Episode 3: The Benefits of E-Learning
Most companies have yet to embrace the power of a eLearning platform. Harry discusses the transition from traditional training to including a Learning Management System (LMS) to help scale your training needs and provide a resource that tracks the learning progress of your team. The Friedman Group happens to have the most comprehensive online training programs available through our proprietary online training platform called Friedman Learning.
*Disclaimer: This transcription was automatically generated so we would like to apologize for any misspellings or grammatical errors in advance
Hi everyone, my name is Justin Kern and I’m a business consultant for the Friedman group. And I’m putting together this podcast series called Retail Revisited with the goal of consolidating some of the most common business topics that the Friedman group has addressed over their past 35 years of being in business. I would be interviewing the founder of the Friedman group, Harry J Friedman and we would be recording these podcasts on the go in all parts of the US. The recordings may be a bit wrong and were not going to be held up in postproduction and making sure that the audio and transitions are perfect. Our goal is to make sure that we get information to you, to get inspired, to think or ask questions that would improve your business and to see if there’s a way that the Friedman group help support you in your growth and success.
In today’s topic were going to be discussing the power of e-learning and what e-learning or an LMS management system, or even a content management system can do to improve the efficiency of your training, your salesmanship and your management of your business. Often, companies don’t have the funds to invest in any type of organized or super-efficient LMS system. What the Friedman group has done is put together most of their content and the functionality of an LMS and made it extremely affordable for businesses to use.
So today we’re going to talk about the transition from traditional training to everything being online or on an LMS platform and what the Friedman group has specifically done to create a platform at which any company, regardless of their size can benefit from.
Justin: Welcome back you guys. Today’s going to be a little bit of a special podcast. We’re going to focus on the Friedman groups’ e-learning platform and I’ve got Harry Friedman here. He’s going to share with us the impact he believes it has on retailers. And I will share with you some of my experiences with LMS systems in the past and we’re going to take it from there. Harry, welcome.
Harry: Hey Justin, how are you doing today?
Justin: Feeling great.
Harry: Yeah, me too. I always love talking about this thing we call e-learning. Let’s start off with getting some definitions out there because it’s crucial. So many people don’t know how this all works so I would like to just take a second to explain that.
We throw out the words LMS and CMS all the time. LMS stands for learning management system and it’s a software program that is the foundation, it’s the backbone for all e-learning. So anybody who has gone online and taken a course or registered for anything that is educational, it’s generally done on an LMS system and that allows for people to register, to get back on the course at the same page they left of; all those backbone things. And believe me, I try not to attend any of those meetings when our staff is working hard at making sure that it all works.
In any event, I of course, was against all e-learning for many years. Of course I would be because I spent a lifetime in class with students and grabbing them by the neck and teaching them how to sell and loving that and being crazy about it. So what could this two-dimensional instead of three-dimensional world to be all about. And then I found that wow, it’s so nice to be able to give people some of this basic background in various subject matter without having to get on a plane, without having to invest a ton of time.
And thirdly, maybe even more importantly, you know Justin when I have students in a class and I am teaching sales training and I talk about some sophisticated techniques in the approach to customers, the greeting of customers; things like landing points, handing off, 180° pass by and some of my fun stuff that we have developed and then I move along to the subject of probing and determining customers wants, needs, desires and all that.
You know, I might be in the subject of probing and talking about some other sophisticated techniques that we have developed in probing and the guys he still didn’t get it right in opening. He was kind of stuck. He kind of didn’t really fully grasp one of the techniques that I had in opening. You know, I sat back one day and I said wow, the truth is, that when you go to a seminar we are on the agenda of the trainer, we’re not on the agenda of the student. And I thought, what a missed opportunity. So one of the great things about e-learning although it’s not as dynamic, is not as exciting and you never see a twinkle in the eye of a computer as you would see the twinkle in the eye of a trainer who is giving you the business or challenging you to go to a higher level. It doesn’t have that. But what it does have is the ability to go at your rate and your speed to really grasp the techniques and the strategies for selling better, managing better, supervising, personnel issues; all the magnificent content that the Friedman group has had over 35 years. And we have so much stuff because we write it. We’re so different from so many other companies. I gave birth to so many competitors, it’s unbelievable I would say that 60% of the retail training companies… No, that’s not true, 90% of the retail training companies out there somehow or another were affected by Friedman. Either they worked for us, quit and decided to do their own thing or they studied or stuff and incorporated it into theirs, we look at it all the time. That was a little sad sack moment. But we’re the guy that wrote it, how is that. We invented it, we wrote and were very proud of that.Anyway, we’ve taken this and put it on to what is called an LMS and we have a great one.
Justin: Yeah, so one of the air that I think is just absolutely fantastic is it’s not just the LMS side but you mentioned the CMS, the content management system. So a lot of retailers, a lot of businesses, multiple locations, single locations, you know they’re using dropbox, SharePoint or Google drive, they’re doing something to house all of their content. And often, it is separate from what they’re using from training because training is done in person. You can consolidate all of those into one platform and on top of that, have access to all the Friedman groups’ training materials, templates; it’s a home run.
I worked for a national retailer and we were trying to implement an LMS system and we only had 13 locations at the time, and it was going to cost to, just to develop the LMS system, $25,000 and that did not include any content. We would have to supply all content, all training materials and it wasn’t something that we were willing to invest in at the time. What the Friedman group has offered is a formal way to house both LMS and the CMS platforms into one.
Harry: there you go again. You are so fast. Let’s slow up CMS for just a moment. Yes, it’s a repository for static information. So for example, policy and procedure manuals, product knowledge data, any of those kinds of things can be stored beautifully right there in a central location. That’s exactly right. So you can manage your content. It’s really cool. It’s really cool stuff.
But let’s get your juices flowing and say you are the retailer Justin and this is Justin’s. That’s the name of your place. Well, for just such a small amount of money, it’s really such a cool thing. So the Friedman group goes out and we acquire this huge complex LMS and we have the right, the ability to license it out to as many people as we want. It’s our own thing. So you as a company, you talk about having to buy your own. We bought a more sophisticated one than what you are going to buy for $25,000 and we have the right. It’s our LMS, we can dole out to small individual stores their own website or their own portal as it’s called. Just imagine for a moment that no matter how small you are, you can have Justin University, you can have Justin’s college of high-performance, you can call it whatever you want. And you get yourself a website, a domain name and boom, your employees’ login with their name and their password and it has all the courses that they can take and you can control that. We could say, as a salesperson, you need to take these 17 sales courses and these 5 management courses, even though their management they will help you in your selling. Or we needed to take this and that and the other. And you can actually take them through a process.
And what is so cool about this Friedman learning is that each section has a test or quiz. And you take this quiz and then it allows you to take the next class. It is so cool. Or read these pages in the policy and procedures manual and acknowledge that you read it. For the first time I can send out a policy to other employees in my company and know which ones read it signed off on it and which ones didn’t. All these things are so cool but it’s simple and easy and very very affordable which is what you’re talking about. I demanded that if we did come up with something like this to the company, our company that it was so affordable that nobody even had to think twice about doing it. It’s just awesome.
And so is not a conversation about what’s better, in-house training, live or e-learning; is not the question anymore, it’s both, without even a shadow of a doubt. You never want to skip that live, intimate experience that a trainer can have with a student. But you also don’t have the time physically and the finances to train them on every tiny little thing.
Justin: And a lot of times a small business owners or relatively small operations, the managers are the owners or having to wear a lot of hats, it’s always great ephedrine in person to be able to pause the training, do a lot of things on your emails and have them watch a couple of videos on the areas that you are going to train on anyway and then review those videos. You can have little pauses during the training. There is so much little tactics that you can implement once you have everything in front of you.
Harry: I have a sales master’s class coming up this summer which is rare. I am not out there like I used to be. But it’s a sales masters’ class that I’m conducting. And all the participants would have had to have gone through our sales training program in advance of coming to the live training so that we can go at a much higher level and get into the weeds of sophisticated selling and get the basics out of the way. How cool is that?
Justin: Very cool. Your training becomes much more efficient, right?
Harry: Without a doubt. And look, the little guys have no access to the kind of content that we have on Friedman learning. We have taken so many things, we’ve taken things like store meetings, I don’t know how many store meetings are on there, quickly to five minute things where you can have subject matter for store meeting. We have articles that I’ve written, a couple hundred articles that I’ve written. There are so many things on there, policies and procedures manual. Let’s say you want to build a policies and procedures manual, wow, we put a template on there with all the forms. It’s fantastic. And it’s such a small price to pay to have access to this kind of information. We were just sitting around with this data anyway, so it kind of worked out for us and our customers as well.
Justin: And I think you’re skipping over a pretty important piece of content that’s on all the e-learning sites, if you have it branded or not are all the videos of you Harry.
Harry: Please Justin. Many years ago, I don’t want anybody to see me today.
You know what else, when we created this site and the LMS and all this process, I have to tell you a funny story, I went in a completely different direction than the executives at the Friedman group. They were all excited that we could provide sales training, management training and all of that stuff and I was going wow, no no no no no, yes of course we have that but it’s a portal. In other words it’s your own Justin’s University, and when you login you get the splash page and you get to do all sorts of things. So I was thinking about every retail company has buyers, whether is the owner or professional buyer or whatever and they go to trade shows and they meet all these vendors and the vendor has all the stories about this great product and the buyer buys it and he comes into the store and the salesperson opens it up and has no clue about this merchandise. Buyers don’t sell explanations how to sell it, what the history is, what’s exciting about it and all I was saying, if nothing else take your phone out when you’re at a tradeshow or rep comes in to pitch you a product and just fire up the video and have them do five minutes on why the product is so wonderful. You could put that on the website and increase the product knowledge and enthusiasm for products in three seconds.
You could also talk about what the season is going to be like, what your point of view is, things that are coming in, you could put pictures and great stories…it’s a vehicle to replace a company newsletter, product knowledge, operational training; all that could be done with a cell phone and uploaded onto the site in three minutes. It’s absolutely stunning what you can do with this.
Justin: Harry you have removed all the excuses not to have your own e-learning site truly.
Harry: So what should they do?
Justin: Well, first up is to give us a call. Let us walk with you through what we have put together and see if it is the right fit for you. But we know it’s going to be. So it’s really about a showing you all the cool stuff and features that we’ve got. You can email the Friedman group at www.sales@theFriedmangroup.com
Harry do you have any final thoughts on or e-learning site?
Harry: well I would like to say the school is never out for the professional, only the amateur and there’s some wonderful content that we have developed over many decades that are still useful including the brand-new releases that we have. We are releasing a brand-new sales training system. I’m very excited about it. It’s very cool.
And even the millennial’s will like it. How about that. And the new generation, whatever they are called. And it’s fun to know more and as you know more you obviously can be more successful and that makes her happy life.
So do you want to be happy life, www.friedmanlearning.com and Justin will get you hooked up.
You have been listening to Retail Revisited. If our conversation today inspired you please be sure to rate us on iTunes or shares with your friends. You can see a full list of all our episodes at www.thefriedmangroup.com. And for more information on how the Friedman Group can transform your business, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A special thanks to Harry J. Freidman for sharing his thirty five years of unbelievable experience for all of us to hear.