Jerry & Sheryl Isenhour, CVC Success Group coaches

CVC Succcess Group coaches Jerry & Sheryl Isenhour

In this week’s episode of The Chimney & Fireplace Success Network podcast Jerry and Sheryl talk about providing the best possible training curriculum for your entire team and how to implement your training plan. They will go over training systems, onboarding new-hires and the importance of building different curriculums for each department in your business – from your management team to your office staff and your technicians.


The Chimney and Fireplace Success Network is a weekly podcast brought to you by the CVC Success Group and hosted by industry expert, Jerry Isenhour. Each week you will find new presentations to assist business owners and managers in turning their business dreams into their business realities. 



Jerry Isenhour.: I want to welcome you to this week’s episode of the chimney and fireplace success network; my name is Jerry Isenhour. And our podcast production is sponsored by CVC success group. And along with me today is my co-worker, one of my mentors, my best friend, my wife, and her name is Sheryl. So, we are going to be talking today about curriculums.

We May Think We Have Great Training Systems

You see, this is one of the things that we are seeing. People hire new members for their team and simply throw them in the battle and don’t properly prepare them. We may think we’ve got great training systems, but the same times do we actually have a curriculum to follow.

So that’s what Sheryl and I are going to talk to you about today, and we’re going to take a little break right now, we’ll be right back in about 30 seconds. So, stick around with us as we talk about how to get curriculum set up within your business for your new hires, for your team to make a successful team.

Jerry I.: Hey, welcome back with us. So Sheryl’s joining me now. So, Sheryl, do you see that people do not have a set curriculum for their new hires to follow, what is your thoughts on this?

Sheryl Isenhour: We see that all the time. If they just assume that they need this, and then maybe they need that, then maybe they need something else.

And then they hire somebody else, and they do it all different. So we have found out that actually, if you’ve got something literally in print, where you can keep up with it and do it on a this is what needs to be done this week or this day and so on and so on. I think it works better for all companies.

Training Begins At The Completion Of Onboarding

Jerry I.: And you know that is what we are seeing, is a lot of people that are putting together these curriculums and starting this training at the completion of their onboarding, which is one of the things our team member Brandi Biswell specifies is what they have got to do on day one. And the training starts on day one, not a week later, not a month later.

Training Starts On Day One

But it starts on day one. You see, when you hire somebody new, the vocabulary in the words that you’re using they may not understand. So we got to start off with that vocabulary, with those words so they can understand what we’re talking about. Sheryl, do you see people don’t understand the words used by many of the clients when you’re hiring new team members for them?

It is Part Of The Implementation

Sheryl: They do. I mean, a lot of industries have words that mean something in our vocabulary as a human being. But in that particular trade, it’s a part of the implementation of what they’ll be doing. So if you don’t understand, you’re sitting there not knowing what’s going on.

We Have Developed A Course Called Chimneys 101

Jerry I.: Right. So one of the courses we’ve developed for the industries that we serve is the chimney industry. So what we develop is a course called chimneys 101. And chimneys 101 is a five-hour introduction to the industry course.

What we go over is the words that we use, the services we offer, and what kind of products we sell so they can get an understanding. You got to keep in mind, many times you’re going to hire someone, and they have no experience with your services or your products.

And any industry is going to have its specific things that you’ve got to learn about in that. Sheryl, even in your factory where you manufacture outdoor living products, do you have to teach people what the vocabulary is or the words that you’re using?

You Do It In Any Industry

Sheryl: Yes, you do it in any industry. The thing about it is, if you don’t and you say one of those words and they go off on the track of what they assume it means, they may be totally out in left field. So you have a messed-up job, you have a problem, and you also have a person that feels really foolish when they have to answer or ask someone what it means. And why put them in that predicament?

We Have Assembled Quite A Lot Of Different Curriculums

Jerry I.: Right. So here at CVC success group, and through our CVC virtual academy and our other trainings, we’ve actually assembled quite a lot of different curriculums for different positions within the company. Like one of them is, and you may think this is a simple job to fill, but it’s the center of the business, which is the CSR, the customer service representative, or the dispatcher.

These are the people that are in the office, and this is the center of activity; this is where it happens at. This is the first contact that your customer probably has and may be the last contact that they have. So, we built these curriculums.

Sheryl, in your outdoor living business, do you have to build this training for the people that answer your phones to where your customers know that you are ready to serve them and provide them the best?

Sheryl: I mean, you must know the language, you must know what to use. You have to know what to train your customer to understand. And so, like you said, this is the first point of contact. If at that point your client doesn’t feel comfortable, they’ll never get comfortable in the whole process.

After They Complete One Course They Are Going To Another Course

Jerry I.: Right? So I’m going to share with you the curriculum we have for a couple of different positions within a chimney service company, which is my niche, and that’s who I serve. So the first course that we would put a new CSR higher into would be our course of chimneys 101. From that course, after they complete that, they’re then going to go to another course that’s going to teach them telephone skills.

Then they’ve got to go through courses to understand the software that you use in your business and how to become adapted using this software. From that point, we go into photo, photo documentation, and photo progression.

