Anyone shopping right now without a clue what they want to buy or what someone needs can testify to how grueling the process can be in finding the right gift, not to mention how tired it makes you feel. So many things can catch our attention, and without having prepared for the shopping experience, we are left to whatever catches our eye.
Window shopping is fine when your goal is to just check out what is available, and when you don’t have any goals to purchase anything. It allows you to keep your mind open to possibilities and explore whatever the store has to show you. But when you are looking to purchase a particular gift for a particular person, you need to have your list. Sizes and colors matter when shopping for someone. Age is important to know when shopping for toys for kids. The details of the person and their needs are vital to finding a good match.
Why then is it such a popular activity to window shop for training? Trainers, and Training Managers love to attend free webinars, order things online and surf the internet looking for types of training “just to know what is available.” I say wait on learning about your options until you have a performance need to solve. Then go out and find out what your options are for your particular issue.
Good training managers will have an understanding of the performance issue before they even consider training as the performance solution. Once they determine that training can improve the performance, they conduct a training needs analysis to create their size and color chart. How many need training? Where are these people located? What skills do we need to develop? When do they need to be prepared to perform these skills? What is the budget?
With a good shopping list in hand, the search takes on more urgency, and yet it is faster because you can weed through the sizes that won’t fit. How many of use go to a particular store when looking for something we need? How many of us given the amount of money in our wallet narrow down the stores we will visit to the ones we can afford?
The real bonus of shopping for training with a list is how the sales people will treat you. You elevate yourself in most vendor’s eyes to that of a serious buyer. They know how to present their training programs at every level of the sales cycle, and when they find a serious buyer they eliminate a lot of the games and get right down to business. Not to mention, if you spell out what you need, and they don’t have it, you save a ton of time and can quickly move on to another vendor.
So while window shopping can be fun, when it comes to shopping for training, please become a focused and serious shopper!