Train In Vain

Did these guys put out the album on the 80′s?

The album London Calling by The Clash was released in early 1980 and according to Rolling Stone, was THE best album of the decade.  Granted there wasn’t a ton of competition, but it’s still a pretty good record.

The “hit” was “Train In Vain,” the first Clash song to hit the Top 30 in the U.S. As Dick Clark would have said, it has a beat and you can dance to it.

We recently finished the 2012 factory training season at Taco.  It’s a constant effort to ensure our programs are useful to the folks who trek all the way to Cranston, RI to spend a couple of days with us.  We’ve learned much about the process over the years in hopes that we don’t “train in vain.”

For a training class to really work for you, both sides of the training equation have equal responsibilities.

First, it’s incumbent upon the entity putting on the training to share with you useful material presented in an interesting manner.  Ever sat in a class and had the “instructor” read his Powerpoint slides to you?  Did he sound like Ferris Bueller’s history teacher? Were you waiting for a meteor to hit the classroom to release you from the mind-numbing boredom?

When evaluating a training program, look for something that’s application-based rather than product-based. Product-based training is usually a not-so-well disguised “sales pitch” to get you to buy that product.  You get all the features and benefits as well some installation specifics – the stuff you get from reading the brochure and installation instructions.


In other words – it tends to be a snooze-fest.

Application-based training, on the other hand, doesn’t simply tell you what you can read for yourself.  And it isn’t a big sales pitch.  Application-based training examines real world problems and challenges you face every day, and shares with you real-world solutions to help solve those problems.  Will the manufacturer tell you about product?  Heck, yes, but only in context of how it can help solve your problem and help you install your jobs faster, more efficiently and more profitably.

Application-based training also recognizes that you’re in business, that you have customers and that you are a professional.  You don’t have time to waste, and you want information that directly relates to your job.  You know, useful stuff. Understanding a company’s position in the global marketplace is nice if you’re thinking of investing, but the fact the company has offices in East Berzerkistan does you very little good in Mrs. Johnson’s basement.

And since you’re a pro, the program does need to share with you compelling reasons for using a particular product beyond a free hat and t-shirt. Again this goes back to what problems does this product or concept solve, how does it help you make your installations better, how does it benefit your customer and how does it help you make more money? If the only reason they can give you is that their stuff is “cheaper,” or that the other guy’s stuff is junk, walk away.

Product aside, a good, sound, application-based training program will provide you with good, sound information you can use the next day in someone’s basement no matter whose product you use.

And if you’re lucky, it’ll inspire you to learn more.

These are just a few of the responsibilities a manufacturer, rep or wholesaler has when offering you a training program.  You, as the attendee, have considerable responsibilities as well.  We’ll touch on those next time, as we watch out for the Clampdown

We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers

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