How to understand and how to assemble the photographs that you need for diagnostic purposes, analysis purposes, and to be able to answer the customer’s questions. Then we go in the masonry chimney diagnostics to give these people an understanding of the things that could go wrong in the field with a masonry chimney.

We Go To The Communication Courses

From there, we moved to the factory-built diagnostics. Under factory-built diagnostics and analysis, we’re going over the same basic things that we did with the mainstream, but now we’re dealing with the factory-built products that are on the marketplace. From that point, we go in the communication courses such as anticipation.

Another one is the right words to use to close the big sale. From there, we go into qualifying the customer and understanding how to qualify that customer. Then we go into a course on problem-solving strategy. Then we’re going to go into a course, giving them the history of the chimney service industry. How it came to being, how it’s transitioned and what it does today. And from there, we are going to do another one about why do we line chimneys.

Give Them An Understanding

Give them an understanding of lining and relining of bay street chimneys. Then we have a course filled with sales and motivational videos. Now, after we get done with all that, we have probably provided about 70 to 100 hours of training for this new hire to make them successful.

So what you’ve got to do is set up a system of tracking and measuring their process and assessment of the skills and the proficiency they have developed. So Sheryl, as you listen to that, does that give someone a pretty good foundation to build on?

You Have To Hold Them Accountable To Doing It

Sheryl: Yes, it does. The thing is, now you have to hold them to doing it. You also have to make sure that they understood it as they go through. Because if they get to step four and didn’t understand the class on the first one, they’re lost, they’re still lost. So that’s why I believe in the testing. With the testing, you understand how much they know.

We Are Starting Out With The Basics

Jerry I.: Right. So what we’re doing is we’re starting out with the basics, and we build on that to build the strengths they need to become that superpower on your team.

Let me tell you what we suggest for a chimney service technician, and again if you cannot write these down, hey, do not worry about it, just send us an email at, and we will be more than happy to forward to you this in a written format on an excel that you can follow this, and put it together and rearrange it if you see different needs for your company.

These Are The Courses We Suggest

So when we hire a new technician to go in the field, these are the courses we suggest for this one. Number one course is chimney technician basic training. From there, we’re going to go into a course to give them ladder skills, to keep them from getting hurt on ladders. To know the safe way to raise and use ladders. From there, we’re going to go to masonry chimney diagnostics as the next course.

And then we’re going to move to factory-built diagnostics and analysis. Then we’re going to take them through pressure analysis and diagnostics of those issues. How to resolve pressure problems. We’ve got to teach them about proper documentation collection, and we do that with a photo progression course. How to collect the photographs in the right order to make the most effective documentation storage.

From there, we’re going to take them into rope roof access to teach them how to walk safely on ropes and how ropes can come in and be an integral part of the fall protection philosophy for the company. After that, we’re going to go into problem-solving tactics. Then we are going to give them a basics of gas, that is about a four-hour class.

We Are Going To Go Into The History

So, they can understand the basics of gas hearth appliances. And from that, we’re going to go into the history of the chimney service industry, taking you all the way back into the 18th century and coming forward into the 21st century. After that, we’re going to talk about sales courses through the right words to use to communicate with your customer.

Anticipation, how to anticipate what the customer’s needs are. Qualifying the customer, so you can understand how to connect the customer with the product that they actually need and are looking for. Real-world chimney inspections that’s a course that myself and Tom Urban present.

And that is about a six-hour course, and that is about how to do real-world inspections in the very real world, utilizing the NFPA 211 inspection standards, which are defined as level one, level two, and level three.

We Take Them Through Sales And Motivation

After that, we take them through sales and motivation, motivate them in the way they can make sales. And the next course after that is the company software training.

So they can understand how to use the software that you’ve set up for their field use and in your office and transferring the right information in a paperless format. So Sheryl, as you hear all that, that’s a pretty good; you feel like that’s providing a base for that technician to do his work?

Sheryl: It does. And I’m sure people now are sitting there going, wow, that’s a lot.

Jerry I.: Right. Because what I’ve just read off, it’s probably close to 100 hours of training. But see, this is something I learned years ago, and I learned this in a class I was teaching, and it was in Georgia. And I had a room full of people, over 100 people.

And that’s what I was going through is my diagnostics training, because I’ve done it for a number of years. And I was talking about the standard changes at NFPA 211 in 1984. And this young man raised his hand, and I recognized him, and I said yes sir, you have a question? He said no, I got a statement. What’s that? I got a real problem here.

What Is Your Problem?

What is your problem? You’re talking about stuff that happened before I was born. Well, to be honest with you, that was a magic moment for me in my teaching career and training. Because what I realized was that I had been able to pick up this industry and small little bits and pieces over the years as changes occurred. And in the new hires today, we are trying to pump all this information into them in a short order, and it is more than they can absorb.

Many People Go Through Anxiety

You have also got to remember the following: many people go through anxiety. They’re scared to ask questions, and that’s one of the traits of the millennial population that you may well be hiring. So Sheryl, does them training the millennial? Does that bring us specific challenges of the different age groups, behavior patterns, and all that?

