I love books that list little factoids and information you wouldn’t necessarily find elsewhere.  Sometimes they may you think, other times they make you question the world as we know and sometimes they make you want to stop eating Fig Newtons.

One of the most interesting facts, I ever read on the net related to “pin” numbers that folks use. 

I had always assumed that the most common was “1234″, so when I found out that it was “0000″, it definitely was a shocker.

Here now are some shockers, you may not be aware of, have wondered about yourself or just ran away at the mere thought of it.

The client may not be the client you think they are

I love going to LMS sites and seeing a list of clients that the vendor lists.  Especially the LMS vendors who also create custom content/development.  It adds an additional nuance to their services.

But did you know..

That some vendors who provide a list of clients may not be clients of their LMS, rather they are current or past clients of custom course development. Yep, you read that right, and best or worst of all, they (vendor) never tells you, unless you inquiry.

Now this is not the case for the vast majority of vendors, but you would be surprised at the number who do this and say nothing. When you think about it, why would they?

Hocus Pocus Demos

I am a huge fan of demos – whether they be face to face or via the internet.  What I am not a fan of, are the demos who are shown in a vanilla style.

That is to say, the vendor did not take the time to either create a template to show the product OR did not spend a few minutes going to client’s web site and using their colors and logo.

Rather then take the time, they figure what’s the big deal?

But did you know…

That your brain (as in everyone’s) cannot “see” (there is a more technical term here) what the colors/design will be, versus what it is now. 

That is why, many folks walk away from the product. The vendor can tell you, “well it will look like this”, but your brain is looking at something that does not show it and automatically perceives that “vanilla” is “vanilla”

Make your demo light up

Ignore what everyone else does and ignore the fact that your system reigns supreme and that demo means so little to the customer. After all, your product has all the feature sets they need, priced right and you have plenty of clients who couldn’t care less or said anything of that nature.

But did you know..

That today’s customers want the “look and “feel” of the LMS to be similar to what they will buy.  If you create your own template – I know it takes time, but hey a sale is a lot better than a no sale – and stick that into your system to “wow” the customer, it will make a difference.  Remember, your job it to get new clients.

For the consumer, here are few tricks that will help your demo be more than a demo

  • Provide the vendor ahead of time with scenarios/scripts (if you will) of some things you will do/use in the system – tell them you want these to be part of the demo
  • Send over a course that already has been created (whether it is from your previous/current LMS or something you just put together) and have the vendor load it into the system for the demo, verify that it works – make sure it is the same compliance standards as the system. Never assume that because it was created in a 3rd party authoring tool that is compliant with the system, that it will automatically work in the system.
  • Have the vendor load the demo with fake data and people – the vendor should do this anyway.  There is no point in showing a demo without some data already in place and some fake folks. How can you really assess the system, without truly getting a real world perspective?
  • Always make sure that what is in the demo will be what is in your system that you will buy. There are vendors who show you the whole sink and then fail to mention that you are only getting the drain.
  • If the demo is face to face and you are leaving a LMS, pose questions about the new perspective LMS on things that you wanted to work in your current system, but do not know or never did.
  • If the demo is face to face, write down or record (ask the vendor ahead of time if this is okay) audio of their presentation. I write fast, but some people talk really fast.  Try to use paper and not your computer, after all when people are typing on their computer or tablet, others in the room can hear that – and it can become distracting.

For the vendor to achieve success in the demo

  • If you have multiple people on the call, make sure that you are in alignment to what will be covered in general – and how to respond to questions if they arise.  A good demo is one where you ask ahead of time what the client wants to see- but be aware that they might see something and then ask to see something else that wasn’t initially on their list.

One of the worse things you can do, is squabble amongst yourselves, while the client is listening.  You might as well, show them a game of Madden NFL, because you just got intercepted by your own QB.

  • Always test ahead of time.  I am surprised how many salespeople who are showing the product haven’t tested to make sure everything works before doing the demo.  I know of vendors who have lost the deal, because they click on something and it does not work OR it does work and is not populated with fake data.
  • In a face to face, test ahead of time.  The people in the room are training/learning development folks (albeit some may include HR, IT, etc.).  But the folks in training/learning – train others or have their own trainers. And when these people present with computers and a projector, they always test ahead of time. You have no idea on whether the bandwidth will support what you are doing or if your system is ready for prime time.
  • Show up at least 45 minutes ahead of time to test, verify, and get ready to rock n roll. Showing up five minutes before, tells me you will not be prepared and then have to spend additional minutes to do that, losing precious time for the presentation.
  • If two or more folks are coming for face to face, have a game plan.  Don’t get off track and watch what jokes or comments you make.  I’ve seen and heard salespeople tell jokes that are either not funny or are offensive to someone in the room.  The same thing with comments.  Act professional. You can still be relaxed and achieve the same goal.

RCAT tools are not as easy as pie

The power of rapid content authoring tools (RCAT) are the ability to create a course in a quick and easy fashion.  Then after it is wrapped – you zing it into a LMS or on your own web server and expect it to work.

But did you know..

There are plenty of times it won’t work. 

The whole premise of SCORM was that you could take one course from one system into another system and it would work (as long as it was SCORM or the same standard of SCORM).

This is called interoperability - and guess what it – everyone in the industry knows that it is not always the case, even with 3rd party authoring tools.

The vendor – LMS may need to tweak their script with your course that you just uploaded with your 3rd party authoring tool.  The same with courses built by a third party developer.

If you are seeing constant problems or even problems with your course – like data not being pulled into the LMS (whatever data that might be) – go to the authoring tool vendor’s web site and if they have a forum – look around.  If you are having the problem, others will to.  

If there is not a forum, contact the vendor’s support staff and have them work with you to solve it.

There is no reason for them to push it off back to you and make it as though you are at fault.  To me that is bad support.

I have a license, do you?

Many LMS vendors or learning providers have a web conferencing solution already in their LMS. With that, they can pull all types of data back into their LMS. They want you to use this vendor.

But did you know..

In order for you to use that vendor, you have to purchase a separate license or licenses, unless you already have the license(s) for the conference tool.  And were you aware that many vendors’ systems will work with other web conferencing vendors whose product is not part of their system – as in pulling the data back into the system.

The same thing applies to Salesforce which the vendor who has it, will list it as a feature or option. You either have to already have Salesforce or buy a license/or whatever their vernacular, to use Salesforce.  It is not automatically included at no fee.

Hey my LMS, has an authoring tool – cool

Many people seek a LMS that has an authoring tool already built in, because they either do not want to pay for a separate 3rd party authoring tool, are not aware of the various 3rd party authoring tools or they think it will be easier to create a course in the system, because the authoring tool already is in the platform.

But did you know…

That overall these authoring tools stink.  The vendor is an LMS vendor and that is their expertise, it is not an authoring tool vendor and as such this is not their expertise. These tools can never match the power of many 3rd party authoring tools, because that is not their focus.

It is also why many LMS vendors no longer offer an authoring tool with their system. They know that in today’s market, the majority of folks use a 3rd party authoring tool, so why offer one in the system? 

Also, who needs the hassle of people calling them with issues due to the built in authoring tool?  Not me, and trust me, not them either.

Bottom Line

Knowing new facts can be fun and enjoyable.  It can make you the expert on such matters and have your friends and colleagues marvel at your level of knowledge.  “Hey, you are just like Socrates.”

But not everyone can be Socrates – and why would you want to?

While he was all knowing, he is not only dead, but was sentenced to death by drinking hemlock.

Did you know that?

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