Dear Industry Colleagues,

Be it through outside education or on-the-job training, learning should not be a spectator sport. It should be engaging, inclusive and for learning to make a difference, participatory.

One of the greatest assets of our industry is the ASA Education Foundation. It is the one organization in our industry dedicated to developing and providing educational materials and training resources specifically for the PHCP and PVF wholesale channel of distribution. Thanks to the Karl E. Neupert Endowment Fund, the Education Foundation can invest in program development and not pass that cost along to the companies who use the products. The ASAEF offers our industry timely, useful programs that are engaging, inclusive and affordable.

So why is it that less than half of ASA members participate in any type of program from the ASA Education Foundation?

I’ve yet to speak to someone in this industry who says “training my employees doesn’t matter.”  We all know it’s important. Giving a customer the correct information or using a proven sales tactic could be the difference between a sale or sending that person to your competition.

The ASA Education Foundation was established more than 30 years ago because even then we knew training our people was important. All these years later, the ASAEF has kept its finger on the pulse of the industry,learningwhat ASA members want in training and staying current with new formats and teaching strategies.

Ask yourself: Does every one of my employees understand how my business makes a profit?  Do the people selling my products know all their features, uses and how to cross- or up-sell related products?  Each of these skills relates directly to the bottom line of your balance sheet. Proper training relates directly to your profitability.

Training is an investment. As an investment in your employees it builds their self-esteem and shows them their value to the company. Employees are your company’s greatest resource.

With the development of ASAU Online, the ASA Education Foundation is positioned to be the go-to training source for all of our industry needs. ASAU Online provides business owners many more options for training, and results can be tracked to monitor progress. It uses the format with which most of the employees entering the industry today are most comfortable.

All of these programs from the ASA Education Foundation are complemented every day by one of the greatest benefits available from membership in ASA - access to the best thinkers and doers in our industry through networking. Some of the best ideas I’ve been able to use at Slakey Brothers have come from my peers. The different perspective another person brings, coupled with wisdom from experience, is invaluable. In the three most recent issues ofASA News(this one included), read the ASAEF case studies from distributors operating in different regions of the country, focusing on how and why they invest in training, and then apply that knowledge to your own business.

No other organization serving our industry provides access to a more diverse collection of companies throughout North America than ASA. Learn from the best the industry has to offer, whether it’s in a book, on a computer or via another person. It’s time to stop being a spectator and get in the game to win.

Frank Nisonger
Slakey Brothers