Dale Carnegie Training is rooted in the dedication and commitment of our franchise owners and top-of-the-line instructors. Simply put, we couldn’t do it without them.
The company has relied on these enthusiastic men and women to drive the Dale Carnegie mission forward. Through their hard work and drive to succeed, they’ve also been critical in keeping the Dale Carnegie brand relevant for more than 100 years.
So, as part of an ongoing series in which we introduce and highlight our one-of-a-kind franchisees, we take this opportunity to learn about Robert Scherer of Sacramento, California to see how Dale Carnegie has impacted him, and to see the impact he’s had on it.
When did you join Dale Carnegie Training?
We’ve been around a long time. I joined the Dale Carnegie Training franchise in 1982 — it’s so funny to think that it’s been that long. What’s even funnier is that I’m just as excited about the class we are about to start as I was for the very first one. I think Dale Carnegie has kept me young.
We don’t take anything for granted, to what we’ve done to this point, and what we’ll do in the future. We work everyday to stay relevant. It’s a competitive world out there, and we have to be on top of our game every day.
What kind of training do you offer?
When you really boil it down, the Dale Carnegie Training program is all about personal development and the development of skills for improved performance. When individuals grow in their desired skill sets, they become more confident, they communicate more effectively, they’re stronger leaders and they push themselves more than ever before. Their attitudes become more proactive. That’s the core of the training that we do.
Who is your typical customer?
About 10 years ago our business was primarily working with individuals and small teams, about 60 to 70 of our business in fact. But, we’ve seen a complete shift in the last 7 years though. About 70 percent of our business is now corporate clients. Companies like Ace Hardware, different hospital systems and even the United States Army now uses Dale Carnegie Training.
What are some of your clients' specific needs?
Our classes vary quite a bit. Sometimes we’ll have companies or individuals who come to us with a very specific problem, either they’re looking for team development or improved presentation skills, and other times they come in because they want to develop and grow their key employees. Many are seeking out Dale Carnegie Training because they expect the best out of themselves or their employees, and they need the tools to get there.
I think what I see the most is these companies want their employees to become leaders, but they’re not providing them the tools they need to do that. College educates these people, and then the educated people come into the workforce, but unless they’re with a high-level company that offers speciality training, professional development can tend to suffer. That’s why these companies invest in our leadership training.
How do you help them solve those problems?
Our training is multi-faceted and addresses a number of things people want to improve upon. We’re not just giving lectures about how to be a better leader, or how to be a better employee — we’re engaging our participants in an overall, personal improvement program. Our training addresses both professional and personal growth. Plus, our trainers are an essential piece to the overall program. They really get involved with the participants of each class and make sure they’re getting the value from what Dale Carnegie offers.
On average, how many clients do you work with?
Our classes usually consist of anywhere from 10-20 people and sometimes more. It really varies depending on who we’re working with for that particular course.
What is the competition like in your area?
We’ve got a huge amount of competition. There’s just a lot of competition out there overall. A lot of companies that call themselves training organizations, but probably don’t quite fit in that category, and certainly don’t fit in a category along side of Dale Carnegie Training.
I’ve also seen a lot of larger corporations now offering internal training programs, which is a new level of competition for us. So, we have to work hard to get what we have, and we have to work hard to keep what we have. Dale Carnegie’s longevity (more than 100 years!) is an asset and sometimes a deterrent. Sometimes when you’re that old, people still wonder you’re still relevant. That’s why we’re constantly updating our concept, our image, our marketing and outreach to our clients so that we can remain on the top of the competition.
Why are stepping away from the Dale Carnegie?
As much as I enjoy doing this, I personally feel it’s time for a new approach to the business. I think somebody else can come in and pick up where we’ve been and take it to new heights. There’s a lot of younger people in Dale Carnegie that are owning their franchises, but there are still a lot like me that are thinking about their succession plans.
What have you learned as a Dale Carnegie franchisee?
I think the most important thing I’ve learned as a Dale Carnegie franchisee is the value of relationships. The training is all about the principles of life, strengthening relationships, dealing with stress, and I’ve just embraced that way of life in every way that I can. It’s been invaluable to me in my relationship with my son, my relationship with my wife, friends, colleagues; frankly, every person that I meet. It’s enhanced so much of my life, I couldn’t imagine never joining this team those years ago. There is a self actual realization in being a Dale Carnegie franchisee. You truly are becoming a leader in the corporate industry.
What advice would you give to someone new to the franchise?
One of the best pieces of advice I can give to a new affiliate is to take a Dale Carnegie Training course yourself. Once you attend a training, you’ll feel it and know the value of it. We’re selling things that we believe in, and if you don’t believe in it and you don’t have your own opinions about it, then it’s not going to work for you.
People don’t come to us to take a course; they come to us for an experience. You need to constantly be putting energy and time into your instructional development. These corporate clients that we have, they expect a lot, so it’s extremely important that the Dale Carnegie Training program exceeds their expectations.