How to Train Your Dream Team Members

train dream team training

So far in this series, we have covered how to find, attract, hire, build, and pay your dream team members. Today, I will share how to train your new dream team members.

Of course, you want your team members to be able to perform at the highest level as soon as possible. Still, suppose you are like most cleaning and restoration companies. In that case, you probably don’t have a system for training, and you don’t want the bad habits of a technician with “experience.”

The subsequent mistake business owners make is not training their people thoroughly enough. If you’re like most business owners, you are working “in” the business rather than “on” the business, and you don’t feel like you have time to train them, so they sit around and cost you money.

Therefore, you resort to putting them with someone on your team who hasn’t been trained on how to train. And letting them train with someone who doesn’t know how to train them is a problem as well. Of course, you could send them to a class, but you don’t because “training is expensive.” You are afraid you will spend money on training and certification and then lose them. Then you feel like you have wasted that money.

I love how my friend and mentor, the late Zig Ziglar, addressed that “problem.” Of course, he asked a question, which was simply, “Would you rather train them and lose them, or not train them and keep them?”

Over the past 38 years of experience building, arguably, one of the most successful and impressive high-end residential cleaning businesses in the world, I’ve made all those mistakes. But fortunately for you, I have figured out how to overcome them. Today I have a team of 33 rockstars who run my company for me. It is predictable, profitable, and turnkey.

Why? Because we have a training system.

Here’s how we do it…

We hire people without experience. We have a training system, and each team member has a performance results description. I’ve only had one technician with experience that worked out for me in almost four decades! Our inside sales reps and marketing reps never worked in our industry before. We have a system that breeds excellence regardless of experience.

Tell. Show. Watch. 

I have not only done this in my business but also coached business owners in the cleaning industry for over 25 years. I was coaching a guy who couldn’t get his techs to clean fine fabric upholstery. He was really frustrated. “Have you shown them how to do it?” I asked. “Yes,” he replied. “Have you had them do it while you watched them?” Silence. He got it.

Most often, business owners tell, tell, tell, and tell again. They might show them a couple of times, but they hardly ever take the time to watch. Humans are creatures of habit. If they learn it incorrectly, it’s hard for them to change. Years ago, I climbed on the truck with a technician at the bottom of the upsell board. We had told him. He had been shown. But no one took the time to do a “ride-along,” as my good friend Ellen Rohr likes to say.

We arrived at the first appointment. I was behind him, pretending to be his assistant. We were there to clean a few rooms of carpet. As soon as we walked in, the client threw down a Zebra skin in front of us. “My dog threw up on this last night. Can you take it out in the driveway and hose it off?” The technician had a great upsell in his hand, but he choked. After that, he literally began to stutter.

I stepped in and explained to the homeowner that we had certified master rug cleaners in our shop and that the proper way to care for the skin was in the plant. She bought the service, paid in advance, and even agreed to take it to our shop. I had the tech give her directions. Once we were in the van heading to the next job, I asked him what had happened. “I got really nervous,” he said. “Why were you nervous?” I inquired, knowing that part of it was that I was there with him. “I don’t know how to clean those,” he answered. “Can I ask you a question?” I probed. “Sure.” I pointed out how he gave the client directions to the shop. “What’s the big deal about that?” he asked. “You just gave her directions,” I explained. “And that is all you need to do when you are not the expert.”

We got to the next job, and the lady of the house said, “My husband said I can’t spend over $500 on this job.” As we did the initial walk-through, she pointed out some buckling in the carpet. That tech is actually great at repairs and simply said, “I can fix that.” He was very confident. Her bill was $750, and she was happy.

One of my top coaches was with The Dale Carnegie Institute for over 33 years and owned the Houston franchise for over 20 years. His franchise was one of the top ones in the world. He always says, “Training breeds confidence.” You see, my tech had confidence in the carpet stretching. Train your team to know what to do in every situation. Too many times, business owners don’t train their people but expect them to perform. One of our other top coaches on my team, Ellen Rohr, says, “Tracking without training is mean.” I agree.

We have developed systems that we then train people on. New techs are taken through a 40-day training program. They learn one thing each day. We have orientation first, which includes our mission, values, purpose, uniform code, on-time policy, and pay scale, and we introduce them to other team members. Then they go into the field with someone who knows the training program. We don’t just throw them out to just anyone.

Partner them with the right tech

I did that too many times — casting new hires out into the field without someone to guide them at the start. So today, we hire people without experience and put them through that 40-day training program, mentioned previously. And we make sure they are partnered with someone who knows what is expected.

I have found that some may be technically superb, but they don’t know how to be on time. They aren’t willing to be in uniform. They don’t know how to smile at the customer. They assume they know best — and now, they want to work for you.

Instead, opt for a team that gets people first and train them effectively in the ways of your company to create the dream team you’re looking for with the skills that matter most.

Howard Partridge

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