeable and successful than your competitors’.
Steve Damerow is CEO of Incentive Solutions, www.incentivesolutions.com. He is a recognized expert, published author and host of the national radio show “Business Matters.” Incentive Solutions currently manages hundreds of incentive loyalty programs within the building/HVAC industries. Steve Damerow can be reached at: [email protected]; 678/514-0203.