Ard Kessels

Ard Kessels

Ard Kessels

Sales Rep Alumni

I was first introduced to the training of the Mann Group through a free seminar at Interbike. Dan is a charismatic presenter with great interaction skills. I loved every minute of it, but constantly had to make a translation in my head to see how techniques and examples would work for my business. After all, the training was aimed at retailers and I just sat down as the owner of a component brand. As soon as the sales rep training became available to the public a year later, I jumped on it and booked it on the spot. I always jokingly say that at Kogel we are a bunch of bike mechanics, trying to be sales guys.

My typical sales pitch used to be: walk into the bike shop, dump a load of product on the counter and kill people with kindness and tech talk. After two days spent with Dan and Leslie, we worked on a new pitch where the product only comes out in the last quarter of the meeting and we only show a few key products out of our collection of a hundred or so. It was an eye opener to me.

Jason Cote and Dan Mann

Jason Cote and Dan Mann

Jason Cote

Train the Trainer Alumni

When he signed up for Mann U, Jason knew it would be a great opportunity because he was already familiar with The Mann Group, since they had done some training at his store in the past. Jason assumed he would be familiar with some of the material and ideas in Mann U, but he didn’t realize just how useful the program would be until he attended. “When I went to Asheville for the Train the Trainer training, I was pleased that even thought the material wasn’t new, it was presented at an elevated level that I found pleasantly challenging.” Jason, like many attendees of Mann U, recognized the practice he received throughout the practice was invaluable. “Practicing GEAR with The Mann Group team was great since they all brought different perspectives on the material. The intensive practice sessions really drove the material home. I left excited to bring back the information home.”

And that’s just what he did; though he was a trainer prior to Mann U, Jason felt inspired to help his management teams with training their staff as effectively as possible. He took back the lessons learned in Mann U—especially that practice with GEAR—and bestowed his new knowledge on his management team, who in turn passed it down to their team members. And today, those effects are obvious throughout all tiers of his staff. “We are seeing a greater depth of training from my managers and a higher level of accountability for the staff. The staff are feeling more invested in the company and thus striving to accomplish more engagement with their customers.”

The best part of Mann U for Jason? Refining his communication skills. Like many who attend Mann U, Jason assumed he was a great communicator and was comfortable speaking in front of groups, but during his time with The Mann Group Jason discovered paths to improvement. “I would say that the most impactful part of the course is the focus on how to present yourself to those you are training. I thought I was comfortable speaking in front of a group and what I found out was I needed some work. It was great to have a group of people just give straightforward feedback with the intent on making me better.” Mann U’s focus on communication is an integral part of the program, and benefits even the most confident and and experienced trainers.

Becky Marcelliano.jpg

Becky Marcelliano

Foundation Alumni

I took a bendy path to get into the Marketing Manager role at Deuter. I come from a blended background of passions for both art and the environment. My career has taken me to many stops in art education, guiding wilderness trips, outdoor and bike retail, environmental camps and so on. Each of those stepping stones felt like a critical part of the journey at the time, as I utilized each to professionally grow, network and work towards what was next. When I landed at Deuter, I had the incredible opportunity to blend all of these passions into one creative, challenging, ever-changing gig.  To me, working in a creative role for a company who’s ethics and passions align with my own is really quite a dream.

The most valuable lessons I learned at Mann U were actually about myself as both a leader and team player. It was eye opening to tap into my personality traits and really qualify my strengths and weaknesses, potential perception by others and my style of work. This self-reflection continues to stick with me months after Mann U and has really helped me appreciate my own value and provide clarity and motivation to set goals of personal improvement.