Episode 170 – The 2020 ISDA Training Survey Results, Part II

In this episode we are continuing with the results from the 2020 ISDA Training Survey.

Just a quick recap from the previous episode.

The purpose of the Survey was to supply those looking to enter the profession and those who want to expand their education with data that assist with the decision-making process. Also, to help those who provide training to determine the best methods of reaching their potential audience.

The Survey was separated into five sections

  • GI Bill
  • Training Course Metrics
  • Financial
  • Motivation
  • Jobs after Training.

The first Podcast covered the first three of the five topics. This Podcast episode covers what motivates students to attend a particular program and numbers concerning jobs after training.

Training Motivation

The Survey asked the all-important question, how did you hear about the training program you attended.’  We had predefined answers of Word of Mouth, Advertising (print or digital) Facebook groups or pages, and LinkedIn groups or pages, select all that apply.

73% of those that took the Survey said they discovered their training provider via Word of Mouth. That number should be no surprise; for decades, the best marketing tool is the word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM). This brings up a point that Tony Scotti has been making for 46 years – you influence word of mouth – understanding the concept of how to create positive word of mouth advertising is a plus. The potential student may have seen a training provider in a Facebook or LinkedIn group but then use word of mouth to gather more information about that provider. 

Word of Mouth is the most powerful force in the marketplace, any marketplace. It is the least expensive and most credible form of advertising.  80% of all decisions are made by recommendation. It can be influenced.

Word of Mouth is the most honest medium because it is customer driven.

31% heard about training via print or digital advertising, and 20% via Facebook or LinkedIn combined.

We also asked the question:  What was the deciding factor(s) in selecting your training program(s)? Again, we had predefined answers of Reputation of the training provider, Cost, Recommendation from graduates of the training program, The promise of job placement. Select all that apply.

It should be no surprise that the training provider’s reputation was 87% of the decision-making process to attend the program.  Cost is a factor in 33.3% of the decisions, and recommendations from former students represent another 33%. We found it interesting that only 8.67% of those surveyed listed job placement as a deciding factor. In our opinion, that data point indicates that most of those who took the Survey that attend a training program are employed.

Looking at the results of these two questions that were asked in the Survey, there are two data points that stand out. a small percentage of those who participated in the Survey heard about the training from the two major social media platforms Facebook and LinkedIn. And that 87% answered that the reputation of the training provider was a deciding factor.

As a training provider, what you can take away from this is you can flood social media platforms with your marketing. But, if via word of mouth, a training provider’s reputation does not hold up, a training provider can post all they want on social media platforms as often as they can, but it won’t work if the reputation does not hold up.

In other words, unless the reputation of the training provided is substantial, marketing the training on every bodyguard, executive protection, close protection, secure transportation, Facebook or LinkedIn group, page, news feed is actuality not that productive.

As Tony Scotti commented coming from his 46 years of experience conducting training programs; the reputation comes from what you do during the training and what you do before and after the training. 

Another question we asked – What was your motivation to attend the training program(s)? Select all that apply
The predefined selections were Career advancement, the first step in entering the profession, refresher program, sent by the company, and other.

59% of the participants attended training for career advancement.

An interesting data point is that 41% answered that a motivation to attend training was the first step or exposure into the profession. Consider that their mindset and business model is formed by the curriculum they were exposed to. So, for that 41% entering the profession, we have a suggestion – it is imperative that you learn about the profession that you are looking to enter before selecting a training provider.

34% of those who were motivated to attend the training program were sent by their company. This data point and the career advancement high percentage are a reflection of the ISDA network. A majority of which work in a corporate setting.

Jobs After Training

We asked – If you were a part-time subcontractor before attending training, did you move to full-time Executive Protection after the training? (not including residential security)? 

Yes     36.76%
No       63.24%

For those that answered no we feel that that is a reflection of the profession, in general, most all those working in the field are not full-time employees.

We suggest to all new and those entering the profession that attending a training program is not a guarantee of employment. The more reputable training providers will not guarantee employment. Those entering the profession should consider it a red flag when a training provider promises or even suggests the possibility of employment.

Keep in mind that as a person entering a profession, it will be challenging to find employment without experience.

Also, we asked – Have any training providers kept in contact with you after the program(s)?

Yes                     78.67%
No                       21.33%

Approximately 79% of all these students answered yes, that they received communications from their training provider after leaving the training program, but that’s not the complete picture.  If the only communication the student had or has with their past training providers is when they want to sell you more training, we are not sure of the value of that communication.

But there are training providers who, before and after a student attends their training program supplies them with actionable educational information regularly. It is ISDA’s opinion that when considering a training provider, an essential factor in the decision-making process is looking for a training provider who shares knowledge before and after paying for training, and from the perspective of the training provider, sharing knowledge enhances Word of Mouth and increases a provider’s reputation.

It is hard to put in dollar value on the sharing knowledge before and after the training. In any service, what customers value is when they receive added value for their money, and sharing knowledge supplies your student who is your client that added value that they seek. It is what feeds word of mouth, enhances reputations but yet in our opinion, so few do it.


If you have an interest in going much deeper into these types of topics, I invite you to check out the International Security Driver Association’s website ISDACenter.Org and consider joining to get access to the encyclopedia of executive protection and secure transportation – The ISDA knowledge center. The knowledge shared encompasses a wide range of Executive Protection and Secure Transportation focused topics with resources, information, and metrics.

For more information on all of the member benefits, head over to https://isdacenter.org.

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