Those Who Can, Do – Those Who Can’t, Teach

    I can remember the last time I heard this directed at me. I was doing a sales meeting to sell one of my training products. As I was in the Sales Manager’s office filling out the invoice, I heard one of the salespeople say as they passed by, “He probably wouldn’t be doing this if he was actually knew how to sell.”

    I started wondering if that’s how he really felt, or was he just being a smart ass? After all, are trainers just salespeople who couldn’t make it in the sales and management business? I think not!! And anyone who feels that way has got to be living in a different world.

    The most successful trainers were all outstanding salespeople and Managers before they started their companies. So, why would these individuals, who sold a lot of vehicle’s, managed a successful department and made a lot of money, would want to give up their secure positions to become trainers?

    Speaking for myself, my degrees are in Education and Speech Communication. I taught school for several years before I started selling cars, so teaching was already a part of me. But selling cars became too autocratic for me. It was just me giving to me, and I felt the need to give more of myself to others (my teacher mentality). So I became a Sales Manager in order to help my salespeople become more successful for themselves, their families and my dealership. Starting a training company was the obvious transition for me.

    I have to believe that virtually every trainer has a similar story. It couldn’t have been just for the money. As compared to salespeople and Managers, trainers put themselves out there every single day, spreading their message for people to learn from, as well as critique. They’re not afraid to sign their name to everything they say and create. They provide a valuable service by performing consulting and training, writing books, developing audios and videos, creating websites, all so that others may learn and benefit from their experiences. They take the burden off of Sales Managers so they can do what they do best – create profit for the dealership. Trainers emphatically make a difference!

    It would be great if every salesperson and Manager was responsible for their own development. It would be great if Sales Managers had the time and capabilities to provide continuous training. But the fact is, they don’t. Most would never read a sales book on their own, or listen to a management audio on the way to work. And try to get them to attend a seminar is like pulling teeth. Salespeople feel like they’ll miss a sale, and Managers worry about being away from the store and having their departments fall apart. This is why we need in-dealership and seminar trainers. They provide a service that is necessary for continued growth, especially if Managers cannot, or will not provide consistent training and motivation for their employees.

    Trainers have special gifts that separate them from the masses. They have a way of communicating ideas in an understandable, enjoyable way. They can motivate their students to reach higher levels of achievement. They have a heart and a mind that’s big enough to share with everyone they meet. They have a passion for wanting people to succeed. This passion is reinforced by every positive testimonial they receive. And by developing learning tools, they contribute even more to an industry that has provided them a rewarding life. This is what separates trainers from salespeople and managers.

    And though many trainers make an excellent living, I’ll tell you what they really make. They make salespeople sell more vehicles. They make Managers become better leaders. They make internet departments increase volume and profitability. They make finance departments increase back-end sales and profits. They make service departments increase upsell and “right from the start” service work. In essence, they help make dealerships better.

    Here’s a quick example of a trainers value. I went into a dealership to sell one of my products. The dealer said, “I’ve been in this dealership for over 30 years. What can you teach me that I don’t already know?” My response was, “It’s because you’ve been in this dealership for over 30 years that I can teach you things you don’t already know.” Trainers study this business every single day as they travel around the country providing their consulting and training services. They see what works and what doesn’t. They can understand the differences between what works in a small dealership versus a mega-dealer group. So they would certainly come to a dealership with a plethora of knowledge and ideas that could help even the most experienced dealer or manager learn something new and different.

    So I wanted to do some research to see who would say something as stupid as, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” Who was it that first verbalized this ridiculous quote? Was it some economist who felt that the working force was more important than the teaching force? Or was it a disgruntled manager who just didn’t like his trainer? Well, to my surprise, it wasn’t either of those. It was actually a line from George Bernard Shaw’s “Man and Superman (1903)”. The line was:

    Bob: “I’m so discouraged. My writing teacher told me my novel is hopeless.”

    Jane: “Don’t listen to her, Bob. Remember: those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    Over the years, it’s been sarcastically meant to show that people who are able to do something well can do that thing for a living, while people who are not able to do anything that well make a living by teaching. (Used to disparage teachers.) Hopefully I’ve convinced you that this is absolutely not true.

    I want to finish by saying that trainers, as well as teaching sales managers, are an asset to our industry and should be viewed in that light. And if you marvel at how easy a trainer performs and think you might want to become one, don’t take the leap and quit your job too fast. Interview some trainers to see what it actually takes to run a training business, or as an independent contractor. Believe me. It’s not as easy as you may think.

    The American author, William Arthur Ward said many years ago, that “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires”.

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