A Q & A with Madison, Wis., Dale Carnegie Training Franchise Owner Terry Siebert
We sat down with Terry Siebert, Dale Carnegie Training franchise owner, to discuss how he has engrained Dale Carnegie into his life and in his Madison, Wis., community of professionals.
When did you join Dale Carnegie Training?
I started with Dale Carnegie Training in 1979 as a part-time trainer. I transitioned to a full-time training in 1988 and from there decided to take over the business eight years later in 1996. I’ve enjoyed my 40 years with Dale Carnegie Training immensely but it’s time for me to move on and pass the torch to the next generation. My 10 grandchildren and I will quite enjoy the quiet life of retirement.
What kind of training do you offer?
My office provides the best of everything Dale Carnegie has to offer. Our best selling program is the signature Dale Carnegie course, which is about 50 percent of all the business we do. Following that is our popular sale course, our Leadership Training for Managers and our Public Speaking course. We also have a number of digital programs through Dale Carnegie Associates, that growing more and more popular every year. This is just a sample of the things we offer to business professionals in Madison, but there is certainly something for everyone through Dale Carnegie Training.
Who is your typical customer?
About 99 percent of our business is with corporate customers that do not have their own internal training departments. These range from growing companies with 50 employees, to established companies with as many as 500 employees. Many of them within the manufacturing and construction industries, but we also work with companies in bio-medical, software and financial services.
What kinds of challenges do you encounter?
While the majority of our customers are just looking for professional and personal development programs, we do sometimes encounter specific problems they’re trying to overcome. One of the most frequent problems we come across is how to solve conflict in the workplace. People find jobs to be contentions at times, and they want to learn how to be assertive and diplomatic in those moments. This is especially the case when employees step into new roles, for example, going from a machinist job to one of management where they are responsible to now managing people can be difficult. Dale Carnegie provides them with the communication and leadership tools they need to navigate that change.
How do you help them solve those problems?
Through comprehensive Dale Carnegie training courses and ongoing coaching programs. Typically, when a Dale Carnegie course is completed, we like to make sure the company we’ve worked with has an internal structure that can support the lessons learned and continue to push its employees to the next level.
How many clients do you work with at any one time?
As with any business, there are busy seasons and slow seasons. We see a lot of activity in the summer months, being that in Wisconsin winters can be unpleasant. We typically average about 100 to 200 companies in July and August; about 50 in June; and less as the weather gets cooler. But, about 10 percent of all the contacts that we make, translate into business, so people are constantly searching for professional development tools.
What is the competition like in your area?
Our largest competitor in this region is the University of Wisconsin. 25-years-ago, the university didn’t really have any kind of training program, but they’ve really worked to develop an internal program. I would say we split about 25 to 50 percent of our business with UW. Other than that, most of our competitors are the same across the United States — companies that have grown larger and have developed their own internal training programs.
What have you learned as a Dale Carnegie franchisee?
The training industry is a difficult business to be in, but it’s one of the most rewarding I’ve ever been a part of. Watching others achieve their goals and succeed in their lives is really gratifying, but you have to be willing to work your butt off to make sure you can provide those people with the best training programs possible.
What advice would you give to someone new to the franchise?
Business ownership is difficult, and the professional development line of work even more so, so you have to work extremely hard. The harder you work, the more gratifying your successes will be though, so always keep that in mind. Being a part of the Dale Carnegie Training system will help alleviate some of those early growing pains, and it will be worth it in the end to know that you have an established, time-tested business behind you every step of the way.
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