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When to Call in the Pros for Professional Development

Date: November 22, 2013

Five areas where training is best farmed out to professionals

It's no secret that for a business to grow and thrive, managers and employees must constantly improve their skills through ongoing instruction.

But not all skills are created equal, and the same goes for training. There's a lot the boss can teach: The correct procedure for greeting the customer, mopping the floor or closing up at night. But there are also big-picture skills best left to professional instructors. Specialized abilities usually require specialized teaching.

Here are five areas in which training is best farmed out to professionals, rather than tackled in-house.

1. Shrinkage.

At least in retail, internal and external theft together make up one of the top reasons for losing money. This is one area where the boss typically doesn't have the expertise to train the employees, says Robert D. Sollars, president of Sollars Security Shield. The trouble is, loss can take a number of forms: There’s theft, scam, embezzlement, creative conspiring between employees and outside actors. Even if businesses know how to tackle any one of these, they probably won't know all the finer points.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Keep Your Employees from Ripping You Off

2. Lean operations.

With its process-improvement tools and efficiency concepts, Lean Six Sigma has proven a useful tool for improving business patterns–first in manufacturing and lately across diverse verticals. With its problem-solving methodologies and quality-enhancement techniques, it's a potential powerhouse, says Becky Boyd, content-marketing specialist at Rea & Associates. But it can't be taught by a layman with a Dummies guide. It typically requires a team of skilled facilitators to bring the concept to life.

RELATED: Here's How to Put Six Sigma to Work at Your Business

3. Telephonic greetings.

R. Travis Shortt of Aspyr Communications recommends using experts for telemarketing and cold-calling training. "It's been my bread and butter for over 30 years, and it's the one training that most sales managers find daunting," he says. "There is an art to effectively setting a quality appointment or making a sales call." Without quality training, people end up frustrated and with lackluster results. They rely too much on the script, or they play too heavy-handed. This is a subtle skill, one that should be taught by a pro.

RELATED: Are You Breaking Any of These 8 Etiquette Rules of Sales Calls?

4. Google AdWords.

Present-day darling of the marketing trade, AdWords offers a way to laser-target potential customers, monitor trends and compile effectiveness data on the fly to enable quick changes in strategy. But this isn't a game for amateurs, says Vin Ferrer, social-media strategist with Graphic D-Signs. "With a constantly evolving service such as this, anyone worth their mettle needs to have the fundamentals committed to memory. That means taking part in an extensive training program to get up to speed, something that is going to run at least 15 hours if it is comprehensive. If you're serious about utilizing AdWords, you need to be able to navigate its complex user interface with confidence. Otherwise, you could end up quickly losing any money put into it."

RELATED: Pros and Cons of Pay-Per-Click Advertising

5. Leadership.

So here’s the thing about leadership and development training: Mostly likely you are trying to fix problems or enhance capabilities that, by nature, are part of your in-house operations. Doing this training in-house, you probably won't have the needed perspective that comes with an outside point of view. "It's very possible that attempting to do this in-house could actually further complicate existing challenges," says Nathan R. Mitchell of Clutch Consulting.

READ NEXT: 5 Lessons Learned from 'Best Places to Work'

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