Set the Right Training Priorities

It's especially difficult at this time of year to resist the temptation to focus all of your energies on what inventory items to add. While it's tremendously important to have the right inventory mix but having properly trained staff is equally important.

Of course, product knowledge, applications and proper use of your rental equipment is so extremely important to the success of your company. But, there are plenty of rental companies with equipment-experienced employees. So, how do you stand out from your competitors? One way can be through an effective training program that concentrates on a number of other skills in addition to product knowledge.

One of the big opportunities at many rental companies is to establish more efficient procedures. There are many ways employees can become more efficient, but it isn’t just the individual procedure – it's the consistent implementation. It’s the training.

It's also important to place a premium on the customer interaction portion of the employee’s responsibilities. Many rental companies are not investing enough in developing communication skills among their staff.

Certainly, all employees in contact with customers should be trained to become skilled in the most effective rental salesmanship techniques. For example, it's important to have employees become skilled in attempting a trial close. Truly effective training bridges the gap from wishing that employees would attempt to “build the order” and “close the deal” to actually doing so.  

It's wise to get employees to buy into the importance of becoming more efficient. With some solid preparation and coaching, employees can make an important contribution to the implementation of the efficiency training plan.

Concise communication coaching can be particularly important. Train your employees to give customers the appropriate amount of information. Some employees tend to drone on and on, while others are far too brief.

There are also huge benefits in training employees to enhance their verbal as well as their non-verbal communications including “body language.” It's amazing how slight facial expressions and posture changes can improve the chances that your message of care, concern and quality will be received by your customers as you intend.

The need for improved time management skills in the equipment rental industry is immense. Certainly, every employee needs to be trained to make the most effective use of their time. Another benefit is that better training programs definitely help with employee retention. If employees feel confident and strong in their duties and are continuously learning new skills, they tend to stay longer. 

And finally, it's very likely that those who you have in a management role are not as well trained as they could be – and should be. Taking a few haphazard jabs at something this important will not get your company to where you want it to be. Your company should have a comprehensive, unique-to-your-needs, effective training system.