YOU — THE CUSTOMER !!! — should always drive the “selling/buying” process!

Training vendors that ignore your dominant position should be shown the door. Their sales representatives who exclusively pitch “only what they’ve got” are not potential partners for you and your organization.

You make the buying decision! You are the “party in power” during any sales discussion!

From personal experience, a couple of decades ago, as a long time educator I “knew” that Interactive Laser Videodisc (IVD) was the best learning technology that existed. As a learning tool I “knew” that it was vastly superior to the then-emerging CD-ROM digital technology.

However, my reasoning made no difference. The customers wanted CD-ROM training because it eliminated the costly and unwieldy hardware necessary for IVD and the technology world was abandoning analog in favor of digital.

Today, the same story is being repeated with e-Learning which is slowly — but, surely — replacing the CD-ROM solution. E-Learning, while inferior as a learning tool, is more efficient, less costly, and always available.

Customers, rightly, determine the outcome of any training-purchase decision!

So what should you, the customer, be looking for from a training vendor’s representative? Two major traits.

First in importance is recognizing the individual who seems to care about your challenges. Does that person listen? Or, does she talk incessantly about her own company and its products? Does he know your industry? Does he understand the process that your company uses to achieve success? In other words, is the focus of the conversation on you and your challenges or is it on him and his interest in “closing” you?

Close behind in importance is the vendor representative who understands the benefits of her product or service that specifically helps you meet your training challenge. If she doesn’t tailor her “pitch” to your needs, she either isn’t listening or she doesn’t understand.

Be wary of the salesperson who recites all the features and benefits of his product as that will be a real tip-off that his knowledge level is only skin deep. He really can’t help you and his lack of true understanding will probably be reflected in insufficient support after the sale.

Once you find a sales representative you can trust and respect, do your best to partner with him. The ultimate benefit is a two way street that benefits both of you. The more you support his efforts, the more service you will get -– and, the more success you’ll both achieve.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning