Welcome to the latest version of “A.D. vs. the Techs!” (Just kidding.) Since I received several nice notes regarding service and updates a couple issues ago, let’s keep it going another month.
I was happy to see there are still people willing to share their opinions with me. In January’s A.D. article, we talked about the education programs starting up, and whether you preferred webinars or live updates. Here is a hint about my age… ahh, what the heck, I’ll just tell you – I am _______ years old. Since it is plural, you can see I am over the age of 1, or if I was born on leap year I think I would be over 4. But, regardless of my age or yours, there is a definite disconnect with the younger generation and how they feel about live updates. Hey, A.D. isn’t saying that is bad, I am just suggesting that if you are younger, you most likely have figured out computers. And if you are older and have an inquiring mind, you probably are good with computers too. You might be asking, “Why is that important, A.D.?”
More lawn and garden companies are adding EFI, there are Bluetooth-capable units, Exmark has RED technology, and GPS mowers are popping up on the golf courses – just to name a few. With EFI and the other exotic systems popping up, you will need some computer skills to work on them. Where will you get those skills? The only three places I can think of would be the factory, the distributor, or possibly a manufacturer’s YouTube channel. (Did I lose you with the YouTube channel?)
The first question should be, “Am I willing to learn something new?” The next question would be, “Does my boss want me to learn something new?” And last, “Where can I get the training I need?” A.D. would start with the distributor territory manager. I know, I hear it from great readers like you, “They won’t be able to tell me.” Wrong. If they are any good at all, you may find they can’t tell you the answer you crave at that time, but they can find that information for you.
Not to deviate too far from the subject, but if you want a better territory manager, be their teacher. You will both benefit in the long run. Here’s a little inside secret about territory managers and distributor sales management – neither knows the best way to help you, and the next dealer, and the next dealer, and so on. With you assisting them along the way, they’ll understand that you care about your business and their time. If they are in tune with all their dealers, they will be working to help you because you took the time to help them. For most territory managers, planning their time is the hardest part of their job. They have a lot of accounts, and try to see the ones that will make them successful. It’s not that they don’t care about all their customers – believe me, they do. But time management is a real problem when there are so many accounts. Be memorable and helpful, and you’ll have them eating out of your hands. (Don’t tell them I said any of this. Remember, it’s an inside secret.)
Now, back to the main point. Once you learn where to get the training you need, sign up. If you are younger, none of this probably scares you. But if you are over 50, some of the training might seem intimidating. I can hear you say it now, “A.D., you have no clue what you write about!” Maybe not, but your peers do, and they tell me – even though they have no clue I am A.D. – that they are too old to learn. No, no, no! You cannot feel that way, or this industry is in deep trouble.
Remember when you got into the business and a small carburetor was scary? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But just because you are scared to try something new doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. The scariest thing is you thinking you can’t do something and not even trying. Most likely, if you go to a high-level training class, there will be other people who feel the same way you do. I still say that there is a lot of work out there for a seasoned tech like you. Learn new things, and keep fixing stuff. That’s who you are, and you are who this industry needs.
As always, feel free to write A.D. a note and voice your opinion. You can e-mail me at OPEMAGAD@gmail.com, or, if you want to be super sophisticated, you can Tweet me @OPEMAGAD. I’ll get back to you with my opinion. Until next month, keep your blades and mind sharp!