3 Steps to Better Supplier Training

By Charles Wilkes

When I do A/C training sessions, I try to present in a way that I would have wanted when I was a technician. I remember what it was like to come off the shop floor and hear a manufacturer’s rep drone on about his product line rather than giving me the training to help me do my job better.

I vowed not to be that guy.

I’m a big believer in training that’s hands-on and highly focused, and as a result I lead a lot of on-site training for heavy-duty mechanics and maintenance managers. If you have a customer who would benefit from on-site HVAC training, here are three things you can do in advance to make those sessions more effective:

1. Be Specific About What You Need

As a technician, I never liked hearing a rep say, “Oh, I’ve given this talk a thousand times.” I wanted a solution to a specific problem that repeatedly slowed me down. Ask if there’s a particular installation, diagnostics, or repair issue your customer wants to address, and then let us know.

2. Set Aside a Training Area

Is there a place in the shop where we can conduct a training session? I like to have a component or unit in front of the people I’m training. Handouts and PowerPoint presentations are great, but not everyone learns best in a classroom or on paper.

3. Be Clear With the Presenter: No Selling

Nothing kills a training session faster than a sales pitch. Any time you invite a manufacturer’s rep to visit a customer or prospect for training, make it clear that he’s in town as an instructor and not a salesman. There’s a time and place for salesmanship, and it’s not during training.

There’s no substitute for a good trainer—someone who understands technicians and equipment and whose expertise can make both work better. Red Dot training is one way we can help you develop stronger relation- ships with your customers. Talk to your Account Manager about how he can help.