With over 30 years in the sports industry, as Founder and Managing Director of Millet Sports, the high street and online retail business, Simon has set up a new venture which he believes gets to the core of one of the major issues currently facing the industry – the lack of investment in training and development.
He explained: “Working closely with the major brands at all levels of management, my experience was that employees whose companies invested in their training and development was that they outperformed their counterparts and stayed in their role for a longer period of time, allowing for continuity and opportunity to build a greater understanding of their accounts.”
So, after selling Millet Sports to JD Sports he left them in February this year to develop his ideas – through the foundation of SmartCom Training Ltd.
Having identified the need for training, Simon’s task was to find the right partners with relevant experience in training and appropriate content that would be aligned to the industry.
Having met with several training companies what became apparent quite early on was that most training companies offered their clients one-two days training with little to no support or follow up to reinforce the learning.
Simon said: “I knew from experience that a training session in isolation, without further reinforcement and continued opportunity for development offered short term value.”
It was important to Simon to find a partner that had the same vision as himself, to be able to offer companies an opportunity to educate their teams to effect positive and sustained changes for improved performance in their roles.
In setting up SmartCom Training he wanted to offer a range of products, including sales training, performance management training, presentation, negotiation, successful hiring and customer services and telesales, and to be able to deliver it effectively.
The aim was to give companies an opportunity to achieve a sustained return on their investment.
Simon decided to form a partnership with Sandler Training because of their breadth of offering and global reach (they operate in more than 29 countries and have over 25 centres in the UK alone).
Also, the fact that they are widely regarded as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of proven and effective training methodologies was attractive.
He added: “My partner at Sandler Training is David Feldman. He not only has many years of experience running a Sandler practice but also significant knowledge of working with retail organisations, via brands such as AEG and Fuji Film. An ideal partner for Smartcom Ltd.”
Simon was impressed by two factors about Sandler’s process.
He said: “Firstly, they believe in reinforcement training, not one day ‘boot camps’. People typically retain only a small percentage of the learning of a full day’s training. Instead Sandler teaches using more frequent, but shorter training sessions. The attendees learn a new concept, put it into practice and then return to discuss its effectiveness and to take it to the next step. Attendees improve incrementally over time and the company sees permanent change in the way the team operate and perform. Secondly the sales and management techniques are effective because they have a scientific basis – the teams learn how to apply behavioural psychology and communicate using tools based around NLP, Transactional Analysis and Karpman Triangles. It uses the theories to enable the creation of long-term relationships rather than to promote short term over stocking.”
SmartCom Training is aimed at working directly with brands and retailers.
Training is delivered in house or at one of their training centres across the country and they work with the client to deliver when it’s best suited.