They Want To Learn In Smaller Sessions

Sheryl: It does. They want to learn in smaller sessions. Many of them are afraid to raise their hand in a class; you and I probably didn’t care if we looked kind of silly when we raised our hands. But now, they feel inferior; they feel like they’re being sectioned out. And that automatically sets up a distaste in learning.

Jerry I.: You know, but I’m going to correct you there; I’m a person, even with my heavy-D personality. And I can walk onto a stage and talk to any size group; it doesn’t bother me. But being in the audience, being in a class, and raising my hand to ask a question, to be honest with you, that gives me anxiety.

And the reason being because I’m a control freak, and I no longer control the room, so now someone else does. So even with myself, I go through anxiety to ask a question when I’m in part of the class. Does that make sense?

Behaviors Are Different

Sheryl: It does. But that’s where behaviors are different since I’m a 99D. Like you, I have no problem asking a question. In fact, if I need the answer, I am going to ask.

Jerry I.: Right. So let me take you through our gas technician training because a lot of people in the industry are training a gas technician. And this is an in-depth knowledge for specific skills to understand this need also.

We Are Going To Teach Them The Basics

So, what do we do if we are training a gas technician? Well, we’re going to start out with gas basics, we’re going to tell them the basics because people if they don’t understand the basics, they can’t go forward from there. From there, we’re going to go in the ANSI standards, we’re going to talk about gas pressure in a class. We’re going to talk about direct vent appliances, vent-free, vented appliances.

We’re going to identify the differences so they can understand. We’re going to talk about draft hood equipment a gas equipment. We’re going to go into multi-meter operations and millivolt systems. Then we’re going to talk about combustion air.

Then we’re going to go into service on vent-free, vented, and direct vent systems. We’re going to go into millivolt systems, and then we’re going to move to millivolt valves and millivolt troubleshooting. Frequently encountered problems on electronic ignition systems. We are going to talk about the different kinds of valves Robert Shaw, Dexon and others.

Did That Sound Overwhelming?

Combustion air and why it is so important. We’re going to go through the NFI core review to take the NFI core exam, and then we’re going to go through the NFI gas review. Now again, you’ve just heard probably 80 to 100 hours of training. And that’s what it’s going to take in order to instill these skills in your workers of the day. So Sheryl, did that sound overwhelming? That curriculum I just spelled out to you?

We Suggest A Time Frame

Sheryl: If you handed it to a guy in that form, this is what I need for you to do, and this is what we have got to have it done before a certain time? Yes, it does. So that’s why we suggest a time frame. You have so long to do this part, and then we’ll give you another, and we move on and on. Until all of a sudden, they become a great, knowledgeable employee.

We Would Love To Provide You With Our Curriculum

Jerry I.: That’s it. So again, we would love to provide you with the curriculum we have developed that you can implement into your system. Now another thing that we strongly feel about here at CVC success group is the need for micro-courses.

And on our online platform, we have developed over 560 micro-courses. What’s a micro-course? A micro-course is a very short course, it doesn’t exceed seven minutes, and it speaks to specific items.

And a lot of times, when people let us know what the problems are happening in the field, what do we do for our subscribers? We record a new tidbit for that specific use. So this is where it’s all about. So Sheryl, before we take the next breaks, anything you’d like to add to this?

Sheryl: No. I just think it is a great way of teaching, it is also the way some school systems are starting to teach the younger children. We all learn in less than 10-minute sections, better than we do in 30 minutes.

Jerry I.: Right. So stick around with us, we’ll be right back after this short pause. Take about 30 seconds for us to take a break, and we’ll be right back with you. So don’t go anywhere, and we’ll come back with our parting words.

Jerry I.: Hey, thanks for being around for us when we come back. So, like we have said before, what you have got to do if you want to have successful training, you are going to have to put together a curriculum for your people to follow.

Now Go Learn

Simply assigning them a whole bunch of classes or textbooks or manuals, and say, now go learn. You’re going to face disappointment. You got to become a leader of people; you got to track their results, you got to measure how they’re doing. You have to assess their abilities. And most of all, you have to hold accountability to what you set out in front of them, so they can move at the speed that you are setting them up for.

But you also have to monitor their progress. Maybe your expectations are too high, and you may have to lower your expectations of the amount of time it takes them to go through a course. Again, learning these various job roles it’s going to take some time, and it’s going to take some intense study to put it all together.

Because more than likely, it’s a pretty complicated job in any of our companies. So Sheryl, what would you add to our parting words today?

Sheryl: Every person is different. Don’t look at the mass of people and think it works for everybody. Look at one person, take these curriculums and make it work for that person, and then move to the next.

Jerry I.: Okay. So anyway, this concludes this week’s episode of the chimney and fireplace success network. If we can help you out in training, coaching, mentoring, or helping you to develop your curriculum for your company. It’s as simple as reaching out to us here at We appreciate you joining us every week on our podcast, it’s an honor, it’s a privilege, and it’s a pleasure to be able to speak to you in this manner. So we look forward to seeing you next week on the next episode of the chimney and fireplace success network.