Midway Rentals & Sales had employees who were highly qualified for the job, but still had industry-specific gaps in their knowledge. How could they grow their employees and promote company growth?
Midway Rentals & Sales created a culture of learning in their company with Sphere 1 University, and employees used their training to not only close gaps in their knowledge, but to learn new skills and advance their careers.
Midway Rentals & Sales is a Michigan-based distributor of construction equipment and supplies known for its active community involvement. Since 2015, Midway has been part of Sphere 1, and they have effectively utilized Sphere 1 University, powered by BlueVolt.
Justin Prusi, the Sales Manager at Midway, acts as the primary contact for the Sphere 1 group for the company. According to Prusi, Midway has always been proactive about creating a culture of learning within their company, using internal competition initiatives to encourage employees to take more training.
“We've seen the numbers—we've seen that knowledge correlates to growth,” Prusi said. “When a salesperson is confident in the products that they carry, in answering the customer questions well, that relationship makes it easier to close a sale. Customers certainly buy from people that they know, and that they can trust, that historically steer them in the right direction.”
Prusi added that the online format is especially conducive to making sure that all staff are knowledgeable and experienced, despite how remote they are geographically. This is especially important with new employees at either of the company’s locations, who may be qualified for the job but inexperienced in the industry.
Prusi described several employees, two salespeople and two parts assistants, who were new to the industry, but with a bit of training, were able to recommend not only the proper products, but how to use them as well.
“One of our inside salespeople, Jacob... had done sales before but not in our industry, so he didn’t know anything about anchors,” Prusi explained. “So he took some BlueVolt Sphere 1 University courses... that is a particular product line that he became a lot more comfortable in selling because he knew the applications, and he could recommend the right anchor to the customer based on their application; it just increased overall comfort level on that entire product line.”
When Jacob had a customer come in with a needed repair, he was able to recommend not only the right anchor for the job, but explain the installation method.
Another inside salesperson, Jon, wasn’t extremely familiar with the Makita product line. When Makita introduced a two-battery technology, which extended run time on select high-power cordless tools and equipment, one of Jon’s customers was concerned that he would have to invest in a new platform. Jon took the Sphere 1 University training on that product line and was able to explain to the customer that he could keep using his existing batteries, chargers, and system, but with more power and for a longer period before having to recharge batteries.
“He was able to assuage the customer's fears,” Prusi said, adding that Jon “has since sold them other tools on the same platform.”
Another employee, a parts assistant named Shawn, has always been a high performer on the training platform. Midway is an authorized service center for both Makita and Milwaukee brands, so Shawn took a lot of courses from those brands, giving him the ability to provide customers with information on what the problem might be when they brought tools for repair, or even make recommendations on a replacement tool if what they had was beyond repair.
“He was able to upgrade them to that next tool, even though that was outside of his department, but he was also able to explain safety features, anti-wear features... We open this platform up to all employees for that reason, to improve knowledge company-wide, and to highlight where hidden talent might lie,” Prusi said about Shawn’s high performance.
A final employee, Josh, has been the top performer on the training platform for most of 2023. Like many of the others, he started as a parts assistant with qualifying experience but without industry-specific experience.
“He used Sphere 1 University to help him gain that knowledge. And in part because of his performance on this platform, his performance on the job, his willingness to grow, and his initiative—because we don't force this platform on anybody. We make it available to everyone, but we don't force it on them—him taking that initiative to take his growth and his expansion of knowledge into his own hands has helped us to watch his career a little closer,” Prusi explained. “And just last week, he was promoted to parts manager. So there's a specific reason that we offer this to everybody within the company, not just sales.”
Because of their internal culture of learning that utilizes Sphere 1 University, powered by BlueVolt, Midway Rentals & Sales is able to provide great customer service and find opportunities to promote employees who take initiative.
Prusi encouraged other Sphere 1 members to take advantage of the online training.
“As we all get better, it helps one another. Sphere 1 is absolutely stronger together—we make each other better,” Prusi said. “[The University] has been an extremely valuable tool for us... It does take some work to get things rolling, but it creates camaraderie, and it creates healthy competition amongst our team members. It really is a great platform, and it's a lot of fun to use—plus the rewards help.”