Have you ever wondered what makes a potential student choose a school? Is it how many courses and services you have on the menu? Is it how cool the your brochure looks in the front lobby? Is it location or the amount of trucks in the yard? Is it funding? All of these things matter but are they determining factors for a student? They may be the difference for some students but I think much of it comes down to authenticity.
Authenticity goes back to reputation and all of the topics mentioned above as far as quality training, good equipment, good programming and much more. What that student sees on the outside should be a good reflection of what they will receive on the inside with your programming. Authenticity came to mind the other day as I was traveling.
This time of year many people travel to warmer clients for the holidays myself included. We travel to a wonderful island in the south Caribbean where the palm trees sway and the breeze is light. On this tiny island you can find a mix of restaurants, rum shops (small bars), and fast food establishments.
As I was sitting on a bench overlooking the ocean I began watching a new bar try to attract people to their location and this is where I noticed the disconnect. As many restaurants in this area do, they have people out front of the establishment trying to entice you to enter their bar before moving onto the next. Sometimes this works and other times it doesn’t make a difference. As I watched this person trying to get people to go into their bar I thought how this was not showing the authenticity of what the bar was actually like.
The person was nicely dressed holding a menu and asking people when they walked by if they wanted to try the bar. She was dressed as if you were going into a fine dining restaurant to have a romantic meal for two. What people found when they entered the bar was that they didn’t serve any food, had a DJ playing loud music, and the bar was a makeshift bar in an empty parking lot with picnic table seating. Now don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with that type of bar however that was not what was being represented up front. The bar was not being authentic to potential customers.
Watching the process got me thinking about how authentic we should be with our schools and businesses. Are what people seeing on the outside a true representation of what the school offers on the inside? Even if you have only one truck will I still get quality job ready training or will it be something different? If you promote new equipment on the brochure but have broken down equipment at the school you are not being authentic.
As we move into a new year with new challenges and dreams we should all monitor how we are representing ourselves to potential clients. We are all different in some way and finding that one item that puts you ahead of the others can make a great difference in your success. Just be authentic when doing so.
I would like to take this time to wish you a Happy New Year and all the best for 2018.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com