Monday, November 9, 2009

New Wave of Industry Certification: Value or Marketing Gambit

We’ve all heard or read the stories: Company Big Shot or Government appointee discovered to have PhD, or other degree, from “diploma mill.” There is always the denial from the “degree” holder, referencing how hard they worked to earn the degree and how they considered the degree legitimate. But could they really believe that? Haven’t we all seen the advertisements? “Credit given for life experiences.”

Okay, so I have attended some “professional education” events and have worked my way up from sales professional to vice president of sales at the dealership, managing four sales professionals. I never stepped foot on a college campus other than to pitch a deal. I collect all of the certificates from my professional training and send them along with my resume and $25,000 to “University of some Geography” and puff, I have a BS in management. You didn’t actually attend any professional training and you don’t want to take the time to download some certificates from the Microsoft Office website, just send in your resume and the check for $25,000 and puff, BS in Management. What, you don’t have any professional training and you aren’t really the VP; actually you’ve never achieved quota in your 10 years of sales and you’ve worked for nine different companies? Son, you need this BS more than most so just send in the check for $25,000 and your diploma will arrive—get that check in within a week and we’ll send a free frame with the diploma.

Why don’t we all set-up colleges and collect checks? Heck, it would save me a fortune sending my three children to accredited universities. But therein lays the answer –accreditation. You see “real colleges” don’t accredit themselves. Rather, they are accredited by a recognized organization. I can’t say it any better so here is a copy of the blurb from ed.gov:

The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. Here you will find lists of regional and national accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as reliable authorities concerning the quality of education or training offered by the institutions of higher education or higher education programs they accredit.

The newest wave in the industry appears to be certifying dealerships or sales professionals. You can become one of the top 100 service companies in the industry or even a certified MPS sales specialist. Heck, these programs are trademarked (I think that is what they say...or copyrighted but you wouldn’t copyright a trade name so they seem confused on that) doesn’t that show credibility? Go to the office of patent and trademark and fill out a form and you have the makings of a trademark. For copyrights it is even easier….I could send this blog post into the copyright office to “file” and it is copyrighted. It simply costs some money, like a diploma from the diploma mill, and doesn’t add any credibility.

I think Strategy Development has the deepest talent of consultants and trainers in the industry. Our experience speaks for itself. If you want to improve your service operations or get trained on how to sell MPS I strongly recommend you contact Strategy Development. But we are not an accredited institution and we are not going to insult your intelligence by telling you we will certify you. Besides, even if there are folk’s na├»ve enough to believe that a company can create their own recognized certification, like the diploma from the “University of Geography” that certification will have no legitimacy in front of a prospect when they ask “How did you earn your certification.” I paid a consulting / training firm to attend their course……

We provide real results, not gimmicks and we certainly will never insult your intelligence.