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Business Observer Friday, Oct. 26, 2007 14 years ago

Beyond the Classroom

Rick Gallegos has found that training managers and employees about collaboration, leadership and selling is increasingly needed on site rather than bringing people to a training center.

Beyond the Classroom

MANAGEMENT by Dave Szymanski | Tampa Bay Editor

Rick Gallegos has found that training managers and employees about collaboration, leadership and selling is increasingly needed on site rather than bringing people to a training center.

Two management lessons emerge from the story of Tampa Bay corporate trainer Rick Gallegos.

First, if you learn how to sell a company's services, you may be able to manage that company well.

Second, if you listen to customers and potential customers, you may find different ways of serving them and different kinds of customers.

Lesson one: Rick Gallegos went to work for Dale Carnegie in 1987 after graduating from Florida State University with a marketing degree. He had never heard of the company. He ran into a Carnegie trainer while playing tennis.

After stumbling at first, owing the company $3,000 after six months, Gallegos took the company's Sales Advantage course. He eventually became the company's No. 1 salesman. Ten years later, he bought the franchise from owner Scott Hitchcock.

A decade later, this year, Dale Carnegie recognized Gallegos, 42, for having the best market penetration of any Carnegie franchise in the country as sales jumped 40%.

Lesson two: After years of teaching salespeople and managers in classrooms, Gallegos and his seven-person staff took some of the courses directly to some clients. Off site work is now the fastest-growing part of his business.

He is also ready to go in another new direction: Teaching leadership skills to the heads of high school clubs in Hillsborough County.

Mark Fitzgerald, president and owner of the Fitzgerald Sales Training Institute Inc., a Tampa-based affiliate of the Sandler Sales Institute, is a competitor for Gallegos, using non-traditional approaches to teaching salespeople perform better. He recognizes Gallegos' ethical approach.

"We are similar in that we are very integrity-based," Fitzgerald says. "We're centered around discovering what's best for the prospect."

Drama training

Born in Los Angeles, Gallegos father worked for NASA in California. He went to high school in Mississippi. While in high school, he worked as an actor in school productions. He realized he was a natural at presentations.

Tall and trim, Gallegos was a gifted tennis player in school. Working for Carnegie was an extension of his presentation and social skills.

But as he sold Carnegie training, he realized that many managers and employees had poor collaboration skills.

Gallegos' vision for the company is to keep expanding his on-site training for companies. On-site is about 65% of his training and it has been growing every year.

The current trend is to outsource training, but bring it to your company. This helps companies be more efficient, which is what Gallegos wants to do.

That's why he has prepared for it by securing more instructors and mobile instructors that can travel to train companies.

The litmus test for Gallegos is more successful clients, salespeople who bring in more money. How does he make that happen?

He helps people develop core skills: leadership, communications, dealing with people and building self-confidence. That typically leads to a happier, more productive employee.

A lot of work today requires collaboration. Many people do not collaborate well. That's why the Carnegie course been popular for so long. By using timeless principals, explained in the book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," it helps people develop collaboration and human relationship skills and a can-do attitude.

That's why he recommends clients take the basic Carnegie course first, then the sales training and high-impact presentation classes next.

After the coaching, Gallegos asks clients to be accountable in using the training methods, measuring their performance and following up with him, reporting how they are doing.

Changing cultures

Helping clients sometimes means changing corporate cultures. For example, some banks adopted more selling cultures.

Gallegos' clients are diverse and include a boating retailer and an insurance company. All want to lead and motivate employees and get more productivity out of their workforce. Gallegos works with the leadership team, making them coaches. That way, the leaders are the head coaches so they can instill confidence in employees.

The more the management follows up, the more likely behavioral change will occur among employees. Managers are told to ask employees, "How are you doing with your goal of X?"

Productive employees thrive with timely feedback and lots of recognition so they believe there's a positive future for them. The role of a leader is to build people and help them achieve results.

"The buzz-saw leader deflates the spirit of the team," Gallegos says. "Turnover is bad management. Employees get so little recognition now."

One of the reasons managers struggle is that they need help with their most difficult task: face-to-face interaction with employees. It's tough and time consuming, so they don't want to do it again and again. But if you build a sales-oriented culture, leaders have to coach every day. They become the change agents.

One of Gallegos' clients is boat retailer Marine Max. He trained the company's sales force. They wanted to learn how to build value for customers. It was one of the most exciting projects because the sales team was selling million-dollar boats. One saleswoman had a customer in Fort Lauderdale that made a purchase of more than $1 million.

The toughest challenge for salespeople is to create value and compete. With the Internet, customers get bids from other companies. There is more competition. So sales people need to build value for their customers or they can't win, Gallegos says.

The Hillsborough County School System, one of the largest in the country, invited Gallegos to do training for club presidents in eighth to 12th grades. That should begin later this month. He will train teachers first, then students.

He also is expanding his executive coaching, one-on-one with c-level executives. Sometimes its telecoaching, by phone or email.

Even though he's a franchise owner, he views himself as an entrepreneur because he likes taking the Carnegie courses in new directions. Gallegos is president of the Dale Carnegie International Franchise Association. He trained Carnegie franchisees in China in April. He has written three courses for Carnegie.

When he's not running his company, Gallegos, a single man, gets in his fishing boat. He also jet skis, golfs and plays guitar. His mom and dad moved to Tampa eight years ago. His mom handles customer service for his company, dealing with clients and keeping her spirit positive.

That has helped as Gallegos train his staff to deliver new and improved products.

Despite common perception, sales training only represents 20% of Gallegos' business. Half is the classic Dale Carnegie people-relationship skills. And 30% is training for managers.

Management training is another growth area for Gallegos because of demographics: As Baby Boomers are retiring, the next generation is not always prepared to lead a company or division.

"There's a big need for leadership skills," he says.


Company: Rick

Gallegos & Associates

Industry: Corporate training

Key: Listen to clients and respond to their training needs.

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